Masterclass- After one year of membership

So, are we going to renew our membership for another year?

With less than 3 weeks remaining in our yearlong Masterclass membership, we’re reflecting on the year that was and trying to decide if we’re going to renew or not. And here’s are musings.

What have we learnt?

Well, to be honest with you, we haven’t learnt much actually. With Gordon Ramsay we didn’t try any of his recipes or cooking techniques, but we did take up his advice and bought ourselves a good large saucepan- and these days this is the only cooking implement we use for everything! While all the other lessons we sat through, it was all nice to know but it also highlighted the fact that we’d never be like our Masterclass instructors. Because: A-We’re not as gifted as them; B- We’ll never have the same amount of time to devote to one single craft (as we do have day jobs); and C- We’re just not as obsessive about one single thing like they are! So, in the end, we haven’t really learnt anything, but have only solidified in our minds that we’ll never ever truly master anything. Nooo! And after the first month when I had already consumed 6 courses, I had to physically restrain myself from binging anymore. As the end result was that I wanted to buy all the gear that they had- case-in-point, I was 80% on my way in buying new DJ turntables after completing Questlove’s course. Until I made myself wait 3 months and re-consider then, and at that point, I realised that I just didn’t have the time to muck around on decks anymore.

Were there any bumps along the way?

Yeah, part way through our Masterclass year, we just gave up on it. Partly due to the fact that we watched it during dinner time, this time which we usually devoted to Netflix/Disney+, and after a while we just wanted some “real” entertainment- something mindless and fictional. And then when we tried to get back into it in October, as we felt we weren’t getting our monies worth and the subscription was going to end soon, then the Masterclass app had some bug where we couldn’t cast it to the TV anymore. So that was another few months before we tried it again (FYI the bug in the app has been fixed now after a new version was pushed out to users). So realistically we probably only used it for 5 months of 12.

How many courses did we actually finish?

I think I only completed 10 Masterclasses, perhaps 12 by the time we attempt to smash it out in the next 3 weeks. So that averages out to one per month, so more than $30 per course. Which is pretty cheap if you’re attending a community  based interest group in person over several weeks. But pretty pricy if it’s an online class, which is produced for mass consumption (which it is).

Have we got our monies worth?

For the 2 aforementioned reasons alone, i.e., only using it for less than half a year, and not using it enough so that each course was costing upwards of 30 bucks, I’d say we didn’t get our monies worth. But while saying that, I’ve noticed that they now have a new tiered pricing structure, and the single access cost is half as much as it was a year ago (advertised for $180, compared to paying upwards of $300 Australian dollars last year). So, if we were on this new pricing structure, would it be worth it? Yeah, it probably would have been, but based on the old cost (paid up front). We didn’t get our monies worth.

Would we renew for another year?

Hmmm, at first I was going to say definitely not. The classes had been fun and interesting enough, but not as educational as we initially hoped it to be. Just because 95% of things which were taught, were at a level which was way beyond what a mere mortal could ever achieve. And the new classes which have been uploaded since we’ve joined, have moved away from the original essence of Masterclass, but now they’re more on the lines of an extended version of a TED talk- and you can watch that stuff for free.

But with this new pricing structure, of $180 for a single user….. It has me thinking…… “Could we do this all over again for another year? And I think it all comes down to, is this $180 US or Aussie dollars (as this same exact amount has been quoted on both US and Australian web-sites). And you truly don’t know, until you get your bill from your credit card company. So, if this amount is US, after conversion and all the fees, it’s going to add up to near $300+ Aussie dollars again. For that same price, I’m out. But if that $180 is in Aussie dollars? I could be enticed to hang onto Masterclass for another year.

Masterclass- Joanne Chang, Bake Like a Pro

Now, this is how you learn!

O, previously I’d been a bit critical of Masterclass, questioning if people could actually learn from the platform. But now I’m here to apologise, to apologise for jumping to those conclusions after sitting through only a handful of classes. As to that point, I hadn’t experienced ‘Sessions’.

For those who aren’t familiar with Masterclass, most recently they have introduced a subsection of Masterclasses called ‘Sessions’, here instead of just sitting back and watching lessons like any other TV show, now you play a more active part in your learning.

For example, you’re no longer able to just cast the content to your TV, but you must watch it off a device where you can interact with the Masterclass’ website. And that’s the first thing you’ll notice, as you attempt to cast the content, so you can just passively learn, all of a sudden there isn’t a cast option!? So, suddenly we had to pull out our laptop, and set it up at the dining table, where we usually consume our medias whilst having dinner. It’s super romantic!

The second thing you’ll notice about Sessions, is that you can’t just binge all the lessons, like you’d previously been doing- not moving a muscle for hours, as the lessons automatically play themselves. I remember after completing the first series of lessons, the site didn’t allow us to progress to the next lesson until a full 3 days had passed! That’s a crazy concept hey!? A streaming site blocking you from consuming more and more of its content! So, it took us an entire week to loop back around to the next instalment.

And once you’re up and running again, you’ll also notice that your interaction is required to enable you to progress through lessons. For Joanne Chang’s baking lessons, you had to actively check the boxes in an ingredients list, to confirm that you’ve acquired the necessary ingredients to construct the recipe. So it feels a lot more like an e-learning module.

And as you complete the lesson, you’re encouraged to upload pics of your baked creations, where you can also browse through the pics of others who had also made and uploaded their pics. So, you can be encouraged by (or shamed by) your virtual community.

And the last thing you’ll also notice about Sessions, which differs from a regular Masterclass, is that the lessons have been designed for you to follow on while you’re watching. In the Masterclass with Gordon Ramsay, he was filmed prepping and cooking, but we didn’t see the entire cooking process. But in sessions when Joanne told you to mix your cookie dough for 8-10 minutes. You actually watch her electric stand-mixer mix the cookie batter for 8-10 minutes, as you’re meant to be mixing along with her. But thank goodness we weren’t made to watch her oven bake for 45 minutes though…… So, each Sessions lessons are much longer than the standard Masterclass lesson.

And after 30 days (Sessions are designed to be completed in 30 days), you’ll be done with the class, and I must admit- after the 30 days you’ll be more likely to have had acquired new skills!

The Session we went through was Joanne Chang’s class, ‘Bake Like a Pro’. For those who aren’t familiar with Joanne, she is a Taiwanese American based in Boston, the owner founder of Flour, a popular Bakery in Boston Massachusetts. But for us, we were only familiar with Joanne, because she was one of the judges on the Netflix reality TV show ‘Baking Impossible’. In her Session Joanne shares of her back-story, how she got into Baking and then proceeds to teach us the basics of baking. A bit into the science, a bit into how to organise yourself, and how to stay in the moment whilst baking.

In her Session, we learn how to bake cookies, pies, brioche buns, and cakes! And I was impressed in how calm and confident Joanne seemed in her lessons. Super clear in her delivery, totally engaging, and super easy to follow on in her instructions, either by showing you or by describing it to you.

Sure, when we had to sit through 8-10 minutes of watching her stand-mixer mix batter, that was a bit boring, as we weren’t baking along with her. But I can see what Masterclass is trying to do here, as you’re meant to feel like you’re actually a part of her physical class, doing as she is doing.

So, although we currently don’t have a working kitchen (our oven broke down over 3 years ago, but we have put off replacing it as we need an entire kitchen renovation), we have a real motivation now to get our act together and stop talking about a kitchen renovation and go and do something about it! So, if the desire to live in an apartment with a nice new kitchen isn’t motivation enough, now we’re motivated by the promise of being able to make our own gooey chocolate cookies, over-stuffed strawberry pies, fluffy-fluffy brioche buns, and multi-multi layered cakes!

So, if previously I’ve raised my dubiousness if anyone is actually learning from Masterclass- I take it all back! With Sessions, you can really walk away from a class, with genuine skills and experiences that you can build on. Now I can see how you might be able to develop into you’re Masterclass instructor. In this case, so we could in theory, bake like a pro just like Joanne Chang!

To check out Masterclass Sessions, click HERE!     

Masterclass- Questlove Music Curation and DJing

And I thought I was so over this!

In 2004, as a fresh faced naïve 20-year-old, I love music but had absolutely no musical ability (at that time I wasn’t to know that I’d become the bass guitar savant that I am today….). I obsessed over music, both listening and buying up all the latest Hip Hop albums rollin’ out in that glorious era of R&B/Hip Hop. I wanted so badly to be involved in the music scene, but without a musical bone in my body I couldn’t be apart of the creative process. Then it dawned on me that I could be a part of it, if I was the one playing the banging tracks- so I enrolled myself into DJ school here in good ol’ Sydney-town!

 In that year (2004), I completed the DJ course; bought myself Newmark CD DJ turntables (paid it off in 12 monthly instalments- at the time it was the most expensive purchase I’ve ever made); bought enough CDs to fill 7 small CD cases (those ones which held 20 discs), and another 7 large CD folders (which held 60 or more discs); and even DJ at 3 house parties! But after that crazy year, after being unable to find a paid outlet for my passion and life moving on- the DJ turntables were left unplayed, gathering dust at my parent’s place in a bar nook which I’d transformed into a DJ booth. And that was that, that amazing year of scratching and pumping out banging tracks was relegated to a chapter of life which was now in the past.

Fast forward to the present day, I’d finished my latest Masterclass and was looking for the next class to geek out on. And I was scrolling through each class one at a time, coming across all the familiar household names and then I came across Questlove- a name which I did not know but when I allowed my computer screen reader to read the entire title and heard the words “and DJing”, my eyebrows rose immediately. DJing! Now that was a hobby/past-time I hadn’t thought about for the past 10 years! So, for old time’s sake, I started the class.

Turns out that Questlove was the drummer in the Hip Hop group ‘The Roots’, I knew the Roots, I had two of their albums. And from the get-go, Quest told his students that he only played the drums and other various ventures, just so that he could finance his real passion, which was DJing. And watching him at his craft, you can really tell that DJing is his first love!

What I’ve found about Masterclass instructors is this, they’re not just dudes who play the guitar, or play a ukulele, or compose music occasionally. But these guys and gals, they are obsessed, like OBSESSED! People who live, breathe, and sleep their craft! And Questlove is exactly that. The lengths he goes to, to curate the ultimate playlist, his knowledge of the nuances of his favourite songs, the hours he spends training up his muscle memory for scratching, frankly it was both impressive and a bit disturbing at the same time. Haaha.

And what I’ve also noticed about Masterclass is this. Sure, you can learn from the best, they can divulge their tips and tricks, things they have learnt over years and years of being professionals in their art. And sure, we can take a thing or two away from these multi-hour classes, but would we ever become a fraction of the artist that they are? 100% not. I mean it, 100% not! I am confident, in 10 years’ time we will not meet a world famous artis, and when asked how they started (or mastered) their craft, I’m confident that they’re not going to say that it started-off with watching a Masterclass class. Because these instructors are next level, they are people who have literally given their lives to their craft, practicing, and experimenting every day, hours a day, and only if you can invest that much of your time into it, and not grow tired of it? Then, you might have a slight chance in becoming like them. And did I mention that these people probably have traits/talents they were born with, honed from a very young age? Not something that most of us could ever develop in our 30s.

But 5 lessons into Quest’s classes, I had to slow down the pace. As I wanted to savour and make his lessons last. I stopped listening until I was able to get to my parent’s place, to retrieve my old Newmark turntables from their place. My parents were good enough to keep them covered up under a protective sheet, but when I got them back home to our apartment, they were still covered in a thick layer of dust. And unfortunately, after I had everything hooked up, CDs placed in both trays, unfortunately the passage of time weren’t kind to my turntables. After pressing every button, trying to get some sort of sound out of them- re-wiring and re-wiring them and flicking on and off every imaginable switch. Alas, I had to call it, confirmed time of death was 18:38 Eastern Standard Time. No! The right deck was so dead that I couldn’t even coax it to open so I could retrieve the disc which I had placed in it. D’oh!

But as I came to terms that my first ever big-ticket item was soon to be pulled apart for its components after we drop it off at the next council tech collection, I sombrely continued with Quest’s lessons. There were much sighing and slumped shoulders. But Quest’s passion for music and spinning was so contagious, that instead of burying the past, I decided to go all in! First I just wanted to see how much CD turntables were these days, were they dirt cheap because technology had advanced so far in the prevailing 18 years? But a simple Google searched showed that not only had technology advanced, but there was a whole new generation of DJ turntables! Now known as DJ Controllers, basically hardware which resembles old-school turntables (but miniaturized), but now they merely controlled the functionality of a DJ software. Which did fill in the gaps when Quest was talking about Serato DJ in one of his lessons (hadn’t completely understood this part of the course because I can’t see).

So, it turns out that most DJs these days were using a DJ software program, streaming music from compatible music streaming services, and were doing all the cool things on decks like scratching, looping, mashing-up songs all in real-time, thanks to the advances in technology! So back in the day, the old barriers to the profession (needing a vinyl collection, or in my case hundreds and hundreds of CDs), those barriers were gone now, and modern DJs only needed a laptop, an internet hot-spot, and a DJ controller which can be small enough to fit in a back-pack! Pretty crazy hey!?

I still remember the days when I had to lug around a large suitcase sized hard case which my turntables travelled in, weighing easily over 15Kgs. And I travelled with 2 duffle bags filled with all my 14 CD cases, and that was already way more compact than the old school Vinyl DJs. But a modern-day DJ, they could literally fit everything into a back-pack. And now I want to be a part of that! Web-searches has shown that the DJ Software djay Pro by Algoriddim is blind friendly; and the DJ controller by Reloop (specifically the Mixon 4) was tactile enough with enough physical buttons so I could use it without sight. So, my wife tells me to chill-out, wait a couple of months to see if this is just a fad that I’ll get over. However, if this desire to be scratching it up again persists, then I’m going all in! Crazy to think for less than $1100, you can have all the music and hardware needed to be a DJ, a huge contrast to the thousands and thousands which I spent back in the year 2004, to appease that first obsession with DJing.

So, watch this space, in May I might have a new Product recommendation for you! Gushing over the Reloop Mixon 4. Or there could be complete radio silence, if that’s the case, it means that I got over it. Haaha.

In conclusion, I don’t hold out any hope that I’ll ever be a DJ like Quest (let alone ever move from being a bedroom DJ to a proper gig DJ). But what Quest’s lessons have achieved for me is this, it took me back, back to my formative years and it reminded me of a real special time in my life. And frankly, being transported back like that, it was priceless! And what Masterclass does do for you, is it creates a spark, a little push in the direction which makes you believe for even a second “Hey? I can do that!” And if that inspires a dream in you, then Masterclass has served its purpose!

To learn from Questlove himself, click HERE to start his Masterclass- music curation and DJing.

Masterclass- Stephen Curry Teaches Shooting, Ball-handling, and Scoring

Elevate your game with the greatest 3-point shooter of all time?

I know, it was kind of silly of me to watch the Stephen Curry Masterclass, considering that I’m completely blind- but I was so intrigued in what Steph could be teaching in his class, that I had to know even if there was no chance that I’d ever put this learning to practice. And here are my thoughts on the Man’s Masterclass!

First thing, I was super impressed by Steph and how eloquent and impressive he was as a teacher. As with these things, they point a camera at you and just get you talking and not everyone feels comfortable in those situations. However, Steph was super chilled and comfortable in front of the camera and explained everything so clearly and easy to follow, that even I, someone who was not seeing what he was doing, I was still able to follow on throughout the lessons.

The next thing which was a stand-out, was that Steph’s class is totally achievable and relevant for everyone who will watch it. As he’s not teaching you dunking or other superhuman basketball traits which 99% of us aren’t physically gifted enough to do. But the class is on shooting, ball-handling and scoring (if you follow his teaching correctly), which doesn’t require size or height. And the steps which he divulges are all about mechanic’s- which you can replicate and are totally repeatable. So, no joke, after the class you could be shooting and scoring like Steph Curry!

And throughout the class I was just thinking to myself…… Only if this Masterclass thing was around when I was 12-15 years old when I was playing high school basketball! If I knew these tips and tricks, I guarantee you I would have been a better basketball player. Hands down! I just remember our coaches (old boys or Math teachers), telling us to do some weaving passing drill, or just go dribble a ball, or take turns shooting at the Free throw line. But at no point did they ever teach us technique, I didn’t know about ’10 toes to the basket’, none of this ‘hard dribble’ stuff, nor the concept of the ‘shooting pocket’! Even if my 13-year-old self was shown these 3 tips, I think I would have been a more consistent shooter, perhaps I might have mastered the between the legs dribble, and perhaps I might have scored more than 4 points in a game (which was my highest scoring game……).

Who would benefit from these classes? I hear you ask. Realistically, I’m thinking if you get a 12–15-year-old who already plays basketball, get them in front of the TV during the school holidays before the start of a basketball season and have them watch all the lessons? I think they will be the ones who will benefit the most from the Masterclass. But what would this really mean? It’ll mean that kids of privileged parents would have access to this awesome resource, as realistically the target audience of a Masterclass membership are individuals like me, a 30-40 something professional with money to burn on non-essentials like Masterclass. So, there will be a bit of inequality in who will see these lessons and who will elevate their game. While imagine this!? If you’re a basketball coach, say if you’re a high school teacher or you coach your child’s basketball team. Imagine sitting the team down for 10 minutes before each practice session and show the team Steph’s Masterclass on a tablet. Then have them go away for 30 minutes to practice what they’ve learnt in that Masterclass lesson. I’d guarantee that the team would improve in all facets of the game. No joke.

But could I see an aging white-collar professional elevate their game from watching Steph’s lessons? Probably not. Just because knowledge is one thing, but it does come down to practice. Requiring time and energy which old folk like us just don’t have. Besides, who has access to a full-sized basketball hoop, which is purely yours to use for hours and hours a day? Oh yeah, this reminds me when I once had access to one! In the early days my parents had a full-size basketball hoop in their backyard, but it was right next to the swimming pool. I’d be practicing my shooting for around 10 minutes, before inevitably the ball would take an unexpected deflection off the ring and go straight into the pool. And that was the end of my shootaround, as trying to shoot a wet ball? That was nasty. *Sigh*.

 So yeah, mastery of basketball is a young person’s game, so leave it to the next gen to benefit from Steph’s wisdom and sage advice!

 So, in the past 18 years in which I’ve been blind, there has been very few moments where I’ve felt regret, regret that I couldn’t see. But during Steph’s lessons, I honestly felt this rare occurrence where I wished I was sighted again. Even just for one hour, so I could go to a gym somewhere and try and implement the lessons that I’d learnt from Steph. I really mean it, I wanted so badly to get a ball in my hands and attempt a 3 pointer, applying all the things I’d learnt from Steph, the greatest 3-point shooter of all time! I just wanted to see if his knowledge could make me, an unremarkable person, able to do the remarkable!

So if you want to check out Stephen Curry’s Masterclass- Shooting, Ball-handling, and Scoring, prior to committing to a year’s subscription of Masterclass? Just click HERE to watch the trailer to see if Masterclass is right for you!      

Product recommendation- Masterclass

Is this learning or entertainment?

I’m the first to admit that I’m a real sucker for radio advertising, and the latest product which I’ve purchased after hearing a radio advert promoting a buy one get one free offer was a Masterclass subscription. And here are my thoughts, the pros and cons of this E-learning platform.

But before I get into the pros/cons, just for those who haven’t heard of it before, Masterclass is a subscription-based website where you can learn from those in the know i.e., song writing with Alicia Keys, acting with Samuel L. Jackson, architecture with Frank Gehry, Cello with Yo-Yo Ma etc. So, imagine a celebrity guest speaker coming to a local Community College near you, to run a semester’s worth of classes! And Masterclass is kinda like that, but you learn from the comfort of your own home, anytime, anywhere- if you’re willing to fork out $276 (Australian dollars) up-front. Not all that much if you’re enrolling into a training course, but a bit of money for a 12-month subscription based streaming service. So, the value proposition is dependent if you perceive Masterclass to be learning, as you can’t place a monetary value on knowledge! Or is it just entertainment? Because if it’s just entertainment, it’s more expensive than any other streaming service out there!


Star power- you’re learning from household names, so that already makes the learning experience super appealing and fun! And even if you might not be interested in the topic beforehand, but you probably will be after completing the class which encourages you to do further investigations afterwards. That’s big right!?

Quality production- the production which goes into each video is super slick, each class has its own music soundtrack which suits each teacher and topic. So, you can tell that much time and resource has been invested into each video’s creation.

Accessible- the website and smart phone app are super easy to use, so you can be learning or picking up where you’ve left off within seconds! Although there is a bit of a IOS bug when using Voiceover to access the app, which makes for some amusing moments (SESSIO N? anyone?).

Unlimited access- the year’s subscription gives you unlimited access to all the classes currently in their library (over 150 classes at last count). And new classes are added each month, alerting you of new classes/instructors via email.

Multiple modes of access- you can watch classes from their website, or on their Smart phone app, or as audio only like a podcast (on IOS only), and you can also download the class workbook as PDF for later reference for those who prefer to learn by reading.

Refundability- if you find that Masterclass is not for you within the first 30 days, you can request for a full refund of your up-front payment.

Buy one get one free offer- and for the month of December only, you can get two subscriptions for the price of one. You pay for one and you have another year’s subscription to gift to a friend or family member (gift to be redeemed within 12 months of purchase)- this offer ends on 31 December 2021. However, once the offer is redeemed, you wave the option to cancel your subscription within the first 30 days.


Have I learnt anything? Classes can be perceived to be more like entertainment, than true learning. Or it might depend on the topic in mention? I’ve been telling people if the class divulges 10 tips/tricks, and I walk away with one which I might adopt, or is interesting enough that I can drop like a fun fact as a conversational starter? Then that is probably deemed a successful class/learning experience for me. But realistically after watching Stephen Curry’s Masterclass I doubt I’d be hitting 3s like him, nor making beats like Timberland after completing his class.

Do you really get 12 months use out of it? Realistically if you powered through the classes, and only engaged with topics which you have a true interest in- you’d probably watch all you want within 3-6 months. So, for the rest of the year, you might re-watch a few, or a new class might take your fancy. But because of this, I think therefore they make you pre-pay for an entire year, or otherwise if it was a month-by-month subscription, I can see most people cancelling their subscriptions after the first 3-6 months. So, it’s a smart business model, but not in favour of the consumer though.

The topics are Niche. The topics which the experts teach are so specific that you just might not like 95% of what is on offer. As people just aren’t that eclectic with their interests. So again, you might not get your money’s worth from your subscription, if say you got through 12 classes in a year? Because you might have 6-10 different interests, would you say that’s money well spent? That’s $23 per class.

New recently added classes aren’t as good as the old stuff. It’s bound to happen, after they’ve released upwards of 150 classes, covering all sorts of topics, their bound to reach a point where the new stuff aren’t as interesting as the original content. What I’m finding is, that the new classes are exploring ideals, opinions or are topics which don’t deserve 15-20 lessons on, rather than hobbies or trade secrets from experts. So, if the original stuff was good just for its entertainment purpose (even if you didn’t have a true interest in the topic), and the new stuff on face value probably can’t be called entertaining either, so if it’s not true learning and it’s not entertaining, then what is it then? BTW, you can tell what is new and what is old by the class titles, where it has ‘teaches’ in the class title, then these lessons are old, and are the good stuff!

Spam. And OMG! Since signing up to Masterclass, I’m receiving so many emails from them! On average like 3 emails in a 2-day span. Some are informative, like alerting you to the latest new class which is now available. But some are like ‘we’ve noticed that you haven’t been learning recently’ type emails, but I literally just watched that class 2 days ago, I wouldn’t say that has been a long-time in-between drinks? Not worth nudging someone for inactivity? Right? I’ll soon find out if all these emails are due to the fact I’m still within the initial 30 days and they’re worried that I might ask for a refund. But if the spam is still this frequent after the 30 days, then I might need to start blocking the sender. It’s really that annoying!

Classes aren’t available forever! And the last con, is the fact that classes don’t last forever? From what I can see, they add and remove classes on a regular basis. So, you don’t have the assurance that a class which you’d love to get to, would still be there when you finally have the time to watch it. So, this feeling of FOMO, isn’t a feeling I enjoy having.

So, in the end, it is everyone’s own decision if Masterclass is right for them. Is it really learning? Yes, if you happen to be specifically looking for the topic in mention, and you already possess the foundational skills required and it was the final 10% or nudge required to push you across the line. But for most people, it isn’t. So, if it’s entertainment then, the question would be do you have a vast enough array of interests that you’d find skateboarding, guitaring, baking, floral arrangements to yoga, meditation, and science entertaining enough to devote on average 3-4 hours to get through 15-20 lessons just for its enjoyment value? Therefore, Masterclass is probably not for everyone, but if after reading this list of Pros/Cons, and it still sounds like your thang, then please take the next step and give it a go! Just click HERE to begin your journey of discovery!

Product recommendations- Spotify ‘Like Playlist’

So simple, but o-so effective!

So, for those who have been following me on my ‘Bass guitar’ learning journey, the last time we spoke, I was using my sister’s old Electric guitar like a ‘Treble bass’. And have been getting plenty of use out of it, due to its ease to play, racking up more hours towards my 10,000 hours of practice, before I could truly say that I’d mastered a skill.

And today’s post is to let you know how Spotify has been playing a huge part in my learning.

It’s a funny thing, when I tell people that I’ve been teaching myself the Bass guitar, the most common question I’ve been asked has been “So do you learn using an app or something?” And I quickly shake my head in the negative and let them know that I’ve just been using Spotify. And I’m sure if I could see, they probably be giving me a quizzical look. Like as if they had just learned that Spotify has introduced a series of musical tutorials. Or if it had never dawned on them that you could just listen to a song and learn it by ear, or the idea of playing an instrument along to a song on the radio could be a means to learn it for yourself.

But that’s what I’ve been doing! No, Spotify hasn’t introduced a series of tutorials teaching people musical instruments, however I’ve just been requesting songs from Spotify, picking up my guitar and plucking away at it until I eventually feel out all the bass notes for songs. Yes, it has been an arduous process at times (especially if my wife has been at home to hear it all), as sometimes it’ll take me a whole entire week to master a song (or I could cheat and just ask my wife to teach me from the sheet music), but we do eventually get there.

But what had been annoying me with this process had been this. I’d be requesting songs just by asking my Google home to play them on Spotify. And I’d learn whatever version of the song Spotify happens to bring up at the time. But as you know, Spotify has many versions of the same songs, either completely different songs by the same name, or the same song but different versions performed by the same or different bands/artists. And as you also know, Google (or it could be Spotify), they don’t always bring up the same song each time- although you might be using the exact same requesting phrase.

So, I’d be super annoyed when I’d learn a song in a particular key or a particular arrangement which I liked, and then low and behold I’d be unable to bring up again the same exact song by requesting for it through my Google home. Grrr!

And I must add, I’ve never used the Spotify Smart phone app much in the past, I just found it to be too busy- and why did I need it, when my Google Home did all the work already- being my voice activated music jukebox!?

But here is how I’ve been using the Spotify ‘Like’ button and ‘Like Playlist’ to great effect. These days, when I had located a song and the version which I liked on the Spotify app, I simply ‘Liked’ the song (flick up for more options and select ‘Like’). And hence forth it would be added to my ‘Like Playlist’. And it’ll remain there for ever and a day, until I decide to ‘Unlike’ it (if I ever wanted to conduct a clean-up of songs I rarely listened to), or until I stopped using the Spotify platform, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

So, these days when it comes time to practice or learn a new song, I’d simply ask Google to play Spotify on the Home, and it will pick up playing whatever I was last listening to. I’d set up my guitar and amp, and when I was ready to go, I’d pick up my phone, bring up the Spotify app, navigate to my Library tab (the Like Playlist is the very first item), tap on that, and there is my long list of songs I’ve learnt or intend to learn! And just tapping on the song that I wanted right then and now, and there you go! The song would be playing, and I’d be waiting for my cue to come in with the boom!  And if you have your songs in a particular order in your playlist, then you don’t even have to stop after songs, but you can allow the playlist to play on and you just need to keep playing your guitar along to the next and next song until you’ve completed your set- or until you can no longer feel your feet from standing too long; or until your fingertips are sore from plucking; or until your shoulder is screaming out in pain  from the guitar strap digging into your flesh. Ah! Golden!

So, if you haven’t ever tried jamming with a virtual band via Spotify!? Give it a go, all you need is the app and a liberal usage of the ‘Like’ button. Rock-on-dude!!!!