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Learning an Instrument Online or Offline?

Piano

Learning an instrument is something which I believe everyone should do at some point in their life. Everyone has a different presence as to which instrument to learn, whether it is the guitar, the piano, the drums, or the oboe, but everyone should learn at least one. But with the internet being a open learning repository for just about anything, will YouTube suffice or should you be looking offline piano teachers?

I was lucky enough to go to a school that gave high value to music, and learned the drums from some impressive musicians that have toured the world and worked years as session musicians. There is a certain amount of awe involved in pushing you to the next level of learning, where you start to see practice as an integral and useful part of your day rather than a chore, and I found the one-to-one tuition very useful in pushing me in that direction. It is always hard to start learning something new, but once you get over the first few stumbling blocks everything starts to open out in front of you.

Outside of school it is pretty easy to find a teacher for your instrument, with many happy to make house calls and let you learn in your own home – reducing the barrier to learning even more. A person can show you the best way to improve your personal technique by making tiny steps – but one-on-one tuition is expensive, so how does the internet compare? Piano lessons are a good way to measure the effectiveness of the various options.

YouTube offers a wealth of piano lessons by and for people with all levels of skills, but there are a couple of series that a number of people recommend. For the people looking for completely free lessons, Andrew Furmanczyk does a pretty good job of starting right at the beginning (see the video below), but he has done a long and pretty thorough series since 2008 and the quality has improved massively as he’s gone along.

Here’s the First Lesson:

If you are happy to pay a small amount for your lessons then Willie Myette has done another great series and lets students buys DVDs, download lessons, or pay a monthly membership which includes access to all the lessons and personal support over the web

Here’s a mini-lesson from Willie:

So which option will you choose to learn to play an instrument? Let us know in the comments.

Photograph by esc861/Flickr

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