This blog post is a follow up to my presentation last week on Gaming apps for learning. Thank you all for listening to me basically whisper for 5 minutes. Luckily my voice is now back in action.
Yousician is an app that allows the user to learn either guitar, bass piano, or ukulele through lessons that are shaped like games. Yousician has 25 million users, which makes it the largest music learning app. It works on a freemium system where you can get one free lesson every 12 hours. This is what I use, though I rarely actually use it every 12 hours, it’s very hard to find time to practice an instrument at BC. The premium version is a bit on the pricier side, unfortunately.
The idea behind the app is very similar to duolingo in that splits up the very daunting task of learning an instrument into smaller tasks to make the process much more approachable. The app gives you live feedback, as you play the song, showing you how accurate your rhythm and notes are. You get gold stars out of 3 stars after every “song” to show how well you did on each lesson. Yousician, like duolingo, works off the idea that if you’re close to finishing a task, you are more likely to continue to work towards it.
I really like how yousician lets you customize the “missions” that you want to work on. This lets you learn what you want to learn, rather than having to follow one certain path.
As you can see here there is a lead guitar path, a rhythm guitar path which focuses more on chords rather than fretwork, and a knowledge path which works on instrument understanding and music comprehension. This way players are allowed to choose what they want to learn. By calling them missions, it seems like more of a fun adventure, than if yousician called them tasks or paths.
Where I saw Yousician falter, was its social media presence and its ability to create a community with its users. One of the things I stressed in my presentation was how well Duolingo was able to create community through its users in the app.
What I have found through using yousician it is a very individual experience. Although the games based lessons are well designed to be addictive, the experience feels very individual. Unlike duolingo, there aren’t discussion boards built in when you don’t do a lesson. I feel as though yousician needs to work on building communities between its users, to give the users more of a reason to come back.
When you look on facebook there is only one major group for yousician users, and it has only a little over 3,000 members in it. The engagement in this group is also on the lower side with less than 7 posts a day, showing less of a community built within the page. I feel as though music is supposed to be something that brings people together and I know personally I would love to feel a bigger community on the app. I feel as though this would help motivate me to continue practicing, knowing that I had other people who saw what I was working on. I would love to see yousician advertise a new facebook group that they sponsor, to try and start an engaged group of musicians. In a way it might be hard to do this inorganically, as I know some of the duolingo groups were formed by fans, not the company. Yousician could encourage this by letting me make connections through the app and allowing users to connect and learn from each other on tough lessons. This could encourage more interaction in the facebook group and more members joining.
Another issue could be Yousicians lack of facebook presence. When you scroll down their timeline a lot of their posts are just telling members that updates are coming. Most of the posts don’t seem to be encouraging very much engagement or even attempting to start the conversation. Duolingo posts content about its users and funny posts from other satirical sites like “shit duolingo says” which help bring people to the comments section. This will also help fans keep using the app because social media holds us accountable if your friends in the yousician group think that you are going to be practicing more often you probably will want to show the progress and therefore will use the app more. Yousician can benefit from this because ideally some of these consumers will stop using the free version and will begin to pay for premium.
What do you guys think Yousician could do to help form a sense of community in their users? How do you think they could push it to happen organically? Do you think an app can be used to learn a new instrument? Would love to hear your thoughts.