YouTube is an excellent resource for guitarists. YouTube has thousands of video lessons on guitar playing and music theory. Yet, how do you find these videos? What are the categories of videos that are helpful for students of the guitar? In this post, I’ll break down five broad categories of YouTube videos that will inspire your guitar students. Let’s get started!
Backing tracks on YouTube for Guitar Players
Backing tracks are music tracks that exclude the lead part. Typically, a backing track will be in one key and include drums, bass guitar, and either a keyboard or rhythm guitar accompaniment. Here is an example of a backing track in A minor. Search for “backing track” on YouTube and you’ll get thousands of videos. These are ideal for students who are learning how to play lead guitar or are learning how to improvise.
Playing along to backing tracks also helps students develop their ear, timing, and comfort level in playing in a band setting. As you find backing tracks on YouTube that you like, organize them into playlists such as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Some backing tracks will have very simple chord progressions, while others will have complex changes and even key changes. Backing tracks are a great addition to your students’ practice regiment!
Related: Building Transformative Guitar Playing Experiences for Students
Song Tutorials on YouTube
Guitar students love to learn the songs of their favourite bands. It’s one of the biggest reasons why many students start playing the guitar! In the situations where your student wants to learn a song that you haven’t yet learned, YouTube contains a treasure trove of tutorials where guitarists break down a song part by part! For example, here is a tutorial on how to play Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive”.
These types of videos can be found easily on YouTube by searching for the song title and a keyword such as “guitar lesson” or “guitar tutorial”. I recommend going through the video before sharing it with your students in order to double-check that the tutorial is an accurate performance of the song.
Related: How a Tray of Doughnuts Can Help Learn Proper Guitar Posture
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Music Theory Lessons
If your students are learning music theory, YouTube has excellent videos that will introduce and reinforce key concepts from music theory. For example, here is a great music theory lesson on modes and how to learn them quickly as a guitarist. You can easily find music theory lessons on topics such as scales, modes, arpeggios, harmony, rhythm and more by searching for those topics on YouTube. I personally look for lessons where the instructor provides not only an overview of the topic, but also how to apply the music theory lesson as a guitar player.
Music Composition & Production Lessons
When your students are ready to start composing and recording their own music, YouTube has great content to help your students on their journey. Here is an example lesson on songwriting basics and how to write a chord progression. I really like this lesson as it covers both the theory and how to implement the theory in your compositions. These types of lessons are great to pair with the music theory lessons you are covering with your students.
From the same YouTube channel, here is another example video of how to record acoustic and electric guitar. A great lesson to explore as your guitar students get into the production side of music.
Related: Teach More Engaging Beginner Guitar Lessons Today
Analyzing hit songs
This is one of my current favorite series on YouTube. It’s called “What Makes This Song Great” and is created by multi-instrumentalist and producer Rick Beato. In these videos Rick will take a major hit song such as “All The Small Things” by Blink 182, and break down the song structure, chord progressions and melody lines. He will often play along to the song with his guitar and walk you through the parts that make the song great. These videos are great for students of all levels to watch so that they can see how music theory and guitar technique are combined to produce major hit songs.
YouTube contains an endless amount of videos that can help your guitar students along their musical journeys! Be sure to tell your students about YouTube’s playback speed control in the player. This will allow them to slow down video playback of any video, which is especially helpful in the tutorial videos on how to play songs. I wish you and your students luck in exploring the musical world of YouTube!
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