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3 Traps When Learning Music From YouTube

Updated: Jan 27


Many musicians expect that they should be able to learn music from YouTube. There are three major mistakes people make when trying to learn online without any guidance.


When a student learns music with YouTube as the teacher, the aspiring musician is 100% in charge of what they learn as well as what order they learn techniques. The problem with a student not having guidance in the early stages of learning is that the student has no idea what is fundamentally important to their goals.


The next reason people get lead astray when learning on YouTube is that the YouTube algorithm favors shocking and outrageous content. A video titled "Learn 1000 Chords in 10 minutes" is going to rank higher than "Why it's important to use your pinky finger when playing guitar". YouTube creators work very hard to create videos that will rank first when people search for information. The algorithm is based on what will make people watch more YouTube instead of getting people the best information. learning guitar because you need to use multiple fingers at once. It is usually simpler to learn individual note "riffs" or simple power chord patterns first. I generally recommend against learning chords as your first skill on guitar.


The next reason people get lead astray when learning on YouTube is that the YouTube algorithm favours shocking and outrageous content. A video titled "Learn 1000 Chords in 10 minutes" is going to rank higher than "Why it's important to use your pinky finger when playing guitar". YouTube creators work very hard to create videos that will rank first when people search for information. The algorithm is based on what will make people watch more YouTube instead of getting people the best information.


So now that you know a little of the "why" people get taken off course when learning from YouTube as their only teacher. Here are the three common traps they fall into.


Trap #1


Putting too much emphasis on music theory.


YouTube is a very valuable resource for students in conjunction with private lessons or coaching. I love it when my students tell me about the exciting things they learn online about music. It gives me the opportunity to expand on what they've learned and help them apply the information in practical ways. When YouTube is the only resource available to students, more often then not, people get discouraged or even worse, end up believing that they just aren't cut out to learn music. s not monitor you and help correct you if you decide to "cheat" just this one time. Even worse some YouTubers are demonstrating techniques incorrectly. The student has no way of knowing. of theory.


Trap #2


Not using proper technique.


When a person is starting to learn a musical instrument it is much easier to use improper technique. For example using one finger to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on piano is much easier than using all five. Most people will not use their pinky finger without some direction from a teacher. The pinky finger is usually the least coordinated finger. Strengthening you’re pinky early on will help a student later when they need to play fast or do really big stretches. YouTube does not monitor you and help correct you if you decide to "cheat" just this one time. Even worse some YouTubers are demonstrating techniques incorrectly. The student has no way of knowing.


Trap #3


Believing gear will finally make you the player you always knew you could be.


The great thing about google is that you can find almost anything. Aspiring musicians often google their heroes and find out what gear they use. Musicians trying to sound better will buy their heroes gear attempting to sound more like them. In reality a players "Tone" resides in their technique. Their gear is an extension of their technique. I've played through some of my heroes rigs on stage using their instruments. I sounded like a different "flavour" of me.


Conclusion


YouTube is a very valuable resource to students in conjunction with private lessons or coaching. I love it when my students tell me about the exciting things they learn online about music. It gives me the opportunity to expand on what they've learned and help them apply the information in practical ways. When YouTube is the only resource available to students, more often then not, people get discouraged or even worse, end up believing that they just aren't cut out to learn music.


Sincerely,

Paul Smith





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