I have recently started learning piano using Yousician. On its documentation, it mentioned Yousician's new note format (color bars) helps to learn faster. But honestly, I'm wondering if I actually learn piano using that. Because it's almost like a game.

Also, it would be great if tell me about common problems and mislearning that can happen to learner if he learns using Yousician.

  • A lot of learning processes work well when 'played as games'. – Tim Nov 28 '17 at 17:09
  • In my experience, yousician and other like apps only help with things such as simple sight reading and coordination. Just like how I can get better at typing using typing games. – Unknown Nov 30 '17 at 4:42

According to an article in the APA's Monitor on Psychology, Psychologists don't think there's enough research yet on whether games help us learn or not:

But despite the growing popularity of such games, research has yet to determine whether they really help children learn, says University of California, Santa Barbara, educational psychologist Richard Mayer, PhD.

"When you look at the research reviews and meta-analyses that have been done, the evidence is not all that convincing yet that digital games are going to revolutionize education," says Mayer, author of the 2014 book "Computer Games for Learning: An Evidence-Based Approach."

Asking about common problems when learning using Yousician is really a separate question, but I think you should be aware that a major aspect of teaching a musical instrument in person is addressing the exact ergonomics, posture, positioning, etc. of the body parts involved in making music, and no game, tool, system, video, etc. can do that.

  • Instruction about ergonomics, playing technique etc. is more or less of an issue depending on the instrument. I'd probably put piano on one end of that scale, and violin on the other. Piano is a good candidate for "gamification" as opposed to, say, the armenian duduk. – Some_Guy Nov 28 '17 at 18:29
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    @Some_Guy If you're implying that ergonomics and technique are less demanding on the piano, you are dangerously misinformed. And I mean dangerously. Repettative motion injuries are highly likely on keyboard instruments just as they are on computer keyboards. I honestly can't think of an instrument where physical technique is not fairly demanding to get the best tone and avoid injury, and I've learned many instruments and dabbled in many more. – Todd Wilcox Nov 28 '17 at 18:34
  • I had a feeling I'd be controversial here, perhaps I should have taken more care, but comments in their nature are brief. What I meant is that different instruments have a different initial learning curves (irrelevant to mastery of course) from physical considerations. This roughly corresponds to the control a player has over the sound of the instrument itself (although there are of course other factors). This makes the piano a more accessible instrument for novice than say an oboe, but does not mean to diminish the importance of ergonomics or technique in a pianist's development. – Some_Guy Nov 28 '17 at 19:47
  • @Some_Guy Ok I see what you mean. That makes sense. – Todd Wilcox Nov 28 '17 at 19:50
  • Not wanting to go on and on and detract from your answer, but finding it hard to compress my thoughts to little comments, I've gone into more detail in chat. Essentially my point is that, if any instrument can be effectively taught by a game, then piano must surely be it. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/69398/… – Some_Guy Nov 28 '17 at 20:06

I would say the Colored Sheet notation works better because you see/learn the actual notes and also helps you with the fingering. After you learn a song you can switch to the plain black sheet notation as you use it only for remembering the notes. That works bet for me anyway.


Neuroscience has it that you can't learn through computers and video games. Learning is simply a person-to-person thing. I'm currently in the same situation as you are: I'm trying to learn piano without a teacher but I know how a chord is built so I can easily find a chord on the keyboard. I played the drums for years when I was a teenager and those rhythm sticks have ingrained a good sense of time into my brain somehow. I can comp over a tune but I know that I'll have a hard time improving after that, even though I can read music and the reason is you always need someone who has the musical acumen to guide you... You need to understand what you are doing when you play. It's human. I can't tell you if Yousician could cause you to stall but I really think you should go and look for a human teacher with all their drawbacks and qualities.

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    Citations needed. – Todd Wilcox Nov 28 '17 at 18:55
  • Laurent Cohen, Pr. of Neurology at La Pitié-Salpétrière. Interview in a French weekly, L'Express, on 9/6/17. I'll translate his words as best I can: "When learning, there is nothing like social and pedagogical interaction. For example, the American scientist Patricia Kuhl has tried to train American 9-month-olds to recognize sounds in Chinese. First she had a Chinese lady play with them in Chinese. After a few tries, the babies managed to improve and discriminate sounds in Chinese. But babies who were placed in front of a screen to watch passively the same lady did not learn anything." – user45784 Nov 28 '17 at 20:32
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    Your quote only indicates that learning is more effective when there is personal interaction, which I don't think is disputed at all, and certainly I agree with that very strongly. In your answer you wrote "...you can't learn through computers and video games", which is not at all what Dr. Cohen said. I myself have learned many things without any interaction with a teacher, via non-responsive media such as books, videos, and video games. In fact I learned heel-toe kick technique from a great youtube video just three weeks ago. – Todd Wilcox Nov 28 '17 at 20:41
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    Ok. I agree. "Can't" was a bit too peremptory or preconceived. My mistake. – user45784 Nov 28 '17 at 20:51

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