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Want to learn guitar? Turn off the internet!

Don't get me wrong. I love the internet as much as anyone else. In addition to my nightly "Hogan's Heroes" fix I have become a habitual CNN-checker, Google searcher, Facebook poster and You Tube watcher just like everyone else on the planet today. The web is a place where almost any interest can be enhanced, enlightened, and developed almost immediately with a convenience that makes researching and learning more efficient than ever. But let's face it: it's not a perfect place. There's been lots of times when I've run into dead ends on the web. Not every search ends in success. Not every post is golden. There's a lot of junk and mis-information on there too. It can be frustrating sometimes. So while I credit the internet for making MANY duties and chores easier - not ALL human needs and requirements are being met by the world-wide web just yet! Of course, this post is being written by someone who, as a music educator, has focused his career on "one-on-one" instruction to students studying the guitar. I am an unabashed believer in this type of personalized education (which often includes internet and other tech tools). Online learning has its' place, but experience has taught me that private lessons are the absolute gold-standard in guitar education.

Online we learn in units, in segments. A riff here, a chord there. But a caring teacher can put-it-all-together for you in a comprehensive way that streamlines the process. A good teacher 'custom-tailors' the curriculum to your own individual needs and abilities. There's no dead-ends, no confusing concepts or frustrations. A personal instructor can steer you through the "information maze" of the internet. You don't need all the superfluous information - you only need the relevant information. What is critical knowledge and what can be safely skipped? What is a waste of time and what isn't? It's hard for guitar students to answer these questions for themselves - whereas a gifted educator can easily guide you to precisely what is (and isn't) worth your time. Online learners without a human teacher often find themselves at a 'forest for the trees' moment. They feel like they're not "getting anywhere". Frustrated, many give up - assuming that maybe guitar playing is just too hard for them (when it isn't!)

But as the saying goes: "If you haven't tried private instruction - you haven't tried." So if you really want to make progress on the guitar, connect with an experienced human teacher. And at least for now, turn off the internet!


Aston Wright has taught over 2,000 people to play the guitar on Cape Cod and still offers his Master Class for select beginners and intermediates. He is the author of "Essential Chord Studies For Pop Music." Mr. Wright also performs over 100 live shows per year with his night club act, The Aston Show.

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