I’ve often been handed over this particular question (the question of the above topic) like a well-cooked piece of steak from friends, students and even colleagues. This comparison is not one that can easily be said a quick “yes” or “no” to. When it comes to learning guitar online or learning guitar face-to-face with a physical tutor, many factors have to be taken into consideration in order to decide which one works best for individuals – different strokes for different folks, yunno.
Everything that has an advantage, most probably has a disadvantage too, the issue of deciding which method of guitar tutorial is best, isn’t left out. In this article we will take a quick look at some of the pros and cons of both online guitar lessons and face-to-face guitar lessons. Since this article intends to achieve ultimate understandability by both the learned and the layman alike, let’s define briefly what both terms mean:
Online guitar lessons: This method of learning guitar is achieved entirely from the internet; the guitar lessons, the guitar teacher, the steps and practices and every other thing is accessed on the internet via YouTube or other guitar learning websites. There is NO physical involvement or interaction with a teacher, it’s just you and your guitar.
Face-to-face guitar lessons: A physical teacher is involved to teach you everything you need to know step-by-step, you either go over to their class, studio, home or wherever else they deem fit, or they come over to yours – depending on the agreement and arrangement you both have had.
Now that we have a proper heads up on what both terms mean, let’s head over to the topic of the day:
COMPARISON BETWEEN ONLINE AND FACE-TO-FACE GUITAR LESSONS
- BEGINNER-STAGE CONFUSION: With the advent of the internet, you would get swarmed with the thousands of videos available on YouTube and other websites and it is quite easy to get overwhelmed and confused. Everyone is teaching, but no one is really teaching! Ugh! Today, you find a video that says, “easy way to…” and tomorrow another video says, “beginner steps on how to…”. As a beginner guitar player, it is very tempting for you to jump from one video to another without seeing anyone through or completing that given course. It is also easy to dump one video and move on to the next one just because you tag it “difficult”. But with a physical tutor, you’ll get the advantage of a step-by-step process of playing the guitar. There is a minimum experience of confusion, and even if there is, questions can be asked as often and as many times as possible to gain clarity.
- MOTIVATION: Everyone knows how hard it is to get motivated as a guitar player especially as a beginner. This is one major area where face-to-face learning favours online learning; the level of one-one-one interaction between you and your teacher cannot be overemphasized. You have a teacher to motivate you, cheer you up, counsel you and even do a follow up on you from time to time to ensure that you are keeping up to your regularly scheduled practice time unlike with online learning where there’s no one to motivate or cheer you on about your progress or learning speed. Even if you default and lag behind in practice, no one actually cares because no one watches, so a 100% of your motivation is entirely up to you and maybe family and friends around (if you have really nice ones, lol).
- COST: If you’re on a budget, or are trying to cut cost or expenses somehow, then you should definitely go for online guitar lessons. If you calculate the cost of getting a physical teacher plus the cost of transportation to the location of the class and compare it to the cost of online lessons, the difference is mind-blowing! The cost of buying a course online is only about a quarter of the cost of getting a physical tutor or registering for physical classes. Online guitar courses cost approximately $15 to $30 monthly while a physical tutor charges up to $90 to $170 per month for a one lesson per week class.
- MOTIVE: What is your aim or purpose of learning the guitar? For pleasure? To show off? To be able to play a few songs? To take up guitar playing as a lifelong music career? If you answered yes to the first three questions, then getting a physical tutor is not for you. I mean, what is the whole point of spending so much money in learning an instrument just for the sake of learning it? But if you answered yes to the last question, then you can begin to consider and weigh your options of a physical tutor.
- CORRECTION: Beginner guitarists are prone to developing bad habits, bad postures and bad placement of the instrument when they just begin learning. Getting a physical tutor will help correct all or most of these bad habits’ formation. He/she would help you align your back, shoulders, feet and fingers to the guitar which would help balance your posture and make it easier for you to learn and also teach you correct finger placement for easy chord maneuverability. If there are any mistakes, your physical teacher would see or hear it spot-on, take note of it and correct you immediately unlike online classes where you can sit as you like, slouch or bend over your guitar, lean on one side of your body and have an irregular grip on your guitar neck without anyone having to see it or correct you. Even if you strike a wrong note or hold your chords with the wrong fingering, no one is there to notice it and bring you back into line. You could end up developing bad habits that may be difficult or almost impossible to correct in the future.
- UNLIMITED TIME AND ACCESS: With online classes, all you need is a stable internet connection and your guitar and you’re good to go. Physical tutors are limited; they do not automatically appear during your spare time, neither do they stay with you 24/7, most of them are available once or twice in a week for about an hour or so. With good internet available, you can stream as much as you want and have unlimited time and access to unlimited videos and lessons. Visiting your lessons as often as you can instead of just sitting at home waiting to learn once or twice a week with a paid teacher, would help to speed up your learning process.
- FLEXIBILITY: Taking guitar courses online are much more flexible compared to having a physical tutor. You can rewind, pause, go over, speed up, slow down, repeat over and again and watch your videos as many times as you want to, till you have perfected that lesson and are good to go with it. But no matter how skilled or good your physical tutor is, they cannot be that patient with you, remember they only have a limited amount of time to spend with you and they would like to cover up as much ground as they can because they are being paid for it. This restricts you from taking your time to carefully learn and practice while they are there with you, except of course you have enough discipling to do it on your own even when they are not there. With online lessons too, you can go over a topic you treated a couple of weeks ago, but it may be difficult to retake a lesson you ought to have “outgrown” with your physical teacher. Online lessons are flexible also because they afford you access to more than one teacher at a time; you get pooled knowledge from various online guitar teachers instead of relying solely on the “one sided perspective” of your one-on-one guitar. There are different ways to achieve one thing when it comes to playing guitar, and who knows, one out of the several ways explained online might just be easier for you and work for you.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
Truthfully, there are many upsides and downsides to learning the guitar online and learning physically with a teacher, you have to weigh your options like time and availability, convenience, your budget, motive behind learning the guitar etc. This topic of comparison is majorly targeted at beginner guitarists because I believe that once you have passed the beginner stage, online lessons should be the next option for you as you do not have to worry about wrong finger or body placement, beginner stage confusion, motivation, etc. More so, the courses online for intermediate and advanced guitar players are narrowed down and limited, there’s not so much options to pick from that would leave you confused as compared to the numerous amount of beginner guitar videos we have scattered all over the internet.
Always remember that: Whatever option you end up going for, online or face-to-face tutelage, the major point to note is to keep being disciplined and don’t stop practicing – this is something that neither a teacher nor the internet can help you with. At the end of the day, the best motivation to ever have that will amount to anything productive is the one that you give yourself – SELF-MOTIVATION.
Do you have other points of comparison between online and one-on-one learning that is not mentioned here? Kindly share with us in the comment section below.???