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August 11, 2015

Learn to play music with Lumia

It’s never too late to learn how to play a musical instrument. With your Lumia, these Windows Phone apps and tips, and a piano, guitar, or other instrument, you can.

Perhaps you took piano lessons as a kid but didn’t get much further than “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Or maybe that electric guitar you bought in a burst of optimism years ago still sits untouched in a corner of your house, gathering dust.

It’s summer—no better time for you to tap into your inner Jimi Hendrix (or Ed Sheeran). Here’s how with the help of Lumia and these Windows Phone apps:


Get an instrument. If you already have a cello, clarinet, or drum set, go to the next step. But if you’re at square one, start your instrument search via the Yelp app to find well-reviewed local music stores.

Do your research on the instrument and be sure to test out several models. If you’re in the market for an acoustic piano—and especially if it’s a grand piano—once you find the instrument you’re serious about, it’s worth the money to hire a good piano technician to thoroughly evaluate the condition of the instrument.

Tip: If you’re trying to decide between several instruments, take detailed photos of each of them with your Lumia and audio-record several snippets of you testing them out (use OneNote on your phone). Next, share them with your musically knowledgeable friends to get their feedback.

Instruments can be expensive, so if you’d rather go for a gently used guitar or flute, head over to Craigslist. Craigslist’s mobile site on Lumia is simple and clean and features photos. You can also try a good third-party, free app such as CPlus for Craigslist. One cool feature is that you can view listings on a map so you’ll know how far to drive to pick up that mint-condition two-tone Fender Stratocaster.

Take lessons via Lumia. When I wanted to learn how to play the ukulele, I couldn’t find a good teacher in my area. So … I fired up YouTube via the Internet Explorer app on my Lumia. Where would we be without YouTube to show us everything from funny pet videos to how to change the spark plugs on your car?

I found lots of music teachers with videos on how to get started on this small, four-stringed instrument (much more portable than my Kawai six-foot grand!). I took all 13 online lessons by the friendly folks at HawaiiMusicSupply. Their videos include tutorials on left-hand strumming, chucking, minor chords, and, yes, how to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

What I liked about learning via YouTube is that I could watch the lessons on my Lumia 635 whenever I had time—I didn’t have schedule a weekly lesson and travel to a teacher’s music studio. YouTube’s mobile site works very well, but you can also use handy third-party Windows Phone apps such as TubePro (free) and myTube HD (99 cents, try before you buy).


Just for guitar: If you’re learning guitar, there are also several Windows Phone apps such as Guitar Lessons Beginners #1 LITE and Guitar Lessons Beginners #2 LITE that could be useful. The free versions of these apps feature up to 10 video HD lessons. The full-fledged $2.49 apps give you up to 60 lessons.

If you aspire to play like blues greats Muddy Waters or B.B. King, check out the Blues Guitar Lessons LITE app. There are 16 lessons in the free “lite” version and 55 lessons and 110 HD videos in the complete $2.49 app.

Practice, practice, practice. If you’re serious about learning, practice your piano or other instrument every day, even if it’s for just 20 or 30 minutes at a stretch. Research shows that daily practice—even for a short amount of time–is much more effective than practicing for several hours just once a week.


Tip: Use the free PowernAPP app to time your daily practice. Yes, this app was originally designed to track your naps, but it’s so versatile that you can use it for just about anything, from learning an instrument to cooking to exercising. The $1.49 pro version of the app gives you an overview of your practice as well as a live tile to pin to your Start screen.

Tip: Life gets busy, so schedule your practice time so you don’t forget! Use the native Calendar app on your Lumia to prioritize practice and to set reminders.

Next steps: For more music-related apps and information to help you play music, check out this story as well as this story on some game-related music apps.

Are these tips and apps helpful to you? Let us know if you’d like to see more tips on this subject.

When you’ve learned to play a song on your guitar, piano or other instrument, record a short video of yourself playing it with your Lumia. Upload it to YouTube or other channel, then, add the link in the comments section below.

We’d love to see your musical talent!


Music apps