A Better Way To Learn Music

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

I come to this topic from the point of view of both a consumer & provider of music lessons. I am a consumer in the sense that I had the lovely fortune in my student days to be taught by a quantity of the most respected musicians in their fields. A provider in that I have now been a teacher of musical instruments for over 35 years & have taught thousands of pupils in that time.

As a student I was once grateful for the fact that I was once able to tap-in to such matchless & valuable expertise & guidance. I always found it frustrating though, between one lesson & the next, that there would be no one on hand to offer help when I needed it the most.

As a teacher I quickly became aware of that exact same issue, but in reverse.

For any pupil who decides to learn to play an gizmo the format tends to be standard: one lesson per week for an agreed length of time. This lesson length would be perhaps most often in the region of half an hour or an hour. Think it or not, when I was once teaching in schools it wasn’t unusual for lessons only to last for 15 minutes, & even at that your lesson would be shared with other students! Such are the limitations of budgets in public schooling. You would only expect a substantial increase in direct contact time together with your teacher in case you were blessed & gifted to be studying at the highest level at a conservatoire.

Even in the work of this contact time it’s feasible, as in all ‘face to face at that moment’ teaching for things to be mis-heard, mis-interpreted, or basically not fully understood. That is valuable lesson time wasted for both student & teacher similar.

This is all nothing new. It’s been thus for as long as mankind has sought to make music. Even as far back as the late 1980’s I was once experimenting with producing courses of music instrumental lessons on videotape with a view to students being able to refer to them between lessons with their teacher. In fact, I was once even exploring the chance of the student & teacher never even having to meet head to head in order to make lessons more obtainable to more students – keep in mind those budget constraints? The issue was, at that time the expertise was in its infancy & the results were at best cumbersome.

Yet now, in the 21st century with the advent of the Net there’s better & more efficient ways to learn any aspect of music, whether it’s the gizmo of your choice, or basically how to read music. The combination of improved sound recording expertise together with quality video recording means that lessons can now be recorded & made obtainable to somebody at the click of a mouse. What’s more these lessons can be produced by the best in their field – somebody can now have that access to the best teaching that I was once blessed to get, but without having to attend a conservatoire.

In comparison with the cost of face-to-face lessons with such illustrious teachers the digital option also provides a way more affordable way of learning from the best, with digital courses costing a fraction of their face-to-face equivalents.

The issues of having to keep pace with a demanding specialist teacher have also been eliminated. Video courses mean that a student can go at their own pace. If a point is missed or an exercise is misunderstood it is a simple matter to rewind & go over it repeatedly if needs be. In a live, face-to-face lesson, the words, the imparting of knowledge is there but for a moment & then it is gone. In a video lesson it’s there for perpetuity, to be re-visited on a whim.

All of us have talent to a greater or lesser degree. For the gifted, learning to play in the midst of others presents no issue. For the less gifted it can equally be an embarrassing nightmare until your skills start to create. With video tuition, all of those issues are removed. Not only are you able to learn at your own pace, but you can also do it in the privacy of your own residence.

So, what are you able to learn in this way? Well, in the field of music the possibilities are limitless. There’s courses obtainable in all the popular instruments. When it comes to the guitar for example, as well as the basics you can pick to learn in whatever style takes your fancy, rock, classical, folk, rhythm & blues, jazz, country.

Not only instruments are covered. There’s courses obtainable to teach you recording & studio techniques, how to be a successful DJ, even down to the best way to get yourself known in the business & how to land that elusive contract.

As I say, the possibilities are limitless. It’s a case of pick your interest & then go out & have yourself some serious fun!

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