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Should I Take Online or Private Guitar Lessons?

Last Updated: July 14, 2016 / by Helen Baker



When you first decide to take guitar lessons, you might be tempted, like most others, to look up your local guitar teacher and find out when they can fit you in. There is, of course, nothing wrong with this, but it does mean you've overlooked another option. Online guitar lessons...

Online lessons can give you the start you need, without nearly as much of the cost. They are also a great alternative for people who aren't able to travel or don't have any guitar teachers close enough to be convenient.

But, what are the cons of online guitar lessons? They exist of course, but so do they for face-to-face lessons. For each method, there are pros and cons which you should weigh up before you decide on one or the other. Here are some tips if you are exploring the possibility of taking guitar lessons and unsure of which method to pursue.

Face-to-Face Lessons

Lessons with a dedicated, one-on-one teacher can have a remarkable effect on your progress:

Pros

  • Tailored to suit you - Your teacher will more than likely evaluate all aspects of your like and background and then decide how best to proceed, Whether it be the frequency of your private guitar lessons or what goals you should set, if your teachers can see your progress (or lack thereof), he'll be able to advise you on how best to proceed.
  • Your teacher can correct you when you make a mistake - Naturally, your teacher will be watching you play and will instantly spot an error, even if it's something as simple as you posture. And because he's right there, he can correct it before it becomes a bad habit.
  • You're more likely to go - When you have a private guitar lesson with a teacher, it's not as easy to shrug off as forgetting to watch an online lesson. Because of this, you'll think twice about skipping a lesson just because you're a little tired after work or aren't in the mood.

Cons

  • Can be very expensive -This depends on the teacher of course, but most one on one music lessons are pricey due to the fact that they are charged by the hour. Musicians are highly skilled and charge accordingly, as they should, but this can put a serious dent in your wallet.
  • You have to travel - This can be especially vexing if you have to leave during rush hour or if the weather is bad. It can be very tempting to skip simply because of this reason, especially for those who tend towards introversion.
  • Availability - The best music teachers are generally booked up. This means you could be a waiting list for a while or you won't be able to have your guitar lessons as frequently as you'd like.

Online Lessons

Online lessons usually take the form of video tutorials or even platforms like Skype, which can be very informative and quite intensive depending on the duration and level.

Pros

  • Less expensive - Online guitar lessons are significantly less expensive, with some of them even having monthly subscriptions so you don't have to worry about missing a few lessons, or doing a few extra for that matter.
  • Easier to fit into your schedule - Because you get to take the l;lessons whenever you like, even the dead of night provided you don't wake the neighbors, it's much easier to find the time to so them. 
  • You can repeat lessons - If you're not sure you understood a lesson, or you'd simply like to review what you've already learned, you simply press play again. And again. And again. There's no limit to how many time you can take a lesson.
  • More resources - Online resources will often give you more than just the barebones lessons. These extras could take the form of discounts, links to free sheet music, extra tutorials, and even competitions.

Cons

  • It can be hard to focus - Because you're generally taking these guitar lessons at home, there are plenty of things to distract you. Kids, dogs, housemates, or even just your urge to go and get a snack from the kitchen.
  • No direct feedback - Unless you're communicating via a live call,  there's nobody to watch you play and spot what you're getting right or wrong. This can lead to bad habits developing.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, there are bonuses to both methods and you'll hear plenty of arguments both for and against online guitar lessons. But if you have the choice between online lessons or no lessons, you'll certainly learn more from the former, even it is a bit distracted or not as often as you'd like.

Online guitar lessons can also be a great way to find out if playing the guitar is for you before you seek out a teacher and commit to weekly lessons, potentially at great expense. Give a few online guitar lessons a try, you may just find you're happy with this method when you're first starting out.


About the Author: Helen Baker

I am a freelance teacher and writer based in Ann Arbor, MI. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, I spent some time teaching English in Paris and, thereafter, returned to Ann Arbor where I was involved both in the media and academics. Currently I am a stay at home mom, working as a freelance writer and teacher. I love all my guitars and I also have an affinity towards old grand pianos. I love singing, traveling, reading, writing, watching films and spending quality time with my husband.


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