Online Guitar Lessons vs In-Person Guitar Lessons – Which is Best?

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Online guitar lessons vs face-to-face. Which is the right option for you?

Some will say convenience matters most in this case. But for others, it’s all about the cost, tracking progress, and community-building. This guide explores the pros and cons of both learning processes to help you make the right decision.

With new technologies, there are enough video lessons to accommodate all learners. And YouTube might be the icing on the cake. Not to mention the countless online guitar sites with helpful tutorials for every learner.

While face-to-face learning hasn’t favored all students in recent years, technology comes at a time when everyone is relishing the chance to handle everything in the palm of their hand. Where interactive experience matters, you only need the right video conferencing platform, and everything else follows.

So, read on to find out the major advantages and shortcomings of in-person and online guitar lessons when pursuing your guitar-playing course.

Cost

Don’t get it twisted. Face-to-face guitar lessons can be expensive. Whereas with online lessons, on average, individuals are likely to pay between $80 to $230 if you subscribe to online sites like Pickup Music, Guitar Tricks, and Yousician.

But the good news is that most sites provide a free trial period or a ‘lite’ version of their training program to help you choose what’s best without breaking the bank.

Lessons.com states that in-person learning sessions can cost up to $60 or even more if you choose in-demand tutors. On the contrary, the cost-sharing plans, taster sessions, and discounts make in-person tuition more affordable.

Benefits

It’s probably no secret that online guitar courses make more sense to newbies than the face to face sessions. And here’s why.

While in-person training is just as valuable, the resources provided by online trainers are almost unmatched. For instance, Yousician provides interactive sessions through its efficient and user-friendly mobile app. This is important if you need a real-time analysis and feedback from the comfort of your home.

Similarly, renowned websites like Fender Play have a simple, modern design that appeals to beginners trying to master the skill. Besides, the website has a feedback mode, albeit in beta, for an interactive experience.

The technology is simply fascinating. However, it doesn’t match human input. For beginners willing to learn from their mistakes, you need a real human to provide accurate feedback from time to time.

Without a tutor, you have a real risk of mastering incorrect techniques that could ruin your career. Consequently, a beginner must find the right mix between online sessions and face-to-face training.

Convenience

Online tuition carries the day when it comes to convenience. After all, that’s the least you can expect from the internet. Apart from accessing the lessons whenever you want, you can also play the recordings as much as you want.

Interestingly, in-person tuition can be just as convenient depending on your schedule. Modern instructors have a flexible routine to accommodate different learners. It’s no surprise that some trainers will provide home visits if that’s all it takes to make their student a pro guitarist.

If you’ve been following the latest trends, you may already know that some tutors like Online Music Exams have embraced technology by offering online exams. Thus, it becomes clearer that both options give a satisfying experience when it comes to convenience.

Community Activities

In-person tuition is your best bet if you want to become part of a larger community of trainees. Private tutors with many students organize special sessions like social events and group concerts from time to time. This can improve your confidence, help you acquire live performance skills, and sometimes, have fun. Ask around, and you will likely find a suitable community.

But this doesn’t mean online sessions don’t involve social events. A platform like Guitar Tricks has a reliable online forum that promotes student interactions. Similarly, TrueFire is famous for its large Facebook group open to all students. So, there’s no outright winner when it comes to community activities.

Quality of the Resources

Online tutoring offers plenty of teaching materials. Think about the guitar tab feature on the video lessons from TrueFire. Or the full-screen option for an immersive experience when learning how to play the guitar.

However, face-to-face tuition also provides excellent teaching materials, often available to all learners for convenient use. Some features allow students to record the sessions in real-time and play them back during their free time, whether in class or through zoom.

Personalities

It’s impossible to dispute the authenticity of YouTube content creators. And it gets even better when you consider the standard rankings from beginner to expert levels. Such individuals will be willing to share their knowledge with any guitar enthusiast, regardless of their experience level.

One of the biggest names here is Justin Sandercoe, a renowned tutor with a vast experience in the field. Others include Marty Schwartz and Andy Crowley, ready to provide a wide collection of free and paid training materials.

If you settle for in-person tuition, ensure you develop a solid relationship with your tutor because that can make a real difference throughout the training period. You can seek recommendations from your guitar-playing buddies to get valuable hints from a reliable instructor.

Tracking Your Progress 

What about progress tracking? Choosing freebie YouTube content only counts if you are a self-motivated learner. Remember, this type of learning involves minimal supervision, and you will be your only judge and critic throughout the process.

Therefore, opting for structured programs with constant feedback makes perfect sense. However, not all sites provide feedback as you progress with your training. And that means you need to take advantage of all the available features to achieve your goals.

A few sites like Fender Play, Yousician, and Gibson have plenty of tools to promote interactive learning, like real-time jamming and live Q&A sessions.

As one would assume, face-to-face learning is the best option for progress tracking. And it gets even better if you have a strong relationship with your teacher.

The Masterclass Feature

The masterclass model is all about learning from the best. Again, you can rely on some of the biggest names in the industry, like TrueFire, with plenty of online courses to make you a pro guitarist. Pickup Music might not be the biggest name in the market, but it offers many impressive tools that are more inclined towards the youth.

The good news is that masterclasses are also available to physical learners. Ultimately, you only need the right platform to cater to your needs. If you live in the US, you might have heard of big names like the Guitar Workshop Plus and its frequent workshops that sometimes involve renowned guitarists.

UK residents can boast of Guitar Breaks, famous for its seasoned tutors, renowned guitarists, and excellent courses. The list certainly doesn’t end here, proving that masterclasses are available to everyone.

How Much Will Your Skills Improve?

Perhaps this is the biggest question you should ask yourself before enrolling in any program. How great will you become after completing your course?

While this is hard to predict at the start, in-person training will be your best bet if you want faster learning through constant analysis and feedback. If you choose weekly sessions, dedicate enough time to become a pro guitarist.

While online sites like Fender Play are an excellent option for beginners, the lack of constant feedback or scrutiny limits your progress. Sometimes, you may never know if you are on the right track or already missing the basics. That means that your progress may not be as straightforward.

TrueFire is another great option with countless lessons and courses. However, the trainee is always responsible for choosing what they want to learn and how they want it delivered. Accordingly, it only turns out to be a huge library with little guidance.

In the end, the outcome solely depends on your input. And you may never improve your guitar-playing skills if you don’t push yourself. This is a stark contrast to in-person training, where direct contact with a pro tutor for only a few hours a day will easily improve your skills. Also, it’s easier to track your progress and learn from your mistakes.

Need more detail on deciding which method is best for you, read our guide on the best way to learn guitar.

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