I have been teaching for many years, and I have seen music go through so many changes in regards from vinyl record, audio tape – cassettes, CD – compact disk, MTV – music television channel via satellite & cable, Mp3 audio, to Youtube and streaming audio.

Over this transition we have gone from listening and reading audio packaging to, watching on tv and streaming services. So we went from listening intently to watching music and listening indirectly.

Seeing my students going from listening to just watching in my opinion has changed the way we learn, but in thought to myself not in a great way. Your ears are the most important tool when learning music, not your eyes. So listening to music is way more productive than watching someone playing a piece on video is less intuitive.

Don’t get me wrong going to a concert and seeing your inspiration live is an amazing experience, this drives us to eventually aspire to play in a band when we are at a reasonable level of playing and musicianship. But watching the person on video to learn something can be okay but it shuts off the intensive listening that we associate with not been able to see the player.

If you do use video streaming to learn guitar, one thing to try is not to watch the video…. listen, download a copy of the transcription and read the music while listening to the online video tuition. By doing this you are practicing listening, this will help you pick up rhythms audibly which to me is more intuitive than trying to watch the rhythm, you will surprisingly pick up more by listening than watching.

Of course yes seeing the chord shapes or position of the hand playing a chord, riff or lick is useful however, read it off the sheet if it is notated correctly to the video is mor beneficial.

Purchase your favourite band books, as there is nothing like learning from a book transcription. while you have the book use streaming audio to listen to the track or tracks you are learning to play from your band tablature book. This is how I learned to play guitar, I didn’t even have MTV let alone internet which did’nt come around till the 90s.

If you don’t have a band notation book which I couldn’t always afford when I was learning at the age of 17, I used to just record songs of the radio or grab one of my fathers vinyl albums on the record player and try to learn a simple song by trying to workout the chords or riffs that where recorded on the album.

Bet you thinking… an old man who is stuck in the past, well no not at all I use streaming audio and still workout songs from the streaming music by ear. All the songs that I teach today I have personally worked out how to play them and notated them for my students.

The power of listening is one of the most productive ways of learning, yes it’s difficult and I found it difficult when I started, but over time it does get a lot easier, I promise.

Also if you are the person that has been trying to learn from online video such as Youtube, you may find your practice is not structured and you are getting nowhere fast try buying instructional books from a guitar shop, or book shop like amazon.

Books to think about when learning

  • Beginners chord books
  • Band associated natation books
  • Scale books
  • Lead guitar books
  • Rhythm guitar books
  • Learning to read music notation books
  • Guitar theory books

But most of all try listening to what you are learning NOT just visual learning from videos.

I hope some part of this post is of use for you, somethings you may agree with some you may not. This is free lesson to you I hope something has come from you reading my post.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below I would love to hear what you think positive or negative as it would be wonderful to hear your points of view.

Have a great day and keep practicing.

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