If you've spent any time at all looking into online guitar lessons, you already know that some sites are able to draw more students by offering classes taught by world-renowned guitarists. However, if there's an artist you admire, you might want to seek out a guitar class that they teach.
That's where ArtistWorks comes in. ArtistWorks is a platform that's a little like Masterclass, but it's geared toward musicians. You can choose a guitarist (or another type of musician) and take a class with them, and the best part is that you get detailed, one-on-one feedback on your playing. If you want, you can even take courses for college credit. Today, we're going to take a closer look at ArtistWorks guitar lessons to help you decide whether they're right for you or not.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Guitar Course
As you've probably realized, there are seemingly endless websites offering online guitar lessons. Before choosing one, it's a good idea to think about what you need (and what you don't need) from an online course. Here are some things to ask yourself before you decide:
ArtistWorks - Guitar Learning Program
PRO's & CON's of ArtistWorks
But before we jump into our ArtistWorks review, let's go through some pros and cons:
Features and Benefits
Now, we'll take a close look at all that ArtistWorks has to offer:
Courses and Instructors
Larger sites like Guitar Tricks and JamPlay pride themselves on having hundreds of instructors. ArtistWorks is a smaller platform, but the ten guitar instructors they have are all acclaimed artists. Here are the courses you have to choose from:
It's also important to note that this site offers courses in more than guitar -- you can take lessons on banjo, mandolin, piano, and bass, and you can also take voice courses.If you want to see what it's like to be a student at ArtistWorks, check out this sample lesson with Guthrie Trapp.
ArtistWorks guitar lessons don't come with as much supplementary material as you get with some other online guitar lessons. While some of the lessons come with tablature, they don't have tabs included while you watch the lessons -- you need to access them on another page of the site. It's also worth mentioning that, unlike many other guitar programs, this one isn't available in app form, which may be a downside for students who really value mobile learning.
When it comes to lesson playback features, ArtistWorks is pretty basic -- you can set lessons on a loop (which is great for practicing ticky songs or riffs), you can pause and rewind, and you can jump forward or back by 10 seconds. We think that a slow-motion feature would be helpful, but you don't always see this on online music sites. The lessons are fairly short and easy to digest, with many being about 10 minutes long.
The best feature of ArtistWorks guitar lessons seems to be the instructors themselves. Even legendary teachers like Paul Gilbert are relaxed and personable, and they do a great job of explaining even tough concepts. You'll learn to play some songs as you go (there's no separate library or database of song tutorials), but the lessons aren't particularly song-focused -- they're more geared toward effectively teaching you to really learn how to play well.
We mentioned earlier that ArtistWorks has some certificate programs in guitar. While their 12-week accredited certificate programs are mentioned on the site, ArtistWorks only offers two certificate programs at this time -- one in blues guitar and the other in the ukulele.These courses are about $250, but you need to pass an evaluation in order to earn your certificate. If you're really serious about blues guitar or ukulele and want lots of instructor attention, we think these are worth a look. If you want to learn more about the certificate program, check out this informative video on how it works.
Video Exchange Learning
Whether you're an advanced player trying to get even better, an intermediate player finding your voice, or even a beginner just figuring your way around the guitar, getting one-on-one feedback from an instructor can be an excellent way to correct any mistakes early and develop your playing further.
That's where the ArtistWorks video exchange comes in. This is a unique system that lets you receive detailed instructor feedback regardless of your time zone or work schedule. All you need to do is record a video of yourself practicing and send it in. In a couple of days, you will have feedback from your instructor.How many videos you can send to your instructor depends on the plan you choose (more on that in the next section). If you want to see what's involved with video exchange, check out this video on how it works.
Depending on your membership level, you may also have access to the video exchange library for your chosen course. This lets you see other student breakthroughs, and it can help you take your playing to the next level. Plus, it gives you a sense of community -- as you see other students make progress, chances are good that you'll feel more motivated, too.
Membership Levels and Pricing
ArtistWorks offers three different levels of membership. While there is no free trial, you can sign up for a few sample lessons in your preferred genre. After that, you can choose from three membership levels.
The first is the three-month plan -- you pay for three months at a time for $35 per month (that's $105 total). You get unlimited lesson access, unlimited access to the video exchange library, and you can send five video exchange videos to your teacher. You also can access a free music theory workshop. However, you don't get backing tracks or access to VIP content.
Before we progress to other levels, we think it's important to note that "unlimited access to lessons" just means access to lessons taught by the teacher you choose. ArtistWorks notes that if you want to study with other teachers (or learn other instruments) concurrently, you need to purchase a separate subscription.
The second membership level is the six-month plan. With this one, you pay for six months at once. It's $30 per month, or $179 total. You get all that you can access with the three-month plan, but you can send up to 12 submissions for video exchange. You also have access to 25 total backing tracks (across all instruments), but you don't get access to VIP content.
Lastly, we have a 12-month plan. With this one, you pay for a year at once. It's only $23.25 per month, which comes to $279 in total. With this one, you get all that comes with the six-month plan, but you have unlimited video exchange lessons, which we think is a huge benefit. You also have access to exclusive VIP content. This includes video lessons and performances from instructors and guests. The video lessons cover a wide variety of skills and can be a useful adjunct to your learning.
You've probably noticed that this is more expensive than many other online music sites, and you don't get a lot of extras. We also think that it's somewhat disappointing that you can only access one instructor at a time with a membership. However, the guitar lesson instructors at ArtistWorks are committed and engaging, and the opportunity to send in video submissions for critique really shouldn't be discounted.If you aren't sure whether this is the site for you, check out this interesting video of one of Paul Gilbert's students playing a Mr. Big riff.
Social Proof of the Course
Whether you're looking for lessons for beginners or are ready to dive into a new genre, ArtistWorks offers plenty of course options. However, since there's no free trial, you can't really test drive the site before paying. In order to help you make a decision, we've scoured the internet for reviews by players who have seen ArtistWorks for themselves. Here are some of the useful reviews we found:
This ArtistWorks review snapshot comes from Guitar Niche. This is a respectable site that really takes the time to thoroughly assess each online guitar lesson site it reviews. We think they make a good point about resources -- given the price, you might hope that ArtistWorks would have more resources and learning options. However, instruction quality is superb.
This review comes from Music Grotto. This site does well with pointing out one of the major advantages of ArtistWorks -- the individual feedback. That said, we agree with this reviewer -- ArtristWorks might not be the best fit for the very casual player.
This review snapshot comes from Musical Advisors. They point out that these courses are aimed at mastering a genre (which is largely why this isn't a site that has a lot of song tutorials). Like most review sites, this one also touches on the usefulness of the video exchange feature.
All in all, we think ArtistWorks is a great option, especially for players who are serious about mastering a genre. We like that you can receive individual feedback via video exchanges with your teacher, and we also like that every teacher is a renowned artist. While you don't get all the extras (song lessons, skill-focused lessons, chord libraries, etc.) that you do with some of the major lesson sites like Guitar Tricks or JamPlay, we think that ArtistWorks offers top-notch instruction at a very reasonable price. Check it out today!