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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Guitar 360 Method Review (Using a Guitar and Baritone Ukelele)

I'm not sure why playing the guitar is so fascinating. I used to play around with my mom's spare guitar; eventually she gave it to me. My son has attempted to learn a few things, but without lessons. When we were given the opportunity to review the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method, we couldn't wait to get started.

What is Guitar 360?

We received access to the Semester 1 Bundle, which includes the Absolute Beginner bonus content + the 13 weeks of Semester 1. This amounts to about 18 weeks of online guitar lessons (the last two weeks will be available soon.) You can sign up for the free beginner course and get started right away to see what you think. While the lessons are laid out in weeks, you don't have to take a full week to complete a lesson if you are confident and ready to move on. The instructor uses an acoustic guitar as well as an electric guitar, and you can follow along with either.

Each week begins with a goal so you understand what your focus is. Then there are multiple videos that teach the goal for the week. The instructor is easy to follow along with and entertaining. Each week ends with practice videos. Some weeks include ear training videos, and some include a quiz, which is not a video, but an online test. Some lessons have downloadable files to help you remember what you learned, like chord diagrams, scales, and neck diagrams of various notes. Each video is short, providing little bite size pieces of instruction, and making the entire course very learner-friendly. But these lessons are also so packed full of information that you'll build your skills to amazing levels in no time at all!

I especially love the ear training, that the instructor teaches solfege, and the practice videos. The practice videos are great because they help you understand exactly what you should be doing when you practice!

Included in the Beginner's Course are plenty of videos to help you become familiar with the guitar and the basics of playing it. Instruction is presented in such a way that the learner can create music with the guitar then later learn the theory; this is explained as being similar to a toddler learning to talk. We teach them the sounds and what they are associated with before teaching them grammar when they are older. This makes me happy, I found that this is how my children learned piano best so extending that same method to the guitar is logical.

The Semester I course contains so much good information, I am excited to continue working through these lessons. Students are taught to use chords, strumming, fingerstyle, and picking out notes. This website is exactly what I hoped to find for so long but never could!

The only thing I'd like to see improved is more printables with the lessons, especially sheet music for what is being taught in the practice videos. (My thoughts on that toddler learning to talk - we still give them books so they can become familiar with seeing written language.) Worksheets would also be helpful for the student to remember what was taught in the videos each week.

How did we use this?

When I asked to review this, I hoped to use the course and have my son use it as well. He's in 8th grade and has previously expressed interest and attempted to learn guitar. When I was previewing the website, my 10th grade daughter began asking questions about it. She asked to be included in the review too.

As soon as we found out we had access to the lessons, the three of us spent an afternoon taking turns with the guitar. My two younger children thought this looked neat and wanted to play too! But we only own a full size guitar, which would be very difficult for a 2nd and 5th grader to hold. However, I realized they could learn the same skills we were starting with on our baritone ukelele! (A baritone ukelele has four strings, and they are the same as the four higher pitched strings on a six string guitar. A good portion of the chords are the same.)

I'll start with the two youngest children, who are in 2nd and 5th grade. These two have never had any experience with a string instrument and there are a variety of skills to coordinate while playing this instrument. They watched the first few videos about basic skills. They have been practicing this daily and are quite happy with their improving skill of picking out scales! They are moving more slowly through the lessons and mostly move forward with instruction and individualized help from one of us who have already watched the lessons.

I feel like my 5th grader would do fine working through these lessons by herself. Later on some trickier music theory concepts are taught that are necessary to playing guitar, but she has a good understanding of scales, whole and half steps, solfege, etc. from piano. My 2nd grader would benefit from adult assistance as she works through them because she doesn't always notice what she needs to work on.

The older two kids, who are in 8th and 10th grade, are doing so well with the video lessons! My son likes to move quickly through them so I have to remind him to practice previously learned skills as he goes. My daughter likes to take things s.l.o.w. She wants to be absolutely perfect with the practice tracks before she moves on, but I've encouraged her to move along faster and make a list of what items she practices to warm up each day.

Guitar lessons at home with Guitar 360 Method online lessons.

I'm impressed with the amount of information taught in the lessons. My children and I are enjoying working through them and we are noticing our skills improve daily. I'm most excited about understanding notes on the guitar better, and not just sticking to strumming chords. Everyone is excited to practice guitar. In fact, my husband noticed how much time everyone was spending with the guitar and now he wants to start the lessons too!

Kris Simonfalvi, the instructor and author of these guitar lessons, is offering a discount to my blog readers, 20% off the same lessons we reviewed! Just use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL20 when you check out.

Where to find Guitar 360:

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