5 Reasons Why Beginners Should Avoid Learning to Play Guitar on YouTube

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You may have heard someone say “you can learn anything on YouTube.” It is true that there is a lot of useful information on the internet's largest video library, but there are some things better learned in person. When it comes to teaching yourself to play the guitar, or any instrument for that matter, YouTube just doesn’t provide all of the advantages of an in-person instructor. Although it can be a very useful tool, there are a few key reasons that YouTube falls short.

1. You Could Get Stuck In The Rabbit Hole

We’ve all been there. It’s 2:00 a.m, and you’ve been watching K-Pop videos in bed since you said “just one more,” three hours ago. It’s easy to get lost in the vast ocean of content that is YouTube, and if you’re using it to learn to play guitar, that can seriously mess with your progress. It’s all too easy to flip away from that song that’s giving you trouble to find something that’s less challenging to play. On the other hand, you could get distracted by your favorite YouTuber's brand new video when you should be working on your scales. YouTube was built to entertain you, and playing guitar takes serious, extended focus. Trying to marry the two is sure to result in some majorly ineffective practice time.

2. You're Not Getting a Personalized Experience

When you sign up with ATL Music Lessons, you get a customized lesson plan, and the personal attention that Youtube can’t provide. A teacher can help you cut through the noise that Youtube bombards you with. In other words, what might take you seven hours on YouTube (aimlessly searching for guitar videos, landing on a specific aspect of playing that might or might not be worth learning, piecing together info from different videos, and then finally learning that one thing), will take you a fraction of the time with a private instructor. Our years of experience playing, training, and teaching, have given us the ability to curate and customize lessons designed specifically for you. When you have an instructor, you have someone there helping you navigate the world of music. An instructor should be a coach and a sherpa. They should be able to provide you with material that matches your skill level, but challenges you and takes you to that next level of playing.

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3. You Could Be Developing Bad Habits

This may come as a surprise, but the person you are watching on YouTube can’t see you playing! they can’t critique your technique or offer up suggestions on how to improve your dexterity.

I have an adult guitar student who’s been playing guitar for a little while now. When we started, some areas of his technique were quite strong, but he was having trouble extending his fingers to reach higher frets. After watching him play for a couple of lessons, I realized his hand was rotated away from the body of the guitar, and his thumb was way out of line with the rest of his fretting fingers. These were bad playing habits that he picked up by trying to go it alone and not studying the instrument with an instructor. No one had ever been there in the room with him to analyze why stretching his hand was so difficult.

With a teacher, you have someone who is there, watching you play in real time, and able to constructively critique your playing so that you avoid developing those bad habits. And remember, it’s much harder to break a bad habit than it is to learn it right the first time.

4. You Compare, You Despair

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There are a lot of great guitar players on YouTube, no doubt about it. What I do appreciate about YouTube is that it opens up a world of possibility to people who want to learn how to play, and creates a sense of excitement and motivation to get started. Sometimes, however, being bombarded by all that talent can be overwhelming for beginner players. We have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. I know when I was growing up, I had a tough time with self criticism when it came to my playing abilities. Some players can get discouraged and say things like “I’ll never be that good,” or “what’s the point?” The point is to learn at your own pace and enjoy the process. When we see all the playing ability that is on display on YouTube, it can be inspiring, but it can also be a real buzzkill. When you have an instructor encouraging you and cheering you on, you are more likely to stick with it.

5. You need Accountability

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of having weekly lessons with an instructor, is having a sense of commitment and accountability. You have someone there to give you homework assignments, and to tell you what you need to work on. You’re spending money to hire an instructor, which means you are investing in yourself, and creating an impetus to practice. A good instructor should be understanding of your busy schedule, but should call you out for being lazy.

When you sign up with ATL Music Lessons, you get the personal attention that YoTtube can’t provide. You get a coach, a mentor, and an accountability buddy. You have someone who knows exactly where you are at in your playing abilities, and how to build a custom-fit lesson based on that. You don’t need to search through countless videos, and deal with negative comment trolls.

Now, don’t get me wrong, YouTube is a great resource - it just doesn’t do for you all the things in-person lessons do. Want to see for yourself? Sign up for a free trial lesson, and experience the difference having a real-life, in-the-flesh private music instructor makes. 

Aaron ShumanComment