Beat it! Music teachers are being replaced by YouTube

If you aren’t a natural virtuoso on the violin or a piano pro, traditional music lessons might seem like the key to success.

But experts say pupils are increasingly ditching face-to-face instrument tuition and instead honing their craft using YouTube videos at home.

The trend among young musicians allows children to learn at their own pace and may save parents money. 

Experts say pupils are increasingly ditching face-to-face instrument tuition and instead honing their craft using YouTube videos at home. Instruments with the most tutorial videos from the UK are piano, guitar, ukulele, drums and violin [File photo]

But some experts have warned that online learning cannot match the quality of personal tuition in schools and homes.

The popularity of YouTube lessons is certainly unwelcome news for tutors. Many are professional concert musicians who take teaching work in the day to pay their bills. 

Teachers should typically charge about £35 an hour, the Musicians’ Union has said.

In spite of the reservations, some of the world’s top music institutions have embraced the change towards self-tuition via online videos. 

UK figures for last year alone show views of ¿piano tutorial¿ videos grew by 80 per cent. One of the most-viewed guides this year has been for Bohemian Rhapsody, following the success of the 2018 Queen biopic of the same name [File photo]

UK figures for last year alone show views of ‘piano tutorial’ videos grew by 80 per cent. One of the most-viewed guides this year has been for Bohemian Rhapsody, following the success of the 2018 Queen biopic of the same name [File photo]

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London says it has recently taken a number of new students who taught themselves to a high level in this way. 

Its director of music Havilland Willshire said: ‘One of the biggest opportunities that we’re facing is that students are remarkably good at using the internet to learn.

‘Some of them are in a place where they can actually apply for auditions for a place at a conservatoire, having just learned to play on the internet… They are very resilient and resourceful.’ 

But he added the majority of his students have still had formal training.

Meanwhile, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, a major UK music exam board which awards traditional grade 1-8 certificates, said it realised a decade ago that many students were learning via the internet – but were finding it hard to find ‘online support of quality’. 

The popularity of YouTube lessons is certainly unwelcome news for tutors. Many are professional concert musicians who take teaching work in the day to pay their bills [File photo]

The popularity of YouTube lessons is certainly unwelcome news for tutors. Many are professional concert musicians who take teaching work in the day to pay their bills [File photo]

In response, it uploaded a raft of videos to YouTube of its set pieces played by professionals.

It also created a free practice app Music Case, as well as videos addressing theory and sight reading. 

A spokesman said: ‘Some learners… are more suited to a self-directed approach.’ 

YouTube says it has seen a huge growth in British youngsters using music tutorials in the last few years.

UK figures for last year alone show views of ‘piano tutorial’ videos grew by 80 per cent. 

One of the most-viewed guides this year has been for Bohemian Rhapsody, following the success of the 2018 Queen biopic of the same name.

Instruments with the most tutorial videos from the UK are piano, guitar, ukulele, drums and violin.

YouTube UK’s Susan Cadrecha: ‘YouTube provides access to music lessons to people from different socio-economic backgrounds and therefore opens up new experiences to those who may not have otherwise had the opportunity.’ 

Teachers should typically charge about £35 an hour, the Musicians¿ Union has said. In spite of the reservations, some of the world¿s top music institutions have embraced the change towards self-tuition via online videos [File photo]

Teachers should typically charge about £35 an hour, the Musicians’ Union has said. In spite of the reservations, some of the world’s top music institutions have embraced the change towards self-tuition via online videos [File photo]

However, the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), the UK’s oldest conservatoire, said face-to-face tuition is still important in training professional musicians.

A spokesman said: ‘Quality instrumental teaching, in common with athletics, requires individual tuition and feedback. Although online tutorials can be interesting, nothing is comparable to one-to-one teaching which is the central core of our training.’

Diane Widdison, of the Musicians’ Union, said: ‘Teaching is a major part of many musicians’ income and our members who do teach also find it rewarding to inspire and create the next generation of musicians.’

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