If you are an aspiring musician with plenty of talent, but little know-how, then On The Music Path is just the instruction you need to guide you to your destiny. Filled with hours of instructional videos, tablature notation and plenty of extra features, this app is sure to make a master guitarist out of anyone with a beginner’s understanding of the guitar.
The app is currently free, but is normally $0.99 with in-app purchases of the instructional videos you’d like. There are two videos that are free with the app. The first is a presentation about the app by some of the included teachers, as well as an appearance by Jeff Bridges, who also demos the app in the second, free video entitled, “Why I dig This App.”
Once you have made it through the how-to guide, you are all set to purchase your instructional video from the guitarist of your choice, including the likes of blues guitarist Kenny Sultan, classical guitarist Scott Tennant and rock legend Jackson Browne. Each of these highly trained, professional musicians offer lessons ranging from just over one half hour to just under one hour. Browne’s lesson is only one, but it clocks in at just over an hour.
Each instructor offers lessons ranging from beginning to intermediate with some of them covering the bare bones basics like, how to hold your pick, or where to place your fingers.
The features of each video include a split screen view of both the musician’s hands so that you can see what they are doing clearly. There is also tablature or musical notation scrolling along the bottom of the video with a blue arrow pointing to what is currently being played. If you are having trouble with a particular part of the song, you can select a start point and an end point and the video will replay that section over and over again. You can even slow down the video if you need that extra help. Although the video slows, the pitch does not change, so it will not affect the way you hear each song.
Once you have spent some time with the video, you can practice the song you were just taught by selecting the sheet music for it. In this section, you have the music, a metronome and the ability to record your performance and play it back. There is also a tuner in the upper right-hand side of the app so that you can be sure your guitar is in tune.
Although the app offers plenty of beginner videos, you should probably have some kind of knowledge of how to play a guitar. There is no music reading lesson or guitar tuning lesson. Most of the songs focus on guitar style, not just simple strumming techniques. If you have never picked up a guitar in your life, don’t expect to be able to follow along with these videos.
This first version of the app focuses on guitar playing, but as it is updated, more instruments will be included in the lessons. Future musicians to be added include pop singer Vonda Shepard with piano lessons, session musician Leland Sklar with bass lessons, Sitar legend Ravi Shankar and many more.
The lessons are not cheap. The beginning basics by Steve Postell are as low as $1.99 and as high as $4.99 and the others are $9.99 per video, with Jackson Browne’s lesson at $19.99. Relatively speaking though, you would pay at least that much, likely a lot more, for guitar lessons from your local music shop. These instructors have decades of experience and you can watch them over and over again. So really, you are saving money by purchasing these amazing lessons.
All of the videos can be downloaded in high-definition, but if you have a slow Internet connection, you can choose standard or low-resolution videos for a faster download.
What I liked: Jeff Bridges’ demo video is actually my favorite part. The Dude is telling you how to use this app. It makes me giggle. That video alone is worth the download.
What I didn’t like: Being that this app is a comprehensive guide to learning music, it would make a lot of sense to include instructions on how to read tablature and some of the other really basic things that a truly new musician would not already know.
To buy or not to buy: Download it now while it is free. When it goes back to $0.99, it is still worth is to watch a five-minute video of Jeff Bridges playing with an iPad. Because the lessons are a bit pricey, it is only for those dedicated to learning, or bettering themselves on their instrument.
- App Name: On The Path To Music
- Version Reviewed: 1.1
- Category: Music
- Developer: On The Path LLC
- Price: Regularly $0.99, free for a limited time