I've taken lessons and taught myself songs from books and tablature. I have also listened to a song repeatedly and attempted to learn it by playing along. One method I have not tried is learning from a video. I have watched a few video lessons, but did not spend a lot of time on them, preferring tried and true methods. Nevertheless, other guitarists say they are very useful. How is this type of learning done effectively? Do you play along with the guitarist in the video? Is there a recommended way of taking notes or repeating the video?
When I first started learning guitar, the Internet was just getting popular (circa 1999)
I was lucky that I immediately got involved with various online communities and had access to so much learning material - for free!
The guys who had learnt guitar the traditional way would always say we youngsters didn't know how good we had it.
Well, I can honestly say the same thing again to people who are just starting to learn the guitar now in 2011. Technology just keeps getting better, and online videos have to be one of the best ways to deliver guitar lessons.
Look on YouTube - there are so many teachers giving lessons for free on any style.
Some of these teachers then actually have their own websites where you can get more material, tabs, notes to supplement the videos.
One guy who I rate highly is John Tuggle, who does a very good job of putting free videos on his YouTube channel, but also has his own site where you can buy more suplimentary material.
An iPad is also pretty good when it comes to consuming online guitar material. So convenient, and there are also many good guitar-centric apps available.
As for taking notes - just depends on your learning style I suppose. I've never been one for that. I like to watch a lesson, learn the new technique through practice and then try and incorporate that back into my style/routine so I don't forget it.
I think that video is a good media to add to your learning sources. Tabs and books are good but sometimes you need to see how to perform this or that. A short video could replace 1 page of explanations.
A good example would be a lesson about how to hold your guitar. I guess most books show a picture because it says a lot more than just a block of text.
Of course video won't replace the other sources, but I find them really helpful.
Depending on the complexity of the lesson, I pause the video as many times as needed for me to get a tab down so I can practice "offline" first, before returning to the video and trying to follow along. Most videos I've seen include the instructor doing a slowed down demo of the lesson, which makes it easier to play along.
Usually once I get the overall lesson in my head and/or on paper, I don't bother coming back to the video except to check that my playing sounds like the video when I'm done practicing. It's a bit different with DVD lessons, since they tend to be longer and focus more on technique and explanation rather than just a slow repetition of a song or a particular skill they're teaching. With DVDs I find I pay more attention and come back to check the more complicated parts, but overall I still focus on getting the info down on paper or in my head so that I'm not chained to the TV/computer when I want to practice.