Are you currently learning the guitar yourself? Has YouTube been your best friend throughout the process? Luckily, the internet is a gold mine for sharing information, and some of the best guitar lessons the industry has to offer are online.
Before you go ahead and select a guitar course online, here’s everything you should know.
What You’ll Learn
While all online guitar programs for beginners will offer somewhat unique teaching styles and learning tracks, most fundamentals will be covered across the board. Let’s talk about a few.
The first thing any beginner will do is learn and become comfortable with the parts of the instrument. This is essential, as when your instructor mentions a particular aspect of the instrument, you’ll want to be able to find it without too much confusion.
Holding your guitar
You’ll need to learn how to hold the guitar properly before you can start playing and practicing. Typically, most players will position their left hand on the neck and right over the soundhole strings.
Tuning your guitar
Another basic you’ll learn is how to tune your guitar. Without proper tuning, you’ll strain your instrument, and your music won’t sound as you’ve intended. Improper tuning can inhibit your progress, so this will likely be covered off right away.
Restringing your guitar
Your new guitar’s strings aren’t going to last forever. With regular use, they’ll start to lose luster and get discolored, making the guitar harder to tune and hurting your sound quality. While you can get it re-strung at your local guitar store, learning how to do it yourself will save you both time and money.
Reading a guitar TAB
A guitar TAB, or Tablature, shows the way a song’s music is written. Generally, you can find TAB for any popular piece online. You’ll learn how to read a TAB during your course since it’s essential to know how to read music as a language before you start playing proficiently.
Reading chord charts
Chords are a group of notes that come together to produce a harmonious sound. Your course will introduce you to chord charts, which are visual guides to learning chords. They’ll show you where to place your fingers on the fretboard to create a specific chord. Introductory chords that you’ll likely learn early on include C Major, D Major, G Major, and E Minor.
Basic finger exercises
Playing the guitar requires that your fingers be in excellent shape, as that will give you more control over the strings. You avoid strain on your fingers by learning basic exercises and performing them as a warm-up to each practice session.
These patterns are a particular way of moving through up and down strokes. Tips you’ll learn early on to protect your hands and fingers include keeping your wrist loose, choosing the correct angle, and varying the strength of your strokes.
Scales will help you identify octaves and notes, two essential aspects of playing. Scales are a series of notes that may be played in an ascending or descending pattern. A scale has seven notes, with the eighth being called an octave.
Continue with regular practice
As with learning any new skill, you have to commit. Consistent practice is your best friend in mastering the basics and playing your favorite songs on your own. Practice every day but don’t overdo it. Know your limits, and don’t give up when it gets tricky. Patience and consistency is key here.
Learning which guitar is right for you
There is no “one size fits all” for guitars. Let’s discuss a few options so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
- Acoustic guitars are the most common and are ideal for beginners. They have hollow bodies, and the string sounds are amplified acoustically. Made of wood, they typically have six strings which are fairly simple to learn.
- Electro-acoustic guitars come with a built-in microphone that amplifies their sound on an amplifier system. As a result, they’re ideal for those who want to play live shows but are not the most beginner-friendly.
- Electric guitars are solid, not hollow, and thus don’t produce sound unless connected to an amplifier. They’re made of wood, like acoustic guitars and have six strings or more.
Considerations Before Beginning
- Commitment: Before choosing an online class, you first need to assess the amount of time you’ll commit to the cause. It’s important to set yourself up for success by ensuring that your course and instructor fit your needs and overall goals.
- Instructors: An online course does not mean that you’ll be without live, interactive instruction. As you will be spending a fair amount of time with this instructor, it’s a good idea to gauge their personality and teaching style before committing to a program with them.
- Self-assessment: Be honest with yourself. Remember that you’re just starting and aren’t expected to become a master overnight. To truly progress, you’ll have to stay honest with yourself and keep yourself in check. Verbalize your weaknesses and strengths, and work on both. With an honest look at your skills and where they stand, you’re more likely to choose a course that’ll set you up for success.
- Learning Goals: Take stock of what you want to know. Maybe you want to write music, or perhaps you want to play covers of your favorite songs. Some courses are designed to provide different outputs than others. By listing out your goals, you’re more likely to choose a course that aligns with the path you’d like to take as a guitar player.
Why Should I Take Lessons Online?
- You get to play your own guitar
Every musician plays differently. You may initially be asked to play the instructor’s guitar in an in-person lesson, perhaps in a style that you aren’t interested in. Buying your guitar not only shows that you want to commit fully but gives you more freedom to play and practice as you wish.
- The world is your oyster
You’re often confined by geography, time, or other factors in an in-person class. When you learn online, there are truly no boundaries. Perhaps you would even like to explore learning from an international teacher.
- Save time and money
One of the biggest benefits of online lessons is the time and money you’ll save. You don’t waste time and money traveling to and from a physical location — you can repurpose the time you’d spend traveling to practicing.
- Fewer lesson cancellations
With in-person lessons, various reasons (many of which are out of your control) can lead to lesson cancellations. Vacation, prior commitments, extra schoolwork, traffic, unfavorable weather conditions, and more can mess with your practice schedule. With an online lesson, you can learn from anywhere at any time.
- Lesson recording
Online lessons are generally recorded and can be rewatched later to practice. This will help you gauge your progress and identify where you need to focus. Furthermore, your online class will likely provide parameters to track progress in real-time as well as over a period. Quick and qualitative feedback ensures better learning.
You can start an online course anywhere. You don’t have to be physically present, nor do you have to alter your schedule. Instead, you get to choose a time for the lesson based on your convenience.
- Non-musical benefits
Learning music can help develop cognitive skills, concentration, and memory skills. In addition, young musicians will improve their language skills by reading music, which is a language in itself. The learning process will also teach self-motivation and discipline.
If you start on the right foot, you’ll be better prepared to stick with the process.
- Choosing the right guitar
Choosing the right instrument is no small decision. An acoustic guitar is preferable for most beginners because of its thicker strings that will help you develop better technique and control.
- Tune each time you play
An out-of-tune guitar doesn’t do anybody any good. Develop a habit of tuning your guitar each time you play. By doing so, you’ll also become more familiar with your instrument and save the time and money you’d spend taking it into a shop.
- Maintain the right posture
Playing the guitar requires proper posture. Slouching your back not only makes you feel lethargic but will also negatively affect your music. Holding the guitar the right way will put less strain on your back and hands.
- Use a metronome
A metronome signals the speed you should play to stay on tempo. You may speed up without realizing it as a beginner, not maintaining consistency. Using a metronome during practice will help you track your progress in developing natural consistency.
- Face the pain
Like any other new skill, your body needs to accustom itself to playing the guitar. As a beginner, your fingers may get sore, and your neck may hurt from sitting bent over. Push past it!
- Overcome the problems
Learning a new skill takes time and can’t be expected to come without a few bumps in the road. Before you throw your guitar out the window (please don’t), take a deep breath and remind yourself why you started playing. It’s okay and natural to get frustrated, but don’t let it derail your practice or your confidence.
Selecting a platform
You’ve got everything you need to begin learning to play the guitar. Now it’s time to select the best course for you.
When it comes to learning online, patience and commitment is key. So, explore your options and make sure you’re choosing a program and instructor that fits your style, needs, and goals.
BYJU’S FutureSchool of Music offers acoustic guitar lessons for kids and adults in a live 1:1 setting with a dedicated instructor. You can sign up for a FREE trial class as well as discover more guitar resources on the BYJU’S FutureSchool blog.