Why you should always use a music teacher
Throughout time there has always been discussion of whether one should learn music through the use of books or with the help of a music teacher. With the rise of the internet there were inevitably going to be even more options available to people with high quality content that’s out there for free.
In this video I’m going to take a quick look at the positives and negatives of each way of learning music.
Let’s start with seeing a music teacher in person. There are hundreds of different ways a teacher can benefit you. The biggest way is that the teacher will know you. They will know your name and they will be able to tailor each lesson to specifically fit you. One person’s speed and method of learning will be different to the next and a teacher can spread or condense any information to a level that suits you perfectly.
Teachers in person can also give you recommendations. Once they get to know you they will be able to recommend repertoire using their extensive knowledge of music that you might not have thought to learn. With the internet people have a natural tendency to want to learn the same things as everybody is exposed to the same videos, but a teacher can take you beyond this.
Another advantage of learning in person is that they can watch you and give you instant feedback. An online tutor will never know who is watching their content and whilst they will be able to show you general things they will never be able to get into the nitty gritty. By this I mean that exact angle that a learner’s student finger should be for example or exactly how they are holding the instrument right or wrong. Everybody’s fingers are different shapes and the angles and positions that they are able to achieve is different for each person. A teacher can see this and look at where a pupil might be going wrong and help them make micro adjustments that an online teacher will never be able to help with.
Most teachers are also performers and by visiting their lessons you are helping to support live music. I know many full time musicians who live for gigging and teach to pay the bills. That doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy teaching, but musicians have to do everything they possibly can to make it in this competitive business. Online platforms often take work away from musicians and if they can’t teach then they probably won’t be able to be a full-time musician. This has a knock on effect of reducing the talent on stage and diversity of music in the world. Venues could close or concerts could reduce in numbers simply because there aren’t enough musicians who can make a living in music because of the competition they face online. If you are a fan of a local professional musician who teaches, maybe have a lesson or two with them to keep them fed and keep them making the music you love.
Of course learning online has its benefits. Exposure to topics and ideas is a big part of a pupil’s learning process. They can watch a tutorial online and get a basic understanding before they can then go to a teacher for further explanation and application. That’s why I post my Beyond the Chords series and other online videos. I explain concepts and ideas as a teaser for people to then book my for lessons where I can expand on the details and work out a tailored lesson for the individual. I will never explain anything to it’s fullest as I want to leave the door open for people to go off and do more research using the aid of either myself or other professional music teachers.
Another upside to the internet is that there are hundreds of learning methods available at the fingertips. If you don’t like one method you can go and find another. The downside to this though is that anybody can be a music teacher and thus there is a lot of wrong information. The internet allows you to cross reference but this could take a while. Instead, visiting a music teacher who likely has multiple qualifications and degrees in music will be able to give you understanding of a concept in much simpler and clearer terms.
With online learning you can take videos at your own pace. With the ability to pause and rewatch videos you can revisit information until you understand. You can spend as long as you like with the free resources as appose to the 1 hour lessons. This, added with the fact that you don’t have to travel to access online learning, is the one big advantage that internet teachers have over real teachers. People would rather learn from an average Joe on the internet for free than pay for a professional musician who often has 20+ years of playing and training.