With online education becoming more and more popular, one has to wonder if it is as effective and worthwhile as traditional classroom learning. Open debate forum, Debate.org, held a survey which showed nearly 60% (of those who took part) believed that online education would give the same results as classroom learning does. A study by Babson Research Group has also shown a dramatic and continuous increase in the amount of students who choose to take online classes, with language learning the more popular choice. But, can the same concept be applied to online music lessons?
With the practical element of learning an instrument added to the equation, it would seem that online music lessons may be a bit tricky to navigate through. However, students who have limited budgets will find online lessons to be far less pricey when compared to having to fork out for a tutor or that expensive music class. Web based classes or tutorials are often more cost-effective due to the convenience and flexibility for the teacher. In fact, some online music programs offer free lessons and special features when you sign up and pay for a premium package. Unique benefits include e-learning support tools, forums and other supplementary guides that help to make learning that much more achievable. Websites, such as Youtube, even offer free lessons by eager musicians looking to expand their reach. There is a Youtube clip for just about everything – from learning a guitar riff to practical tips on how to expand your vocal range.
Besides for being able to set your own learning pace, with web based learning your child is not limited to teachers in your area and will have a wider pool of tutors to pull from. Students are able to sign up for classes with professional musicians who were previously not accessible to them.
Online learning is also ideal for those who face time constraints. With training modules, pre-recorded exercises and instructional videos easily downloadable from the internet, students are able to have their teacher with them in the comfort of their own home, at any time of day. The added benefit is that they are able to access or rehash information at the touch of a button. Skype opens up a new door, helping students and teachers to spend time together and stay in constant communication at a time and place that is convenient for both parties. With no travel time and costs to consider, this offers up flexibility for a student who is on a tight schedule and budget. Online lessons are also a better option for families who are constantly moving around, such as military families. Web based music training via Skype has its own complications though. Some of the setbacks include sound quality (since the Skype app produces an amplified or de-amplified sound) and a lag in transmission. But an article by Catherine Saint Louis in The New York Times (With Enough Bandwidth, Many Join the Band) confirmed that even with all the possible pitfalls many agree that online and Skype based learning is still the way of the future.
Online piano resource centre, Piano Encyclopedia, is a prime example of a website dedicated to teaching music via video and online training. Besides for home study piano courses and virtual piano classes, the website also creates a space for students to be a part of a piano-learning community, with a forum that provides support and a camaraderie that you may not find in your average music classrooms.
Music learning tool, Guitar Pro, is a clever way for musicians to brush up on, or further develop, their guitar skill and know-how. This tool is a downloadable app developed by Arobas Music to intentionally help guitar players – new and skilled – to further their musical education without having to endure physical classroom learning. The app features lessons to help budding guitar players hone their skill, with added features such as tuners, metronomes and even an online studio that helps them create their own tracks. Aroba Music marketing manager, Linda Resseguier, explained that online courses are a great way for beginners to get a feel for an instrument without having to fully commit, if they did not find the right fit. Intermediate and advanced players benefit from web based courses because they are able to learn various styles of music, while having fun. She has, however, recommended that those looking to reach an even higher grade of playing rather seek face-to-face music lessons from a good teacher.
With that said, it must be noted that one of the big differences between online learning and classroom learning is that online students often learn to play by ear. Classroom music lessons usually result in the student learning how to read and memorize notes. Online lessons do hold more freedom since there is a wider variety of learning material, whereas classroom lessons are stricter and in some cases might develop a more classically trained ear. Online classes are also dependent on internet connection. If your child only has access to a slow internet line, chances are their learning will be hindered by possible transmission delays and poor video quality.
Physical guidance is one of the big perks of face-to-face music lessons. The instructor is able to manually correct the student on things such as posture and technique and is also able to physically demonstrate ways to handle the instrument more effectively. In these cases, online learning may be limiting and, if your child is in need of specific instruction pertaining to their individual development, online learning may not work. Online lessons also require more personal motivation, especially if you are setting the pace. The responsibility and demand that comes with showing up at a classroom lesson creates commitment and a dedication to the craft.
With technology quickly growing and adapting to meet society’s rising needs, it’s safe to say that online learning will soon become more easily accessible and maintainable. But because each person’s learning style is unique, it is advisable to consider all the options available before choosing one that is perfect for your child.