Thinking about taking online guitar lessons? Read on as online teacher Justine D. explains what type of student excels best with online lessons, what to expect, and more:
If you live in a rural area, play a difficult-to-find instrument, or are interested in playing a specific musical style, it may be hard to find a teacher in your area that fits your goals. Fortunately, the advent of the Internet and video-chatting technology have brought new ways for teachers and students to connect!
I’ve been teaching online guitar lessons for two years and have worked with students of all ages and all learning levels. Many of my beginning students are a little hesitant about online lessons, but once they know what to expect it becomes easier!
Why should you consider online guitar lessons?
- Learn in the comfort of your home. You won’t need to travel to your teacher’s studio! This saves you money on gas or transportation.
- Take lessons anywhere. All you need is an Internet-connected device and your guitar. If you want to continue your lessons while on vacation, you can!
- They’re affordable. Online guitar lessons are often slightly cheaper than in-person lessons. This is primarily because you will not be able to receive physical feedback or adjustments during your lessons.
Are online lessons right for me?
Online guitar lessons are great for students who can follow directions well and are independent. You should also feel comfortable making small changes in your hands and body and know your lefts from your rights.
This is especially important if you are just getting started out with guitar chords. Your teacher may need to give you specific directions about how to adjust how you’re holding your guitar.
Learning online also makes you dependent on your computer, tablet, and connection. Most video-chat issues, like lagging or freezing, are easily fixed by restarting the call, but if your connection is too slow it can hamper your musical progress.
How do online guitar lessons work?
Any video-chatting software will work for online guitar lessons, but most teachers will use Skype or Google Hangouts. Both of these programs let you video-chat from a computer, smartphone, or tablet and are free to use. Talk to your teacher to find out more about what he or she recommends.
After you’ve connected on your video-chatting software, you’ll see a big video of your teacher and a smaller one of yourself. Take a moment to look at the video you’re sending to make sure that both your left and right hand are in view! It’s important to have your guitar neck and where you’re strumming in the picture so your teacher can observe your playing.
If you know how to tune your guitar, feel free to do so before your lesson! If tuning is new to you, though, don’t worry: you can always ask your teacher to help you tune your guitar, just like an in-person lesson.
The exact format of your online guitar lesson will vary based on your teacher and your musical goals, but rest assured that you and your teacher will still be able to hear and see each other! I often play with my student at the same time, though I sometimes do ask students to play by themselves so I can really focus on what they’re playing.
Despite the physical distance, you and your teacher will still be able to look at the same music, chords, or other materials thanks to screensharing. Both Skype and Google Hangouts have this feature! I like to open music on my computer and share it with my student so I can use my mouse to indicate what we’re focusing on.
To get your learning materials and songs, your teacher will either email you files or links or recommend books or sheet music for you to purchase. Some of my students like to print out their materials, while others open their files on the computer and practice in front of their screen. It’s up to you!
Online guitar lessons are an affordable and convenient way to become a better guitar player! As long as your teacher can hear and see you well, the sky’s the limit. You’ll still be able to review music, tabulature, and chord progressions, get feedback on your guitar technique, and play duets together.
Just make sure to pay close attention to what your teacher has to say, especially if he or she is giving specific directions. It’s up to you to listen and make the right adjustments to how you’re holding or playing your instrument.
Good luck with your guitar playing!
Justine D. teaches guitar, bass guitar, upright bass, and music theory lessons in San Diego, CA, as well as online. She received a double major in in music and psychology at Kalamazoo College, and joined the TakeLessons team in 2011. Learn more about Justine here!
Photo by Jesus Solana