How Helpful are these Musical Instrument Learning Apps?


Is there a substitute for learning to play music with another person? Apps like “Simply Guitar” seem to think so.

Daniella Hinojosa, Editorial Board

You’ve probably seen those annoying ads on your phone promoting apps that claim they can help you learn to play an instrument. You usually just want to skip these commercials and watch your YouTube video, but if there is something to them? There are several to choose from that advertise their “personalized learning process” that guides users “step-by-step” to play the guitar, piano, etc., but how helpful are these apps? Well, it depends. You must take into account your skill level in the instrument and how advanced the app is.

When I was testing out the app Simply Guitar, it asked me to play certain chords, and then it would tell me if I played them correctly. It does not let users continue to the next lesson until they do so. The app failed to detect a chord that I played correctly, so I could not move on to practice the next one. Now, this was years ago, it may have been a bug but it can apply to other teaching apps as well. However, technology has developed to a point where it would be rare for error so it’s unlikely to be given false information. Most music apps give you the basics on how to start your journey, which I recommend for casual players, but it’s hard to learn more from them as you become proficient in whichever instrument you’re learning to play.

They can lay the groundwork for you, but an app can’t replace an experienced teacher. If you’re a beginner, you can learn a few chords from them, but you’ll never be able to solo like Eddie Van Halen! Even in online tutorials, the person teaching shows you proper form with tips and tricks to polish your playing. Otherwise, you could be hurting yourself by simply holding a ukulele and you wouldn’t even know it. Apps that teach people to play instruments can only get you so far.

So the takeaway here is this: it’s up to you how you decide to learn an instrument but your best bet would be to learn from someone with years of experience to learn more and at a quicker pace. It’s important to do your research to see what works for you! Yes, there are many apps out there, some good and some not so much, but with a little exploration, you could be mastering your instrument in no time.