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How to learn a new musical instrument online during lockdown

Dust off old skills or pick up something new with these tutorials for piano, violin, bassoon, singing and even film-score writing

Louise Whitbread
Wednesday 06 May 2020 10:26 BST

The ongoing lockdown may mean your weekends are no longer filled with the usual activities and trips and spending time with family and friends, as any previously made plans have gone out the window.

While there are many skills people are turning to, from painting to photography, learning a musical instrument may be something you’ve wanted to do, but put off due to being busy pre-coronavirus.

Just because you can’t go to a teacher in person, doesn’t mean you can’t still learn to read music, study music theory or learn to play a new instrument.

There are many online resources, some free and some fee-paying, to help with each step of mastering a new musical skill. Ahead are some of the best.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

If you fancy plucking the strings of the guitar further than just playing your own rendition of "Wonderwall" over and over, Fender is offering three months of lessons on the guitar, bass and ukulele to the first 500,000 people who sign up via the Fender Play website.

This is opposed to the usual $9.99 (£8) monthly or $89.99 annual fee.

You can track your progress through its online chart, pick the songs you want to learn and discover how to play riffs from expert instructors, too.

Download for iOS​
Download for Android

Budding pianists at all skill levels should visit Flowkey, which offers interactive online lessons that you can use to self-teach on pianos and keyboards.

It can be uses on a tablet or phone to guide you as you navigate your way around the piano keys. Simply find a song at your skill level to start off with, use the slow-motion setting to learn every note, take advantage of the loop function to perfect each chord and even learn on each hand separately, like you would with a teacher. There's also instant feedback, so you learn quicker.

It also uses top teachers too, like Vika Yermolyeva who has more than 90 million views on her YouTube channel.

Learn without a teacher and lessons with apps to download on your phone or tablet (iStock)

When you sign up it asks a series of questions to establish what level of experience you have with pianos and what type you may have played on before, and gives you eight free songs to start learning with.

It’s free to register and you can access some of its music library, although to get the most out of it, the premium upgrade for €19.99 (£17) for one month means you can choose from 1,500 songs – from classical to pop – and learn across all your devices, too.

If you're a new Yamaha user, you can get three months of flowkey premium for free until 31 March 2021, depending on which product you buy.

Download for iOS​
Download for Android

Created by violinist Nicola Benedetti, the foundation of the same name puts on workshops for young people and teachers, in a bid to bring people together who usually work in isolation.

Every weekday between 12pm-12.30pm, it is hosting live music lessons on its Facebook page across varying topics like practice tips, samba lessons and instruments including the violin and cello.

Nicola Benedetti, who is also taking to her Instagram and Facebook pages to share her skills with followers, covers topics such as beginners basics, breathing, technique and chats with fellow musicians.

The times and dates of sessions are regularly posted on her feeds so ensure you check back to find a class that fits your schedule and needs. Any previous lessons by the Benedetti Foundation can also be found on its website, if you want to catch up with them before following along with the new ones each week.

Visit the Benedetti Foundation Facebook page
Visit Nicola Benedetti Instagram page

With online video courses taught by an expert across woodwind and brass instruments, Music Professor offers courses from beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, with prices starting from £103.

Each course includes four hours of content along wth troubleshooting tips, music theory, music reading basics and problem-solving for your chosen instrument, whether that's a bassoon, flute, clarinet or oboe.

Once you've enrolled on a course you have lifetime access to it, so you can pick up where you left off whenever you have a spare afternoon – although we're sure you're likely to get through it now.

Visit Music Professor now

In an effort to help out with homeschooling music, classically trained pianist and TV presenter Myleene Klass, is teaching music theory on her newly created YouTube channel.

She’s also roped in the help of her two daughters for curriculum-based fun lessons that you can get all the family involved with.

Some of the topics she’s covered so far include lullabies, movie themes, basic rhythms and conducting. Suscribe to the channel to see when a new one is available.

Visit Myleenes’s Music Klass now

If you want to pick up music again, but can't remember how to read it, or need to learn the basics to start playing, then head to Music Notes, which has put together an easy-to-follow guide that you can use to teach yourself.

It’s free to use and it offers free sheet music to download and practice playing with. Just use the code "MNFREE" at checkout.

Visit Music Notes now

From Gordon Ramsay's lessons on cooking to Natalie Portman on acting and Martin Scorsese on film making, Masterclass has enlisted the help of some of the biggest names in the industry to teach across a range of subjects.

In music you can study film-scoring with Hans Zimmer, producing and beat making from Timberland, mastering dance music from Armin Van Buuren, singing from Christina Aguilera and performing from Usher, across your TV, tablets, computer and mobile.

All classes are taught by video and the average class features 20 lessons, each lasting roughly 10 minutes and you can get two passes for £170 to start with.

Visit Masterclass now

Read our guide on the best new skills to learn during lockdown

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