If you’ve given any thought to online guitar lessons and shopped around while considering your options, you’ve probably seen advertisements for platforms like GuitarTricks, JamPlay, JustinGuitar, or something like that.
As a guitar teacher, the first things that come to mind when I think about online guitar lessons are pre-recorded tutorials, printable materials, and various interactive learning aids.
These things are all well and good. If you’re set on teaching yourself how to play the guitar, these platforms give you all the tools you’ll need to get the job done.
Now enter Yousician. This platform offers itself as a great alternative to any other online guitar lesson platform but doesn’t compare when it comes down to actually teaching you how to play.
I find this to be the most interesting part because people have had success learning through Yousician despite not having a teacher’s guidance. Let’s take a closer look, and you might come to agree with me on this.
Everyone learns differently, and Yousician seems to be capitalizing on that.
So, let’s get on with my Yousician Review.
What Is It?
Yousician is an app-based lesson platform with lessons in guitar, piano, ukulele, and singing. For the scope of this review I’ll only be covering the lessons in guitar.
As I said before, most lesson platforms offer video tutorials, interactive tools, and even the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one lesson with a real teacher.
Yousician, on the other hand, is essentially an interactive practicing tool that tells you when you make mistakes and keeps score of how well you’re doing.
Simply put, Yousician has gamified the process of learning how to play the guitar through an app that shows you where to play the notes on the guitar, listens to you playing, and keeps score.
For some, this isn’t enough, but as I said before, everyone learns differently, and for some this app could be a complete game-changer!
Is Yousician Any Good?
In my professional opinion, I would say that overall, Yousician is effective at teaching you how to play songs on the guitar.
However, when it comes to learning theoretical concepts and things like musical expression, Yousician falls short when compared to its competitors.
Key decision-making factors to consider when purchasing a guitar lesson subscription like Yousician:
Consider your own interests
What genre of music do you enjoy listening to and what style would you like to learn to play? This is the first step in deciding whether or not a lesson program is right for you. Yousician doesn’t offer lessons in specific musical styles.
In fact, there is only one learning track when you sign up. But there is still plenty to learn and master.
Who your instructor will be
When you’re first starting out on guitar, your motivation to practice will be easy to come by. Yousician doesn’t offer lessons from an instructor.
It’s more like taking lessons from an app, which is a unique experience in itself and might be a great option for someone mostly interested in teaching themselves without waiting for an instructor’s guidance.
Yousician doesn’t have dedicated instructors with who you can pay to take one-on-one lessons with, but they do offer quick tutorials on each new technique, which makes up for the lack of a teacher.
On the other hand, you can’t reach out to the “teacher” with any questions, so like I said before – this is strictly for those interested in teaching themselves.
The course curriculum
The biggest motivation killer for any student is having no sense of direction. Practicing small, meticulous technical things is important, but knowing what all of that work is going toward makes a huge difference in your daily motivation to continue.
Yousician does a pretty good job at keeping you motivated and allows you to skip ahead if you want to work on something more challenging, or just look ahead to see what’s coming next.
How much you’re willing to spend on a lesson program
I’ve said this in previous reviews, but some private guitar teachers can cost up to $200 per hour.
With that level of instruction, you will most likely be receiving the absolute best instruction on the market, but you could also pay rent on a second apartment with that kind of monthly investment.
Even if you don’t pay a college professor for guitar lessons, you’re still likely to be paying $20-$40 per lesson.
This is definitely a benefit to online guitar instruction. You might lose a little bit of that university-level quality, as well as the interpersonal aspect of a private lesson, but you’ll definitely be saving a whole lot of money in the long run, and that’s great if you’re a student.
The downside to Yousician is that they’re charging just as much as other online guitar lesson platforms (if not more) and offering less than their competitors in terms of content, individual guidance, and tools.
When you commit a lot of time to something like guitar lessons and practicing, it’s important that the website itself is easy to navigate.
Yousician’ s app is very easy to use. It guides you through the entire process of learning how to play the guitar from the very beginning.
As someone who isn’t completely tech-savvy, I can say that Yousician’s app is extremely user-friendly, even more so than several of its competitors. They’ve boiled everything down to a simple step-by-step process, and I think that’s great.
Easy to follow lessons
Yousician’s guitar lessons are simply structured and not difficult to follow along with. You simply play along with the song while following the live feed of guitar tabs on your screen.
When a new concept is introduced, the instructor does a good job at thoroughly explaining what you need to know before the next round of the game starts.
Tools & manageable goals
Yousician is essentially a practice tool. It’s like a metronome that listens to you play and tells you when you play correct notes, incorrect notes, in time, and out of time.
As I mentioned earlier, Yousician has gamified the process of learning guitar, so each new level is slightly more challenging than the last.
Small, incremental increases in difficulty are a great thing when learning the guitar, especially when you’re focused on playing the right notes every time!
How much time you’re willing to practice
You can have the best instructors in the world with perfect lesson plans, at an affordable price, but if you don’t put in the time to practice, you’re not going to see any results, and that’s the best way to judge a lesson platform.
Give it your absolute best and then judge based on your results.
Yousician has a free version, but it puts a limit on how long you can practice per day. So, unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get the most out of it without paying.
How Does It Work?
Yousician is an extremely easy-to-use platform. The app is essentially a glorified metronome that listens to you play as you follow along with the live feed of tablature scrolling across your smartphone or tablet’s screen.
Yousician keeps score as you go, and you progress from level to level just like any other game. Earn badges and trophies, compete with your friends to see who gets the highest score, etc.
Every time a new concept or technique is introduced, there is a short video lesson before the next round of the game begins. The video explains how to perform a new technique, you’re given the opportunity to practice it, and then you get to challenge yourself by playing along with a song while using the new technique.
What I like most about Yousician (especially when compared to other platforms), is how simple it is. There aren’t daunting lists of instructors, styles, and techniques to scour in order to start learning.
Next I’ll walk you through just a few key features that make Yousician what it is.
At the very beginning of the Yousician guitar course, there are a couple of short guided lessons explaining the fundamentals of holding a guitar, the names of the strings, and playing your first note.
As I mentioned earlier, there are guided lessons like these throughout the Yousician guitar course. Every time a new technique is introduced, there is a guided lesson.
I find it interesting that these guided video lessons are all voiced over, and you never actually see the teacher’s face. To me, this just helps to reinforce Yousician’s goal of gamifying the entire process of playing and practicing the guitar.
Search for Songs
If you’re mostly interested in only learning to play songs you’ve heard before, you’ll probably enjoy this key feature of Yousician. All you have to do is locate the search bar and type in anything you’d like to learn.
If Yousician doesn’t have what you’re looking for, they will suggest other songs by similar artists to suit your song needs.
I was actually surprised to see how many songs they have on Yousician (over 2500).
Learn New Skills
Take your playing to a new level at your own pace and through a well-organized and progressive lesson curriculum. I’m not saying Yousician is the best by any means, but they’ve got most of their bases covered.
You can learn just about everything from playing single notes to rhythm guitar, to lead guitar, to fingerpicking. Every lesson pretty much gives you what you need to know in order to learn and play these new techniques.
The only downside here is that you have no way of knowing whether or not your technique is good and efficient.
This is a downside to just about any online lesson program, but for one that touts the idea of grading you as you go, they definitely fell short here.
One of the biggest challenges guitar teachers face is getting our students to practice slowly. So many problems are caused by simply practicing too fast, too soon.
There’s certainly no way for an app to judge whether or not your hands are ready to start playing a little bit faster, but they halfway get you there!
When you’re in practice mode, you’re able to practice playing your song as slowly as you need, and increase as you go.
Yousician has an automatic tempo feature that gradually increases the tempo for you, so you don’t rush too soon and create bad habits for the long run.
Every guitar app should have a feature like this!
Pros & Cons Of Yousician
In other reviews, I’ve mentioned the benefits of having an interactive platform to guide you through the process of learning the guitar.
Yousician serves as a type of interactive practice guide, as it holds your attention and gives you small manageable tasks to focus on.
- Incrementally structured lessons
Learning the guitar can be a great thing if taken in incremental steps. For some people, playing the guitar comes more naturally, and they’ll be able to progress much faster than their peers.
In a classroom setting, or even in one-on-one lessons, this can become discouraging to students who progress more slowly.
However, when it comes to Yousician, it doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you pick up new material because you’re able to go at your own pace.
Some lesson programs might throw too much information at you at a time, which makes it more difficult to retain everything. Yousician walks you through learning the guitar in baby steps to ensure you don’t end up with holes in your playing.
- Large focus on playing correct notes
This point seems a bit obvious. Any regular guitar teacher won’t hesitate to point when you’ve played a wrong note or rhythm. Although this feature of Yousician gives it an advantage over its competitors.
Most online guitar lesson platforms leave it completely up to you to decide if you sound good or not.
Ultimately, you’re going to have to learn to do this anyway, but having a computerized version of a teacher telling you when you’re playing right or wrong notes can be extremely beneficial to any guitarist.
Imagine you’ve been learning a new song without the guidance of a teacher or anyone else. Due to the nature and limitations of our own human perception, you run the risk of learning incorrect notes or rhythms without even realizing it.
Sure, you can always record yourself and listen back (which is a great practicing/critiquing technique by the way), but Yousician gives you this advantage all along the way.
- Absence of a real teacher
There’s no getting around this point. Every online guitar platform suffers the same downside. With today’s level of technology, there is no way to completely replace a human teacher. Many platforms offer virtual lessons with real teachers, but Yousician does not.
Yousician doesn’t even offer video lessons from real teachers – they’re just voiced-over videos. The content of each short video lesson is valuable, but you don’t get the natural, automatic feedback from the mind of a professional.
- No instruction in musical expression
I’ve talked about the great benefits of having a platform that tells you when you play correct and incorrect notes and rhythms, and now it’s time to talk about why that’s also a downside.
Playing music involves so much more than just making sure you hit the right notes at the right time. If you’re only interested in correct metrics, mechanics, and numbers, you should just go and lift weights or something.
Yousician has completely missed the mark on musicianship, as there’s no mention of dynamics, fluctuation of timing, or any other means of musical instruction. Yousician just teaches you how to play correct notes in rhythm.
- No way to objectively judge your technique
After using Yousician for a couple of days, I’ve decided that it’s pretty awesome how well the app judges your playing when it comes to pitch and timing.
For any guitar teacher working with beginner guitarists though, this might be the last thing on our minds when teaching new music.
Pitch, rhythm, and musical expression make up what you hear as you play. But what your hands are actually doing to accomplish that sound is just as important as the sound itself if you want to have hands healthy enough to play for a lifetime.
If Yousician could accurately judge the efficiency of the movements of your hands while you play (your technique) just as well as it does your pitch and rhythm, I would recommend it to anyone wanting to teach themselves the guitar.
Without that technical guidance though, new students are left to figure this stuff out on their own and potentially to serious harm to themselves because that’s exactly what bad technique will do.
- Overpriced for what you get
The cost of a monthly subscription to Yousician is about the same as sites like JamPlay, Guitar Tricks, and TrueFire who are all well-known for their massive libraries of instructional content.
They’ve all got long lists of instructors whom you can choose from. They’ve got interactive practicing tools, reference materials, and even song libraries with video lessons so you can learn to play just about any song you’d like.
What Yousician brings to the online guitar lesson table doesn’t quite compare at this price point. All Yousician has done is created 15 levels of short instructional videos and about 2500 interactive songs.
In other words, you’re paying a monthly subscription fee for a gamified version of what I would loosely refer to as guitar lessons.
Who Is Yousician Best For?
Yousician is for complete beginners who don’t want to pay a regular guitar teacher a weekly lesson fee. It could also be for the more experienced player who just wants to change things up a bit and replace their video game console with a guitar (which I highly recommend with or without Yousician).
A person who would benefit most from Yousician is extremely dedicated to learning, self-correcting, and self-disciplined. If you prefer to spend time working alone, Yousician might be a great option for you, as you’ll rarely even need to listen to more than five minutes of a teacher.
Rocksmith is very similar to Yousician. It’s a gamified version of online guitar lessons where you can choose songs to learn, control the tempo at which you learn them, and it tells you when you’re playing right or wrong notes.
However, Rocksmith is designed specifically for electric guitars and requires a proprietary interface. Yousician on the other hand allows you to learn on an acoustic guitar, as it just uses your device’s microphone to hear what you’re playing.
Some other platforms you might consider if interested in Yousician might be JamPlay, Guitar Tricks, or TrueFire. In my opinion, these platforms offer a much wider spectrum of instructional material and cost about the same.
If you’re dead set on learning the electric guitar on your own and would like to use a gamified app or platform, Rocksmith might be your best option. It’s compatible with several gaming consoles and all you need is the proper cable to plug in and play.
If you’re looking for the same type of gamified user experience, then Yousician is your best bet.
For the more serious students and players, sites like JamPlay, Guitar Tricks, and TrueFire offer a much more comprehensive program for learning. Like Yousician, all you need is the motivation and self-discipline to continue progressing.
What Sets Yousician Apart?
Hands down, what sets Yousician apart from its competition is simplicity. You can either follow the track of lessons and progress from level to level incrementally, or you can jump around and learn songs.
This isn’t uncommon among online guitar lesson platforms, but Yousician turns this concept into a game, which keeps things light-hearted and fun.
Yousician Review – Final Thoughts
I’ll be honest – Yousician isn’t the greatest option out there when it comes to learning the guitar. However, not everyone is a serious student. Most people play for fun and relaxation, and Yousician is a fantastic option if that’s your end goal!