Learning a new instrument requires more than just a few short online tutorials. Let’s be honest, how many complicated concepts have you learned well from a series of YouTube videos? Probably not many, if any at all.
Online learning is becoming more and more popular every day, meaning more people are learning music on their own.
But unless you’re a meticulous self-starter, learning a new skill takes dedication, practice, and consistent and proper direction from an experienced teacher.
Most online lesson platforms fall short in the feedback area (because they’re pre-recorded video lessons), but offer the option to take online lessons with a real instructor.
Some platforms like JamPlay, Guitar Tricks, and TrueFire even have the option for you to attend daily or weekly live seminars with professional musicians.
These platforms have discovered a good balance between quality, live feedback, and the ability for you to go at your own pace, and now ArtistWorks has struck a similar level of balance, but with supposedly better instruction.
Let’s find out more in my ArtistWorks review.
What Is it?
ArtistWorks is an online learning platform that places emphasis on student-teacher interaction. Some people prefer to work alone, and others prefer to have consistent guidance from a world-class professional, and ArtistWorks is for the latter group.
On this site, you sign up for a 1-6 month-long course with any of the ten instructors. You read that right – there are only ten instructors. Compared to other sites, this number seems pretty dismal, but what ArtistWorks lacks in quantity, they make up for (ten-fold) in quality.
Is It Any Good?
ArtistWorks is a great online learning platform. Some guitarists might look down at it because it’s a bit more expensive, making it less accessible, but you’re going to receive extremely high-quality instruction. You will absolutely get what you pay for, which isn’t exactly true of some of their competitors.
Some Key Decision-Making Factors
Consider your own interests
What genre of music do you enjoy listening to and what style would you like to learn to play? This is the first step in deciding whether or not a lesson program is right for you.
ArtistWorks is offering a nice selection of styles, including lessons for beginners in those styles. There’s also plenty of material to keep even experienced players interested and busy practicing new things because the instructors are world-class musicians.
Who your instructor will be
I’ve heard too many horror stories of new guitar students being bored to death with beginner guitar lessons. Having an instructor with experience and some notoriety in the guitar world will give you some confidence in knowing you’re getting good, useful instruction.
The instructors on ArtistWorks are top-notch, world-renowned (and some even Grammy-winning) musicians. The only thing you run the risk of is not getting along with them, and sometimes that just happens.
The course curriculum
The biggest motivation killer for any student is having no sense of direction. Practicing small, meticulous technical things is important, but knowing what all of that work is going toward makes a huge difference in your daily motivation to continue.
ArtistWorks has a good amount of different courses to choose from, and they’re designed to help you progress quickly and efficiently, even if you’re a beginner. So you won’t have to deal with a plateau in your playing, as long as you keep practicing.
How much money you’re willing to spend on a lesson program
I’ve said this in previous reviews, but some private guitar teachers can cost up to $200 per hour. With that level of instruction, you should definitely be receiving the best instruction on the market, but you could also pay rent on a second apartment with that kind of monthly investment.
Even if you don’t pay a college professor for guitar lessons, you’re still likely to be paying $20-$40 per lesson.
This is definitely a benefit to online guitar instruction. You might lose a little bit of that university-level quality, but you’ll definitely be saving a whole lot of money in the long run, and that’s great if you’re a student.
ArtistWorks may not be the best option for everybody though because they have 3, 6, and 12-month plans which you have to pay for all at once. If you earn less per month, you might consider a program with monthly payment options.
The ArtistWorks platform is extremely easy to use. There aren’t massive lists of songs, techniques, and genres to scour through before finding something you’re interested in learning. You simply choose one of the ten instructors, and go through their courses, starting at any level you’d like (or are placed in based on your video responses).
Easy to follow lessons
As I mentioned earlier, ArtistWorks has ten instructors from ten different styles of playing. Each instructor has arranged their curriculum in their own unique way which most effectively introduces you to the style and techniques they teach.
Tools to help you progress through manageable goals
Unfortunately, ArtistWorks falls short in this arena, with no offering of virtual or interactive tools, reference guides, or practice aids. If you’re looking for a platform with lots of cool and helpful tools, you should check out Guitar Tricks or JamPlay.
How much time you’re willing to practice
You can have the best instructors in the world with perfect lesson plans, at an affordable price, but if you don’t put in the time to practice, you’re not going to see any results, and that’s the best way to judge a lesson platform, give it your absolute best and then judge based on your results.
What’s great about ArtistWorks and not so great about some other online lesson platforms is that your instructor sees your videos, and can tell you if you need to practice more. Sometimes all you need is a little nudge forward from your teacher to make you work harder!
How Does It Work?
The ArtistWorks platform is simple to use. Learning on ArtistWorks is based around the idea of video exchanges between students and teachers. Every video exchange is recorded and stored in the ArtistWorks archive, which is available to any ArtistWorks student in that specific genre.
When you sign up for ArtistWorks, you’re also given the option to submit videos to your teacher, posing questions on the lesson content or demonstrating a song, skill, or technique for feedback.
There are three student plans, and each one gives you progressively more chances to submit videos to your teacher, with five submissions at the bottom end and unlimited submissions at the top end.
The entire concept behind ArtistWorks is based around this idea of video exchanges with your instructors. Students are able to submit questions on the lesson content to instructors, and the instructors respond with an answer.
These video exchanges are all saved in the ArtistWorks archives and are available to anyone on a lesson plan. In my opinion, this could be extremely helpful to anyone having trouble with any given topic.
If you’ve got a question about something, chances are that someone else has had the same issue, and all you have to do is find the video with the answer and you’re all set!
There’s no getting around this point. If an online lesson company isn’t going to invest in building virtual practicing tools for their platform, they might as well make up for it in the quality of the instructors.
As a whole, ArtistWorks has the best instructors out of all of the online guitar lesson platforms. You simply won’t find teachers this well-known and accessible on another online lesson platform (with TrueFire potentially being the only exception).
Pre-Recorded Video Lessons
The benefits of having pre-recorded video lessons are indisputable. They give the student everything they need (including the option to ask questions), and allow the student to move through the material at their own pace. This is something that a lot of guitar students struggle with when it comes to in-person lessons.
Pros & Cons Of ArtistWorks
- High profile, master instructors
As I mentioned before, you’ll rarely find instructors equal in notoriety as who you’ll find on ArtistWorks. That’s why they’ve only got ten guitar instructors. Quality over quantity!
- Individual feedback for every student
Getting feedback is essential when you’re learning the guitar (or any instrument for that matter). New students tend to get wrapped up in the idea of simply playing notes and rhythms correctly and chalking that up to guitar playing.
The beauty of having a true master for a teacher is that you’ll learn not only when you’re playing notes wrong, or when you have bad technique, but you’ll learn what actually makes music!
- Great for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players
Every musical genre on ArtistWorks has lessons for beginners. There’s even an entire course designed specifically for beginner guitarists! Intermediate and advanced players alike will also find ample material to go through.
No, you may not be able to search for your favorite rock song and just learn how to play the notes, but you’ll absolutely find lessons in music theory, how to play with good technique, how to play with feeling, and much more.
These topics aren’t uncommon on other online guitar lesson platforms, but ArtistWorks gives you these lessons from the perspectives of world-renowned performers.
- Lessons offered in multiple styles of guitar including beginner acoustic, bluegrass, rock, electric country, blues, fingerstyle jazz, classical, jazz, dobro, and lap steel.
This is actually a pro and a con because you have the option to select a style that you want to learn, but once you’ve selected that style, you’re stuck with that for the duration of your plan. So make sure you’ve got your mind made up on what style you want to learn before you hit that sign-up button!
- No library of standalone lessons or song tutorials, only what is available in each course
There’s no massive library of lessons or songs to learn regardless of musical style. On platforms like JamPlay, Guitar Tricks, and TrueFire, you’ll find lists like these that anyone with a lesson subscription can sift through and browse.
On ArtistWorks, when you select your musical style, you’re only able to access the video exchanges and video lessons from that specific style.
- Cost might deter those looking for an affordable option
I mentioned this earlier, but ArtistWorks requires you to pay everything upfront – even if you have a 12-month plan. They advertise it as $30 per month or $24 per month, but you have to pay it all at once. Almost every other online guitar lesson platform allows you to sign up for a monthly subscription, billed monthly.
- No available interactive practicing tools
This may not be a deal-breaker for you, but it’s still worth mentioning. Practice tools are important when you’re learning practically on your own. Unfortunately, you’re paying solely for the video content and access to the instructors.
ArtistWorks has no learning tools, self-assessments, jam tracks, smart metronomes, or even a guitar tuner. Maybe those are all just gimmicks on other sites?
Who Is ArtistWorks Best For?
All in all, this course is best for anyone who wants to learn how to play the guitar but doesn’t know who to trust with their time and effort. If you’re worried about whether or not the teacher is good, look no further – you’ll be pressed to find better instructors elsewhere.
This course might also be best for anyone who prefers to learn from home, at their own pace, and who likes to ask questions and get feedback on their work.
This course might not be good for people who don’t have large chunks of extra money to spend on guitar lessons. If money is tight for you (like it is with a lot of people these days), I recommend checking out some of the websites listed below.
If money is your biggest concern right now, check out JustinGuitar, because it’s free! If JustinGuitar doesn’t have content on a style or technique you’re looking for, then check out JamPlay or Guitar Tricks. These sites have great instruction, have affordable monthly fees, and also have free trials!
What sets ArtistWorks apart from the sites listed above are the instructors and access to them. You won’t get that quality for the price anywhere else, even though you have to pay for it all up front.
ArtistWorks Review – Final Thoughts
ArtistWorks is a great lesson platform, and I’d recommend it to anyone, along with all of the other sites I’ ve mentioned in this article. Everyone has different goals, and learns differently, so take your time and try them all out and decide what you like best for yourself. At the end of the day, you’re just playing guitar!