To Take Up a Musical Instrument, First Pick Up Your Phone
WHEN given the opportunity, some inexperienced musicians can’t resist strumming a few chords on a guitar or plunking out a few bars of “Chopsticks” on a piano. But with the right app, it’s easy to start learning an instrument right on your smartphone.
Yousician, free for iOS and Android, is a fabulous place to start learning piano, guitar, ukulele or bass. Yousician teaches basic playing techniques and musical notation by presenting a challenge and then listening as you try to play in real life. When you complete each learning challenge, the app unlocks another, more difficult one.
Yousician combines video hints, spoken instructions and interactive graphics to teach users. The graphics in the piano sessions, for example, light up the relevant keys on an onscreen piano keyboard when you hit the correct keys on your real-life piano.
In the guitar lessons, you see a digital vibration of the relevant guitar string. You’ll quickly find yourself playing in time to a pop song or a piece of classical music you may recognize.
Yousician is easy to follow and offers helpful visual feedback. The app alone won’t turn you into a concert great, of course, but its extensive lessons on technique and music theory make it clear that Yousician is no toy.
Be aware, though, that Yousician’s free edition limits access to lessons. To learn faster, you have to upgrade at a cost of about $20 per instrument per month.
Piano students should try Simply Piano, free on iOS. Like Yousician, the app uses step-by-step lessons with interactive listening so it can tell how well you’re playing a piano or a MIDI keyboard.
This app is useful even if you don’t have a piano, as you can learn the basics using an onscreen piano keyboard. It has much simpler graphics than Yousician, and a more text-based teaching system that lacks videos and voice-over instructions, but this may help users concentrate on learning music without distraction. The lessons are organized into courses, like Piano Basics and Pop Chords I, and you can learn two courses for free. For access to more courses, you can subscribe for about $15 a month. Simply Piano is available only for iOS.
Android users have a pretty good alternative in Perfect Piano. It is less of a formal teaching app than some rivals, but its onscreen graphics can help you learn to play along to many famous pieces of music, ranging from popular to classical.
The app has an online chat service that lets you talk to other users who are also learning. And because Perfect Piano is meant for use with its onscreen keyboard or a plug-in MIDI keyboard controller, it may suit you if you don’t have a piano at home. Perfect Piano is more fun to use than other similar apps, and it is free (with paid access to its full range of features). It is also available for iOS.
Learning to play guitar is a staple of college life, and the Uberchord app (free for iOS, with an Android version in the works) has students covered. This app listens as you play a real guitar and includes guidance on tuning and lessons on playing chords. It has fun extras like a daily “workout” to keep fingers nimble and the option to create your own songs to practice.
Finally, there’s one musical instrument that people come by naturally: a singing voice. The SingTrue app, which is free for iOS, is intended to help beginner singers improve.
The app’s minimalist design and interface make it easy to use. Through a variety of exercises, it helps you understand how to make the most of your voice, offering great visual feedback when it analyzes your singing. You just have to get over the embarrassment of singing to your iPhone. (I’ve sung all my life, and though SingTrue showed how rusty I’ve become, it was still fun to use.)
Voice Training – Learn to Sing is another good option for both Android and iOS, incorporating more videos than SingTrue. The app looks more old-fashioned than SingTrue, but it offers a wide range of lessons.
Isotope is a fun Android app that helps you understand the periodic table of elements. With a great interface, nice images, fascinating details and a minimalist design, this app rivals the sort of polished science-education app that Apple users are used to. It’s free.
Source: Read Full Article