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ArtistWorks Review: Do The Online Music Lessons Live Up to the Hype?

This ArtistWorks review takes an in-depth look at the popular online music lessons provider.

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By Scott Winstead

artistworks review

The ability to play an instrument is an incredible skill. Making music is good for both body and soul, and can help you relax and express yourself creatively. Many of us might wish we could play an instrument (or two) but never got the chance to learn.  Even if you did take lessons long ago, you may find yourself a little fuzzy on the details.

Signing up for music lessons, though, can be a big time commitment… as well as a serious cost. Plus, there’s the doubt factor.  Sometimes the mere thought of having to perform a new skill in front of an instructor can be off-putting.

That’s why online music lessons are skyrocketing in popularity. Online music lesson platforms typically involve paying a subscription and gaining access to instructional videos from master musicians. Virtual lessons remove the pressure of a time commitment and cut down on the stage fright factor — plus, they tend to be significantly less expensive than in-person sessions.

In this ArtistWorks review, I’ll take a close look at one of the leading online music lesson platforms available today. ArtistWorks, founded in 2008, offers lessons in dozens of instruments, from guitar to piano to ukulele.

I’ll do a deep dive into how the ArtistWorks program runs, what sets it apart from the competition, and whether it might be a good fit for your needs.

How Does ArtistWorks Operate?

ArtistWorks - Online Music Lessons with Master Musicians ArtistWorks - Online Music Lessons with Master Musicians

ArtistWorks offers a comprehensive online learning experience for musicians, featuring step-by-step lessons, personal video feedback from experts, and play-along tracks. With lesson bundles from iconic artists, TrueFire collections crafted by world-renowned musicians, and a wealth of resources including tabs and tracks, ArtistWorks is your all-in-one platform to master your musical skills.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

ArtistWorks is divided into dozens of different available schools.

Each school is focused on a particular instrument and style.  For example, you might select Classical Piano or Blues Guitar.

While some ArtistWorks subscriptions allow for users to participate in multiple schools, the most affordable options require you to just choose one.

This may seem limiting, but it makes sense.  Especially for beginners, it’s important to learn the fundamentals before playing around with tons of different options.

Once you’ve decided on the musical path you want to follow, ArtistWorks users will gain access to instructional videos from an experienced musician.

ArtistWorks instructors include Grammy-winning pros and longtime experts, such as Paul Gilbert, Diane Bish, Martin Taylor, and others.

Students follow along with the video lessons and benefit from additional materials, such as sheet music and backing tracks.

ArtistWorks also includes a key feature called Video Exchange.  This option is what truly sets ArtistWorks apart.

Video Exchange allows you to submit a video of yourself playing and receive a follow-up video with personalized feedback from your instructor.

Struggling with a particular rhythm or technique?  Record yourself playing for up to five minutes on any device (webcam, phone, tablet), upload, and wait for detailed professional assistance!

Turnaround time varies between a few days and two weeks, based on the subscription you’ve chosen.

No matter what, though, you will get an in-depth reply from your teacher… in fact, some feedback videos range up to almost ten minutes in length!

Video Exchanges go into the ArtistWorks community forum, so you’ll also be able to access recordings from other students who may be facing similar issues… as well as the helpful responses they received.

You can submit regular Video Exchanges to your instructor to demonstrate your progress, or rely on them whenever you hit a snag.

Pros and Cons of ArtistWorks

Now that you’ve got the basic idea of how this online music site works, let’s get into the pros and cons.

Find out what we loved about ArtistWorks, as well as potential drawbacks to consider before committing.

Pros of ArtistWorks

Enjoy an Unbeatable Level of Personalization

The biggest problem with virtual lessons of any kind is often the loss of personal interaction.

Just about any skill you could hope to learn is available on YouTube, for example, but you can’t ask a video to slow down, repeat something, or explain why a technique isn’t working for you.

Even other subscription-based music sites like Truefire or MasterClass don’t give users the level of personal communication offered by ArtistWorks (or if they do, this feature costs extra).

Being able to send videos of yourself and get expert critiques is extremely valuable to the learning process, especially for a skill as uniquely challenging as playing an instrument.

Not only will the feedback videos answer your questions, but they can also provide a much-needed dose of motivation.

Online lessons are great because they offer flexibility… Yet this very same flexibility can also become a justification to put your lessons on the back burner, especially when they become challenging.

The promise of a personalized feedback video can help you stay committed to learning your instrument, and keep you from feeling overwhelmed when things get tricky.

Learn at Your Actual Skill Level

The lessons needed by a total beginner versus someone who already plays several other instruments are totally different.

Maybe you majored in music and are just hankering to pick up a new instrument, like the banjo or the clarinet.

You’re not going to need the extensive discussions of music theory, minor and major chords, or fingering techniques that are essential for someone who’s just starting out.

ArtistWorks takes your skill level into consideration by offering classes at a Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level.

For more seasoned musicians, this ensures you won’t be wasting your time and money on things you’ve already learned.

If you’re a newbie, meanwhile, you can be confident that you won’t be completely lost and desperately trying to figure out what on earth your instructor is talking about!

Choose From an Impressive Range of Instruments & Styles

ArtistWorks also offers a seriously impressive menu of musical options.

Instruments include the guitar, piano, violin, mandolin, banjo, flute, clarinet, drum, dobro, fiddle, ukulele, harmonica, saxophone, and voice.

Styles include blues, jazz, classical, bluegrass, acoustic, electric, and more.

Whatever type of music you’re longing to play, you can be confident that ArtistWorks has a school for you… and that it’s going to be taught by a knowledgeable, invested expert.

Become Part of a Vibrant Community

Your ArtistWorks subscription includes an active online community that can help you learn from other musicians and better enjoy your learning experience.

Comment on instructor videos using the site’s chat feature, Shoutbox.

Watch and learn from fellow students’ Video Exchanges.

Check out relevant posts in the online forum.

Enjoy access to study materials like sheet music, backing tracks, and other resources that can enrich your playing ability.

All of this is part of the ArtistWorks online community, which we consider a major perk of this platform.

The ability to connect with both your instructor and other aspiring musicians can help you stay motivated, learn more, and form new friendships while you’re at it!

Multiple Subscription Options to Fit Your Needs

ArtistWorks offers several different subscription tiers, so you can choose the option that best fits your schedule and experience.

Shop around and choose from the following options:

  • Monthly: For $35/month, you will gain access to a single course with up to two monthly video submissions.  No long-term commitment is involved, so this is a good option for folks who are curious about whether learning an instrument is something they want to do.
  • Basic Annual: At $179/year (one-time payment), you can access a single course with up to 12 Video Exchanges.  This boils down to less than $15 a month, making it a good choice for students on a budget.
  • Premium Annual: For $299/year (one-time payment), this subscription entails access to a single course with unlimited Video Exchanges, plus a guaranteed five-day turnaround.  This is a solid investment for students who are serious about committing to their craft.
  • Premium Plus Annual: At $399/year (one-time payment), this comprehensive offering allows users to access unlimited courses with unlimited Video Exchanges (also with the five-day turnaround).  This is a great option for experienced musicians who want to grow their skills in multiple fields.

Cons of ArtistWorks

You’ll Need a Good Video Setup

In order to make the most of the ArtistWorks platform, you’ll need to make sure you have a good recording situation.

If the recordings you’re submitting to the Video Exchange are difficult to hear or see, your instructor may not be able to provide you with very nuanced or helpful feedback.

This doesn’t have to be a huge obstacle, but it is something to consider before signing up for an ArtistWorks course.

Most Subscriptions Include Just Single Courses

Unless you’re willing to pay for the Premium Plus Subscription, your ArtistWorks membership will require you to choose just one course to follow.

Again, this can be helpful, as it forces you to really focus on the instrument and skill you’d like to learn.  However, it does limit you to one instructor and one style… which necessitates really doing your research before you decide!

Final Thoughts on ArtistWorks

Playing a musical instrument is a lifelong skill that can help you connect with your community and tap into your inner artist.

Whether you’re already a seasoned pro or just a curious hopeful, ArtistWorks is a great way to pick up a new instrument without the pressure and high cost of in-person lessons.

The personalized feedback, interactive online community, and expert instruction you’ll find on ArtistWorks make it a worthwhile investment for any experience level.

Plus, the different subscription packages make it possible to choose an option that works for your budget.

You can even test drive free sample lessons to get a sense of everything you can learn.

If you’ve always wanted to learn an instrument, ArtistWorks is an effective and economical way to turn that dream into reality. 

Click here to get started with ArtistWorks today.

Are you curious about taking online music lessons, or are you an ArtistWorks pro? Have any questions about our ArtistWorks review? We’d love to hear your comments, questions, and insights below!

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