There are many online music courses for learning an instrument available, the questions are, which are the good ones and are online music lessons right for you?
If you have used any of the software on this page, or any other piece of piano software for learning, please scroll down the page or click here to leave a review of the software you have used to let others have the benefit of your insight. Thank you
As I write in the newly updated version of Practice Makes Perfect there are many pros and cons to taking an online music course instead of finding a traditional instrumental teacher. One of the main reasons for finding a teacher is the fact there an expert on hand to answer some of your questions and make sure you aren't getting into bad habits early on. The problem is often finding a good teacher in your area, in the style you want to play at a cost you are happy with! If you do decide to 'go it alone' make be sure to find some good online music forums such as Piano Street so you can ask advice from others. Remember: The only silly question is the one you don't ask!
Online courses often also refer to a course you buy online and download. I find this method preferable (usually with a dedicated forum to back the course up). Having the media on your own computer means you can continue study, even if your internet connection is down or if the company suddenly disappears, although those represented here have been around for a considerable length of time, so that is (hopefully) unlikely!
Although I recommend finding a teacher I know this is not always possible, especially from the number of people using the contact form to ask if I give lessons over Skype, so here is a list of courses available online and for download which are worth looking at. The main instruments with quality courses available seem to be piano, guitar, bass, drums and singing. I am actively looking for courses to add to this list so if you have found an online music course or forum which has proven to be excellent, please add a short review and link on the appropriate instrument page or below, and share your good fortune with other users of the site. Thank you!
More reviews and advice for guitar, bass, drums and vocals coming soon! Watch this space and sign up for the RSS feed to be notified when new online music course reviews appear for your instrument
Skype music lessons are a new phenomenon…and might just work if you have a fast internet connection and a teacher who is familiar with teaching online. I have given presentations on effective practice to 3 schools and music studios over Skype and it have worked flawlessly (touch wood!). As part of the presentation I also worked with various students as part of the presentation. If you are looking at having lessons on Skype I advise you to buy an external mic for your computer to improve the sound quality. You should ask your prospective teacher about what audio equipment they are using at their end as well. The quality of sound is very important when taking lessons over Skype, at both ends. The teacher needs to hear your playing clearly, as well as being able to see your technique, and you need to hear any demonstrations clearly (as well as the teacher speaking, of course!.
I currently use Blue Microphone's Snowball USB Microphone available from Amazon US, Amazon UK and Zzounds. I recommend this mic for students to use at their end as well. The bonus is, you can also use this to record your practice or evaluation sessions. There is no better way to evaluate your playing than listening to a recording of yourself!
Although online teaching over Skype is in its infancy, I'm sure the number of people taking lessons in this way will grow very quickly. In fact, a school in UK has recently outsourced some one-to-one maths teaching to India for certain students.
One of the problems with learning music through downloaded or online music courses is that you don't have a lesson each week. This lack of a weekly deadline can hinder progress and often means people give up (sometimes because they feel they aren't making progress!). To help combat this problem I have made a version of my popular Lesson Notes and Practice Targets book available for Individual Learners. This helps keep you moving forward and making progress as well as making your music practice far more efficient and effective. Click here to read more about Practice Targets and Evaluation for individual learners.
Another option is to use the Music Practice App to plan and execute your practice each week. Click the link above to read more about the Music Practice app and download it from the iTunes store. The app is currently in the process of being updated with some new designs and features. I am also working on getting an Android version coded after so many requests.
One possibility might be to try a combination of on and offline lessons. Find an online music course which works for you and supplement this with a monthly or even bi-monthly lessons either with a teacher in your area or a music lesson over Skype. You would have to find a teacher willing to do this of course, but it would give you something to work towards, allow you to have an impartial opinion on your progress and get professional advice on technique and what to do next. Don't forget that many online courses come with forums where you can interact with other students and sometimes even the author of the course for advice and encouragement. For instance the Piano Street forum is full of pianists offering and giving advice, and many people upload videos to YouTube and give a link of their playing to allow others to give supportive advice. If you do find any particular teachers or online music courses you think work particularly well with this combination please share your story below to help others who want to try this. Thank you.
How was your experience? What were the good (and bad) points about the course? Is it a course that isn't mentioned on the site already that others might want to check out? Share your experience with other users by writing a review...
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I have taken the Music Practice App off the app store for a while because it isn't playing nice with iOS8 and also because I am doing a huge redesign with lots of new cool and exciting features to help you get the most from your practice.
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