App review: Yousician
Yousician turns your smartphone or tablet into a digital music teacher and converts virtual lessons into real-world jamming ability.
Games like Guitar Hero might be fun, but they don’t actually teach you how to play a real musical instrument. Yousician, on the other hand, plays into human beings’ love of games and uses the microphone and speaker on your smartphone or tablet to help teach you how to play an actual instrument.
Think of it as a personal, digital music tutor – one that doesn’t wrap you over the knuckles with a ruler when you strike the wrong chord or mistime your arpeggios. If you’ve got a piano or keyboard, guitar or ukulele gathering dust instead of gathering you adoring fans, Yousician might well be just the app you’ve been waiting for.
The rhythm is going to get you
The focus of the app is video tutorials which get gradually more complex as your skill level improves. Using the microphone built-in to your device the app 'listens' to you play and tracks how accurately you hit each note and whether your timing is more like a human metronome or that person on a group tour who wants to pop to the bathroom when everyone else in on the bus and ready to go.
Two can play that game
But you’re not just learning to play by ear with Yousician, you’re also learning how to read sheet music along the way as you complete the various 'missions' offered for each instrument. Of course, you’ll also learn a bunch of familiar pop songs so you can initiate singalongs on that next group tour or around the campfire. Unless you’re learning the piano, of course, in which case the venues you can use Yousician – or show off what you’ve learnt from it – are more limited.
There’s also a weekly challenge to complete alongside some of the 25 million users of Yousician around the globe, should you so wish.
All 'bout the money
If you’re curious, check the app out and you can complete a limited number of lessons for free each day. Should you find you’re cleaving through the free ones each day and itching for more – you maestro, you – you can unlock them all for R240/month for a single instrument.
If you’re a real overachiever there are also pricing plans for all three instruments and you can pay for a whole year up front for a bit of a discount. There aren’t any lessons for more exotic instruments like the trumpet, trombone, kettle drums or bagpipes – at least, not yet – but your neighbours are probably delighted about that.
Note that the app may be free to download, but you will need data to download and use the app. Buying data bundles on Vodacom Online is quick, easy and affordable, and a surefire way to make sure you've got enough data on your smartphone.