Learning guitar online is part of our daily life as modern musicians. Whether you are a professional guitarist or casual player, there are almost endless resources that could help you improve. Every technique and even famous song that you can think of has a lesson detailing it online.
However, too much information could divert your practice from focus and harm more than help. Also, something I learned after almost a decade of playing; not every lesson is a good one! Being a self-taught guitarist who has learned online and from professional musicians in person, I want to guide you in making your online learning experience more efficient.
Why learn guitar online?
The obvious question is; are there any other reasons for learning guitar online besides that it’s cheap or free?
Fortunately, there are plenty of other reasons why learning guitar online rather than with an in-person teacher can be at times more profitable.
Some of them are the following.
- You have access to the best guitar players in the world and can learn directly from them
- You are not dependent on the time schedules of anyone but yourself
- You have more space to develop your unique approach to guitar
- Software today offer lots of possibilities for practicing guitar on the go
You could also consider blending weekly guitar lessons with daily online ones. No set rule says you can’t do both!
How to learn guitar online more efficiently?
Like every instrument, if you put the hours behind practicing, then you will eventually get good at it, whether you learn in person or online. You should keep in mind some tips when learning online if you have decided to try and be a self-taught player.
- Set goals and make a schedule
The best thing about guitar teachers is that they keep their students focused by appointing tasks and goals.
While learning online, it’s your responsibility to set your own goals and stick to them. If you fail to do so, you could wander from video to video of different techniques and songs on YouTube and never actually get good at any of them.
Try to focus only on one thing at a time and stick to it until you feel confident enough to learn something else.
- The most famous teachers are not always the best.
Don’t learn from a guitar player’s lessons only because he is a great player. There are cases in which they might not be the best teachers, even though there’s no doubt their playing is superb.
Go through many teachers and stick with the ones that resonate more with you, even if they don’t have many views.
- Try music apps
You don’t always have to rely on guitar teachers and their videos. Today, music apps have advanced to a level where you can learn the fretboard and improve your ear from your phone.
No app will replace practice time with your guitar in hand; however, you “delegate” a part of practice while being on the road, on the bus, or practice anytime.
- Learn how to play, then learn the theory
Learning music theory online is a topic that sometimes “scares” guitarists only because they get lost in the many different lessons.
Modes, for instance, are a very confusing subject on which there are thousands of lessons that explain it differently. None of them are wrong. However, the approach is different.
My advice would be to first play the instrument at the level where theory helps you explain what you already can play. If you can play something, it will be much easier to understand its theory no matter the approach.
- Record yourself
Since there is no in-person teacher to listen to your mistakes, you must judge them, or others online can help. Try to record yourself, preferably on video, and find where you should improve.
If possible, send your recordings to other more skilled players to get some feedback.
- Try to avoid learning songs only by watching covers.
Spend time developing your ears the old-fashioned way; learn a song by ear as often as you can!
It’s perfectly fine to check out covers when you need to learn something fast, or it’s a tricky song. However, try to catch more of it just by listening. This way, you will train your ears and, in the meantime, learn new positions on the fretboard.
- Try to play with other people.
Even if you master all the techniques by yourself, playing with others is essential. Music is not meant to be played alone, and there is no better learning activity than jamming or sometimes just hanging around musicians.
Playing too much on a backing track that is mostly on a grid with perfect computer timing and no human feel might just leave you feeling naked when playing with others.
Final thoughts on learning guitar online
Ultimately others can only show you how to play; you do the learning yourself. The best thing you can do when learning guitar online is to figure out things yourself and experiment with all the possibilities until you make it sound right.