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I Tried ToneGym For A Month (Here’s What I Learned)
ToneGym is a great platform that takes the daunting task of learning music theory and turns it into a fun, engaging, and most importantly educational task. ToneGym has the capacity to greatly improve your knowledge of music theory, musical intuition and improve your core musical skills for years to come.
Variety of courses
Quality of Content
Value For Money
ToneGym Tools offers a uniquely interactive way of developing music theory knowledge
As music producers, we are extremely lucky to live in a time where you can simply download a DAW, watch tutorials, and create high-quality music without ever having to leave our bedrooms or enter a studio.
As great as this is, the pull factor of processing punchy drums and playing with gorgeous synths has left a lot of budding producers to neglect one of the most fundamental aspects of music itself – music theory.
Now, I’m not pointing any fingers (you can relax now) as I myself am one of the most guilty culprits of this sheer neglect of theory. If you’re like me, you don’t have the time or money for face-to-face tuition or even lessons via Zoom.
Developed by the team behind the extremely intuitive, practical, and most importantly fun SoundGym platform (check out my review here), ToneGym is “a gym for the ears” that is designed to help develop your music theory knowledge and musical skill set, teaching you essential skills like identifying chords and scales, gaining a better understanding of rhythm, and replicating melodies.
ToneGym is a refreshing approach to the daunting task of learning music theory, turning it into a fun, engaging, and rewarding experience. This has the ability to greatly improve your knowledge of music theory, sharpen your musical intuition, and improve your core musical skills for years to come.
In the same manner that SoundGym works, when you log into ToneGym you’re presented with the option to partake in your daily “workout”.
With each of the five daily games taking no more than a few minutes to complete, it’s a great way to get into a quick, easy, but beneficial routine that helps to develop your knowledge of music theory.
With a host of games that vary between solfege training, harmonic interval detection, ascending interval detection, rhythm dictation, and more, you can also jump into any game outside of the daily workout to really hone in on a certain skill set.
While I found most games engaging and useful, there were others such as Rhythmic Parrot that did become a bit tedious.
If I were basing this section purely on the games, I would be more inclined to give a seven, however, the inclusion of the Tonegym Tools section is a surprisingly in-depth addition that helps garner a much better understanding of the fundamental components of musical theory.
The Chord Analyzer allows you to play common chords in harmonic and melodic play modes using different roots to help you learn their DNA and inversions. An interactive Circle of Fifths is a superb inclusion that allows you to change tonic, mode, and layout to discover the relations and mathematical patterns between musical notes, chords, and scales.
The Interval Memorizer, Piano Recorder, Scale Analyzer, and Progression Generator are other great tools for developing your music theory knowledge and understanding.
On top of these, the ToneGym Olympics and Sight-reading Playground are both great competitive features that allow you to compete against other users in real-time and earn prizes. Unfortunately, the prizes don’t come close to the quality of those on SoundGym, but this is something I’ll touch upon in more depth later.
To summarise, ToneGym’s variety of interactive games, tools, and competitive features offers a fun and engaging way to learn music theory in short bursts. Whether you’re a beginner or more versed with your knowledge of theory, the content provides a way in which to further develop your skills.
Quality of Content – 8.5/10
For this section, I can only really speak from my personal experience with ToneGym. With that said, the platform has definitely bettered my understanding of music theory and still has the potential to continuously improve it for the foreseeable future.
Notably, I can safely say that my understanding of chords and scales has not only improved, but I now have more confidence to incorporate better melodies into my productions.
Even when I’m producing music now I’ll have ToneGym open on my browser so that I can use their tools section to experiment with various progressions, chords, and scales.
In a similar fashion to SoundGym once again, ToneGym was at risk of becoming rather repetitive with their respectable, but fairly limited number of games. However this is something I can see being improved and expanded upon in the future.
Thanks to the array of instruments to choose from, which includes the likes of the Fentone, Xylophone, a selection of pianos, and plenty more, you can switch up the sound of your training to keep it fresh.
What I was extremely impressed with was ToneGym’s ‘Learn’ section. Split into three programs that cover ‘Music Theory Basics’, ‘Complete Music’, and ‘Orchestration’, they amount to a whopping 62 hours of tutorial-based learning.
Although they are not created originally by ToneGym, they are a collection of free tutorials and videos that’s been curated by music experts and educators.
Due to the very limited music theory knowledge that I had when I first tried out SoundGym, I ended up spending a couple of weeks utilizing the ‘Music Theory Basics’ section, really going through the basics so that I could apply myself to the games in a better fashion.
By watching videos, you will earn learning points. And if you acquire 15,000 of them, you can take a test for an official ToneGym certification (an acknowledgement of an exceptional educational and personal achievement).
I would highly recommend doing this if you don’t feel that your music theory knowledge is up to scratch. Not only will it help you in the long term, but it’ll also ensure that the time you spend on ToneGym is being spent in the best way possible.
The Platform – 9/10
When I reviewed SoundGym last year I gave the platform a 9.5. It would be unfair to give SoundGym much less, considering it has an extremely similar, incredibly user-friendly, and content-packed setup being once again hard to fault.
As well as carrying over the great website layout that they used on SoundGym, they’ve also incorporated the social spaces, championships, prizes, and ToneCoins.
These spaces act as forums for interacting with other users. You can join spaces that range from music feedback to ToneGym memes. They provide an online space to meet like-minded individuals and offer another avenue to improve yourself as a musician.
While the ToneCoins work in a very similar way to SoundGym’s equivalent, I was left disappointed with what you could spend your hard earnt cash on.
Unlike SoundGym, where you could use your coins to purchase sample packs, discount vouchers for LANDR mastering, and discounts of Hyperbits services, ToneGym currently only allows you to purchase extra virtual instruments to train with.
However, I did feel that this was the only real factor where ToneGym was considerably worse off than SoundGym.
Value For Money – 9/10
Whilst ToneGym isn’t free, it can actually be rather cheap depending on how you choose to pay for it.
If you opt to pay monthly, it’ll cost you $13.95 a month. However, if you want to pay for a year in one single payment it would only cost $59.95, which equates to just $4.99 a month.
Depending on how seriously you’re going to use ToneGym, you also have the option to pay a one-off $204 to have full access for the rest of your life.
With that said, I would advise trying that out first, dabbling in ToneGym for a little bit of time before to ensure that it’s right for you before you pay for it.
When it comes to teaching music in an intuitive and fun way, the creators behind ToneGym and SoundGym have hit the nail on the head. In my opinion, it’s well worth the money if you know you’re going to apply yourself to the content properly.
I’ll admit, I don’t think that it’s completely on the same level as SoundGym when it comes to value for money. This mainly comes down to the lack of truly great rewards that you can spend your coins on, but from a learning perspective, especially the ToneGym Tools section, I have to say that I learned even more from ToneGym.
Learning music theory is always something that I’ve put off due to it being daunting and quite frankly, unappealing or boring.
What ToneGym has done is make music theory fun and engaging – something that will seriously benefit all budding bedroom producers that exist in 2021 and beyond.