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Learning The Guitar - Traditional Methods Vs Learning Online

Oct 4, 2007
What I'd like to discuss today, is whether or not is it, a) viable, and b) better, to learn how to play the guitar by methods of learning online.

Obviously learning online has it's huge benefits (less cost, learn when you want etc.), but the real question is, will it give you as good, or better of a result then learning through traditional methods?

Hopefully today I can answer that question.

Learning The Guitar The Traditional Way

So, you've made the decision to learn the guitar, whether that be because you want to be in a band and rock in front of thousands of fans, or whether it is just a hobby and you would like to improve your skills... either way, you'll need to find someone to teach you.

Traditionally, you would go to a music teacher who would impart their knowledge onto you, and teach you all the guitar secrets that they know, and bring you up to speed. Now, to me, there are some blaring problems with doing this.

Problem #1 - High cost... if you have to pay someone to teach you how to play the guitar, chances are it is going to cost you an arm and a leg over the period of time that you are getting taught... which could be anywhere from 3 months to years. And at $50 a lesson, it isn't cheap.

Problem #2 - Limited knowledge... now, yes you might be learning from a teacher, but chances are they also teach the piano, the flute, the trumpet and so on... what does this mean? It means they don't have specialized knowledge, which means they won't be as good as someone who just plays the guitar 8 hours a day.

Problem #3 - Learning speed... you are limited by the number of classes that you attend, but you are also limited to the program that your teacher assigns to you. They will have a set program for their students that they take them through, and usually not deviating from this program. This means that your learning progress could be seriously slowed.

Now, with those problems in mind, lets take a look at the other road, which is to find a program yourself (typically online) and learning from that.

Learning The Guitar Through An Online Learning Program

These programs are usually written by professionals. They could be written by ex-lead guitarists of some seriously high class bands, or teachers that have made a name for themselves in the industry, and are now trying to release a program to reach a wider audience via the internet.

Let's look at the problems of going this road.

Problem #1 - Requires self motivation... by effectively taking on a 'home study course' in how to learn the guitar; it requires that you are a self starter. Why? Because the person who is going to push you to learn, is going to be yourself. You don't have a teacher you can go to who is going to kick your butt if you have been slacking off, you have to do it yourself. Not everybody can do this, so if you're not the kind of person who is a self starter, don't even bother with this kind of course.

Problem #2 - Picking the right course... there are many courses out there to learn the guitar, so it can be hard trying to find which ones are good, and which ones are a waste of time. The way you get around this, is to do your own research, check out review sites, find out about testimonials and customer reviews. Find out what consumers think that have already bought the program.

So there you have it.

It really comes down to this fact, if you're a self starter, then you'll love getting an online learning program. The pace at which you will learn will be drastically increased, since you'll be able to go at your own pace (be that fast or slow).

If you're not really a self starter, but want to learn, then chances are that you should go find a decent teacher that will keep you in line.

All I will say is this, do your research on the teacher as well... have they produced any 'stars'? Have they been a successful guitarist themselves in their career? Or are they just teaching as a 'job'?

Enjoy, and good luck with finding the right course or teacher.
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If you are looking to Learn Guitar or Play Guitar By Ear
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