I have been experiencing a strange phenomenon in music lessons and have felt it in my private studio. I am writing this article to hopefully educate some on why there is times where a youtube lesson can be beneficial but if you are a true beginner it can be very harmful to your enjoyment of making music in the long run. I myself go to Youtube when I want to learn new things too. It does not matter what it is, working on the water heater, fixing something on the car, learning to play a particular song or learning to play an instrument, We all know it is on Youtube.
There is an old saying that the Devil is in the details. I don't particularly care for that phrase because of the negative connotation. I personally feel that the diamond is in the details. What I mean by that is that if you pay close attention to detail your product be it your water heater, your car, your instrument is going to bring more joy the better you are at it. I know for myself when I play something I want to perform it to the best of my abilities and I think most people feel the same about anything they have passion about. The number one reason I hear people stopped making music in their private lives is because they were untalented. We are all talented and have this gift of music inside of us however Draconian music teachers drove the masses to Youtube and alternative forms of instruction due to statements such as this"You will never be a musician" or " You are tone deaf" or any other negative statement a teacher has made to you regarding your pursuit of being proficient on an instrument.
Youtube is great if you are looking to learn a new song, what to dabble on something aren't really sure if it's for you or you are already proficient and you just want to expand the skills that you have already developed.
Youtube is awful if you have decided on an instrument and you want to start teaching yourself how to play an instrument. Some have natural talent and are able to get away with it because they just are in tune with everything that is needed to be a good musician and to those people I say good for you. Now for the rest of us.
When you start learning an instrument think about how many things your beginning brain is having to handle and control while learning an instrument. Proper posture, proper hand position, Correct rhythm, correct pitches, recognizing the pitches on page and on instrument and many more. Now your youtube instructor is going to mention all of these things and show you how it works, now this how it works part is the tricky part. Your instructor is showing you how it works for him with his body type, his guitar, his fingers. If we all had the same body types this would be an effective form of instruction. I have had students where it took us 3 lessons for them to get comfortable holding the instrument. Why does comfort matter in holding an instrument. Improper posture and bad execution can lead to back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel and a variety of other issues that can arise. The biggest thing you are paying for with music instruction is someone to stop you from developing bad habits. A large portion of playing an instrument is muscle memory. If you train these muscles the wrong way the above issues can arrive.
How do I know this? I started playing the guitar at the age of 14. I had a good instructor who gave me great techniques and exercises to work on and I took lessons with him for a couple of years. I then self taught myself how to play classical guitar. I enrolled in an University music program and got a BA in music. However I spent most of my first year relearning how to play the guitar to have good technique and not hurt myself. The last reason is there are music instructors in your community and if we want to make better communities we need to keep our business local. You have an opportunity to learn how to play an instrument, ask questions of an individual who works in the music business, and last but not least it is an opportunity to make a life long friend.
Now for the last reason and the worst reason people go to Youtube over a private instuctor, Money. Yes a private instructor is going to cost some money. It is a matter of priorities. Do you want to play an instrument or do you want to have Starbucks, internet, t-shirts, movie tickets, etc..... Youtube is free and with free you get what you pay for.
I hope this helps you to make an educated decision if you are trying to learn an instrument.