Saturday, April 23, 2011
Guitar teacher, The Internet or both?
When I was a child learning guitar I was limited to either finding a local teacher or learning from a book. Today the Internet, the iPad, iPhone and all their apps are now providing a range of alternatives. While this new technology may appear to be an alternative to the traditional guitar teacher I believe it should compliment a real life teacher not replace them. I will explain why but firstly let's look at the strengths of today's technology.
The Internet contains almost everything anyone would ever want or need to know about guitar and anyone of almost any age can access to this free or inexpensive information. Guitarists from all around the globe are continuously contributing new information which means the Internet is now an extremely powerful learning tool. Guitar students of all levels can find something of value online. Video lessons, music clips, PDFs, tab, chord charts, online programs and its mostly free.
iPad, iPhone, Apps etc.
App (short for application software) allows you to turn your phone or iPad into a computer. Thousands of new apps are being released every week and many are designed for guitar. These apps can easily teach students everything from songs to guitar skills. Its only a matter of time before apps for just about any aspect of learning guitar will be available.
So why would you need a guitar teacher?
A student could in theory learn guitar without the aid of a real life teacher using all the online information and tools but in my opinion would be missing an important part of the learning experience. The guitar teacher's role includes many of the skills that don't transfer well via technology such as technique, feedback, motivation, mentoring but good teachers can also show students how to use the Internet for best results and therefore save valuable time. Remember the Internet, iPad etc are tools. Guitar teachers who keep up with the technology will be worth their weight in gold. Many of the guitar students spend (waste) hours and hours looking for websites that may or may not help them learn to play guitar. There is so much information that students often get lost or overwhelmed. Today's guitar teacher should be able to do this research and pass it on to their students or even better should have a website with helpful links. A teacher who can do this will make your lessons much more valuable.
The teacher network bonus.
Popular guitar teachers and music schools should also be seen as network hubs. A hub is a central point in a network. Professional guitar teachers become connected to students of all ages and interests as well as other teachers and musicians and often the music industry itself. Teachers are therefore in a great position to be learning and gathering information from their students and peers and than passing that information onto students. Going to a teacher should therefore be a chance to tap into the teacher's network. Students are always introducing new music, ideas, websites etc to their teachers so the teacher can in turn share this information with each student. Teachers should not be seen as strictly teachers in the traditional sense but as connectors connecting students to the local or even global guitar scene. As a teen it was my teacher who first introduce me to playing in a band via a Rockschool program (not unlike Jack Black in the movie 'School of Rock') and from there I went on to play professionally. A good teacher will be seeking out opportunities to bring students together and take them to the next level.
Guitar teachers should aim to take advantage of the available technology if there is an advantage. I do believe guitar teachers should follow some traditional methods of teaching and the Internet should be seen only as a tool albeit a very powerful one. A good example are songs. Teachers look out for websites that give precise clear instructions on how to play a song accurately. They can then recommended to their students. In the past teachers would tab out songs (using up valuable lesson time) but in today's world this is simply wasteful. Students are paying the teacher to do something that has already been done and can be found on the Internet at no cost in time or money. Time better spent on other areas.
Please note that if you are a G4 GUITAR student we have a dedicated website which you can access via our main website but you will need a username and password which was included on your confirmation email.
David Hart - Program Director
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