Yousician

I found this amazing app – yousician.

It is fabulous! I bought myself a ukulele about a year and a half ago and have been noodling around on it, taking it on holiday and playing a few times a month. My focus has been on my flute and the ukulele was just something for fun.

me and my new ukulele I bought for my birthday! (2014)
me and my new ukulele I bought for my birthday! (2014)

And it has been, but because it has been so sporadic I forget things and end up starting again each time I pick it up, which has meant that I haven’t wanted to pick it up. And so a vicious cycle ensues quite quickly. I haven’t wanted to pay for lessons because I have flute lessons each week and there is only so much money to go around.

And then I found Yousician.

I love it! I have been playing each day and I have made more progress in the week that I have had it than the whole year and a half previously. It looks very much like Guitar Hero in the way that it works. There are levels to work on, stars and badges to achieve. It is a perfect example of the concept of gamification. And I do like a structured learning environment with things to achieve.

I have to say I have never understood Guitar Hero – for pretty much the same money as GH costs you could have got yourself a guitar or uke and learnt to play an actual, real instrument.

Looking through the reviews on iTunes I was APPALLED by one person’s review who complained that the free version limited you to approximately twenty minutes a day and you had a couple of thirty-second adverts for the premium version of the app during that twenty minutes too. This reviewer felt this was unacceptable.

I was spitting feathers at this, I cannot imagine what the poor developers made of it. There must be hundreds of hours gone into the programming of this app, let alone the skillful musical teaching skills. It is incredibly well scaffolded (i.e. skills build on what was taught before, increasing a step at a time), the way it is built makes you want to continue and the music you are playing along to is great too.

Ukulele music books and ukulele on a purple patchwork quilt
Tried to play learning from books and it just wasn’t working for me

I guess this is the new world. People expect to be able to access content for free – all content on the internet should be free. Of course this doesn’t take into account the hours that people spend developing their skills, let alone how long it takes for the product/service to be developed. Also creatives have rent to pay and get hungry like everyone else.

I have already gladly paid out for the premium version of this app, it’s £15 per month, or even less if you buy an annual pass. A half hour lesson costs with a teacher would cost that, or even more.

If you want to play the uke, guitar or piano for fun then this is perfect for you. If you want to learn classical, or play seriously then I think you need a teacher – but fun? Yeah, go for it!

BTW there is no affiliate link. I am genuinely enthralled by this app.

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10 Comments

  1. Jen, I understand that playing a stringed instrument can be hard in your fingertips. I do not even want to try playing a stringed instrument. Knowing me, I probably would go completely off tune. Good luck with this instrument!

  2. I found guitar utterly impossible because the pressure you need to apply. The ukulele strings are much much softer and you don’t need as much strength.

    I limit myself to 20 minute sessions, so my finger tips can build up, but not get too bad.

  3. Thanks for this review Jen – I’ve also tried lots of tuition books but just couldn’t “get” it. After my first 20 minutes on Yousician I’m already doing better than I was. It’s so easy to use and playing along with the songs lets me know if I’m doing it right without the need for the “feedback” response.
    My only qualm is the fact that it’s twice as much to take the monthly subscription than it is to take the annual. I can’t afford the annual in one go so I have the option of staying on the free version until I’ve saved (which will be never as other things would demand that saved money) or paying twice the price to take it monthly. I’m going to carry on with the free one for a while before making my decision.
    Thanks again for the review.

  4. I just got the app a few days ago and I’ve made so much progress. I use it for my guitar and piano. It makes me really look forward to learning while using a book to learn often feels like a chore.

    The fact that it gets poor reviews has irked me as well, a lot of time and effort has clearly been put into developing the app. Its also way cheaper than hiring a teacher which often costs between£25-£30 per hour.

  5. I know! I pay £30 an hour for my flute/music theory lessons, why do people moan? I use the app practically everyday for the piano and I get so much enjoyment from it.

    I’m focusing on the piano rather than the ukulele at the moment, although I might switch back again. I really love how it is structured.

    I don’t fee like I can do the piano and the ukulele as I’m also working on my flute grade 6 at the moment and there is a limit to how much I can fit into a day!

    The app developers should be extremely proud of Yousician! I recommend it all the time

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