I haven’t had a music lesson from a trained instructor since I tried to play the violin back in 2000. (Finding out I was pregnant with my first child the very day my lessons began didn’t bode well for my immediate future as a fiddle player.) Lately, though, I’ve played around with some instruments, including the ukulele. My daughter has taken to it quite well, herself, which inspired me to dig in more deeply also.
I recently had the opportunity to try out the music lesson service, Lessonface. It connects musicians and musician-hopefuls with the right instructor, matching instrument, teaching style, price, availability, and skill level. You can also search for instructors who work with children. Some even offer a free intro class to see if they are a good fit for you. Here’s an introductory video with more information.
I was matched up with October Crifasi, and she was fantastic. She teaches guitar and ukulele, along with songwriting. She answered all of my questions, and was friendly and approachable. October started me off slowly, at a point that I could handle. Before this lesson, I already knew how to play the C major scale, courtesy of my 14-year-old daughter’s teachings. But for my lesson, we focused on three chords and strumming. This expanded my repertoire quite a bit, for a beginner.
October began by giving me a tour of the instrument, and after I demonstrated that I already knew the C scale, she taught me the C major chord, G7, and F. Those three go well enough together to make a song, and she told me about entire songs, like “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” that just use those chords.
Since I’d just played individual notes so far, the chords were new to me, and it was much harder on my fingers. The strumming also didn’t feel terribly intuitive, especially the upstrumming. But that gets easier with practice!
During the lesson, we had a split screen–with both of us on the screen–along with a screen share with her computer screen, so we could have music and reference material to work from. After the lesson, she sent me a .pdf of the lesson material so that I could easily practice on my own.
October said that she likes teaching over this kind of interface because she can connect with people all over the world, and be there for their “ah-ha” moments. When you see something just click, it’s rewarding for all involved.
The only drawback of a virtual lesson, I believe, is that internet connections aren’t usually reliable enough to be able to play the instrument at the same time. The video was a bit choppy, but fortunately the sound was quite good.
Two of the biggest advantages of an online music lesson are convenience and choice. Since no one has to drive anywhere, these lessons don’t take as much time out of your day. More time for practicing! This also means you can still make your lessons while out of town or on vacation. Also, you can choose your instructor from so many options. You’re not restricted to who might be local. This is especially useful if you live in a small town.
Using Lessonface was a completely positive experience, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for music lessons. Its convenience, choice, fair prices, and other options make it quite a value.
Here’s the skinny from the people at Lessonface themselves, including a coupon!
Lessonface is a platform for live online music lessons. At Lessonface.com, students can filter and search for the right teacher for them from a list of pre-qualified instructors, and enter into a correspondence, or set up sessions with their choice of instructor. Lessonface also offers a matching service for students and parents of students who would like assistance finding their fit. Using a built-in video conference platform, the students and teachers then meet from wherever they are.
Lessonface has been connecting students and teachers for online lessons for 2 1/2 years. In this time, teachers (and students) have joined mainly from the U.S. and Canada–84% of site users to date are from these two countries. More than half of the sessions take place between users at least one time zone away from each other.
Teachers cover about 85 instruments and voice, across many genres, and all meet the site’s requirements for experience level–at least two years of music teaching experience, or five years as a professional musician. About half the teachers on Lessonface have a degree in music, and there are multiple Grammy winners and renowned recording artists who accept students through the platform. Teachers who are listed as teaching children have additionally passed criminal background checks.
Lessonface is offering GeekDad readers $15 off their first lesson booking using the code GEEKDAD at the checkout, for the first 200 readers to claim the coupon. Lessons must be booked before September 15, 2015.
Note: This post is sponsored by Lessonface.