So you’ve heard about online guitar lessons but you’re not convinced they’re right for you? Guitar teacher Edward B. shares the benefits and drawbacks he has learned from teaching live online lessons…
Live online guitar lessons are filling a much-needed gap in society’s need for lessons, especially for students in rural areas who don’t have access to music teachers, and busy students who have trouble fitting lessons into their schedules. I’ve given guitar lessons quite successfully via Skype and Google Hangouts, and have found this method of teaching benefits students in the following ways:
I believe it is better to have Skype lessons with an excellent teacher than it is to have in-person lessons with a mediocre teacher. Searching for a guitar teacher online gives you even more options to choose from since you’re not restricted to your small local region.
You don’t have to fight traffic to get to your guitar teacher’s studio. Also, when a student is five or ten minutes late, I give them a courtesy call in case they forgot. But if they live 15 minutes away and they have a 30 minute lesson, it’s hardly worth it for them to come late. Taking lessons online means no missed lessons due to forgetfulness since the student and teacher can connect 30 seconds after the courtesy call.
There are more options for choosing the best day and time for the lesson when you look at all the teachers available online versus just the teachers in your local area.
Convenience of Recording Lessons
While students always have the option to record their face-to-face lessons, that almost never happens (at least, in the history of my teaching). But you can easily record Skype and Google+ lessons for review at a later time with software like Evaer and Super Tin Tin, or for audio only: Pamela MP3 Skype, or RecorderVodBurner.
While face-to-face students must drive home before practicing what they learned, online students can practice immediately after the lesson when ideas are fresh. The first practice session will always be of higher quality when it is done immediately after the lesson than if it is done the next day, and the first practice session is the most important session of the entire week.
You can warm up right before your lesson, only stopping seconds before the lesson begins. This lets you show off your best playing to your teacher each week instead of starting rusty.
Increased Student Performance
Students actually spend more time performing during distance lessons than in face-to-face lessons.
Don’t Have To Be In The Same Room
You won’t need to cancel lessons because you had the flu two days before, because during online lessons you can’t pass illness on to your teacher.
Transferring Instructional Music Files
I can simply email mp3 audios and screenshare or email music documents.
Of course there are also a few drawbacks to choosing online guitar lessons…
No Physical Touch
Sometimes the most efficient way to achieve technical results with a student is to physically manipulate their wrists, fingers, elbows, etc. while their hands are on the strings. Your online guitar teacher won’t be able to give you physical adjustments if needed.
Dependent Upon Internet Connection
The student and teacher must both have a fast Internet connection, and even if they do, sometimes there are days when Internet backbones are lagging, ISPs are having trouble, etc., although that’s a rare occurrence. Glitches still happen sometimes with Skype and Google Hangouts but seem to be happening less as the technology develops.
Even with a fast Internet connection, sound quality does not resemble the quality of a CD or the quality of hearing the student in person. Having said that, I feel that I’m still able to judge tone quality acceptably well.
Looking From a Different Angle
Sometimes (but not very often), I’ll walk to the other side of the student in order to see what their hands look like from the other side, in cases where I have to look specifically at the left hand position. Since I can’t do that in an online guitar lesson, students have to reposition their webcams.
Students may be more distracted at home by noises made by siblings, animals, neighbors, etc, than they would be at a teacher’s studio.
All things considered, I believe there are effective ways of working around these issues.
Interested in trying online guitar lessons? Find a great guitar teacher online now!
Edward B. has a degree in Guitar Performance and owns and operates his own private instruction studio in Wailuku, HI. He has over 25 years of performing and professional teaching experience and is currently an instructor for the University of Hawaii and The Maui Music Conservatory. Learn more about Edward here!
Photo by sean dreilinger