Learning music in times of lockdown (Radio column)

This article is complementary to our column on the Québec Réveille radio show on CKIA hosted by Marjorie Champagne.

Today, we're moving away from digital to something more fun and interactive: learning music through mobile applications.

Lockdown and COVID-19 in general do not bring too much joy and beauty to the world around us. The bad news continues to fall and the good news doesn't seem to show up.

Today's article is about music and how to learn it. The applications we're going to present today are made for teengargers or for adults, because it's not advisable for children under 12 years old to have recurring access to screens (that's why the leaders of big digital companies send their children to guaranteed screen-less schools (see the irony…).

Let's change our minds !

For the most experienced among you, do you remember Rock Band and Guitar Hero ? Two musical games released in the mid-2000s that delighted young and old alike.

Discovering music through video games was really fun and extremely well done at the time. So we wondered if there were any applications that could keep our curfew evenings busy and bring back memories of our youth. Personally, I went back to learning the piano after a 25-year hiatus and my husband started learning the bass again.

Learning through play while being serious is called serious gamings. You don't need to spend 2 hours a day on YouTube with ads every two minutes. The advantages and benefits are numerous:

  • A friendly teacher and a reward system that encourages further learning
  • Sound and visual gratification allowing an improvement of self-confidence and satisfaction of our efforts.
  • No negative words or bullying, only encouragement.
  • No more need to spend years of solfège without touching an instrument, just launch the application and the learning begins.
  • Practicing for 10 minutes a day allows you to improve your level significantly, so the famous learning curve is easier to learn.

However, there are some negative aspects that can have a fairly significant impact on learning:

  • Lack of motivation can be quite impacting, on lazy days we will tend to skip training and not launch the application.
  • A real teacher is more likely to correct errors faster than it is on the physical positioning and on the instrument itself.
  • Isolated practices are known to cause discouragement , the fact that there is no human contact and no appointments can cause de-motivation.
  • The cognitive system is a little bit more overloaded, because we have 2 things to do, look at a screen and to concentrate on the instrument.

Canada is one of the countries in the world who have a very strict framework concerning the games, the following are the main rules on the framework of the games:

  • There must be mandatory breaks that allow players not to get caught up in the game and that allow them to keep track of time.
  • A reward system that allows players to feel better after their gaming session, but does not create an infinite loop to stay in the game, there are breaks that need to be put in place.
  • An attitude is a very strict vocabulary so as not to negatively influence the younger players.

Video Games for Adults

More generally, gaming is considered one of the best learning strategies. Gambling allows you to explore, learn, and understand without any risk, which allows you to assimilate skills more quickly. Like the music applications mentioned above, you can learn music without time limits, without depending on a teacher or schedule, and without the expensive side of music lessons.

The games allow learning and capture our attention in a very particular context that pushes us to progress.

When we are children, we use play as a motor for progress and discovery, however once we reach adulthood, worries arise from all sides; are we dependent? Why don't we do something productive? Yet play can be associated with the professional world and for many people training through play remains one of the most appreciated and effective ways, because it allows a letting go that allows them to have ideas and to be more alert on the subject we are working on.

Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning is based on a playful methodology, which is why many teaching tools use games to transmit a skill or knowledge.

Many schools offer educational games, from elementary school to university. Education through play has proven to be a very effective way to teach and stimulate cognitive functions, which allows users to be more focused and develop much better mental agility. The retention phenomenon also consists of taking a "serious game" into account, no matter how serious it is, will have a better retention rate than a mundane lecture.

The desire to learn is not to be neglected in adults if they don't understand something or if they don't feel fulfilled in learning. An adult will quickly drop out and the result will be abandonment and demotivation. Conversely, when we do not understand what we are learning and we like the way we learn, the results will be better and faster than with conventional learning.

Recommandations !


Flowkey is much better at teaching its learners how to learn music, understanding how to read the theory and rhythm. It does this in a fun and enjoyable manner. You might want to go find your own favorite songs to learn yourself. You can quickly navigate to Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced & Pro level songs at the top of the screen. It is aimed towards any student wanting to develop their understanding and keyboard skills, and covers not only the skills to play the keyboard, but also the theory behind this, development of this as a musician, and a range of songs to work through. The layout is very simple and easy to navigate and the course is really interesting and versatile.

Download Flowkey !


Yousician helps you to learn music instruments such as bass, guitar, piano or ukulele. Yousician is an interactive music instrument app that’s designed to really provide a fully-formed experience for just about everyone to better their instrument playing.

One of the features that make Yousician stand out is its exhaustive choice of learning options. Use Practice Mode to slow songs down. This will help you build the coordination you need to play songs up to speed. You can also learn songs in parts; then once you've mastered each part you can try the whole song.

The app is designed to give the player a chance to improve through practice and competition. When you’re starting, you can tackle the standard lesson structure, and as I mentioned, the lessons ramp up at a very comfortable pace.

Download Yousician !

Simply Piano par JoyTunes

Simply Piano by JoyTunes is one of the widely used and most popular music learning application available on both iOS and Android platforms. Here you can learn from basics, like understanding the sheet music, to advanced level, like playing from both hands. This app is perfect for beginners as well as advanced players. You can personalize your workout as well as try your hand at tons of popular songs available in its library.

Download Simply Piano !

GuitarTuna: Guitar, Bass tuner

Guitar Tuna is built by guitarists for guitarists and justifiably referred to as the “easiest, fastest and most accurate free guitar-tuning app out there”, GuitarTuna turns pro as it introduces highly practical, informative and user-friendly add-ons– no matter what your musical expertise. Equipped for bass, 12-string guitar, mandolin, ukulele and banjo, as well as guitar, its outstanding tuner and comprehensive chord library – games to help you learn them – make this a must-have addition to any guitar player’s repertoire.

Download Guitar Tuna


Chord app is tailored to help you master the various chords. Chord! is no doubt the best source of information on various guitar, bass, and banjo chords. You just need to drag and drop your preferred chords to write a song on this app. In addition, you can come up with unique fingerings by tuning the chords as well as generate beautiful print-ready PDF documents to share with friends and colleagues in seconds.

The key feature of the app is its chord fingering engine. Instead of having a list bundled with it, the app generates the fingerings on the fly, just for you and as you wish: number of fingers, bars chords, capo, alternative tuning.

Download Chord !


forScore is one of the best music reading app available for musicians. You can use forScore to display all types of written music from traditional piano or c-instrument sheet music to just chords and lyrics. The app comes with a fair bit of classical music, and you can buy additional music packs.

If you are primarily interested in simply displaying your music on your iPad and keeping it all organized, forScore is the perfect solution. This makes it one of the best apps in the App Store for musicians, whether performing or simply aspiring to perform.

Download ForScore

Symphony Pro

Symphony Pro is not just for reading, since it lets you create your own music, either with your QWERTY keyboard or a MIDI input device. There are 114 built-in instruments to choose from when you want to play back and audition your compositions, and there are a ton of tools, gestures, and shortcuts to make creating and editing that much more efficient and powerful.

If you want to create your own sheet music on top of being able to read everything you have already, then Symphony Pro is where it's at.

Download SymphonyPro !

❤️ For a better world turned towards humans

Laure Gabrielle

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