Meri’s Musical Musings

Why software, video, and online music lessons (eg: Youtube) are a waste of time–and money!

Posted on: July 21, 2012

You may have seen several or many people offering software, video, or online lessons on musical instruments, usually piano, sometimes guitar, but other instruments once in a while as well, which many claim that hiring a teacher is a waste of time and money, claiming that online lessons are just as effective, or even more so. I am here to explain why those online lessons are the real ones wasting your time and money!

First, those online courses provide little to no actual material, often not even a method book to work out of if the student is a beginner, and the student is dependent on using the video teacher’s own materials or none at all!

Second, many of those teachers offering online musical instrument lessons, especially those offered for beginners,  have poor technique and/or poor understanding of pedagogy and how humans learn, frequently both.

Third, an online teacher cannot help you make adjustments to your playing technique to improve student’s playing, especially if it requires touching the student in certain places to make the necessary adjustments.

Fourth, an online teacher cannot provide physical manipulatives directly to help students understand how to play, which a teacher who teaches one on one has those tools that will help the student easily at hand.

Fifth, online teachers cannot suggest supplementary materials, and/or not be able to provide them for you very easily, either through purchasing them or getting them from a large public or university library. With many students rarely if ever going to music stores that are comprehensive in their offerings, this is a big downside.

Sixth, many online teachers only offer you the skills to play only one piece, for example, there are quite a few online lessons on how to play Beethoven’s Fur Elise, without building on a foundation of technique and music reading skills for example.

Finally, it is difficult to ask an online teacher questions about the material, especially if one or both parties do not have a VoiP (voice over Internet Protocol) service such as Skype or is more than two or three time zones away. And if the lessons are not provided over such a service (such as Youtube lessons) questions are extremely difficult to ask.

Bottom line: you’re paying the extra money for in-person lessons to build a fine foundation to play many pieces, the ability to play with efficient technique, the ability to provide you with resources either purchased or can be accessed through libraries in your area, to have your questions answered, and more.

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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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