When is Music Learning Software Good, And When Is It Bad?

By: J. Christian Miller

With the advent of computers there has been a proliferation of software purporting to do just about every learning task the modern guitar learner could ever want to accomplish. For example, I have a piece of software I picked up somewhere that would show you every inversion of every chord on the fretboard from any root.

There are drum machines, there are recorders, there are a million other ones that are not directly linked to learning guitar, but they never-the-less contrtibute to the completeness, or the more holistic processes of becoming a well-balanced creative. These are linked to learning in very direct ways, though they are not learning software, per se.

You could even consider an electronic brochure, book, pamphlet, or monograph a piece of learning software. It serves the same function.

When are these numerous directions each of these leads in worth pursuing, and when not? When is music learning software good, and what makes it bad?

It is all very subjective, and leads directly to the learner. The question is not always when is it good, and when is it bad. Sometimes it is best put by asking what can I get from this that I couldn't get elsewhere?

For example, the first example I gave of software that shows the chords on the guitar, this can give a person a grasp on how much work is involved, or help looking up a particular inversion, or voicing.

However, this software can be counter-productive in that it may stifle the student from learning to analyze chordal structures, and build these, from the students own memory. Also, what is a person to do with all these chords?

This is after all a very graspable subject. There is a tried and true method for obtaining this knowledge, so that the creative guitarist can draw on it "in the moment" and use it in their actual playing. So in this case, this software can actually stifle learning.

The bottom line, the learner has to be responsible for their own learning, and not get bogged down in techniques, software, learning methods. Just grab it and use it is the practical solution whenever confronted with new knowledge apllicable to creative gutiar playing.

Whenever faced with mutliple choices, I always try to explore the ends to which each of these leads. Knowledge-wise, this means pursuing as many learning angles as possible. The guitar is very conducive to this in that it is very logical, precise, learnable. It is not infinite after all. Quite the contrary. There are 12 notes. It is a huge system, but far from infinite.

It is like chess in some ways, there are a million moves, but only a few are really meanigful. Creativity, and the guitar, and songcraft, and are all very simple subjects when you get to the really important, "big picture" synthesis of it all.

In the meantime, just be aware in your learning that there is a way to grasp the most important, big picture, top-down knowledge apllicable to creative guitar. It is found in the Creative Guitar Mastery series of learning. This is my personal guarantee - that any of the knowledge you get from the series will enrich your playing in ways you will be thanking us for years to come! Or I will refund your money, no questions asked!

Let me know your thoughts.... E-mail me, J. Christian Miller at chris@doubleplanet.com

Thanks for your time.

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