Originally posted as an App Store Review September 29, 2021, republished below October 7, 2021
This is more of a story about me and how Musiah played a role in restoring a hope I thought was all but dead.
I always hoped of being able to learn an instrument and grew up with a seldom used piano in the house. After several traumatic grade school attempts with teachers, I entered life at 18 without being able to play a single song on any instrument.
I attempted piano lessons with a local teacher in one of the first towns I lived. I practiced at a local church and I was self-conscious of the childish sounds I was producing; I only practiced there a couple of times.
I started using a sheet of paper where I drew piano keys to scale. Although the teacher thought I was doing fine, it was not that satisfying playing on a sheet of paper.
I stopped after the second lesson and walked to a nearby music store and bought a cheap classical guitar and a Mel Bay lesson book. For over 40 years I carried that guitar and a small box of necessary paraphernalia.
Several times I pulled it out. For a few weeks or months, I would struggle to learn. Nothing more than a couple of songs here or there and eventually I packed it up again.
A couple years back in a downsizing event, I sold it at a garage sale to someone that could put it to use. I convinced myself that learning an instrument was a child’s game. Young hands and minds with plenty of time and a lifetime ahead. All hope gone, but a lingering desire remained.
I believe one nemesis of my playing was tempo. I had no real issues learning the notes and reading the music, but I struggled when it came to playing at the proper tempo.
Fussing with a metronome, I struggled, not really knowing if I played anything at the correct tempo with accurate timing and duration.
Stumbling with notes while trying to play at the correct tempo, I never knew for sure when I had learned the song well enough to move on to the next.
I soon would hit a wall of discouragement where I saw no improvement and the guitar would just gather dust until I put it away again.
62 years old, and one last attempt. Digital pianos in a digital world, like a word processor to a manual typewriter. Could I find a solution, was there still hope?
My research indicated only one learning option that satisfied all my concerns and gave a spark to my dying hope of playing an instrument. That was Musiah.
I basically read everything on the Musiah website regarding practice tips, several videos regarding hands and positioning, and many articles of interest.
Based on the many resources available on the Musiah website, I researched and purchased the best quality digital piano I could afford.
I made sure that it was compatible with the Musiah App and an iPad. The piano arrived, I put it together, downloaded Musiah, hooked up the iPad, and began another attempt to learn an instrument.
There was a bit of a learning curve with using the product, but within a few weeks I had progressed to be able to play beyond anything I had done before. Hope was returning.
Each song presented new challenges, I thought, how will I ever learn this. Note by note, Measure by Measure, Musiah teaches a structured lesson plan through an interactive interface with audio dialog and visual feedback.
When it comes to applying the teaching and preparing to demonstrate what I have learned, it is the practice area I find to be priceless. What training wheels are to learning to ride a bicycle, the practice area is to learning ride the metronome. Keeping balance with tempo, time, and duration. Being able to hold myself accountable for playing each segment or the entire song in tempo and knowing precisely how well I was doing.
Each lesson passed with that feeling you see in a child when you remove the training wheels, and they look back realizing no one is holding them and they are riding on their own. That is the feeling I am trying to convey.
I could describe experiences with each lesson, but one that stands out was with the developer’s arrangement of Fur Elise.
At first, the song seemed out of reach. When I did reach the end of that lesson and first played the piece with the backing track, it was a euphoric feeling as goose bumps rose on my arms and my eyes started to water from the joy as I realized; I am playing this!
It was an e-ticket ride as hours of practice diminished to that 5-star moment of joy. Hope was alive again and I credit Musiah with being a critical component in its resuscitation.
Don’t tell the developer, I don’t want it going to his head. After all, with 2 years and hundreds of hours of practice it would be unrealistic to say I don’t have any issues or suggestions for the App, but nothing that is a deal breaker that I couldn’t adapt to my strategies.
Such issues and suggestions I discuss directly with the developer who is quick to respond with gracious words that acknowledge my concerns and provide support and encouragement. That human response and the information provided on the Musiah website are extra credit in my view.
I am about to begin my third year with the Musiah course, and I only have two lessons remaining to complete the course. It may have taken hundreds of hours of practice, but with Musiah’s practice area there is a game like feeling. Each attempt displays your accuracy with a “score” that includes Notes, Timing, and Duration. Adjusting your game “tempo” until you reach full tempo a 100% accuracy.
The problem for me is knowing when to stop. Like when I got my first home video game and played space invaders until I couldn’t move my hands.
It seems that many other people complete the course in much less time, but I am a not like other people, or so I am told. I tend to take my time, especially with foundations and fundamentals.
The last two years have been an amazing journey that have taken me to destinations I could only dream of reaching.
For me, Musiah becomes less about counting the hours and more about making the hours count.
Upstate NY US
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