We have come to an age where learning anything is just one click away, and this includes learning how to play the guitar. There has been a long debate on whether it is possible for someone to learn the guitar online. But for the sake of this article, we will skip talking about that for now and focus on our point. As a guitar player, you probably came across Yousician. This tool ranked as one of the best tools to learn the guitar. But is it really so? In this article, I’m going to make a Yousician review. And by the end of it, you be the judge.
Wait, What is Yousician?
According to Wikipedia, Yousician is an interactive musical service to learn and play an instrument. It’s available for download on IOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms. As of writing this, Yousician supports learning and playing the guitar, piano, ukulele, and bass.
Yousician was found by two men, Chris Thur and Mikko Kaipainen, who met at a pub and learned that both of them attempted to learn a musical instrument but miserably failed. In an attempt to re-think music education, the duo decided to develop a way for people to learn musical instrument with a higher success rate.
Their first product was launched in 2011, and it was primarily directed towards children. The product was called WildChords. This is a sample from their About page about the product:
Chris and Mikko founded a company, then called Ovelin, and developed and launched their first product called WildChords. WildChords was a game aimed at children to learn the basics of guitar. Two things were novel about WildChords: (1) it was played with a real guitar and the game listened to the player. (2) it was a real game, with a story, points, missions etc that kept players motivated to practice.
After the WildChords era, Ovelin, their company, decided to launch another game which was directed to a wider group of guitar players — both beginners and advanced players. Here’s what they say about it:
After the successful launch of their first product at Slush 2011, Ovelin got on the radar of the investor community. The team raised their first funding round from Silicon Valley’s most entrepreneur friendly Venture Capital firm True Ventures in early 2012. Based on the learning from the first product, the team developed a new game, GuitarBots. For the first time, not only the beginners but also more advanced guitarists could play and have fun. As it turned out, even great musicians enjoy having their performance tracked, learn new songs and push their skills to the next level. GuitarBots was launched one year after WildChords, in 2012, again at Slush. It became an instant hit, and the company was able to get over 1 million users playing and learning the guitar with it.
And this is when Yousician’s era began. They decided to develop a platform for other musical instrument players. They changed the name of GuitarBots to Yousician along with changing the company’s name:
Realizing how powerful the music learning game GuitarBots was for guitar, the team planned to develop a version for other instruments as well. However, the name GuitarBots did not fit anymore. In November 2014, Yousician was launched and the company shed its old name Ovelin at the same time. As the product matured, teachers from all around the world started using Yousician with their students. Incidentally, Yousician is helping music teachers to solve their biggest challenge: keeping students motivated to practice. Today, Yousician is the platform of choice for both self-learners and music educators.
The founders are constantly improving Yousician to provide its users with a richer experience and help make learning a musical instrument fun and interactive.
You can read more about it on their About page on their website.
How does it work?
According to Wikipedia, the platform uses audio signal processing that recognizes notes and chords played by the users on their instruments. The users are shown a looping tablature and/or sheet music and they play the notes or chords that appear. They are, then, given a score based on their timing, accuracy, and overall performance. Yousician tracks the players’ progress over time and gives them feedback. Here’s a sample extracted from Wikipedia on how the program works for each of the musical instruments they currently support:
Yousician for Guitar was the first instrument launched on the platform when it was released in November 2014. The syllabus of guitar is divided into 3 paths: Lead, Rhythm and Knowledge. The standard visualization for guitar is a tablature view, but users can also choose to display songs as sheet music or a hybrid of the two.
Yousician for Piano was the second instrument launched on the platform in November 2015. The syllabus of piano is divided into 3 paths: Classical, Pop and Knowledge. The standard visualization for piano is a simplified version of sheet music, but users can also choose to display songs as traditional sheet music.
Yousician for Ukulele was the third instrument launched on the platform in December 2015. The syllabus of ukulele is divided into 3 paths: Lead, Rhythm and Knowledge. The standard visualization for ukulele is a tablature view, but users can also choose to display songs as sheet music or a hybrid of the two.
Yousician for Bass was the fourth instrument launched on the platform in April 2016. The syllabus of bass is divided into 2 paths: Playing and Knowledge. The standard visualization for bass is a tablature view, but users can also choose to display songs as sheet music or a hybrid of the two.
You can continue reading more here.
For our purposes here, we will be explaining the Guitar aspect of the program.
Yousician has a catchy interface that is easy to navigate through. The first thing you are going to see on the Home page is your last progress on learning path. Then there will be some recommendations on songs you might like or are currently trending.
Some of the songs, however, will have a Premium+ yellow sign beside them, and that means that you have to subscribe to the Premium membership. There is also the Standard membership, which just permits for having unlimited play and practice time. The premium membership has been introduced recently, and so far, all we get from it is having the privilege to play some more songs.
After that come the Yousician lessons, which are quite controversial. Some people say that they are worthy and others say that they are a waste of time. Aside from the quality of those lessons, let us first talk about how they work. Basically, Yousician split the lessons into 3 parts: Lead, Rhythm, and Knowledge. Before that, however, there will be a course that introduces some basic guitar notions and techniques. In other words, you have to reach level 1 to be able to unlock the 3 different paths.
You don’t have to take the course from the very beginning to be able to unlock advanced levels. If you have some higher skill level, you can try taking the skill test that comes after each level and see if you can pull them off.
Yousician also has practice songs and licks to improve your playing skills. They have workouts for essential skills like Standard Notation, Arpeggios, ear training, scales, chords, and some drills for finger-picking. They also have some Study Songs to build other useful skills.
One of the few aspects that make Yousician fun is their huge song collections. They have songs from a variety of styles and genres, along with a list of Top 100 songs. Moreover, there are songs from level 1 up to 15, which makes it even fun and interesting. You can even find the same piece of music but with different level.
Concerning how the songs are played, you follow the notes displayed on the screen and keep up. The theme turns green or red depending on the quality of your playing. If you keep, for example, missing the notes, the theme will turn red and, if you keep this up, will cut the song out, in which case it’s better to switch to the Practice mode for uninterrupted play.
If you are up for challenges, Yousician is prepared just for that. There is challenge area where you can choose a song for the level you find suitable and see of you can break the records with it. Usually, the deadline for breaking the highest score is after a couple of days, after which there will be a whole new list of challenge songs displayed.
Yousician also has a tuner in their app. It’s a bit more convenient to use than those average tuners that you see on guitar websites, where you have to rely on your ear to match the tune. Yousician’s tuner, however, displays how far off from the correct tune your strings are. All you have to do is pick a string and adjust the tuning peg until the note reaches the correct tune on the screen. As simple as that.
Do people like it?
As far as people’s review on the platform, opinions were diverse. Some commended the program and credited it for helping them play musical instruments; others were quite negative. I have fetched some reviews from people. Read and judge for yourself:
–My children learned how to play the Piano in just 2 months! this app is awesome and a lot cheaper than having the kids enrolled to a music school.
–It’s a great app, but so unbelievable money grabbing. First I do a monthly FREE trial of Premium, then I get charged once it runs out, it was pretty hard to cancel it. I then use Premium, a year later, when it has run out, try to use the app, after 15 minutes can’t access any songs or anything without premium. So basically, I get 15 minutes of interrupted playing time. And it says the want everyone to learn the guitar fast and easy. Not anymore now it;s all about money!
-First of all, do not ever pay for the premium subscription as when you cancel they will still take money out even though it states clearly on your side that the premium is cancelled on such and such date. They have t clearly posted that my billing would be ceased and cancelled as of 11/18 but yesterday I received a receipt in email to my gmail stating they had billed me the 9.99 again even though I do not have premium anymore! They don’t have a way to remove your payment details, so BUYER
BEWARE!!! I am working with my bank and other agencies as we speak. They refuse to reimburse money they stole.
As you probably have noticed by now, there has been some serious complaints on the premium subscription of the platform. As far as I was able to deduce, the platform is commonly associated with scamming. Personally, I didn’t pay for the premium subscription, which allows unlimited time of playing as opposed to the time limit in the regular one, and I’m not thinking of doing so anytime soon.
I got the reviews from TrustPilot. If you wish to read more, you can go here.
Can I learn the guitar with Yousician?
Yousician is a good place to start. However, alone, it will never be enough. Sure, it can help you get better at some techniques and whatnot, but if you are thinking of mastering or becoming a pro in playing, Yousician is not sufficient.
Also, Yousician lacks something very vital for guitar players, especially starters: feedback. We did mention that Yousician provides feedback, but it gives this feedback based on your performance, not technique. And when it comes to playing the guitar, technique is the queen of all. If you are poor in your technique, sorry, but becoming a master in playing the guitar is just a wish that will never come true.
You can visit their website for more information.
What do you think?
Have you ever tried Yousician before? If so, what was your experience like? Did you like the platform or no?
And if you haven’t tried Yousician, do you have any plans on doing so? Share with us in the comment section!