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Videos - Do you like learning from them?

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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Hi all,

I'm wondering how you all feel about videos as a learning tool for guitar. Do you love ‘em, hate ‘em, or are you not bothered either way? You can pick more than one poll option, or just post a different opinion below.

I'm interested for a couple of reasons.

One is that I recently downloaded 3 lesson versions of the same song - two on video and one as a text only - to compare the experience. They were different arrangements, but all were finger-picking style. One video was much more clearly shot than the other, and gave me very clear examples of how to finger both the left and right hands. But both had some obvious advantages over the text. They also both gave me a more or less instant visual demonstration of which parts of the song I'd be able to do quickly, and which aspects I would need to put some serious hours in on. Conversely, the text did offer some benefits over the videos.

Following on from that, as I looked around the internet for information on the same song, it seemed that Guitarnoise is one of the few place still relying heavily on text only instruction. Almost all the sites I visited had either videos at their own site or else a Youtube Channel (perhaps that's cheaper than hosting the videos on your own site and having to pay for the download bandwidth??). There were also photos illustrating positions, postures etc and many sites had merchandise in the form of instructional DVDs that offered more than the free stuff.

It seems that, in the 21st century, younger users in particular now are very comfortable with some kind of audio-visual instruction, and indeed may even expect it. Books and written texts are starting to look a bit ‘Last century'.... :wink:

So, do you like video style instruction? Would it be worth suggesting that Guitarnoise have its own Youtube presence (or does it already??) Is that practical, and would anybody be willing to provide content in that format?

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@scrybe)
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I voted that I never use them but would give them a go.

I'm biased. My father played guitar, so he taught me the basics of fingerpicking and chords on guitar, so I had someone there to show me the basics. Beyond that, I took lessons for 6 months when I was 17-18. I also quickly found other musicians to play with, and had several teachers in school who played guitar. Long story short, I had people I could run new techniques/fingerings by. If, for whatever reason, you don't have that, I'd seriously recommend videos.

I'm sure I have learned from videos of top players, but I never e.g. sat down with a youtube vid to learn a whole song. I'm sure I first figured out how to tap (which I still can't do, mainly because I never practise it - so much effort for what would be a little-used technique for my playing) by watching someone like Jennifer Batten on video, and I've no doubt picked up a few things about fingerings for chords and/or the odd lick from watching the hands of players like Hendrix, but these are all videos/dvds I was watching primarily to listen to and because I'm a fan of their music. It was never treated as a "practice session."

Videos are like any other learning tool - use them, but don't rely on them.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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I voted never used them but would give them a try but in reality the real answer is I never really used them and don't really see myself using them much.

Not that there is anything wrong with it just never really occured to me to use them.

maybe I'm old school but I prefer having the text/tab on paper in front of me. I don't like being a slave to a computer screen and forced to sit in front of it to learn.

I wouldn't call myself much of a guitar player let alone a musician so my opinion doesn't really count for much.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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I've actually learned a lot from them. I used them when I took lessons last year, then when I went it alone, and I'm still using them with my new lessons. I was pleasantly surprised to find some lessons and demos for things I really didn't think I would find.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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(@chris-c)
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I voted that I never use them but would give them a go.

I'm biased. My father played guitar, so he taught me the basics of fingerpicking and chords on guitar, so I had someone there to show me the basics.

Thanks Scrybe - great summary. :)

My preferred option is undoubtedly to have a friend who is better than me sit down and show me. It's the clear winner for me.

Second would be a paid teacher, but only when I can find the right match up. Good teachers are gold dust, but bad or mediocre ones can be quite counterproductive.

However (for various reasons) most of my free time to learn is spent at home using either books or some kind of material that I found online. But the whole click, shuffle page, pick up guitar, click, put down guitar, click, turn page, thing isn't much fun.

I hadn't paid much attention the videos, because most that I'd seen were either just songs/covers being played or else fairly amateurish attempts at instructions. But when I came across some good ones it was a huge step up in user-friendliness. :)

Apart from enjoying the feeling of having a friendly musician chatting to me, I could clearly see what the chord changes were, what additional fingering was being done, and what the right hand was up to as well. It was far better than trying to work all that out from text, partly because there are always several options with a guitar. No matter how clear the writer thinks they've been there's always information missing, or more than one interpretation possible. So there's a regular feeling of "Am I actually getting this wrong, or is this just another genuinely tough aspect that I need to practice for a few weeks?"... :?

With the good video I could get a whole lot of useful information both quickly and accurately, but there were a couple of other things that were useful too. Apart from being able to see almost immediately whether the arrangement was going to be easy for me or hard, I could feel confident that if I did need to put a lot of hours in then at least I could be confident that I wasn't wasting time practising a misunderstanding...

The other thing, which is harder to define, was that by watching the player's hands and listening at the same time, I could actually pick up really good information about the whole ‘feel' of the piece and how they were achieving it. Often it's that hard to describe ‘soul' or ‘heart' of a piece of music that you can't always nail just by playing the notes in the right order. Being able to see the way the player's hands and body were working seemed to get across more than just the positions or the sounds, at least it did for me anyway.

I still like to write out a chord sheet though (and add any other extra info) but the act of writing it down seems to help me remember it anyway, so that's a plus not a minus. Funnily enough, I still prefer to sit down with a regular score on a stand in front of me when I play piano or clarinet.

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@bluezoldy)
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I've switched my learning almost fully to video instruction via JamPlay.com. This site not only does all it's training with video but also has daily live webchats with the instructors on a webcam which run for at least a couple of hours. I signed up for year for US$139 (about half the monthly charges) and it's the next best thing to having a personal tutor. The only local guitar teacher in my area wants $60 an hour (which I simply cannot afford) so JP is good value for me and I can use the money saved for GAS. :)

As a self-learner it's leaves guitar books for dead although I have a large library of these and still use them.

I also use http://www.vanderbilly.com/videoList.aspx and YouTube.

(I know this sounds like a commercial but I have no relationship with JamPlay except as a student.)

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

http://www.myspace.com/bluemountainsblues


   
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(@chris-c)
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Maybe I'm old school but I prefer having the text/tab on paper in front of me. I don't like being a slave to a computer screen and forced to sit in front of it to learn.

That's pretty much the way I've felt too. But I've now got a music area that's set up for practice and occasional recording, so the computer is just another bit of gear in the chain.

Computers are increasingly becoming just another part of the musician's kit. They get used in multiple ways for stage work, as home recording tools, hooked up to midi controllers, playing on board synths, and so on. For some musos a computer pretty much IS their instrument. They're even finding their way onto pianos. :) I know several people who have a monitor set up on their keyboard so that they can either follow instructional material or even use programs that display the score for you and turn the pages for you (foot switch click).

Laptops also solve the portability issue. The music bag I cart my sheet music around in is actually a laptop case. I could (should?) put it all the paperwork (and more) onto the laptop. Many musos apparently do now.

I have a big screen now so that I can see the content without having to squint, or sit right on top of it. The guy I had some lessons from last year had a massive TV screen linked to his computer so that he could sit well back and see comfortably (for running ProTools to record in that case).
I wouldn't call myself much of a guitar player let alone a musician so my opinion doesn't really count for much.

On the contrary, I'd say that it does count - because you're just the kind of player who some of the video makers are trying to reach. I bet you're better than me too.... :wink:

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@chris-c)
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Topic starter  

I've switched my learning almost fully to video instruction

As a self-learner it's leaves guitar books for dead although I have a large library of these and still use them.

Thanks very much for that post mate. Most interesting - that sounds just the sort of balance that I'd like too. :D

I've also been tossing up with subscribing to a piano course in that way. I just need to sort out payment options. I'm doggedly old fashioned and don't even have a credit card, so I'll have to bite the bullet and get a debit card or a Paypal thing or whatever one uses now...

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@gabba-gabba-hey)
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Apart from enjoying the feeling of having a friendly musician chatting to me, I could clearly see what the chord changes were, what additional fingering was being done, and what the right hand was up to as well. It was far better than trying to work all that out from text, partly because there are always several options with a guitar. No matter how clear the writer thinks they've been there's always information missing, or more than one interpretation possible. So there's a regular feeling of "Am I actually getting this wrong, or is this just another genuinely tough aspect that I need to practice for a few weeks?"... :?

With the good video I could get a whole lot of useful information both quickly and accurately, but there were a couple of other things that were useful too. Apart from being able to see almost immediately whether the arrangement was going to be easy for me or hard, I could feel confident that if I did need to put a lot of hours in then at least I could be confident that I wasn't wasting time practising a misunderstanding...

The other thing, which is harder to define, was that by watching the player's hands and listening at the same time, I could actually pick up really good information about the whole ‘feel' of the piece and how they were achieving it. Often it's that hard to describe ‘soul' or ‘heart' of a piece of music that you can't always nail just by playing the notes in the right order. Being able to see the way the player's hands and body were working seemed to get across more than just the positions or the sounds, at least it did for me anyway.

Seems to me there are many more not-so-good ones than there are good ones. I agree with you that when they're good, they can be very very good.

The key, I think, is communication, and how well the instructor does it. I feel that way about the text+MP3 Guitar Noise lessons I've used - David Hodge especially does a great job communicating the why as well as the how to. He gets good mileage from a little bit of theory in each lesson.

Would the GN lessons translate well to video? I'm sure they would. Would they be improved if they were on video? Possibly, and your experience with other video lessons makes the point. Would everyone like them better? Possibly not, but you can't please everyone.

I have some instructional DVDs that I think are great; I've had some that I thought were terrible. I have some instructional books that I really like; I've had some that weren't very helpful. Same thing always - the instructor's (writer's) ability to communicate effectively is what makes them work or not.

But almost always with the DVDs, I find I like to have printed supporting materials. So I voted: "Excellent for demonstrating some aspects, but I like written support too."


   
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(@chris-c)
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Seems to me there are many more not-so-good ones than there are good ones. I agree with you that when they're good, they can be very very good.

The key, I think, is communication, and how well the instructor does it.

I think you've nailed it there. :)

Initially I saw of lot of fairly crummy videos online. Some were just an 'Every dog having his day' type of thing (and why not, I guess....) and some were - as you suggested - quite professional in some aspects but still either poorly communicated or just not filmed in a way that let you see all that you need to. But when I finally did see some good ones, it really was both an eye opener and an ear opener.

Like you, I've had some great books and some really poor ones too, and the same applied to any audio-visual material I've seen. Some of the early stuff seemed to be just limp rehashes of somebody's existing written material with some pictures and a video or two thrown in, and slapped on a CD. But the degree of sophistication appears to have lifted considerably since then, and the whole area is maturing into something that looks really useful.

I'd certainly love to see some videos of David's lessons too, but it's probably a lot to ask of somebody who already provides so much here for free. In theory he could probably make and sell some DVDs too, but it's easy enough to spend out a hefty chunk of time and money on production costs, and not always so easy to get it all back again in sales. Still, who knows, maybe he's already given it some consideration? There may also be others here who would be willing and able to contribute content to a Youtube site?
But almost always with the DVDs, I find I like to have printed supporting materials. So I voted: "Excellent for demonstrating some aspects, but I like written support too."

That was my pick too. :)

Cheers,

Chris


   
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(@joehempel)
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I'm a video/printed material guy myself.

I enjoy using both, and I like the fact that if I want to look at something that's' in the video I don't have to have a computer/DVD player with me if I have the printed material that goes along with it.

Definately pros and cons to both, but I use Video/Printed material.

I've actually used Audio only CD's with the explanations, but that was about the equivalent to watching paint dry.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@rum-runner)
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I've tried about everything. When I first picked up the guitar to seriously learn I did so from a video, and it was very helpful to me. I also took lessons for two years and worked through a few instructional books. Haven't used any videos since that first one, but I am seriously considering going back to video instruction in the near future.

I'm just finishing up a year of voice lessons, and I'm not intending to renew for another semester. Two reasons for that. Primarily, i feel like after a year I've learned what I needed to as far as voice for right now. Secondly, I'm going to be doing a bit more busines travel over the next year, which makes lessons with a teacher impractical. However, if you do travel some like me, video seems to be an excellent format for instruction due to the portability. I can carry a DVD and a personal player, or if the lessons are online I just need a laptop and an Internet connection.

I'm considering the Collins DVD that david reviewed on this website, and I tink I will also try out sone of the sample lessons available on jamplay to see if I like them. Then I might take the plunge there. $139 a year is dirt cheap compared to private lessons!

Regards,

Mike

"Growing Older But Not UP!"


   
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(@dan-t)
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I'm a video/printed material guy myself.

I'm the same. I like vanderbilly.com and youtube, but also like tabs.

I noticed that my son who also plays guitar, (14 years old), prefers videos. Maybe that's the new generation's preference?

It would be nice to see GN start to do videos. C'mon, it's the 21st century! :P

"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge


   
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(@bluezoldy)
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....I noticed that my son who also plays guitar, (14 years old), prefers videos. Maybe that's the new generation's preference? ...

I'm 60 and much prefer videos so it's nice to know I'm 'in the groove' (and I guess I destroyed the illusion by using a 60's term? :D ).

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

http://www.myspace.com/bluemountainsblues


   
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(@barnabus-rox)
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I love them ...

Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am


   
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