Learning new material can be difficult for any musician or anyone starting out learning an instrument, especially in a situation where there is no notation or sheet music, or the song is particularly tricky. This post will look at the three different ways I use to help me learn new material.
#1 Anytune and Anytune Pro +
The main feature of this app is to slow down your music. This app allows you to slow down any track you upload from your itunes library without changing the pitch and retaining the clarity of the song in all tempo's and pitching. This app is great for learning new material at half speed or slower. It then allows you to gradually increase the tempo as you get more familiar with the track by as little at 5% increase or decrease each time. You can also tune the song to your instrument or voice by adjusting the pitch up or down two octaves. Setting markers also comes in useful when looping and coming back to the point at which you're working on. The only drawback to this amazing app and idea is the price tag on the PC version and even mobile app, however I can vouch for how useful and smooth the software is. I have used the mobile app with every recital piece coming up and definitely feel it has sped up the process of learning new material.
Anytune Pro + for phones comes at price tag of £10.99
Anytune for phones is the free version
Anytune for PC is £22.99
#2 Tempo (Metronome)
This should be a standard app that musicians have on their phones. A metronome. Tempo is the best metronome app on the itunes store. It speaks for itself, it allows you to set any beats per minute in any standard time signature. The interface is incredibly easy to use and it has loads of different bleeps, beeps, clicks and voices to count out the beats. It also allows you to save your BPM track, and revert back to at anytime, this is incase you are learning songs for gigs and want a set BPM per track. Another cool feature is the accented beats. It allows you to change, take off and add accents to each of the beats making it louder or quieter than the rest. Underneath the tempo it also has the italian name incase you are told that and not the tempo. Again, I use this app constantly when learning new material. I isolate a section of it then play it over and over again using the metronome to get it as fast and accurate as it needs to be. Tempo come in two versions, one paid and one free.
Tempo paid is £2.29
Tempo Lite is Free
This last tip came from my friend Mark Johnson when I was learning 'Queenz' and it hugely sped up the process of learning it. One thing I can struggle with occasionally is the stickings (what hands to use for what notes) for new pieces, so this heads up really helped. When using Youtube through Google Chrome you have the option on every video to adjust the speed of the video. This is beneficial when watching what the person is playing at half or even quarter the speed. The audio is also slowed down with the video. This helped me by working out and being able to physically see what Anika was playing in order to learn the piece quicker and more efficiently. Also if you do not have sheet music for the piece but there is a video to learn from this can be an easy way to see what is being played.
I hope these tips and apps will come in handy next time you learn a new piece of music! Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out my posts about practice here.
'Song of the Week'