5 Reasons Why YouTube Is A Terrible Guitar Teacher

Almost every adult guitar student I have worked with started out trying to teach themselves with YouTube. Our first conversation on the phone usually go something like this:
 
Student— “I’ve been playing guitar for a few months, mostly teaching myself through YouTube videos, but I feel like I'm kind of stuck and need some professional help.”
 
When I meet with this student for the first time, whether they've been teaching themselves for two months or six months, the results are predictable and the student’s guitar playing usually includes the following characteristics:
 
      1.   Memorization of 4 to 6 chords but without mastery of any of them
      2.   Inconsistent rhythm
      3.   Improper fret-hand technique
      4.   Improper pick-hand positioning
 
So, the five reasons why YouTube is a terrible guitar teacher are as follows:
 
      1.  Lack of feedback from instructor leads to improper technique
      2.  Lack of direction prevents student from consistently progressing on any clear path
      3.  Lack of application of any ideas learned (i.e. How to use a specific lick when writing a solo, in different
            keys, in different positions, and with various chord structures)
      4.Lack of training— the student does not understand how to practice and therefore does not master any
           one concept before abandoning it and trying something new
      5.Lack of clear explanation in most YouTube videos leads to the students not fully understanding what is
           being taught, frequently without even realizing that there is more to know
 
Because of this, when I meet with a new student for the first time who is self taught through YouTube, we almost always have to start completely over. This means that not only did the student waste almost all of their time prior to taking guitar lessons with me, they also must now pay more money to take lessons longer so that we can correct the bad habits that were developed online. This is the very opposite of what they originally set out to do, which was save money trying to teach themselves— now it's costing them more money than it would have had they signed up for lessons to begin with!
 
What's interesting about this is that even though this pattern is predictable and definitely applies to YouTube, it is not limited to this medium. Unfortunately, most guitar instructors are completely untrained in how to teach and train guitar students. And so, the five reasons that made YouTube a terrible guitar teacher almost always applies to every local guitar teacher I've ever met (and many who I have not met but who students I have taught after them).
 
Hopefully you now can clearly see that YouTube makes a terrible guitar teacher. And remember most guitar teachers are not very different than YouTube (they provide little feedback, do not have a long-term plan for your success, do not know how to teach you application of concepts, they do not understand what it means to train you effectively, and rarely do they explain concepts clearly and fully).
 
As you begin your search for a guitar instructor, take your time, do your research, meet with as many of them as possible before committing to lessons with anyone, and ask a lot of questions. Remember, you are beginning a partnership that, if successful, will last for several years (sometimes even a decade or longer!). This is not something you want to take lightly.
 
I wish you all the best on your journey. Now go find a totally awesome, trained, professional guitar instructor who can actually help you become the guitarist you seek to be!
 
About the Author: Eric Bourassa resides in Fort Worth Texas where guitar lessons are his passion. He loves helping students reach their goals, and he loves helping guitarists at any stage in their progress find a guitar teacher in their area who can help them best. Most of all, he loves educating everyone on the dangers of average guitar teachers (YouTube included!).

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