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Judging from my own experience, I believe that nowadays is much easier to find good teachers and material to practice and become really good. For example, I am middle aged and was a fan of Queensryche back in the '90s. Once I listened to them, I wanted to learn to play guitar so I got a number of music books, took some lessons from a guitar teacher, bought queensryche's books containing their transcribed songs and started practicing. It took me a lot of time to understand certain concepts and whenever I was stuck I would ring up the teacher or go through the books. Those were the times. No internet and no mp3s.

Now, besides having a good teacher, you can find a video on youtube explaining in multiple ways e.g the myxolydian scale, create your own studio using https://www.reaper.fm/, create your own backing tracks and practice your scales along with the tracks.

So my question is: Can someone become a much better musician nowadays with all this information available than years ago?

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    This will be measured by what actually determines the term 'musician'. And it also will elicit opinionated answers, so will maybe suffer from being closed. However, it's a point worth pondering upon...
    – Tim
    Jun 22 at 9:40
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    Better? No. Does it make music more accessible to more people? Without question.
    – Aaron
    Jun 23 at 3:41
  • I guess that would balance out with the decrease in funding for orchestras, opera companies, etc. Jun 24 at 5:36

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Can someone become a much better musician nowadays with all this information available than years ago?

IMO, it depends. Here is a story about the Beatles:

Together, they figured out guitar chords as if they were ancient runes. When Paul and George heard that someone across town knew the fingering for the B7 chord they got on a bus to meet the guy and learn it. (source)

Would the Beatles be better musicians if they didn't have to travel across town to learn the fingering for B7? That's not clear at all. Maybe they would know a bit more theory. Maybe they would be somewhat better in some respects, but not reach the same level of fame since they faced more competition from a larger number of their peers who had access to the same knowledge. Hopefully they wouldn't succumb to "analysis paralysis" and spend all their time watching music theory on Youtube rather than practicing and experimenting. Many maybes, few clear answers.

There is more information available today, with less effort, for a larger number of people. Getting to professional level or beyond still takes a lot of dedicated effort over a long period of time, I'm not convinced that the availability of more information reduces the total time from first-timer to professional by all that much.

But there may an improvement for hobbyists and bedroom musicians (who are the most likely to be hampered by a lack of knowledge), it may make music accessible to a larger number of people, and "the best of the best" may be better in the future simply because it's selecting from a larger total pool of musicians.

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Can someone become a much better musician nowadays with all this information available than years ago?

Yes. The key to improvement is doing the required practice, which is inevitable Any good musician will have many hours of practice. Guided practice is also key and there have always been plenty of teachers to provide the guidance. The difference now though, is that not only do we have teachers available but there is a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. So yes, the potential to improve is greater because the barriers to additional knowledge have been reduced.

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Can someone become a much better musician nowadays with all this information available than years ago?

The short answer is "No" because the key to improvement is not having more information it is doing the required practice. Guided practice is the key and there have always been plenty of teachers to provide the guidance. And, no, YouTube and Zoom are not substitutes for a real live human teacher in the same room as you.

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