DVD/online lessons vs live learning. Christian teacher vs mainstream. A conversation.

DVD/online lessons vs live learning. Christian teacher vs mainstream. A conversation.

Is live learning really better?

We daily get emails at the office asking for recommendations on instrument teachers.

Now, as Musicademy started off as a live local music school and Andy had worked extensively as a peripatetic teacher in schools, we are pretty sympathetic with the perception that a real live tutor is the best and we do still provide a limited number of live lessons. But we’ve worked very hard over the years to provide a far more affordable alternative that even (we believe) has several advantages over face to face instruction. Of course you never normally get to take your music teacher home with you to help you practice or to again go over that passage you didn’t quite get right in the lesson. And of course as we specialise in worship-focussed instruction, that’s a clear advantage to musicians that want to play worship music in church. It can be hard to find a real live tutor, especially in a schools environment, that can teach worship music.

But we’d be interested in your views on the DVD/online lessons vs live learning debate and your experience of learning under Christian or mainstream teachers. To kick it off here is a conversation we’ve been having with Tim Jones:

Hi all, I hope you can help me.

My son Michael (11) has been playing guitar for about 2 and a half years. He’s naturally very gifted and picks up techniques very quickly. He is now on the worship team rota at our church, Bromsgrove Baptist, and also plays at school for various events. He is also about to do his grade 4 piano. The problem is that he hasn’t had a regular guitar teacher for over a year, and has been picking things up here and there. He’s really keen on improving his range of techniques, like alternative positions for chords, more advanced chords like Am7+9 and so on. He’s interested in lead guitar techniques as well. Just anything to progress him as an all round guitarist. There are opportunities for lessons at school, however, Michael says that the people he knows at school who do have them don’t seem to be making much progress. Also, he’d really like a Christian teacher. Do you have any advice? Do you know of any guitar teachers in our area, and if so, could you put us in touch? Any help would be greatly received. I don’t want Michael to get to the point of frustration where he gives up.

Andy replied:

Hi Tim.

Offhand we don’t know of any teachers in your area. If you like we’re happy to post this message on our Facebook page as some other folk might know someone locally to you. However, we deliberately created our Intermediate Guitar Courses for people who wanted Worship focussed lessons but don’t have a teacher to hand. If he’s picking things up quite quickly the Intermediate Electric Course could work really well for him. Most of our courses are designed for people from senior school age upwards and Intermediate Electric starts at a point to help acoustic guitarists move across into lead guitar techniques that are pertinent to a worship band setting. So there is plenty of electric guitar voiced chords in different keys, classic soloing ideas based around pentatonic and major scales, double stops and two note harmony ideas, exploring the fret board using the CAGED system etc etc but everything is based around current worship songs and how to apply those techniques as a well rounded worship band electric guitarist. If you click on the link there is a trailer video showing some of the specifics. If he works well with it, it will probably take him a year or two to properly work through all these ideas and integrate them into his playing. Hope this helps.


Tim came back to us with this:

Thanks for the advice. I already have some Musicademy resources from when I worked at Integrity Provident. It’s great material and we’ll use it again, but I’m sure you agree that it’s no substitute for a real teacher. If you don’t mind posting my message on your page I’d be really grateful. Many thanks for your help. Tim

We’ve posted the message on our page (and we’ve limit the reach of that post to the local area so that people elsewhere in the world aren’t inundated with a discussion about guitar teachers in Bromsgrove). But it got us thinking about the statement that there is “No substitute for a real teacher”. IN an age of increased online learning and with how-to guides for everything on YouTube growing rapidly do you agree? And even if you do, is $90 (£70) for a DVD set that covers what a year of one to one teaching good value? We reckon the equivalent price in one to one teaching would be at 10-15 times the price.