Looking to Learn Guitar Online? Try these 5 Effective Strategies.

“Online Learning” – A buzz phrase ubiquitous with tech-savvy universities that is fast becoming the focus of many young adults entering today’s modern workforce. As we increasingly turn to the internet to answer all of life’s questions — from simple queries like “how to tie a tie” to acquiring completely new skill sets like “learning to play the guitar” — the internet is bringing together communities across borders, sharing information like never before.

So is it true? Can I effectively learn a new skill simply by sitting on my couch with my iPad?

The answer lies less in your online behavior, and more in your daily habits offline. As the signal becomes harder to separate from the online noise, take stock in an old-school approach of establishing good habits as a part of your device-free routine.

TIP #1: The 24-Hour Rule

Open 24 Hours Sign

Think of your brain like a computer. It’s has a finite amount of memory used to carry out daily tasks. Some bits of information are deemed important enough to store for quick recall, like your address, PIN number, etc. Other tidbits (what you ate for breakfast last Tuesday) are simply static – the dynamic lives we live as human beings in the 21st century.

How does your brain make the important decision about what to keep, and what to put in the trash? Habits have a lot do with it.

One tactic I find extremely simple, but more effective than any other, is reviewing important information at least once within 24 hours, and then again within 48 hours of your first interaction. Your chances of retaining a factoid or skill increase significantly when reviewed in the first two 24-hour cycles. If work or family gets in the way on the 3rd day (we are all complicated people right?) worry not. Returning to your practice routine on that 4th day shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve put in your due diligence on days 1 & 2.

TIP #2: Build An Effective Reward System

Rewards System
Long day at the office? How about a cold beer to take the edge off? Wait!

Pick up that guitar first and strum through that song you’re working on to play for your wife on her birthday. Seriously, just 5 minutes. Whoa! How did that turn into 15 minutes so fast? You might as well put in a solid 30 minutes now that you are in the heat of the moment. Ok now you can crack that cold one, and confidently throw it back in celebration of your progress transitioning through the chords of Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love”. Cheers! You get the idea…

TIP #3: Capture Your Starting Point

School Of Rock - Jack Black

Make an informal audio or video document of your first assignment. But it’s just random chords? Doesn’t matter. Tap a quick video on your iPhone and hide it in a time capsule for later. Trust me. You’ll see why.

Fast forward 8-10 months. Remember how you couldn’t get from the C chord to the D chord in Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”? Guess what – all those 15-30m practice sessions paid off! Now you’re memorizing songs like a pro. Chords move with ease, and you’re the hit of the party when you bring your acoustic guitar up to the lake house on the 4th of July and pick through Neil Young songs around the campfire.

Tangible evidence of progress is sometimes difficult to hold in your hand. But with a simple video of your first steps with the guitar, your ego can get a healthy little boost at just the right moment when you’re reaching up for that next plateau on the learning curve of life.

TIP #4: Sharing Is Caring

Red Velvet Cupcakes
The whole point of social media is sharing, right? Put yourself out there. Upload that original video of you learning an open F chord (every beginner’s nightmare) and make a quirky before-and-after montage of you now, rocking out in front of the mirror. Have fun with it – keep it light, and don’t get weighed down with guilt about that time you went out for drinks after work instead of coming home to practice guitar. Slow and steady wins the race. There are no shortcuts. See the long tail on your progress.

TIP #5: Divide & Conquer

Divide And Conquer
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when by an entire online course of material. The key to retaining any amount of data or skills is to not bite off more than you can chew. Master one measure before you move on to the next. Break songs into sections and feel confident about the verse before you move to the chorus. The main selling point of online learning is that you can do it on your own time, at your own pace. So take full advantage of this modern convenience by dividing content into smaller sections to work on individually, then combine each piece of the puzzle to reveal your prize!

Finally, remember this: adding a new arrow to your quiver is an investment in yourself. Learning a new skill makes you more valuable. The more new things you continue to learn, the quicker and easier they will come. Finally, remember this: adding a new arrow to your quiver is an investment in yourself. Learning a new skill makes you more valuable. The more new things you continue to learn, the quicker and easier they will come.

If you live in New York and you’re looking to work with an experienced teacher who offers convenient, affordable guitar lessons, sign up for a FREE 30m session!