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Online Music Lessons Pick up Steam

Think online education is limited to the traditional trio—reading, writing and ‘rithmetic? Not anymore. The New York Times reports that music teachers are also taking to the internet to peddle their expertise via Skype:

Students who used to limit the pool of potential teachers to those within a 20-mile radius from their homes now take lessons from teachers—some with world-class credentials—on other coasts or continents. The list of benefits is long: Players of niche instruments now have more access to teachers. Parents can simply send their child down the hall for lessons rather than driving them. And teachers now have a new way to build their business.

Online learning has certain problems, but examples like this show how it can enrich the lives of ordinary, cash-strapped people. This technology will make musical knowledge and skills more available to those with busy parents or living in isolated areas. It also gives good teachers a better chance to make a living from their skills. It’s hard to see how this is anything but a good thing—unless you happen to dread its potential to swell the ranks of the nation’s bagpipe players.

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  • Kris

    “its potential to swell the ranks of the nation’s bagpipe players.”

    [Spiral] bagpipe players; what this country needs is more cowbell players!

  • Jim.

    Individual attention still matters in music instruction. The weekly lesson (and an organization for recitals) is still an incomparable way to provide a student with a structure that helps maintain discipline and momentum.

    That discipline and momentum is arguably the most important aspect of music education — at least in terms of producing people who are as good at their instrument as they can be.

  • Robert I Eachus

    I don’t think you have to worry about too many bagpipe players. Can you imagine a mother sending Johnny to a bagpipe lesson in the house? Unlikely. Those with farms or large back yards might try sending them (with a laptop computer) to practice far, far away. But what happens when the cows stop giving milk?

    Drummers can practice their art on a wood block–and it is arguably the best way to practice technique. But I don’t know of any method of muting a bagpipe.

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