A number of different online services for learning how to play instruments have cropped up over recent years, and one of the post popular is the Yousician app and online platform. In this guide, we provide a full review of Yousician and what the features and functions of this platform are, both for people who want to learn guitar, piano, or the other instruments covered within their site.
Yousician is incredibly popular, but does it live up to expectations? What does Yousician cost and is it worth it? We cover all of this and more in the following review.
What Instruments Can You Learn?
Yousician is not just focused on one instrument. Guitar and piano are among the most popular, but you can do far more with the app, which can help you learn to sing, learn ukulele, learn bass guitar and more. There are a lot of options for aspiring musicians.
All of these have courses which have been outlined slightly differently, with different parts of the curriculum to learn on the app. For example, the guitar section talks you through many of the basics such as the fretboard, how to play chords and more.
Compatibility is one of the strong points of using Yousician! You can download the app on a variety of different devices in order to get started. It works with Android and Apple devices just as easily and can be found on the respective app stores.
Once you have downloaded the app, you are automatically logged into the free version. To get started, Yousician asks you some questions. First, you will have to choose your instrument. Don’t worry too much, if you want to use multiple instruments at some point, you can alter which you are focusing on through the settings within. Learning guitar doesn’t stop you from learning the piano on the same app.
Once you’ve established which instrument, there are a number of other questions it will ask you about your skill level and ability playing the instrument. It doesn’t matter if you are a total beginner, you can simply tell the app that you aren’t comfortable with any aspects of the instrument! It can still help you to play, and will simply start with activities that teach you the very basics.
This feature of working out the level of ability you have before you start means you don’t waste time on things you already understand.
After this, Yousician will put together a number of activities to help teach you the basics and learn how to play the instrument in question. These will involve being asked to play along to riffs and melodies, being taught how to understand “tablature” if you are playing guitar and the treble clef if you are playing the piano.
How Yousician Listens to Your Playing
This is one of the key selling points of Yousician. If you are looking at a lot of Yousician reviews, you will find that this is discussed a lot. Yousician is able to “hear” your playing and tell you what you are getting right and getting wrong. In this respect, it can be like having a tutor in the room with you. So, how does it work?
Yousician simply uses the microphone input of your smart device to “listen” to what you are playing. It can then detect pitch and frequencies of your piano or guitar or other instrument, and tell you whether you are hitting the right notes at the right time.
This is surprisingly reliable, and you might assume that the Yousician app made a lot of errors in detecting your playing, but it tends to get things spot on.
This technology is exactly the same as is used in the top tuning apps on the app stores. In fact, GuitarTuna is a part of the Yousician company. This listens to your strings and tells you when you need to adjust to tune them.
How Yousician Can “Gamify” Playing an Instrument
Many of the activities within the Yousician app are reminiscent of games such as Guitar Hero. The interface, and the way it tells you which notes to play, feels a little bit like you are playing a game. Obviously, this is not an issue for most people, just as long as the knowledge is sinking in.
Having this game-style feeling can also be a very good way to keep people interested in the long term. Yousician does a good job of allowing you to jump straight in and start to play popular songs rather than having to spend excessive amounts of time learning scales and theory. This is true for both the guitar app Yousician and the other versions.
When we say it feels like a game, don’t confuse this for any sort of negativity! Yousician does a fantastic job in their practice mode of allowing you to learn in a way that feels fun and engaging, it is very popular for both children and adults as it allows for a hands-on approach rather than spending ages reading or watching videos.
Another way this benefits from gamification (yes, it’s a word) is the fact that they include a competitive aspect. This shows what scores other people have got on the different exercises, so you can try and become the best out there, or just beat your friends. It keeps it fun. In an ideal world, there would probably be a few more different lessons, but this isn’t a big deal for beginners as it gives a good solution and touches on the majority of the basics.
Some people have criticized the lessons. For example, some people don’t think that there are enough of them and that they don’t relate to real songs, but you can switch to playing real songs in the future and there are a lot of songs within the app that you can focus on.
Practice Options – Hands-On vs Video
It is important to think about what type of learner you are. If you want to play guitar and you are looking for something where you can dive straight in then Yousician is a good way to learn. It allows you to get started and track your progress and skill level, plus it builds a specific course for your abilities and won’t let you progress in a song until you’ve got it right. It gives feedback in a way that video can’t. A video tutor doesn’t know whether you are playing your instrument correctly or not, it is down to you to work out if it sounds right.
That said, video lessons are still very popular. There is something nice about having someone show you exactly what to do at all times and having a personality to keep you engaged. Our Yousician review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t at least mention the fact that video lessons do not form a big part of their learning platform. If you want videos to be a big part of your learning then it would make sense to opt for a music app that uses more video or a video course or subscription.
Yousician is fantastic for a “hands-on” experience, but the fact you don’t have to mess around with wires and connecting your guitar or piano to the app makes it even easier to get going.
Is Yousician Free?
In the world of music, you will find that there is very little out there that is totally free. However, there is a free version of Yousician that you can buy to get you started. Some of the features are locked within the free app, so while it is very good for working out if this is the right learning platform for you, there are some restrictions, and you might eventually want to upgrade with a monthly or yearly subscription.
The basic subscription cost to Yousician is $9.99 a month. This is roughly in line with a lot of the other learning apps on the market. You can use the free version, but you will find some features restricted, not the full repertoire of songs and also ad interruptions.
One word of warning is that it doesn’t really work out any better value to go for the yearly subscription. So, Yousician’s monthly subscription is recommended, this means that if you want to cancel at any point or you feel you have got all out of the app that you are going to, you can stop paying for it within 30 days and not be tied into a long term contract.
There is also such thing as Yousician Premium +. This costs $14.99 every month and allows access to more songs. This is pretty standard for a “freemium” model of a music app.
Another thing worth mentioning is that within these subscriptions, not all instruments are included, so, if you want to learn both the piano and the guitar then you need to either pay separately or get a yearly membership at $179.99.
Most Yousician review articles or ratings on the app store consider this pretty good value-for-money. However, it depends on whether you love the game style and fun play-along aspect instead of having video lessons to help you learn.
Lessons, Songs and Challenges
The Yousician app is built into three main categories.
- Lessons. These are guided lessons to help you learn and increase your skill level. The lessons will be recommended for you depending on the skills you already have when you start playing with Yousician.
- Songs. Naturally, there are loads of different songs that you can choose from and start to learn how to play. This is one of the best things about Yousician as there is a truly huge library of songs and you can choose which ones are best for you based on how good you are and also which songs you like. You may not enjoy learning songs that you simply get nothing out of.
- Challenges. This is another game aspect but it is a fantastic way of testing your skills and trying to improve your playing, as you can track how good you are at each challenge and try to beat your score every time.
The course is good for beginners and people who might otherwise struggle to stay interested in their guitar, piano or other instrument. The way it is structured makes it very good for people who would otherwise give up, as many people do when having traditional lessons.
Pros and Cons of Yousician – Review What Works for You!
Every different learning app has its own pros and cons and we wanted to include a list of these within our Yousician review so you can quickly and easily see the main plus points and a few of the negatives, too. Before we delve into this, we would definitely like to say that Yousician is a fantastically thought-out and well-made piece of software that you can use on almost any device. Any negatives tend to come from the fact different people prefer different learning styles, or the cost.
- A well-thought-out interface and a good course for beginners who don’t yet know much about playing their instrument.
- Options for a variety of different instruments.
- A huge library of songs to learn from.
- Flexible monthly memberships, you can cancel these at any time.
- Easily works with electric and acoustic instruments with no need for cables.
- Great social and “game” aspects which are good to keep you engaged while you are learning and great for kids, too.
- If you want to play multiple instruments, you have to pay extra for the premium+ subscription.
- There aren’t many videos or demonstrations out there, certain reviews of Yousician have pointed out this as a negative.
- The free version of the app is really quite limited.
- Doesn’t prepare people perfectly for reading sheet music, and focuses more on the practical aspects of playing their instruments. Not great for people who plan to train in a more classical way.
The criticisms are certainly outweighed by the positives, and Yousician is certainly a very professional and useful way to learn to play a mainstream instrument.
It is certainly one of the biggest apps for learning, but is it the best? Our Yousician review is very favorable and we believe that this app should be known as one of the very best, though it does have a few negatives such as pricey subscription and the lack of video content (you can always find YouTube videos, though!).