In following the mission of LearnLoveGuitar.com, this blog is intended to educate, inspire and make the journey of learning and loving to play the guitar as easy and enjoyable as possible. One way for this to happen is to share with you some of my experiences with the various online guitar lessons and learning software apps that are available. I will provide you with guidance on whether or not I think they’re worth your time and which types of students might benefit the most from what they have to offer.
Please note that I have zero affiliation with any of the companies or products referenced below and am providing you with these insights purely for your consideration and benefit. Here we go!
How Do Online Guitar Lessons and Guitar Learning Software Apps Work?
Like just about everything else in modern society, the internet has drastically changed the way we consume information, from cooking recipes to the daily news. So I am not at all surprised to see new online guitar learning platforms spring up all over the place. While many of them focus on different areas of guitar proficiency, from theory and scales to strumming patterns and songs, they all have several basic features in common.
- They all benefit from the available multi-media formats available on the internet. This includes annotated photos, videos and spoken narratives.
- When trying to master a particular technique or skill, you are able to see and hear “what good looks/sounds like” and then repeat that clip over and over until you are able to perform that guitar skill as good as shown on the video. This immediate and endless feedback loop is great at ensuring you are making forward progress and not forming any bad habits along the way.
- Many of the guitar learning platforms include some type of progress tracker so you can see where you are in your guitar learning journey. This is great to provide you with a context on what ground you have already covered and which steps still await you as you proceed to learn and improve your skills.
- In addition to progress trackers, many platforms make a game out of it. Similar to a video game, the software apps are sophisticated enough to “listen” to your playing through the device’s microphone, compare it against the perfect standard of what it should sound like, both in terms of pitch and rhythm, and then give you scores accordingly.
Which Type of Learning Style is Best Suited for Online Guitar Lessons?
Just like in a school or work setting, each individual has their own learning style. Some learners do better looking at something to understand it, while others prefer to listen in order to understand. An analogy of these differences is how people learn driving directions.
For example, if you tell me to turn left at the third stoplight, then turn right on Main Street, then merge onto freeway then exit at Fourth Avenue, then, then, then …….. I might be able to get to the destination, but I’ll be in trouble trying to get back home! However, if you show me a map of where I’m starting and where I’m trying to go, my brain will just “get it” and I’ll have no trouble getting their or returning home.
This example demonstrates my preferred learning mode using visual cues, rather than remembering something I’ve heard. What do you think is your preferred learning style?
The good news is that regardless of your answer, the online guitar learning software apps include both visual and audio instructions, so you’ll will be covered regardless of which method you prefer. And actually, I’ve found that the practice of both seeing and hearing something at the same time really helps it to sink-in to your brain more quickly with a greater likelihood of recalling the information when you need to.
Which Type of Personality is Best Suited for Online Guitar Lessons?
Unless you’re an identical twin, no two people in this world are perfectly alike. However, despite all of our individual personality differences, most people fall into one of two categories: introverts and extroverts. Introverts tend to prefer learning on their own and are usually a bit more analytical. Extroverts tend to prefer learning in groups and are usually a bit more social. Which one are you? And realize that it’s not an entirely binary choice. Most people fall somewhere in between but are closer to one end of the spectrum or the other.
The reason why this is important is that people who generally have more introverted personalities tend to thrive with independent study via online guitar software apps. They are usually self-motivated and love sitting in their bedroom or living room by themselves working to improve their skills. They can learn at their own pace and really dive into the subject matter to their hearts content.
That does not mean that extroverted people won’t do well with online learning, but to remain fully engaged, they may also want to add in some group lessons at a local community college, private lessons with a guitar instructor or simply play with and learn from friends who might be more experienced.
So in the end, the question is not “Do online guitar lessons work?”. The better question is, “Do online guitar lessons work for you?”.
Comparing Two Popular Products: Yousician and Fender Play
Yousician is a great product that can introduce a true beginner to the guitar. Equally effective for both acoustic and electric guitars, it has a very well-designed interface and is able to track your progress as you work your way through the lessons. Perhaps Yousician’s best feature is the ability to listen to you play, via the microphone in your phone, tablet or computer, and then provide you with feedback about which notes were played correctly or incorrectly, along with the proper timing and rhythm.
It has separate sections for both lead playing and rhythm playing along with another section devoted to music theory, as it applies to the guitar. You can repeat each tutorial, song and exercise over and over to improve your score and give you confidence that you’re ready to move on to the next challenge.
Yousician offers a free introductory start and then you can elect to pay a monthly or annual subscription. I’ve used this particular product to introduce guitar to my 8 year-old son, and he was able to easily navigate the menus, select a lesson to practice, and start jamming!
Fender Play is also perfectly suitable for first-time guitar players and can teach you on either an acoustic and electric guitar. The product takes a more traditional approach to teaching guitar. Rather than the video game style interface of Yousician, Fender Play relies more on professional guitarists being filmed as they describe various guitar playing techniques and theories.
They try to act as though they were a private guitar instructor sitting across from you in your living room. And based on the spectacular video and audio quality, they’ve done a pretty good job in creating the sense of a personal lesson made just for you. The various filming angles simulate your point of view, so when your eyes move from the Fender Play screen down to your own two hands on the guitar, you’ll know just what to do.
Fender Play tracks your progress against various levels and records how many chords, skills, songs, riffs and lessons you’ve learned along the way. It offers a 30-day free trial and then charges you on a monthly or annual basis.
Obviously, Fender knows guitars. And they have put a lot of effort into creating this tool which I’m confident you will find extremely helpful as you continue your guitar journey.
Conclusion: Are Online Guitar Lessons Right for You?
Because both of the online guitar learning platforms described above offer free trials, you really have nothing to lose in trying them, or any other online system that you find interesting. If you find that it is motivating you to pick up the guitar and play, and you find yourself improving a little bit after each lesson, then you’ve struck gold! On the other hand, if you find that online learning is not really for you, then you’ve lost nothing and now you know what other types of learning modes to try.
Either way, good luck to you!