For those active around the online guitar world for a while, it’s easy to realize that ArtistWorks has a different approach to online education. Since launching in 2008, they have taught tens of thousands of students, they currently have over 50,000 video lessons and created an interactive platform that revolutionized how musicians learn.
One thing to notice is that ArtistWorks is suitable for different musicians and not only to guitar players. However, they have a good selection of courses for the up-coming guitar-hero.
The main difference from other places is that instead of having access to everything straight away, you can only view lessons from the courses you enroll for. It works a lot similar to an in-person music school.
Let’s find out the significant benefits and pitfalls of ArtistWorks and how you can maximize your learning experience on the platform.
How It Works
ArtistWorks stands out from other membership sites like JamPlay or GuitarTricks because of their super interactive platform. As a member, you can enroll in different courses, each taught by a renowned player in their respective style.
Once enrolled in your course of choice, you can log in. Then you will have instant access to the course dashboard where you can see everything that is happening on your news feed. Besides, this is where you can update your profile and interact in discussions with the instructor and fellow students via the SHOUTBOX.
Through the dashboard, you can access the Video Exchange Library, a place where you can learn from all the previously released exchange videos. This is a goldmine of knowledge and a feature unique to Artist Works.
This is an excellent way to get a sense of how learning on Artist Works differs from other platforms such as GuitarTricks, Jamplay, and ActiveMelody.
After getting acquainted with the dashboard, you can start learning by navigating to the learn icon on the left side of the screen. From here, it will take you to the lessons page where your quest for guitar excellence begins.
They designed the lessons page with the student in mine and props to ArtistWorks for making it simple, easy, and effective. From the main layout, you can browse all the course content available from the school you enroll at, making it a breeze to find the subject you are looking for.
The first thing to notice is the non-conventional size of the video player which takes up most of the screen’s width of consumer laptops. This is a good thing since it can save you from having to use full-screen mode if you don’t want to.
In terms of functionality, it has a loop-playback, a rewind button, and a quality setting where you can choose from six different resolutions. The only issue is, it loads and playback the lessons considerably slower than most video players, this will vary according to your internet connection.
For every video, there are multiple camera angles, which makes it easier to watch, learn, and prevent your mind from losing focus.
To find what you are looking for, an excellent way to start is via the top of the video player where you can find five tabs:
- Video Exchange Library
When clicking through the first four tabs, a new window will pop up to the left of your screen; therefore, the content will load for that section. From here, select the video you want to watch and head to the resources section to download PDF content and backing tracks.
Compared to the competition, ArtistWorks provides a straight forward navigation experience, making it easy to learn. Unlike several membership sites, navigation can feel cluttered, daunting, and illogical for the beginner. And they score massive points here for delivering an effective user experience even though some people might find a bit confusing browsing through the site.
Video Exchange Library
In this section, which differs from the other four. You land on a new page window where you can either submit a video for review or watch all the videos previously posted by the community.
You can also access the Video Exchange library within each lesson through the bottom of the video player page. As we previously mentioned, this is a unique and desirable feature and gives you a one of a kind opportunity to interact and get feedback directly from your instructor.
The reason why ArtistWorks developed Video Exchanges is that more advanced topics can be confusing to grasp. So getting feedback will ensure there are no gaps in your knowledge.
It’s a way to get tested on techniques and concepts, and it works a lot as doing school homework. You get assigned a task, send it to your tutor, he analyses it, tells you where you can improve, and later the whole class can learn from it.
A significant aspect of the method is that it offers the best of both worlds. You get access to a plethora of instruction you can devour at your pleasure, but you get the personal attention similar you would on a one-on-one lesson.
The interface allows for the instructor to check what you are doing and not just listen. So you can get tips on how to improve the mechanics of your playing, like posture, picking position, and fingerings, for example.
One thing to note about ArtistWorks is that unlike most membership sites out there; such as GuitarTricks, Infinite Guitar and JamPlay that were created specifically with the guitar player in mind. You can learn other instruments as well. For example, bass players can enroll in the Electric Bass class with the legendary Nathan East and pianists can learn jazz piano from George Whitty.
Guitar players can choose from eight different courses:
- Electric Rock Guitar
- Electric Blues Guitar
- Electric Country Guitar
- Acoustic Flatpick Guitar
- Electric Jazz Guitar
- Acoustic Classical Guitar
- Electric Jazz Guitar Improv Guitar
- Electric Fingerstyle Guitar
Each course provides lessons given by a renowned player in each style. You have the chance to learn specific techniques, get tips and tricks on tone and on the Rock Guitar course. You will also learn from no one other than Paul Gilbert, a legendary guitar player that has toured on G3 with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. He recorded several albums with Mr. Big and gave workshops on guitar in all four corners of the globe.
If you fancy learning the Blues, then Keith Wyatt is the right person to teach you all the intricacies of this essential style. In Electric Blues Guitar, you will learn how to play boogie and shuffle grooves, study classic, techniques and walking bass riffs.
For more information on their complete list of courses, head over to ArtistWorks to find out more.
The best thing about ArtistWorks is the emphasis they put on the community and the social interaction between students and teachers. In that regard, they did a great job and provided an excellent environment to learn how to play the guitar online.
Sometimes it is hard to see the impact a specific method has in its student base, but ArtistWorks try to keep it transparent. Through their website, you can see several testimonials from real guitar students and the story of how they progressed using their programs.
Although they probably wouldn’t release a bad testimonial. It is safe to assume due to a stellar roster of instructors; they commit to bringing people around the world — the best music education.
There are several complaints online about their customer service and their new auto-renew policy. Which means you will be charged in an instant unless you cancel your subscription beforehand. For some, this is some shady marketing tactics, but the reality is most subscription websites operate this way.
Is It ArtistWorks Worth It?
From a price standpoint, ArtistWorks has a lot going on in their favor, the only caveat is, you must commit to joining for at least three months. It can be a drawback for some guitar players, that might want to experiment with some different sites before deciding on their favorite place to learn.
As with most membership sites, the more you pay up-front, the cheaper it becomes so on an annual membership. You will end up paying less than the price of monthly one-on-one guitar lessons. In economic terms, that is an extraordinaire deal, especially when you consider the caliber of the instructors you will learn from.
The most significant side of joining ArtistWorks is the busy community of like-minded students, supporting each other and striving to improve together. Learning how to play any instrument can be a very lonely endeavor, so this is something to keep in mind.
Overall, this is as close as you can get from having a personalized instruction online and the most intimate platform that mimics a real-world teaching environment.
With so many options to choose from to learn the guitar online, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and confused, trying to choose the best suitable for your needs. ArtistWorks provides a lot of value for the price and gives the emerging guitarist the tools, community, and support to improve their playing. If still in doubt, don’t forget to check out our reviews of GuitarTricks and JamPlay.
So let’s go, grab your guitar, run to the shed and don’t forget to have fun.