Music Learning Style

Discover Your Unique Music Learning Style To Learn Guitar More Easily

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It’s not just your parents who think you’re unique.

We do too.

Nobody else will learn to play guitar in exactly the same way that you do. You have your own unique learning style. It guides how you prefer to take in new information and the best way for you to learn new things.


Have You Ever Had This Happen?

Have you ever failed to ‘get’ something that was supposed to be easy?

Admit it. We all have : )

But did you know it could easily have been because your teacher wasn’t aware of, didn’t understand or didn’t cater to your unique learning style?

They probably made the mistake of assuming that everybody learns the same way they do. Which results in you not being able to learn easily and without frustration in the way that suits you best.

Don’t worry. It’s not your fault.

Unfortunately, these learning styles ‘clashes’ are common when learning guitar, as tutors – both online and in person – often have no idea about learning styles, let alone how to work out what yours is or how to cater to it with their teaching.

To avoid this frustrating experience, we’ll help you to discover your guitar learning style below, so you can seek the types of learning materials, resources and teachers that you’ll learn best from.

To begin, Let’s look at the different learning styles for guitar players and see if any strike a specific chord with you : )

The Three Learning Styles For Guitar Players


  1. Are you a Visual Guitar Learner?

You could learn to play guitar more easily by focusing on the hands of a teacher who physically breaks it down and demonstrates for how to play a specific riff, chord or guitar technique. Or by watching and visually following your own hands, written guitar tab or chord diagrams as you play. A visual guitar learner learns best by remembering what chords look like when they are correct, they also benefit from having written materials and chord diagrams customised to their needs.

  1. Are you an Aural Guitar Learner?

You could learn guitar more easily by having lessons focused on listening to and repeating back the notes, chords and musical phrases that you are working on. An aural guitar learner tends to learn ‘by ear’ focusing on the way their playing sounds as their main source of feedback. Having a teacher that breaks down and repeat individual parts to demonstrate what they ‘should sound like’ when correct, will really helps aural learners to learn by ear.

  1. Are you a Kinaesthetic Guitar Learner?

You could learn guitar best by being truly hands-on, jumping right in to ‘have a go’ and physically feeling your way through what you are playing as you go. Kinaesthetic learners benefit from a teacher who is able to steer and guide them through their playing as they do it. They learn more easily by focusing on the way the chord-shapes, fret positions and strings feel in their hands and how their fingertips feel in the correct places and positions.

Why are learning styles important?

Whether a video lesson or an in person one, the typical one-size-fits all methods for learning guitar are flawed because they’re almost always designed around the learning style of the person who wrote them, instead of the person learning from them.

At Ian O’Brien Music we diagnose our student’s learning styles from the beginning and teach people to play guitar using our flexible geometric method. This means we’re able to plan your lessons around your goals, music tastes and learning style, plugging them directly into our unique system and centring your lessons on your learning preferences, not ours.

Below you’ll find condensed versions of some of the methods we use to diagnose the learning styles of our guitar learners.

Whether you take guitar lessons or not, you’ll find this process useful because when you know your natural learning preference you will be able to seek out the information that fits how you learn guitar best to make your learning faster, more fun and way less frustrating.

How To Discover Your Learning Style:

Don’t over think this one. Imagine that you’re on a beach by the sea (it can be anywhere in the world). What are the two things that you notice first?

  1. ____________________________________
  2. ____________________________________

Ok, the purpose of this unusual question is to help us determine your main learning style, for example:

  •  If you noticed the yellow of the sand or the blue of the sea or sky, you’re likely to be a visual learner, who learns best by seeing.
  •  If you noticed the sound of the waves crashing or seagulls you’re likely to be an aural learner, who learns best by hearing.
  •  If you noticed the sensation of the sand or pebbles on your feet, the heat of the sun or the temperature of the water, you’re likely to be a kinaesthetic learner, who learns best by doing : 

Not everybody has just one learning style; some have a balance of two but one is usually dominant. You can further clarify your learning style because it will also affect:

  • How you choose to internally represent experiences

E.g. If I say “Telephone” do you see one in your mind’s eye, or hear one ringing? …Weird hey?

  • And even the words that you choose

E.g. “I hear what you’re saying” vs “I see what you’re saying”

Listen out for the way you choose to phrase things when you’re speaking. What learning style do they indicate that you may have?

Now you have an indication of your learning style and the best way for you to take in information. The next stage is to apply it before you learn something. Amongst other things, would it be best to read a book or article, watch a video, or dive in and have a go yourself.

For fun, see if you can diagnose your friend’s learning styles too.

Remember you're just one chord away,

– Ian

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