Technology is booming. Especially in the area of “teach yourself” apps. From music composition, to how to play an instrument, the market is full of self-help apps. But do these apps truly teach you properly to learn? We are firm believers in the one-on-one lessons approach. As we do live in the modern world, we do realize that there are apps out there that are great tools for teaching and learning, but there are also so many ways to make honest mistakes without an instructor looking on.
So let’s weigh the pros and cons. This blog will touch on some of the top apps on the market today. It will also explain some teacher’s opinions on why the one-on-one lesson experience is a better way to go.
Music Composition Apps.
- Noteflight. With Noteflight, you can compose and record audio into scores, which makes this app useful for teachers in the classroom. It is easy for beginners and high-end enough for professional use. Noteflight Premium offers a private website for communication and collaboration, activity templates, perform mode for listening and play along. Noteflight can be utilized for desktops, laptops, and tablets. Also live recording for Mac, PC, and Chromebooks. It has optional content for libraries for a band, guitar, choir, orchestra, piano, and pop ensemble.
- Scorecloud is a software service and web app for creating, storing, and sharing music notation for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, iPhone, and iPad. This app comes in two varieties Scorecloud Studio and Scorecloud Express. The software is available for free, but adds a watermark when printing. It also does not allow saving or exporting without subscribing to the pro level. Scorecloud is being marketed as “the only service that offers the capability to record, transcribe, transform it into sheet music, and share online”. Scorecloud free allows you to create sheet music from playing. It can also sync across all devices.
Teach Yourself Musical Instrument Apps.
- Uberchord is a “teach yourself guitar” app designed for Apple. Uberchord offers personal progress statistics, listens to you play and can adapt to your skill level. It can teach strumming and rhythm patterns with a built-in interactive trainer. It is also equipped with a song trainer that teaches a tune step by step. Also offers reward points that can be used to select more music. Think guitar hero type instruction.
- Simply Piano was chosen as one of the best iPhone apps in 2016. It works with any piano or keyboard and is suitable for all ages. If you do not own a piano, they offer Touch Courses with a 3D touch that turns your device into an on-screen keyboard.
With teach yourself apps, it is completely at your disposal. What is designed as a matter of convenience, constructed for use when you want it. Having something made so simple, can also be a downfall. Learning to play an instrument, or write and read music does not come easy. Dedication, repetition, and steady practice, just to name a few are a necessity. Having something simplified isn’t always in your best interest. For example, on-screen keyboards are convenient, but nowhere near the actual size or sensation of playing a real keyboard or piano. This can disturb the entire process of learning specific coordination and dexterity necessary for intermediate playing. On the other hand, with one-on-one lessons, you have a REAL INSTRUMENT AND an instructor- a human being, not an app teaching you tools that are vital to any musician. Discipline, technique, by someone who takes a personal interest in you and your musical goals and your willingness to learn.
With one-on-one lessons, you have an instructor. A professionally trained teacher who can show and teach things an app never could. Personal contact with an educated individual who takes his or her profession seriously. They also take seriously the fact that you are getting the most and learning all sides and aspects of your lessons. I approached two of our instructors to get their perspective. The consensus that music is a human emotion, a personal relationship between you and that emotion. It was also noted that apps cannot teach fundamental basics or how to interact with other musicians. Instructors and teachers are not solely there to offer information and knowledge, and they do not promote insularity and lack of social interaction. Simply put, lessons provide the personal touch that any app does not have. There are however a few apps that are a benefit to their profession.
Instrument tuner apps and metronome apps are low priced, user-friendly apps that aid in a lesson plan. The Tonal Energy Tuner is $3.99 on The App Store and Google. Supports Android apps 4.3 and above. They do have new features not available on Android yet. Tunable is a chromatic tuner and metronome that is equipped with tuning history display. Compatible with most apple and iPhones 5 and up. $3.99 in Apple, Google, and Amazon App stores.
Check out a more complete list of instructor-approved learning aids here.