Should you take online or in person music lessons?

Last updated on September 22nd, 2023

Maybe you’re ready to get started with music lessons and are wondering whether you should take online or in person lessons. As a music teacher for several years, I’ve taught using both methods and can both be effective.

In this post, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages between both of these to help you decide what will work best for you. Let’s get started!

Online lessons – Advantages​

Take lessons from the convenience of your home

With online lessons, you don’t need to spend any extra time and money getting to another location, that is unless you have a teacher come into your home, which you might not be completely comfortable with. 

Once you schedule a time for the online lesson, you simply get connected to the online video call and you’re ready to go. You have the convenience of being able to take the lessons wherever you get a good wifi connection. 

Easier to keep track of lesson material

When taking online lessons, you can see a timeline of all the lesson material you’ve learned in your chat history of whatever software you use to interact with the teacher. A good teacher will provide extra materials such as PDFs, recordings, videos, and online games to learn and review what is covered during the lessons. 

You can easily view the documents by opening up your video call messages history. You can also save all the files to your computer or hard drive which you can retrieve anytime.

Choose a teacher around the world

By going the online route, you take away the limits of choosing from teachers only available in your area, and instead, you can learn from any teacher around the world that provides their online services. 

Also, more often than not, you’re able to check a teacher’s online reviews to see if they’re receiving positive feedback from students and delivering good results. You can likely find a teacher that is suitable for your exact needs and musical goals.

Safer interaction

Not only are you able to have more privacy from your own home while doing online lessons but also as of this time (during covid 19) it allows for a safer interaction between students and teachers.

Online lessons – Disadvantages

Difficult to play together in real time

When learning online, you aren’t completely in sync in terms of audio on both sides which makes it difficult to play at the same time. One person has to play first then the other can play afterward. 

Another way around this is to play to backing tracks so that the student or teacher can play in time and still be heard on the other side.

Internet connection can affect the sound and video quality

This can happen if either the student or teacher has a slow internet connection but it should not be a problem if they have a decent internet connection. Sound quality can be improved with better equipment and a faster internet connection.

Can be more challenging to demonstrate instrument technique 

When taking a lesson through a video call, some technical aspects of playing may require a bit more explanation and visualization to understand. The way to work around this is to zoom in on certain parts of a lesson as well as making sure to leave students with videos to help them refresh learning material.

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In person lessons – Advantages

Playing in real time

When taking in person lessons, the student and teacher can play music together, which can improve a student’s rhythm as well as learn to play along with other musicians.

Easier for the teacher to help your technique 

For in person lessons, a teacher can help you to physically adjust your technique. It can be easier to see the teacher’s fingers, hands and posture when playing as opposed to doing this through video. 

Can be more beneficial for younger students

In person lessons can be more helpful particularly for younger children (around ages 6 -10) as it can be a more engaging way to learn. It also allows for an easier way to adjust their technique. (It’s recommended for parents to be present at this age for their safety, although this can be seen as a drawback in terms of the parent’s time.)

In person lessons – Disadvantages​

Can take up extra time and money if travel is required

Of course, many times you have the option to discuss with a teacher whether they provide lessons in their home/studio or if they can come to your home. Either way, it can take extra time and expenses for you to get to a teacher’s location say every week or they are likely charging you extra for them to get to your home. 

Again, this can vary greatly depending on how close or far you need to travel to for lessons but it’s something to take into account.

Limited availability of teachers

Like I mentioned earlier, by choosing to take in person lessons, you will be limiting your choice of teachers to your local area. For in person lessons, you might not have the benefit of seeing a teacher’s reviews, so if you do follow through with someone you found through an ad, it may not turn out to be what you expected it to be.

Wrapping up

As you can see, there are benefits and disadvantages to both in person and online lessons so it’s important to determine what you value most regarding the learning experience you want to receive with factors such as availability for teachers, the time it takes to meet up for lessons and the cost of lessons. 

Regardless of all of these variables that may not be particular to your situation, be open to taking lessons a try with a more experienced teacher and see if it is the right fit for you.

You can also check out this post if you need help choosing the right music teacher for you.

I hope this has given you a clearer idea of how you want to continue your music learning journey moving forward. 

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All the best,

JG Music Lessons

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