If only I really had a shot at Juilliard. I don't. Let's get that clear at the start.
You see, I've always wanted to learn to play the piano. I find the piano one of the most soothing, beautiful instruments in the world, so naturally, it's been my dream to be incredibly proficient at playing it. I've always admired people who could play, so over the years, I memorized songs that made it look like I know how to play. I acquired a very basic knowledge of how to read sheet music from my years in choir, but singing and playing are very different so this knowledge didn't carry me very far. I even took piano lessons for a semester as an elective in college, but I never had the time nor the discipline to practice. Therefore, I've made very little headway in being a pianist.
Fortunately, I live in an era in which technology has developed in such a way that I can learn to play the piano on my own time in the comfort of my own home. In our current situation, we've been able to carve out some time to pursue hobbies that we didn't have time for when we lived in the States. So, about a year ago, as I was looking for videos on YouTube to teach me how to play different songs, I discovered a website (and by extension, an app) called Yousician. Yousician is essentially an online music teacher for the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, and ukulele. The app has a lot of features, but the basic idea of the app is that you receive step-by-step instruction in how to play your selected instrument beginning with very basic information and skills that change and intensify as you move through the stages. As you play along with the music on the app, it provides you with realtime feedback about your accuracy, and it allows for different modes so that you can perform the song or put it in practice mode to slow the tempo down and practice a particularly difficult part of a song.
I have seen a tremendous difference in my ability to play and read music in the year I've been using the app, and I'm becoming more coordinated to play with both hands simultaneously. I wondered how the skills and knowledge would transfer to "real" sheet music, so I've also been testing out my skills on actual sheet music. I've been pleasantly surprised at how well I am able to read music that was impossible for me before.
So why am I writing about this on my travel and expat blog?
Of course, this app isn't only beneficial for expats, as it can be used for a number of different reasons, but because I have limited access to a piano teacher for adults, it has offered me the chance to do something I've always wanted to learn. And because I'm really busy with a full time job and grad school (along with all the normal stuff life throws at you), it provides me with the means to sit down and play on my own time. I don't have to work coordinated piano lessons with a teacher into my busy week, rather, I simply set a weekly goal for the amount of time I want to spend learning and practicing.
So, no...I'm not on my way to Juilliard, but I am thankful that technology has opened this door for me. Is there something technology has made possible for you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.