Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Just a short essay for my course. This is very sketchy... I can think of loads of stuff I've missed out, but it's an interesting thing to think about.

    I could also have written an essay about this forum. Maybe I will!

    --------

    Exact figures are hard to come by, but from personal experience it seems as if websites and apps like YouTube and Instagram are an ever more popular – perhaps even central - sources of musical education. One undergraduate student told me that he thought his generation of guitarists had grown up learning primarily through YouTube. The viewing figures for the largest music education oriented YouTube channels, such as Rick Beato (over 1 million subscribers) seems to support the idea of a very large online constituency of music learners.

    This is also seems an area underrepresented in the musical pedagogy literature.

    I run a channel specifically focussing on Jazz Guitar lessons for the more advanced student. Although it is relatively small, I still find there is a surprising overlap between my “in real life” teaching and my online presence. Students often approach me for lessons because of my channel, and I often meet musicians and music students who are aware of my lessons. As my most viewed video has 28,000 views, this represents a far greater reach than I could hope to achieve through any direct, physical teaching. It seems clear the platform has tremendous potential for the educator.

    As anyone is able to make YouTube videos with a smartphone, tablet or laptop, there is a trade-off between the democratic nature of the platform and the lack of guarantee of quality, other than the highly problematic one of popularity. There are the obvious recent high-profile media stories concerning the problematic role of YouTube in political discourse.[1] However, in the realm of musical tuition, the same forces manifest themselves in more subtle ways.

    There is always a tension between the nature of the platform and what I would consider ethical teaching. Many of the issues described by Thomas Regelski[2] are if anything intensified by the online environment.

    When a certain type of video does well, the temptation is to make more content like that, whether or not it is helpful to potential students.

    For example, videos that discuss gear (guitar, amps and so on) or have transcribed examples from famous players are usually popular, but these genres are already well represented on the website. There is the issue of video titles. Titles such as ‘if you don’t practice this you are wasting your time’ can get more clicks and can force the content creator/teacher to constantly try to court attention or even controversy in exchange for views. (Furthermore, it’s pretty clear that this is an ethically questionable sales technique.) If the content creator derives income from the site, these problems can become intensified.

    So the choice for a teacher can be between what they think to be useful or valuable content and what they think will gain clicks.

    Building a reflective online teaching practice is complicated by the non-interactive nature of the teaching. My primary form of interaction with students is YouTube comments, and I try to encourage comments, but often the only feedback I receive on a video is a simple like/dislike ratio. Comments can often be somewhat hostile, especially on my more popular videos. Recently the site has offered a way of polling viewers, which can help. As I find myself identifying with Frank Abraham’s application of Freire’s concept of Critical Pedagogy[3] where the teaching is a two way street, and I feel the format of YouTube really doesn’t encourage this, and this needs thought.

    Another issue is the lack of diversity in my audience. For instance, my viewership is almost entirely male, and I would imagine from reading comments on similar channels that these demographics are not unusual. I’d be interested to know if there are ways of changing this.

    Lastly another ethical issue is that YouTube and various forms of distance learning can threaten to eclipse conventional face to face teaching. I can see advantages in the use of technology, but experiential learning is for me only truly found in the offline world, and it is this which I feel is primary value to the music student.

    [1] Saner, Emine, “YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki: 'Where's the line of free speech – are you removing voices that should be heard?'”, The Guardian, 10thAugust 2019, YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki: 'Where's the line of free speech – are you removing voices that should be heard?' | Technology | The Guardian

    [2] Regelski, T The Ethics of Music Teaching as Profession and Praxis (2007)

    [3] Abrahams, F The Application of Critical Pedagogy to Music Teaching and Learning (2005)

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I don't disagree with your article but at the same time I'm a big fan of youtube as an educational platform. If you haven't seen any of the Salmon Kahn TED talks you should check them out. The whole "flip the classroom" concept... I think that would work well for private guitar lessons or classroom group guitar lessons.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I don't disagree with your article but at the same time I'm a big fan of youtube as an educational platform. If you haven't seen any of the Salmon Kahn TED talks you should check them out. The whole "flip the classroom" concept... I think that would work well for private guitar lessons or classroom group guitar lessons.
    Yes I'll definitely watch that.

    The aim of the essay really was to identify ethical problems, so I probably come off a lot more negative about it than I am. I mean I upload videos twice a week, so I can't hate it that much haha.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Oops, I just looked him up... I spelt his name wrong, corrected Salman Khan, not the actor but the orginator of The Khan Academy.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I don't use YouTube much for guitar learning, though I've seen great performances. Most of the instructional stuff I've seen doesn't go in-depth enough, and yeah, there's a lot of "teasers".

    There's a couple of problems I see, especially for beginners. One is, of course, it's a one-way presentation. There's no guidance for what the student needs. the other problem is, there's a lot of quacks and mis-information, because there's no vetting. It seems pretty bad in the martial arts world. For guitar, maybe the jazz sub-genre is a little better than what you see for rock guitar. Again, though, how is a beginner supposed to know what is good info and what is BS?

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I don't disagree with your article but at the same time I'm a big fan of youtube as an educational platform. If you haven't seen any of the Salmon Kahn TED talks you should check them out. The whole "flip the classroom" concept... I think that would work well for private guitar lessons or classroom group guitar lessons.
    Just an note--the "flipped classroom" concept has been around a while in extended/online learning but very recently seems to be receding. Evidently there are issues in the practice that have emerged with widespread adoption, possibly even by somewhat unskilled practitioners.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    All valid points. I think as a student gets serious, a teacher is invaluable, can save a lot of time, correct mistakes, offer a perspective and a study plan. I've done both studying by myself (still do), and studying with some fine teachers, and I prefer the later for many reasons.

    One thing to consider from a teacher's perspective is if it's worth the effort and time for you to teach online for free. No simple answer there..

    I've probably watched a couple of lessons on YouTube, but I mostly enjoy just watching people play. I also enjoy gear videos, just for learning what's out there though, as i don't think a valid opinion about something can be formed by listening to it in a video..

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Content quality does vary widely on YouTube, no doubt.

    My experience has been that some content creators use YT as a way of communicating 1-to-1 or 1-to-many with students. Some communications are public, some are private. Some are behind paywalls and I am a volunteer patron of another. The value received for the few dollars a month I send these guys is tremendous. I should say that I am not a beginner on the guitar and have a dusty 40-year-old diploma from a music school... but I am a new to jazz, so as a language learning tool online resources work well for me.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Well basically the internet is an infinite collection of all the useless bullshit in the universe, along with a lil' bit of useful stuff. Gots to have some perspective...don't waste your life in a simulation of reality....

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I don't think the point about ethics is unique to youtube videos. A person can put up flyers all over town advertising that he can teach you to play guitar like a pro. Doesn't mean he can. There are also all kinds of method and theory books out there, some of which are pretty bad. It's hard to know who/what is good until you spend some time and some ducats. It's true, though, that the barriers to entry for marginal teachers, or out-and-out frauds, are way lower online than in person. So there likely is a greater chance of wasting time or getting ripped off, and there is clearly a lot of chaff out there.

    Assuming good quality, I see value in both in-person and online instruction. In-person is more dynamic/free-flowing and presents opportunities to adjust the lesson to student. It's also a better opportunity to apply lessons in real time because you can jam with a teacher in person in ways you can't online. But I like lesson videos for targeting particular things, e.g., some video teachers have really good arrangements or exercises, and you can slow them down and/or repeat them endlessly to focus on the bits you have trouble with, without having to using up your allotted lesson time.

    John

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    My biggest issue with youtube is how much time is often wasted


    With music notated on paper you're in charge of pacing. Need to take it slow then no problem .. Too basic you just skim over it until new content appears.


    You tube you're at the mercy of the presenter and presenters usually assume zero skill level in their viewers. So if you're intermediate player or above then most youtube vids are fairly painful

    Another thing that will annoy me is seeing called something like "Great bebop licks" with the presenter playing some fine licks in the intro, but once the educational bit starts we're back to the most basic II-V licks in C-major where one or two chromatic notes is the 'bebop'

    Luckily there is one or two smaller channels that assume the audience actually can play a bit and has some ear

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Well, I've made a fair bit of my income repairing errors people have learned from youtube videos. The student thinks that if it is online it must be true - where they get that notion from I've no idea! But at some point they become disatisfied, and seek a real teacher. I show them how what they have learned doesn't tally with the version they want to learn, and one reason is that they have learned from a chancer who just thinks he can get away with it.

    It (YT learning) also engenders a desire to jump to the end result, without taking the necessary steps to understand what is involved. I've had students who play me a really bad version of a Joe Pass arrangement, but when I ask them to play me a C Major scale they can't do it. Plus they get annoyed at ME! I say they have to learn some basics, and they either eat their greens or don't come back.

    I've detected a recent change in students coming to me knowing that YT education is piecemeal, not centred on their development, and they want to start again and do it right.

    Eat your greens!
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 01-14-2020 at 07:28 PM.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Well, I've made a fair bit of my income repairing errors people have learned from youtube videos. The student thinks that if it is online it must be true - where they get that notion from I've no idea! But at some point they become disatisfied, and seek a real teacher. I show them how what they have learned doesn't tally with the version they want to learn, and one reason is that they have learned from a chancer who just thinks he can get away with it.

    It (YT learning) also engenders a desire to jump to the end result, without taking the necessary steps to understand what is involved. I've had students who play me a really bad version of a Joe Pass arrangement, but when I ask them to play me a C Major scale they can't do it. Plus they get annoyed at ME! I say they have to learn some basics, and they either eat their greens or don't come back.

    I've detected a recent change towards students coming to me knowing that YT education is piecemeal, not centred on their development, and they want to start again and do it right.

    Eat your greens!

    Well said, Sir! There may well be occasional epiphanies, but there are no shortcuts.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    But only if you play an Epiphany 175

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    As an intermedieary student I think youtube can be a very good supplement to books, transcribing etc. Between a day job with changing hours, family and a couple of bands it's pretty difficult to set up appointments with a proper tutor IRL, so while youtube is the lesser choice it's better than no human instruction at all. I need to check out Christian's channel, but as a general rule I think it's useful to hear someone apply theory or approaches - "this is how you use enclosures", or whatnot - as n addition to rather than a replacement of other learning material. I've learned a bunch from Jens Larsen's channel that way for instance.

    For a lot of things, I like to have paper/books in front of me and work at my own pace, but youtube videos can be a nice way of seeing concepts demonstrated.