Free verses paid

Should you be paying for online music lessons?

Traditionally, music lessons have involved going to a designated teaching space and paying for a person to teach you whatever instrument desired. Or relying on a friend to ‘show you the way’. Today people turn to the internet as their primary teaching tool. Anyone has the ability to learn practically anything from online teaching resources. The question, however, comes down to if you are willing to pay for the service or search out free teaching materials online. Both options are available, but there are some things you need to know before embarking on your internet musical education journey.

Are You a Self-Starter?

Free sites will give you the knowledge you need to know in order to learn how to play an instrument, but if you are not self-motivated, it may be difficult to stick with the program. People come in all forms and there is no shame in not being known as a self-starting individual. It simply means that you require a much larger push in order to get the job done.

Learning an instrument takes a great deal of dedication. Even if you are not a self-motivated individual you can learn to play an instrument. You may simply require paying for the service in order to give you that extra push you need to keep it up. Free is great, but people are more apt to pursue their goal on a continual basis if a monetary investment has been made.

Isn’t your time more valuable?

Benjamin Franklin once said, in his Advice to a Young Tradesman in 1748, that ‘time is money’ and who could argue with that! For the sake of saving a bit of money, why not cut out one or two cups of coffee from your favorite coffee vendor if it means the difference between you selecting a learning resource that will get you where you need to be in half the time rather than trying to scrabble together free content of varying quality. Perhaps you find a free resource that ticks all of your boxes. Great! However, remember that if you’re settling for second best, it could become a false economy if it makes the learning process much longer to follow and more difficult to stick to.

Do You Need Personalised Help?

Some people have the ability to learn independently without the help of someone keeping tabs on their learning progress. Paid for sites may give you the ability to have a live teacher, or access to personalized help (eg via email or messenger) instead of only recorded instructions. Although it is quite possible to learn from a pre-recorded session, the ability to stop the teacher and ask questions in a real time environment is often a better way of learning. You can of course stop and start a video as needed in order to practice that particular part, but you will may miss out on the interaction provided by an online teacher.

Know Your Level

From beginner to expert everyone has a level of experience. Whether you are looking to make a career out of your music lessons, just do it as a hobby, to relax in the evening or to impress that someone special, it is important to know where you stand. Even if you have some knowledge of how to play an instrument it may be in your best interest to begin your journey from a beginning platform. You may think you know everything there is to know about the beginner phase, but the beginning classes are where you set up the fundamentals that take you into the more advanced areas of music.

Where Do You Want to Go With Your Knowledge?

Anyone taking music lessons has a plan in mind for how they will use the knowledge gained. If you simply want to learn a little in order to have something to do it may not be in your best interest to use the paid for sites, but if you are looking to take your knowledge as high as it can go a little investment will definitely go a long way.

Professional musicians seem to be everywhere. People who make their income through the music industry do tend to have one thing in common and that is that they paid for lessons. To be the best you have to be trained by the best in many instances. Read up on how ‘Old Blue Eyes’ Frank Sinatra was unable to break out of small time gigs until he set about working with a professional music teacher to improve his singing voice. Result: great job! Therefore turning to paid for sites that offer professional teaching can usually take you way further than relying on a free source. You will find a few instances where a self-taught musician has a natural ability to learn an instrument and become a huge success, but these cases are rare.


sooth the savage beast

Music has a way of making life a whole lot more tolerable. With the hectic lives most people endure daily music can act as an escape for the mind, soul, and body. Music is said to ‘sooth the savage beast’ and even though most of us would not be classified as a savage beast (though we may wish to be such a beast on the guitar / piano / pick your instrument!), music does have a way of allowing us to unwind at the end of the day or any other time we are feeling a little bit stressed out.

There are pros and cons to both online forms of music lessons be it free or paid for, but one thing that both have in common is the teacher’s desire to share their knowledge with the rest of the world. Music is one of the most powerful forms of art on the earth and gaining knowledge of this art in any way will profit the mind and if pursued with enough passion may even profit in monetary terms as well.

  • Yeah, this article is spot on!

  • Sometimes I just think you need a bit of ‘skin in the game’ to keep you motivated. Know what I mean?

  • Diana Greben

    Well, thanks first of all to the author for sharing ideas as its really important to get pure understanding what is music for you and what is your main point in getting involved with such an interesting and magnificent art.

    I am totally agree that “what comes easy goes easy” , so the idea of paid method in leaning makes it valuable as well as possibility to study online with teacher. Your team seems to offer really something unique…

    And what is absolutely great at this matter is opportunity to take it step by step from entry level to the star one 🙂 and its all about a wish….So make it! I’ll do!

  • Claire Collier

    For me personally, paying for online music lessons would definitely motivate me to carry on. Also, I think most people would expect a charge, although I would expect charge to be less than face to face lessons.

  • Derek Anchan

    I would first find a good teacher and go through the grind at least for a few sessions. If I have a trained ear and a sense for music, I can gauge within a few sessions how long it’ll take for me to learn the instrument. I would then enroll online and learn via recorded sessions communicating with my teacher via email or messenger. I wouldn’t hesitate paying to learn from some of the world’s leading instrument teachers at affordable cost.

  • LJ Moran

    This is a tough debate, there is something to be said for paying for a learning experience as parting with cash tends to focus the mind, having said that so does a real enjoyment and sense of accomplishment you might get from a good free site, and there are a wealth of good free sites.
    The main positive I have found from paid sites is that they are mostly forced to provide a top class service, to really cater for their learners needs, if they don’t, they don’t make money..
    There is also a lot to be said for a good teacher, as Derek mentions below to identify and iron out problems with technique early on, problems that just wont get identified and fixed if the learner just spends time learning alone on a free site.

  • Ivan Ivanoff

    It always depends on your dedication … When I first started learning to play the guitar, I was set to never pay a penny and only use free resources. Today, my mindset is a bit different and looking back, if I had the budget, I would definitely prefer paying to receive quality online education, than simply going free. The simple truth is that most ‘free’ tutors aren’t qualified and those that are use ‘free’ training videos as promotion for their paid tutoring … This results in endless hours searching for the right videos and does set you back, as you encounter different styles of tutoring, hear the same basics over and over again and don’t end up learning a whole lot … Now, I do play the guitar, but some of the techniques I use are so off beat and unprofessional that I would have to start all over again with a paid tutor, just to learn the right ways of playing … For example, by learning from free videos I never actually got around using my pinky when playing and I can’t even properly strum with the pick .. I ended up losing passion, but am definitely interested in spending a few bucks for some quality education to see where that gets me ..

  • Ivan Ivanoff

    I totally agree … When you spend your money the learning experience is that much different just because you are investing in your passion .. Paying does work wonders for motivation ..

  • Karen Scotland

    Well I have been debating about paying for online lessons (I need that level of flexibility in my life) and in rural Scotland, I can’t always get access to a music teacher without driving over an hour each way so the online variant definitely gives me options, and the trying to play along with youtube videos just isn’t the same. I definitely think you need an interactive element such as a skype session or personalised feedback as opposed to just recorded sessions so that in itself is worth paying for without a doubt.