Go online! The advantages and disadvantages of digital music lessons
Digital music lessons: useful or useless?
In 2020, musicians in particular will face a tough test. No more gigs, no more fat video shoots, no more music or singing lessons. And they could have used all that free time so well to finally learn some wild instrument. Jew’s harp, for example. Fortunately, you still have online lessons. But is it really an alternative to live lessons? Opinions vary widely on the subject. We highlight the pros and cons for you and take a look at a few real insider tips.
Advantages of online music lessons:
Online music schools are usually less expensive
Low barrier to entry
No fixed lesson times
Flexible use from home, practically all over the world
Content and exercises can be chosen according to your own taste
Usually no personal feedback from teachers
Your self-discipline is required here
Hardly any consideration of personal strengths and weaknesses
No contact with other musicians
What forms of online music lessons are there?
Many private musicians offer free and paid lessons on YouTube in the form of videos. Take guitar lessons, for example. The tutorials of guitarist Christian Konrad are incredibly successful. He is a virtuoso on the guitar and offers his vast knowledge to the community, sometimes for free. Of course, this is a different form of learning than face-to-face lessons, since you can’t ask any questions in between and are generally not taught individually. Also, your finger technique can not be corrected, which is important for beginners. But for the very first start not bad. And also the online music teachers live from the fact that you then book lessons or packages with them.
Apps for tablets, smartphones and Co.
Here, too, the lessons are mostly taught via videos that have been edited with additional information. Some apps try to solve the lack of direct feedback with technical tricks. For example, there are apps, such as Yousician, that analyze what you play via microphone or MIDI and give an assessment of it. The technical possibilities here have become quite sophisticated. Ultimately, however, even a modern app can never address your personal strengths and weaknesses as individually as a good teacher can. The progress you make depends not only on whether you played the right notes, but also on the technique you used and how that fits in with your personal goals.
Paid online music schools
There is now a wide selection in this area as well. Unlike YouTube, online music schools usually charge a subscription fee, but offer much more in return. With quality online music schools, you get a structured offering with a clear “roadmap” to success. How your lessons are structured and presented varies from offer to offer. Often you can choose from several courses for beginners and advanced students.
Many online music schools also offer some flexibility in the choice of pieces or musical styles. The lessons are mostly tutorial, where you not only watch the teachers, but also get additional information, for example, about tablatures or sheet music.
Thomann Music Store
The Thomann music store, which is probably known to most musicians, does something similar. Their new offer is called music2me and immediately after its release in spring 202o, it triggered a shitstorm among private online teachers and online music schools. The reason is their unbeatable 3 month subscription for musicians. The Thomann music store has come up with online courses for newcomers and advanced players for the most common musical instruments, which are designed to help them learn and improve their skills. The whole package costs a measly 39.00 euros. Over 150 instructional videos are shown in English and German, from virtually all genres of music, including sheet music. In addition, you can always reach a teacher from “music2me” if you have any questions.
What does the pro say?
Marius Stieler is an online guitar teacher from Braunschweig. He says:
“Online courses are great for offering more people access to positive content that might not be possible on a regular basis, in terms of budget, distance and availability of the instructor(s). Online music lessons today are definitely more than just video collections to play along with. When you’ve found the best offerings, they’re usually well-structured, presented in a high-quality manner, and offer a clear concept that follows best practices. I’m also a big fan of free time management and having the option to learn at your own pace. Finally, the videos can be paused and repeated at any time. They allow the musician to practice anytime and anywhere and are less expensive than traditional lessons. Especially for trying out an instrument without obligation or for busy people, they are therefore a real alternative today.
However, online music lessons cannot yet compete with face-to-face music lessons in two very important respects: direct, individual feedback on your learning success and motivation, and the development of your playing technique. It remains superficial. Details that are ultimately crucial in performance cannot be fully clarified. But it is always about the question: What do I want from the lessons? Online lessons are perfect for learning chord progressions, support posture for singing or a movement sequence for drumming. But if it’s more about sophisticated technique, emotion, philosophy, and getting to the essence of what you’re exploring, I think face-to-face lessons are essential.”
And now, have fun searching and finding! And have fun practicing!