Teaching Music in the YouTube Generation.

The challenge of teaching music in the YouTube generation.

Do you know anyone that doesn’t know about YouTube? I’m pretty sure that most people who use a computer, tablet or smart phone these days know about the value that YouTube gives as a source of free information via video.

Around 6 Billion hours of video were watched in March this year in 61 languages. With the growth of mobile YouTube users growing by 27% annually. With these staggering figures, it would be easy to think that the ear of personalised music lessons is going into decline, HOWEVER this is in fact not the case.

The creation of YouTube in 2005 has given more people a chance to realise how amazing it is to make music! If anything YouTube could be considered a promotional tool for music! Personally, I love to use YouTube to watch Music Videos as well as instructional videos for using new software for example. I’ve even learned a few ukulele tunes from YouTube videos. I have students who surf their favourite songs and discover the viability or playing them through some of the tutorials they find free online also.

It might sound like I’m promoting YouTube as the way forward for Music Lessons. However, there is strong evidence seen by the numbers of people still enrolling in traditional face to face music lessons, that YouTube does not satisfy everyone, nor does it fulfil all the functions a personalised lesson does.

Why do students still want a face to face lessons?

As a qualified and highly experienced teacher, trainer, examiner and author, it’s comforting to know there is still a strong demand for traditional music lessons, even though the YouTube generation has also added some challenges. Below are a few reasons students prefer face to face lessons:

  • The confidence boost of knowing that someone experienced is checking what they are doing.
  • Personal interactions and having a real person show them exactly where to put their fingers, hold their arms, place their feet may be needed.
  • A regular lesson with a real person will often be more motivating and achieve more than just watching a video and trying to motivate yourself to work at improving or learning a skill.
  • Quality can be an issue. Not all videos are of the same quality, but once you find a great teacher, the quality is consistent.
  • There is a demand for sequential development. YouTube videos may not always provide this, or can be difficult to find.

As a trained teacher of multiple instruments, it is perturbing or even distressing to find:

  • Others get started but hit a “brick wall” in their learning. Often because they aren’t given a logical sequence of skills and knowledge causing gaps that stall their progress.
  • Bad habits have developed that make playing more difficult than it should be.

The worst case scenario for those following online videos can be people believing they “don’t have the talent” to learn to make music. Everyone deserves the chance to make music in some form. Not everyone has to be a professional or even a performer. Making music is good for the soul and will uplift your spirits.

So what do I believe is the biggest challenge for Music teachers now? It’s not about how to compete with YouTube, or stop people using YouTube or other technology. The challenge today is to embrace technology, while being selective in what is used. Learn to use it and help others also be selective in its use.

How do I use technology in my music lessons?

  • I regularly record audio tracks for students to use.
  • Record videos as demonstrations and instructional segments.
  • Use a variety of notational, aural and other apps on my iPad.
  • Offer lessons via Skype Hookup.
  • Use Digital instruments (piano and drums).
  • Surf the internet and YouTube for demos, ideas, lyrics, chord charts and more.
  • Organisation and Communication via email/sms technology.

My Teaching business relies on technology. It provide marketing and operate administration functions. I have invested heavily over the last few years, developing teaching content and methods that will soon be available within our Wendy’s Music School Franchises. This includes an online delivery format with a teacher connected via a “skype type “ live video link to give the personalised assistance many people still prefer.

Being apart of this period in history is exciting, embrace it!


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Wendy Brentnall-Wood

Wendy Brentnall-Wood

I am passionate about encouraging and inspiring people to begin to experience the heart filling joy of making music in a simple, easy and systematic way, enabling them to enrich their lives and the lives of those around them.


Rhys Lett

Rhys is the director/owner of the Eastern Suburbs School of Music in Boronia and Carrum Downs, suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. He is also a guitar tutor and a music educator for 26 years. Rhys taught in a lot of different spaces, in private music schools, state primary school and as well with refugee

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Mat Creedon

Mat Creedon is a multi-Instrumental Teacher @ Mat Creedon School of Music. He has been teaching music for 30 years now. He also has a private studio in Balwyn North (Melbourne, Eastern Suburbs) and teaches total beginners, as well as intermediate & advanced students. Mat teach most instruments as well as some sound healing and meditation practices.

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