Thursday, November 15, 2018

Learning to Play Guitar with Guitar 360 Method {A TOS Review}

As Tabitha has gotten older, we have really seen how she is gifted in the "artistic" department. Her skills in drawing/painting are developing amazingly, as are her musical abilities. I was approached by a friend at church a few years ago, who recommended that Tabitha should join in with Worship Team. Tabitha, and now Amelia, are regulars on the schedule to join in with other singers on alternating weeks. When it comes to musical instruments, Tabitha has been trying to teach herself to play the recorder and the piano (though that is a bit tricky with an old, untuned piano). She'd been approached about learning the guitar, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we haven't been able to make it work. So, when the opportunity arose for us to review the Semester 1 Bundle from Guitar 360 Method, we jumped at the chance.

Don't miss the money-saving offer at the bottom of the review!

The Semester 1 Bundle includes the 13-week Semester 1 course, plus 5 weeks of Absolute Beginner bonus content. This bonus content includes 3 weeks of a Guitar Course for Beginners plus 2 bonus songs. This Absolute Beginner course was where we needed to start. 

Guitar 360 Method is not a subscription course, instead, it is a course we were given instant access to, one that Tabitha  can work through at her own pace as it does not expire. I love that she will be learning music theory, and how music works, not just learning how to play specific songs. Eventually, according to the informational video on the site, Tabitha should be able to create her own music as well. 

Another benefit of this program is that other family members can take these guitar lessons as well. My husband has had some experience with playing guitar in the past, but it h as been quite a while, so he was starting in the beginner's section as well. Unfortunately, with his work schedule, he hasn't gotten through as much of the course as he would have liked to by now. I'll share his thoughts on the course later on in the review.

First, let me talk a bit about the Absolute Beginner content, then I'll share a bit about the Semester 1 course.

When we log into the site we are directed to the courses that are in our "library."

To get to the Guitar Course for Beginners we click on the orange "View Product" button in the "Start Playing Your Guitar!" course. This brings us to where we see a list of the lessons for the three weeks.

Here's a look at Week 1 (Weeks 2 and 3 are directly below this section).

This screenshot shows all the lessons in Week 1, along with the practices. The orange check marks appear after she has watched the video. If she stops mid-lesson, an orange progress bar will appear instead. She can go back and watch any of the lessons as many times as she wants. One of the wonderful features of this course is the short, focused lessons, which both my husband and I greatly appreciate. In fact, the hubby stated, " If we are struggling with a certain concept, we can get back  and rewatch relatively quickly instead of trying to find it during a longer lesson.  The instructor mentions this benefit early on, and I agree with him."

These lessons consist of online video lessons by the course's creator/teacher, Krisz Simonfalvi. It is like Mr. Simonfalvi is speaking directly to the viewer.

As you can see, the Beginner Course begins at. . . well . . . at the beginning. He starts with a "Welcome!" video explaining how the course is organized. He also talks about the song the student is working toward playing in the beginner course and how each of the fundamentals being taught will relate to it. While I mentioned above that Tabitha will be learning music theory with Guitar 360 Method, Mr. Simonfalvi explains that the beginner course doesn't include any as he wants the student to learn to "connect" to the guitar first.

The course then moves into the lessons. Each lesson for these three weeks is between two to seven minutes in length, and the practices are around two to two and a half minutes each. I appreciate that he explains the parts of the guitar, along with the proper way for the student to place their left hand and hold the pick to play efficiently. 

It's so important for people to learn the proper way from the get-go instead of having to unlearn improper form. As my husband mentioned, "As someone who has played around on the guitar off and on for several years, but never ultra-seriously, I will say that I've learned a few things.  Placement of the left (fingering) thumb was something I hadn't put a lot of thought into but, after watching, and experimenting, I can see that Krisz's method is ideal and, with practice, will help immensely.Also, I was holding the pick wrong which may have led to me abandoning it years ago.  I m still in need of more practice to change that and get comfortable with it."

The first time the student actually plays the guitar is to do the 4-finger warm-up exercise which helps get a feel for the dimensions of the guitar. I will say, Tabitha isn't a huge fan of practicing this as it is uncomfortable for her. However, I have insisted she needs to practice it every day. 

Mr. Simonfalvi has three different levels for the student to practice the 4-finger warm up along with him. The first one has the student practicing at 50 beats per minute with 3-4 count breaks, the second has 76 beats per minute with 3-4 count breaks, and the final level has 108 beats per minute with no breaks. I admit, I didn't realize Tabitha hadn't been practicing with the actual lesson, so I have told her from now on to practice with the video, first perfecting the timing with Level 1 before moving to the harder speeds. I'm hoping this will help her to be more comfortable.

Here she is practicing her 4-finger warm-up exercise.

In Week 2 the student starts to learn how to play chords. Mr. Simonfalvi explains how to read a chord diagram and shows the student how to play the first chord, troubleshooting for incorrect sounding strings, teaches the student different strumming patterns, and then teaches a second chord. Again there are three different levels of practice to complete the week.

Here she is practicing her chords.

Tabitha even draws out the diagrams so she can practice without having to be on the computer.

Mr. Simonfalvi does also provide PDF downloads of these chord diagrams that we could print out. However, I didn't realize that at first, and Tabitha likes having the chords on one page so she can see them all at once. In fact, I think it would be awesome if Mr. Simonfalvi could find a way to create PDF downloads with the chords for each song all on one sheet.

Week 3 introduces more chords, talks about pickups and multiplying chords, and introduces the parts of the song. In the three practices of this week's lessons the teacher allows the student to work on different parts of the song, starting with the chorus at a slower pace with breaks, then adding the remainder of the song and removing the breaks, and finally playing the entire song on tempo.

Tabitha has been spending her music time practicing these chords and learning to switch between them. She is still struggling with this skill, so she hasn't actually been able to play the song. She has been improving with practice, but I can completely understand her struggle, as I have small hands/fingers, and it is tricky for me to comfortably reach the strings with proper form. She is hoping, with practice, she will be able to play this song, plus the two bonus songs, and be able to move into the actual Semester 1 lessons. 

Speaking of the Semester 1 course, I would like to share a bit about it now, even though we haven't had a chance to start it. 

From the main library we get to the Semester 1 course by clicking on the "View Product" button on the Semester 1 image. From there we see the lesson list by week, just like in the Beginner Course. However, there are slight differences. 

The Semester 1 course is a lot more in-depth than the Beginner course, which is to be expected. Each week has a Goal, which is highlighted in green. 

Weekly Goals:
  1. Foundations for the Versatile Rhythm Guitar
  2. Navigating Notes on the Neck
  3. Understanding Scales
  4. Rhythm Guitar Dynamics and Textures
  5. Extending Our Lead Range and Options
  6. Understanding Chords
  7. How Chords Fit Together in Any Key
  8. Extending Our Rhythm Guitar Range and Options
  9. More Keys for More Options
  10. Further Expanding Our Range for Soloing
  11. Rounding Things Out
  12. Final Rhythm Guitar Practice Week (available soon)
  13. Final Lead Guitar Practice Week (available soon)
Then there are the video lessons, most of which appear to be longer in length than the lessons in the Beginner course, and go into more detail. For instance, he teaches alternate left hand fingering methods for some chords, and explains the difference. 

After these video lessons, most weeks still have at least one practice session. Additionally there are Ear Training lessons starting in week 3 and occasional Quizzes starting in week 6. 

From what we can tell from watching the first couple of lessons, and looking through the schedule, with all the new chords and variations of chords and other details that are going to be taught, Tabitha will most likely be taking longer for each weekly section. As my husband says, "There's a lot for the beginner to digest each week, especially if the child is at the younger end of the recommended age range. Encourage them to keep going at their own pace."

And that is one of the huge benefits of this course. A student is able to go at their own pace. That might mean the student is zinging ahead, breezing through the lessons, or it could mean they are taking two maybe three weeks to go through one "week's" worth of material.

Mr. Simonfalvi is a great teacher, explaining each step as he goes, and connecting all the little bits of knowledge with each other. He calls this "non-linear, Cyclical Pedagogy" and though I have never heard the term before, I can definitely see the wisdom of this method. Another thing that makes him a great teacher, is that he is easily reachable, even in this online course. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment section under each lesson. I had a concern and did just that. I was quite pleased to see I received a very helpful reply in less than 24 hours. So, not only are you getting wonderful music lessons, it's almost as if they are one-on-one with an in-person teacher.

The Beginner's Course has been wonderful, though I admit even I am a bit overwhelmed when looking ahead at what is coming in Semester 1. As of now there are now three of our family members using this course. Tabitha is working on her first song, my husband has used the beginner course to refresh his memory and learn proper form, along with skipping a bit ahead to see what he can work on. And I decided to try my hand at learning guitar and am starting to practice the first chord. We'll all be going at our own pace, and that's perfect.

Here's what Tabitha has to say about the Guitar 360 Method course.

"I think it's a great way to learn the guitar and it's really fun. I knew nothing about how to play the guitar and now I'm practicing playing a song."

I also love that she has learned enough to try to teach her brother how to play as well. Though the guitar is a wee bit too big for him.

She even drew a picture of a guitar to help him learn.

You can find Guitar 360 Method on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you like the sound of Guitar 360 Method, I would like to encourage you to try out the free beginner's course. Additionally, I have a wonderful, money-saving deal for you. Mr. Simonfalvi is being quite generous. He is offering homeschool families a 20% off coupon to my readers.

All you need to do is use the following coupon code at checkout:


The regular price is $149, which includes the 3-week Beginners' Course, Semester 1 (13 weeks long), and the 2 Bonus Song mini-courses. With the Coupon Code, their investment will be only $119.20 for 10+ hours of video content!

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about Guitar 360 Method. While we started with the Beginner content and haven't gotten any further, there are many families who either started with the Semester 1 course, or have been able to move fast enough to get into it.

Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great program. I am glad that Tabitha is really enjoying it.


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