Learning to play an instrument is one of the most popular methods to share your melodies with the world, whether you want to pursue a career in music or simply enjoy generating wonderful sounds that only you will hear. Although it may appear to be a demanding and stressful endeavour, technology can help to reduce the learning curve.
I’m a musician with four years of experience as a music instructor, and I’ll never forget how important it was for me to be able to record and evaluate my practice sessions when I was a youngster learning to play the guitar and piano. Repetitive, purposeful practice helps you learn faster and more efficiently, and I don’t think I would have been able to enhance my skills as much as I did if it hadn’t been for the recordings.
Whatever your final objective, performing music has several cognitive benefits for both children and adults, and you should use the following resources as you begin your musical journey.
To learn instrumental techniques, use apps.
The most difficult component of the learning process is mastering instrumental methods. Apps for instrument technique can assist you in practicing while keeping you entertained.
The One Smart Piano app (free for Android and iOS) helped me master the fingerings and learn how to play with both hands when I started learning the piano when I was around 17 years old. This app combines software and hardware and was created by a music-focused startup. You download the app to your phone, computer, or tablet, then connect it to one of the company’s electronic pianos using a cable (sold separately). When you select a song from the app, these instruments have lights integrated into their keys that illuminate to show which ones you need to play. Thousands of songs are accessible for download for free, with the remainder available for purchase. If you have a regular piano, you can also use the app with it. This made it easier for me to begin playing music without the stress of having to read a music sheet and press the correct keys at the same time, which I learned later.
Yousician (free for Android and iOS, with additional subscription capabilities starting at $20) and OnlinePianist (which starts at $5 a month but also provides limited free Android and iOS apps) are two examples of similar programs. There’s also the Hoffman Academy, which caters to children (which has free videos on YouTube, but more features require a subscription). All of these programs will assist you in learning instrumental methods; simply choose the one that best suits your needs.
Find tools to help you improve your ear training.
Ear training aids in the development of a musical ear—the ability to mentally link musical elements. You can connect chords, scales, pitches, intervals, and other musical elements on the fly if you have a strong ear. It will also be simpler to perform musical instruments without the use of extra aids such as a music sheet. Ear preparation is what allows you to develop a musical “instinct” that allows you to play by ear, improvise fantastic solos, and compose your music.
When I first started learning with a tutor, I did a lot of ear training exercises, but ear trainer apps helped me improve my skills. IWasDoingAllRight (free for iOS or the web) generates the various musical elements in such a way that learners may better hear each phrase. I’d first sing the notes back to myself, then play them on my piano or guitar. Singing helped me internalize the sound of each note and gave me confidence that I had heard the pitches correctly because I could sing back the correct notes.
Of course, there are other programs like Teoria (free), TrainYourEars ($58), and My Ear Trainer that you could find more useful (free for the web, Android, and iOS, with in-app purchases).
Purchase some music-creation software.
It takes a lot of practice to learn how to play a musical instrument. Music production software assisted me in honing my talents at home while I was taking lessons to learn how to play several instruments, including the guitar. I’d record myself practicing and then edit and analyze them in the software while experimenting with other virtual instruments and editing tools. As a result, my creativity blossomed and my abilities improved.
Sampled instruments, effects, synthesizers, and much more are all included in music creation software. These can be combined with arranging software and sequencers to let you construct finished tunes from the ground up. Without a doubt, the tools you choose will be influenced by the music you create. The greatest music production software can run in your digital audio workstation (DAW) or as a standalone. You can choose from a variety of firms.
PreSonus Studio One, Native, and Bitwig Studio are just a few of the firms that offer music creation software. If you can’t afford the initial charges, free music-making tools such as Audacity, Komplete Start, and LMMS are available. These are also good, although they lack some of the features found in the more expensive models. Complete Start was quite beneficial to me.
Watch videos on YouTube.
YouTube can teach you almost anything, and its musical instrument tutorials were really helpful to me when I was learning to play. I learned to play the piano by watching Hoffman Academy videos, and I learned how to hold a guitar by watching JustinGuitar by Justin Sandercoe.
Even better, all you need is a good internet connection to access YouTube’s thousands of instructional videos. These lessons are simple to follow and inexpensive (they’re free, after all) for individuals who can’t afford to pay a music teacher. But keep in mind that, despite its richness of knowledge, YouTube can only take you so far. If you’ve reached a point in your training when you’re stuck, you might choose to hire a tutor.
Make your videos.
Having a mentor to guide you through your musical journey might help you stay on course and discover tactics that will help you progress. A mentor can also help you improve your skills more quickly, build a network if you wish to pursue a career in music, stay motivated, encourage you, and boost your confidence. However, you had to live close to your selected mentor before you could make an easily shareable film. That is no longer the case—videos allowed my tutors to see me perform as I practiced at home, regardless of where we were in the world. They would then evaluate my performance and give me recommendations on how I could improve. I used to use file transfers to share enormous files with my friends and family, and I would occasionally ask them what they loved best about my music performance.
You might also attempt making videos while playing your instrument for your entertainment. The most critical aspect of filming yourself practicing is recording high-quality audio. You can use any device as long as the audio quality is acceptable. If you want to present it to your friends or mentor, you can also try recording the audio separately and then layering it over a video of your choice. Use a dynamic microphone designed for recording music to avoid picking up background noise for the best results. The Shure SM-57 is one that I recommend for recording guitar. You can show the videos to your music teacher or private tutor once you’ve finished them. Even if you’re working alone, seeing oneself play can be beneficial.
And, while technology makes things easier, don’t expect an app or a series of videos to transform you into the artist you want to be. When music is unique and carries a piece of your soul with it, it is at its best.