The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 6, 2013

How to learn an instrument in 2013

Somewhere during the last couple of decades the process of creating music has gone extremely digital.

Now, if you don't want to take music lessons the traditional way, you don't have to. 

Numerous apps have been created to make it easy for you to learn the piano, guitar, drums or just about any other instrument you can think of.

Jump right in

The app Playground Sessions allows you to learn the piano while playing some of today's most popular songs. The app was made for those people who don't have either the patience or desire to learn things like music theory or scales. And it allows folks to essentially jump into playing right away.

In addition, the app keeps score of your progress and provides feedback in real time, so you know how much you're progressing. The idea behind keeping score and providing feedback is to make learning an instrument sort of like a game, so learning is easier and more fun, its creators say.

Playground Sessions gives tutorials by famed pianist David Strides, so beginners won't feel totally alone while they're learning how to play. In addition, the app was co-created by legendary producer Quincy Jones.

Then there's the app Percussive that allows you to learn five instruments if you want. Users can learn how to play xylophone, kalimba, glockenspiel, marimba and vibraphone, which all fall in the group of instruments called idiophones.

Each instrument comes up virtually on the app and looks like the real thing, so it feels like you went to the music store and actually purchased an idiophone.

And according to the reviews on Percussive, the virtual instruments sound like the real thing and are great for learning hand-eye coordination, which is always needed when learning an instrument.

Golden arms

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