Thanks to the internet, learning a new skill is easier than it ever has been. From playing piano to baking bread, as long as you have a computer you can learn anything.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Ronni.

Ronni: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So, when I was a kid, if you wanted to learn something new, you had to ask your parents or teachers, which usually meant you had to find a class or a tutor or some sort of private teacher. And this meant that your parents would have to not only drive you to and from a class, but they also had to pay a lot of money for it. And that can get expensive, especially my family where you had a ton of kids. Right? In fact, I remember, I think it was every summer. No, it was every season. Our city would send us a catalog of classes your county offered. Oh yeah. Do you remember those? Maybe they still have them.

Ronni: I think they still might have them in some places they did in California when I was there, but maybe because they had more classes offered. I remember one here.

Brittany: But still, they’re expensive. And again, if you have a lot of kids, that adds up. So, I was a singer as a kid, and I used to beg my parents for private voice lessons, but their voice lessons were very, very expensive. But they did give ’em to me for a little bit, so they had to drive me there, but they also had to pay, it was like hundreds of dollars a month, and they didn’t pay for my other siblings. So, I think there was a little bit, but some of them got different things. Like my sister got piano, my brothers were in wrestling and did sports. So, Ronni, did you take any classes or play any sports that your parents had to pay for and drive you to when you were a kid?

Ronni: I did. I think as a kid, my biggest thing that I did was I did ballet for many years, And then I did actually take voice lessons for a very short amount of time, and I took violin lessons for a short amount of time too. I did it last in either of those, but I did ballet for a long time.

Brittany: How many years did you do ballet?

Ronni: I don’t know, six, seven, maybe not that long. I stopped. I started when I was little preschool age, and then I stopped basically when I should have gone onto a point, and then It became serious when I stopped.

Brittany: And the point is when you get up on your tippy toes, right? Yes. And there’s like wood on the bottom of the shoes. I’ve seen how much that hurts ballerina’s feet. It’s so weird to watch at that point.

Ronni: That’s when you’re usually at the serious level where you really want to pursue it as a real hobby.

Brittany: Okay. Well, Ronni, you and I are older than our listeners, and so this was way back before the internet, and that’s why I mentioned when we took classes, I had to get that catalog that my mom would have to look at. And it’s funny, it wasn’t even like you could call a number. You had to mail in a check. It was so old school. So, I remember I took ice skating ones for a month, and yeah, my mom had to fill out the form. And let me just tell you, I was not made to be an ice skater. That was not my skill. I am athletically skilled, so, I like to dance, but I was never good. The balance of the ice skates, it was just a lot. So, my parents did pay for that, but I failed them on that one. And I remember if you wanted to even find a voice teacher, let’s say you wanted to take guitar lessons, you had to go to a local music store and there would be flyers for music lessons. I remember teachers would put that up. So, there was also a problem of you couldn’t really get connected to people who could teach you. So, there was a disconnect there. So, not only was it expensive, which creates a barrier to entry when you want to do these things, but also you had to find somebody who had that skill. And let’s say it was something weird. Let’s say you wanted to learn to speak Korean. You would have to go find someone. There were a lot of problems or just something that isn’t as common as maybe taking violin or taking piano. So, let’s fast forward to today. Now, Ronni, during the pandemic, a lot of people had a lot of spare time. And so, I know you have kids, so it might not have been the same because you also had to fill your kids’ spare time. But did you or your kids, did you guys, any of you learn a new skill over the pandemic?

Ronni: I spent a lot of time gardening. Okay. Yeah. Maybe not learning a new skill, but being able to finally practice the new skill.

Brittany: You had the Yeah, you’re home more too. Yeah. That’s great. Was that in California?

Ronni: In California.

Brittany: Okay. That’s fun. So, I got really, really bored. I was working alone all day. It was before I got my cat, who’s my favorite. So, it was like no one in my house. I was working all day on the computer. And let me tell you guys that can get really boring and real quiet real quick. I like to talk and I like to be social. I got what’s called cabin fever. That’s what they used to call it when you were stuck. If you were a sailor and you were stuck on a ship for weeks or months at a time and you were in the cabin and you’d get like, I can’t be here anymore. That’s what it felt like for me. I decided, you know what? I have all this time, I’m going to learn to do something new. And I’ve always had a gift for music, so I can play by ear a lot of instruments, but not super well. I can’t get up and be a concert pianist, but I can pick up pretty much any instrument and learn how to play the melody. So, I was like, you know what? I’m going to expand this because I’m a singer. And I thought it would be really great if I could play the piano while I sang. So instead of having to find someone to play the piano for me to sing to. So, I decided I wanted to do that. Now, I couldn’t find anyone offering in-person piano classes, obviously at the time because COVID was scaring everybody from being around people. So, I did what I think a lot of people do, and I hopped on YouTube. Or actually, first I just hopped on Google and I said, I put in the song I wanted to learn. At the time I was learning a lot of music from The Greatest Showman. I love that movie. Oh, I love what we say. It’s so good. So, I would type in Greatest Showman piano tutorials. I spent a lot of time watching those. It was great. These pianists and these teachers would just put all, they would just teach lessons on YouTube and I didn’t have to pay any for it or anything for it. And first I started with very simple songs, and then I was able to move on to more harder songs and more harder songs. And that was almost three years ago. And I have gotten so much better. And I think the best part about it is how much joy it brings me to be able to play the piano, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, is to be able to play it well. And I’m not the best piano player. I won’t be performing recitals, but I like to, it just brings me joy again. I like to play the piano and I like to sing. It makes me very happy and I didn’t have to pay a thing for it. So, really all I had to do was be willing to learn. So, I have to ask, and this doesn’t have to even be a musical instrument. It could be science or something. Have you ever learned anything on YouTube, Ronni, or your kids?

Ronni: Well, it’s funny that you mentioned piano actually, because it reminded me that I think it was around the pandemic time, I decided that I really wanted to learn to play piano too, or maybe it was right before the pandemic and it carried over into it. So, I got an inexpensive keyboard, and then I was watching not just YouTube videos, but signing up for a cheap piano app. And so learning how to play piano that way. So, I have not put in as much practice as it sounds that you have, unfortunately. But I think that’s great because I also was learning to play the piano. But as far as other things, right now, I’ve actually been watching a lot of YouTube with yoga. So, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga. Yoga, I’ve been doing yoga at home. And so I can put on the video when I can’t make it to an actual class. And so that’s been something that’s been really cool to be able to do. And actually, it’s free to watch YouTube videos. So, I am kind of thinking, why am I paying for a studio membership?

Brittany: I never pay for class. I pay for the gym to go running. I don’t have a treadmill, but I will never pay for yoga or Pilates. You can just go on YouTube and it’s there.

Ronni: The only reason why I like paying is because I really enjoy the hot yoga classes. And so I like going when they have the room steamed up, and that’s not something I can replicate at home. So, right now, that’s the only reason why I’m paying.

Brittany: That makes complete sense. Well, I think you bring up a good point. All the different things you can learn on YouTube, and that’s really what I want to talk about today all the different skills you can learn. So, I’ll just share a few more that I learned. I’ve gotten really into baking bread.

Ronni: Do you do sourdough or just regular?

Brittany: I do sourdough. And so you have to make sourdough is really cool because, unlike other bread where you have to use yeast, which I’m not good at using the yeast, I don’t know why sourdough is made it’s called a sourdough starter and you have to feed it flour every day. It’s like a pet kind of.

Ronni: I was just going to say that. Yeah, it’s like a little pet in your fridge.

Brittany: It’s a little pet. It’s a fun, in fact, guys, if you’re looking for a fun science experiment to do at home, making a sourdough starter is such a good idea because it’s also a little bit of science because baking is science. That’s the one form of science I really enjoy. So, I’ve been learning how to bake bread, and I’ve done that primarily by watching YouTube videos. I also tried to learn to decorate cakes. As it turns out, I watched the Great British Baking Show. I’m not good at decorating cake. I love to bake, but my baking goods are never pretty. They’re always kind of ugly, but they still think.

Ronni: You should watch, what’s that show? Is it Cake? Is that the name of the show?

Brittany: Really cool designs. And it’s like, is this real, yeah, those are really cool.

Ronni: Into it.

Brittany: That is so fun. So, I’ve also learned to dance, do certain kindS of dances. I was like, oh, that would be fun. And so I don’t pay for voice lessons anymore, but I still need to do warmups and stuff. And I don’t have a voice teacher anymore. So, I’ve also been getting using a voice teacher who’s on YouTube to do my warmups.

Ronni: Really? Do you do voice lessons through YouTube?

Brittany: You can now, obviously with something like that, and even with piano, the one thing you’re missing is the feedback, right? So that’s one thing you don’t get. I have so many years of voice lessons at this point. I can kind of be like, okay, I know what I did wrong if this doesn’t sound right. So, that’s going to be one thing where I think if you don’t already have some experience, then you’re not going to get the feedback. But still with the warmups, it’s great. And a lot of times, I’ll tell you, if it sounds like this, you’re doing it wrong. So, I think you can still learn. I think it’s still very possible. So, yeah, you can do voice lessons on there. And my favorite thing I learned is, I’ve talked about this before. I don’t like math guys. I’m not a big math person, but I decided a couple, this was eight years ago now, that I wanted to just learn math. And there’s this teacher who uploaded a college professor who uploaded all his lectures for each different course. So, Algebra One.

Ronni: What’s the name of the professor?

Brittany: Noah? I should find out. It’s been so many years, I forgot. But he was just this adorable young father and a young guy just married, had little babies at home, and he was just such a nice guy and his class loved him. And I’ll tell you, that was the only time in my life I remember. And I don’t even remember what a matrix is in math anymore, guys. But I remember I was doing matrices for fun. I remember I was sitting and understanding math for the first time in my life, and so I should do that again as a hobby. So, it was really cool. So, I just think it’s just to wind things down here. One of my favorite things about the internet is that anybody can learn a skill no matter what that skill is and all they have to do is have internet access, which most of us, if not all of us have. Or you can go to a Starbucks or a library and get it. So, anything is possible these days. So, it’s taking away what they used to call a barrier to entry. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a class to start doing something. And I just think that’s so cool. And I think it’s brought so much joy to my life. I think it brought so much joy to people during the pandemic when they didn’t have a lot they could do because we were all stuck in our houses. So, I just think let’s take a moment to marvel at how cool it is that we can do anything thanks to primarily, we talked about YouTube today, but Khan Academy teaches things. There’s all these different resources online. So, I just think that’s really cool. So, we’ll leave it there and tell us what skills you’re learning. I would love to know if this inspired you at all. And as always, guys, don’t forget to like and subscribe, and share the podcast. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Ronni: All right, see you soon.