Technology – Hindrance or Help?


Well I thought they were a relic of the past, but the do exist. Cassette Recorders! Wow! This is what someone used in rehearsal TONIGHT to help them learn to play by ear. It through me for a loop because with the preponderance of smart phones and apps galore, it seemed kinda out of place to have a device like the cassette to record and then playback for the purposes of playing by ear.

The thing to remember is that you have to use the technology that you are comfortable with. I remember when I used CDs AND Cassettes to help me. In fact I used the Tascam Guitar Trainer (pictured below) to help me learn things.


Then I quickly moved onto the Tascam Guitar Trainer MP1 (pic below). This used MP3s and allowed you to slow down the song to be learned without changing the key just like the original guitar trainer.


With the advent of smart phones, it’s even easier to get a song and be able to slow it down to understand what’s happening with the song. I use an app called Audio Speed Changer on my Samsung Android. iOS devices can use Music Speed Changer, which functions in the same manner – It allows you utilize songs in your library and allow you to manipulate the speed as well as the pitch of a particular song


Additionally the advent of the Internet has changed the way that music is viewed. The Internet has made it much easier to get scores, guitar tabs and also brought a great program such as Audacity –  Audacity Link

I think the singularly most significant impact of the Internet on playing by ear is YouTube. It provides a forum for like minded people to chare ideas, to post how to videos and great concert moments. It’s an awesome resource. There are tons of schools that give free YouTube lessons. SoAll you have to do is find the right person to follow and you will be all set. My next question is, it right to use all of this technology to help you to learn or is it not good? You be the judge…. And remember to smile and know that today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear!

7 thoughts on “Technology – Hindrance or Help?”

  1. Interesting how the technology has changed and developed, become more sophisticated even. But sometimes it’s hard to tell which is the better way–I guess it depends on the person or situation.

    1. Kirsten it really does depend on the person. You use the tools that you’re familiar with. But bit also helps to know about other tools that might be available.

      Thanks for stopping by…

  2. Interesting stuff! I’m old enough to have owned more than one cassette deck in my life, but I haven’t had one for years. I don’t have a smartphone yet, but when I do (it’s inevitable, alas), I will definitely check these out. I especially like that you can slow songs down without changing the key. Hopefully they don’t sound too distorted, though I’ve noticed a lot of new apps and devices have excellent sound quality, so maybe that’s not too much of a worry. Great post, thanks!

    1. Yes Theresa. The sound quality for some of these apps are really good. Of course, the slower you make it, the worse the quality. But you can still get the gist of what’s being played or sung by using the technology. I should have mentioned in the article that the headphone quality makes a huge difference in the sound as well.

      Thanks so much for stopping by..

    1. You’re so right Sara. I find that I could download a YouTube video as an mp3 and then be able to dissect it very easily. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be sure to check your blog

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