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I have encountered many music instrument apps such as piano, guitar or even some wind instruments mapped onto the touch screen of the iPad. They can be fun to play, but would playing on the iPad and learning to adapt to the touch screen hurt my playing when I go back to the actual instrument?

  • Anecdotal evidence; I learned to play guitar (40 years ago) without a guitar. I drew a fretboard on some cardboard to practice the fingering... I'm past that now, I think.. – PeteCon Nov 30 '19 at 15:19
  • You would be better off not doing anything at all – jjmusicnotes Nov 30 '19 at 16:35
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I doubt it will harm your playing, nor improve it either. They're totally different things.

It's a bit like wondering if playing Grand Theft Auto is going to affect how you drive.

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  • Perhaps not the best example- GTA definitely affects how I drive! 😂 – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 1 '19 at 19:50
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I would add also that if you replace practicing on a real instrument with tablet practice for an extended period of time, yes, you will notice a decline in your technical ability at the actual instrument.

There’s a limited amount of potential gain from practicing on a virtual instrument as opposed to the real. You could learn to sight read notes, guitar fingerings, etc., but there are some crucial elements of playing any instrument that can only be learned by practicing on the real thing.

So, short answer: use the tablet to (if anything) supplement, not replace.

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If you feel that you may confuse the two, and imagine you're playing a touch screen when it's a real piano/sax/trumpet/whatever, then yes, it will affect your playing. If you can be sure the two aren't actually any more than similar, you'll be fine.

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