In Depth

Best ways to learn music from home

Start your lockdown musical journey with the right help

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With billions around the world stuck at home due to lockdown measures, many people are using their new found free time to develop a hobby.

Few pastimes are as rewarding as learning to play a musical instrument and, in the absence of one-to-one lessons or classes, many are turning to the world of apps to kickstart their musical adventure.

Here are some of the best ways to get yourself on the road to mastering an instrument:

Conference call a teacher

As Classic FM notes, hundreds of music teachers across the country are now offering tuition online, meaning there is no need for travel. “Kids can even record their sessions to help them review what they’ve learned,” the radio station adds.

Classic FM suggests online piano tutor Skoove, which has “made its course offering free in the wake of the coronavirus”. “So if you’re home and in the company of a fine (or otherwise) set of ivories, you’ve got some support in this accessible series of piano lessons for popular tunes,” the station says.

Teaching apps

Both the iOS and Google Play stores are chock full of apps to help your musical education progress smoothly.

The Guardian suggests that “if music lessons have gone out of the window, Simply Piano is one of the best app alternatives”.

“It helps children (or adults!) to learn songs and then listens to their playing on any real piano or keyboard to give feedback,” the paper adds.

Two courses on the app are currently free, but it then costs £83.99 a year.

Social media

Though less interactive than apps and virtual lessons, many professional musicians are helping out by hosting musical livestreams with their followers on social media.

Virtuoso Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti is currently running daily online music lessons on Instagram, with Classic FM reporting that a “team of tutors and ambassadors jump onto the Benedetti Foundation Instagram and go live with fun and inspiring lessons every weekday at 12pm BST”.

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Composition and theory

Those looking for enlightening snippets theory-based music knowledge - complete with some fun pop culture - should head to YouTube. Hundreds of musicians have uploaded detailed musical content ranging from panflutes to polyrythms.

Those looking for a theoretical overview of some of Western music’s most famous pieces of music should check out lighter channels such as 12tone and Rick Beato. Meanwhile, for a more in-depth look at 20th century music, you should look at the work of orchestral composer David Bruce and virtuoso jazz bassist Adam Neely.

Academia

For those really looking to take their musical knowledge up a gear, the world-famous Berklee School of Music has made 40 free courses, ranging from music technology to music songwriting, available online.

Dubbed “massive open online courses”, the school says the lessons “enable you to sample the Berklee experience for free”, offering “unprecedented access to learn at no cost from extraordinary innovators”.

These include seven-time Grammy-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton, Grammy-winning producer and engineer Prince Charles Alexander, leading songwriting professor and bestselling author Pat Pattison and entertainment lawyer and bestselling author John Kellogg.

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