Archive Monthly Archives: June 2008

Upcoming Online Guitar Courses

Hi everyone. Just thought I would give you an update on what’s been happening. I finished a recent IT contract and so I’ve been studying jazz guitar quite a bit. But I’m also doing a lot of thinking and planning for a new online guitar site which will offer a variety of courses for you to study at your own pace, with a focus on guitar improvisation/soloing. It will also teach technique, chords, theory and other topics. However, I wanted this to be more than just putting up video lessons for you to learn from. I want this to be fully interactive with assignments, forums, chat sessions, live webcasts and more.

Online learning provides so many benefits:

  • You can watch the videos over and over (to catch things you missed the first time)
  • You can study wherever and whenever you wish
  • You can study at your own pace
  • You can study in bite-sized increments

I took an online lesson with Greg Howe and Larry Carlton recently. I videotaped the lesson and noticed that after watching them a few times, I had picked up many additional learning points that I missed the first time. I thought how great would it be to tape your private lesson so that you can watch it at home and for years to come. However, online learning misses a few things -interaction with a teacher such as getting feedback, having assignments, and accountability for your progress. Neither of these 2 lessons gave me anything to do as an assignment or checked up on me to see if I had actually absorbed the content into my playing. It is like tv which is a one-way communication for the most part.

If you’re like many guitarists however, you’ve probably gone to many sites, watched all sorts of videos, bought all sorts of books and never really mastered anything before moving on. This is very common, especially in our so-called ADD society.Also, many teachers are actually very good musicians but haven’t really thought about the best structured approach to learning the guitar. There is also way too much material and so the student is overwhelmed with content and never really masters anything. So we also need a structured and progressive approach.

In the offline world, I’ve also been extremely bored and frustrated with typical learning institutions. They need to meet governmental standards and therefore are forced to cover too many bases. They provide way too much information, make you take many extraneous courses (so you can be well-rounded), make you take many intimidating exams at the end of the semester, focus more on test scores than making sure you absorb and understand the content, make you suffer through the various learning levels of your fellow students to name a few. Students are more interested in getting the grades so they can graduate than learning the material. And you can’t blame them. They do whatever they have to in order to pass the courses. I studied jazz for a year and a half putting in many hours a day of private practice and I wasn’t see the results I expected, which was to make good jazz music and more specifically, improvise well.

I have a business coach with whom I meet once a month. He helps me to set goals and to make sure I follow through. He gives me feedback on how I”m progressing. A teacher provides many of the same benefits – you get feedback on how you are progressing, he makes sure you are accountable for completing what you said you would. As much as we all want to learn and get better, there is no motivation like knowing you have to show your teacher what you practised the week before!

So to summarize, we need to combine the benefits of one on one in-person lessons (accountability, feedback, interaction) with the online benefits (repeated viewings, convenience, manageable chunks of information) in order to achieve the best results. We need teachers who understand how to design courses for maximum learning results and how to apply the content in learning management systems. I hope to achieve that in my future site!  Feel free to send me any feedback you have on this idea.