Many of us worry that we’re not making the most of our guitar study time. Whether you’re self teaching, visiting a private guitar tutor, or learning bits and pieces from YouTube, it’s common to wonder if there’s a better way

If you feel like you’re not making progress, it could be time to try something different - maybe with online guitar lessons or group lessons. To help you figure out if either of these options is right for you, we’ll examine the pros and cons of each and throw in some of our opinions along the way.

In this article, you’ll also discover about different learning styles and why certain people find more success with a specific learning environment.

Learning how to learn

So, what are the different types of learning styles?

Everybody has their own preferred way of absorbing new information. For some people, it can be tough to sit and memorize all 126 fretted notes on the guitar. For others, the CAGED system of visualizing patterns, scales, and shapes can make this process super easy. 

Discovering how your mind works and processes information can be like gaining a superpower. The best part is, once you find out your preferred style it’ll benefit many other areas of your life too!

Understanding how to learn effectively will inspire you to take on bigger challenges in your guitar lessons. From the shortlist below, see which style you identify with most – this is called your predominant learning style. 

The four learning styles

  • Aural/auditory: Learn by hearing or engaging in discussions.
  • Reading/writing: Taking notes or reading.
  • Kinetic: Tactile and physical input. 
  • Visual: Picture aids, presentations, and lesson outlines.

Take some time to find what suits you best – for many people, a hybrid of two or more different styles can also work well.

Want to know more about the theory of learning styles and how they relate to learning music?

Online guitar lessons vs. group guitar lessons: What’s the difference?

Firstly, online guitar lessons are a totally different environment from group guitar lessons – getting the most from either of these depends on your personality. 

  • Some people prefer the traditional method of learning with an in-person guitar teacher, group lessons can be the perfect fit for people looking to experience something with a more social aspect. 
  • An added benefit is that group lessons are considerably cheaper than 1-on-1.

Online guitar lessons are a great fit if you like to study at your own pace. Guitar education platforms have come a long way in the last few years and are much better at catering to people's specific needs and goals. 

  • When online guitar lessons first appeared on the scene, the majority of them were just simple video tutorials
  • Guitarists had been learning from VHS tapes and DVDs for a long time, so online videos we just an updated version of an old format.
  • It took a while for companies to realize that much more could be done with this new technology – classes could be interactive!

Here at Pickup Music, we work hard to make the online platform as useful for guitarists as possible. Whether it’s getting advice from our team about what to study, receiving personal feedback on your playing, or chatting with an awesome community in the forums and video meetups.

That's before we even get into tailored courses and interactive jams. There’s a ton of cool stuff you can do with online learning these days. 

Of course, all that means nothing without decent video content too – if you want a taster of that, here’s a freebie.

So what about the other side of the coin? There are guitar players who have taken major leaps in their playing through group lessons. 

  • Being able to practice with others is a fantastic experience to grow social skills both musically and personally. 
  • Having the opportunity to share new discoveries with other guitar players can be deeply encouraging – especially when you’re first starting out. 
  • It’s also a great way to form new irl friendships and gain music buddies to jam with!

Group lessons offer a level of live interaction that can help players improve their performance skills and get over stage fright. For guitar players who dream of starting their own band, group lessons can be a great way to get a feel for that.

What are the benefits of group guitar lessons?

Group guitar lessons are the perfect environment for players who have little to no experience with the guitar. Because everyone in the room will usually be at a similar level – it’s reassuring to be around other people who are at the same stage as you.

Have you ever heard the quote “two heads are better than one”

Learning alongside other guitar guitarists can have significant benefits to your playing, especially early on. 

  • The opportunity to watch other people figure things out can help fuel more of those lightbulb moments for visual or auditory learners. 
  • Some people can be more confident than others in the classroom setting and group guitar lessons can offer you the chance to learn from someone else’s questions
  • Group guitar lessons can turn into mini think tanks which is great for interacting and building knowledge. 

Here’s a quick recap on the benefits of group guitar lessons:

  • Get to know others on the same journey as you.
  • Meet new people to jam with.
  • Learn from other players’ learning discoveries.
  • Gain a sense of accountability.
  • Get instant feedback.

What if you’re not a beginner guitar player?

Group guitar lessons also exist for intermediate and more advanced players – often referred to as clinics, masterclasses, or group seminars.

  • These kinds of group guitar lessons can be conducted like an interview with an experienced professional. 
  • You can find numerous guitar masterclasses with the world’s top players online and there are often masterclasses happening locally at universities, colleges, or performing arts spaces.
  • If you are an intermediate or advanced guitarist looking for the next level in your playing, this could be the a useful avenue. 

As well as the opportunity to have your personal guitar questions answered, most guitar clinics also offer the chance to share the stage with a professional guitar god.

Here’s an example of a masterclass with guitar guru Paul Gilbert:

Guitar clinics and masterclasses can sometimes feel a little scary to take part in, but they remain incredible opportunities to learn from the best in the business right before your eyes! 

With the availability of online video platforms, you can discover past masterclasses with many of your musical heroes and pick up secret tips that many are not aware of. Clinics and masterclasses are not always recorded, so it’s still preferable to get there in person if you can.

What are the benefits of online guitar lessons?

In the last decade, the demand for guitar lessons has skyrocketed. During the 2020 pandemic alone, it is estimated that 16 million people took up the guitar as a way to keep entertained through lockdowns. 

With a new generation of guitar players discovering online lessons, guitar education platforms have flourished and found exciting and fresh approaches to teaching guitar lessons online.

Online guitar classes have gained popularity due to many new innovations and some benefits that can’t be found anywhere else.

If you’re someone who benefits from visual or kinetic learning styles, online guitar lessons can be fantastic for helping you see professional guitar players in action. Close-up video lessons of your favorite guitar players can give you new insights into technique, performance, or creative problem solving. 

You’ll never be short of materials to work on as many guitar education platforms provide excellent visual graphics for chord charts, TABs, and theory breakdowns.

Here are some of the benefits of online guitar lessons: 

  • You can move at your own pace
  • Online forums for students to share ideas and challenges.
  • Return to harder challenges when you’re ready.
  • Replaying videos can help solidify new concepts.
  • Huge selection of materials available (tools, graphics, jam tracks, print-offs, etc.).

Meeting in the middle

Gone are the days of lonely online guitar lessons! 

Perhaps the question of “which guitar learning environment is best” is unhelpful – combining different methods in harmony works wonders. Also, the lines between each learning style are starting to blur…

Students can now share ideas and learn together through online forums and experience the group-guitar-lesson vibe via live-streaming events. With more online meet-ups, jam nights, and live masterclasses becoming available, there has never been a better time to pick up a guitar and start learning.

Online guitar lessons are perfect for guitarists who feel most comfortable learning in the comfort of their own homes and at their own pace. But, there are plenty of ways to get involved with other learners and recreate the group guitar lesson dynamic when you’re ready.

Here are some ways that you can get started with learning guitar online:

  • Trying some free sample guitar lessons out can be the perfect way to dip your toe into the ocean of online guitar lessons.
  • Get involved with the Pickup music forum and meet other like-minded players!
  • Discover Pickup masterclass live streams with top guitar and music production professionals.

If you want the full online learning experience without breaking the bank – use this 14-day free trial to check out everything we have on offer.

Author: Jack Handyside