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Live lessons vs recorded lessons. Which are better?

Posted by Mariana Del Rosal on Oct 2, 2020 4:02:58 PM

Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak, many people have turned into homeschooling, or online classes, rather than traditional lessons. When it comes to learning and teaching music, which is what we do here at Nabi Music, we want to know which system has proven more effective: live classes or recorded lessons. In a previous article, we have already discussed how signing up with an online music instructor has way too many advantages compared to video tutorials. But here we want to know the pros and the cons of having your teacher live, versus having recorded lessons dedicated to you as a student, not just a general video tutorial.

I’m a teacher myself, and ever since the school moved to an online platform, I mix the techniques. I believe any course needs to have a balance between the synchronous and asynchronous interactions, whether on or offline. After all, when I used to teach in a “normal” school, students still got their books, notes, and homework to work on their own, right? Now that I teach from home, some of my lessons are recorded, some of them are live. I think both of them offer some pros and cons. Here we’ll discuss them specifically when it comes to learning a musical instrument.

Advantages of live classes

Let’s begin by exploring all the possibilities that live online interaction with a music teacher has. It’s as close as it gets to a traditional music session in a studio since the interaction allows you to ask the tutor questions, for them to go faster or slow down according to your level of interest and the abilities you acquire and, more importantly, to correct your mistakes right on time: if you misplace your fingers, or you are not reaching the right pitch, they can let you know and suggest some ways to correct the mistake.

The dedication you get from hiring an online music teacher is complete: you are guaranteed their full attention. Of course, this means you also have to commit to a given schedule, and let the tutor know in case you cannot take a lesson for some reason. And let’s not forget that live online lessons are a way of socializing nowadays! If you are taking a group lesson, it means you will not only learn from your teacher but from your classmates’ questions as well.

Some disadvantages of live classes

When we refer to online music lessons, we are taking for granted you have the time and the place to sit down, hold your instrument, and take some time off to enjoy the class. If you or the family have an irregular schedule, or your connectivity at home is not so great, live online lessons may not be the best choice.

Group live classes may not be ideal, as it happens in traditional lessons when some students learn faster than others and some get lost along the way. The teacher needs to carefully adjust her explanations to the whole group and try to reach for those children who take more time to learn or are too shy to ask if there’s something they don’t understand. One solution online lessons offer is the possibility to record them and watch them again later, something traditional classes in a studio obviously won’t allow you to do!

Some pros of recorded lessons

When we say “recorded lessons”, let’s insist we are referring to a specific paid course, not a generic video tutorial you can download for free. We mean the base of what it’s called e-learning: professionally designed lessons meant for people who take their learning process very seriously. Some people actually prefer pre-recorded lessons because some students are too shy, or have not a great attention span for them to participate in live sessions. And some others would enjoy live learning sessions, but because of their tight schedule or connectivity reasons, they cannot access them.

Some tutors are great at recorded lessons because they are a bit shy in front of the screen, or have some trouble organizing their explanations. The possibility to record, edit, and give a great shape to their lessons is a plus.

Recorded lessons encourage an active, independent learning process on behalf of the student. It is not simple for little children or even teens, but it may be a great alternative for adult learners who are motivated enough and use the recorded lessons as a guide through their studies. If you opt for recorded lessons when studying music, it’s important to receive some sort of regular feedback from your music tutor. Otherwise, you may drag a mistake that will later be much harder to correct.

The cons of recorded lessons

The basic con is the lack of interaction. While you can repeat a recorded lesson over and over, the teacher is not actually there to provide you some feedback, to answer your questions, or to clear your doubts. If you are playing the guitar and you can’t get a chord right, the only thing you can do is to look at the video over and over, and this may leave you clueless.

Besides, recorded lessons don’t force you to a schedule: you learn at your own pace. This is a pro and a con at the same time. If you are not motivated enough, weeks may go by and you’ll still be stuck in the same lesson.

So when it comes to taking music lessons, which is better: a live online class, or a personalized recorded lesson? Mostly, it is up to the student. Children and teens may benefit a lot from the one-on-one interaction with their teacher, and the fixed schedule of live lessons. Adults who are already advanced in their instruments and have low connectivity, or an irregular weekly timetable, but are still willing to keep studying music, may take advantage of recorded lessons, as long as they are personalized, they always have the chance to get in touch with their tutor and receive some kind of feedback.

Have you signed for your first trial music lesson already? Do it now: it’s fast and it’s free!


Topics: Music Practice, Tips for Parents, Music Lessons, Tutors, online

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