“I know some guitarists that will work on a 30-second soundbite for days before filming it in a way that looks off the cuff”: How social media is affecting our perception of guitar playing

A teen guitarist playing guitar and jamming online using a laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

To raise some money for a charity project I offered to host some one-to-one Zoom lessons. I don’t do them often but it’s great to meet students and help get them through their struggles rather than making best guesses on how to help people I’ve never met.

But one thing that really shocked me was the negative effect of social media on all these men and women who were all intelligent, successful and over 40, but over half of them said that they ‘can’t just play naturally like those they see on social media’. That everyone they see plays so ‘effortlessly’ and ‘naturally’ and without mistakes or fumbles.

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Justin Sandercoe

Justin Sandercoe – aka JustinGuitar – is one of the world's foremost guitar tutors. His learning platform, JustinGuitar, was founded in 2003, and its launch on YouTube in 2006 quickly made Justin's lessons some of the most popular on the web. Today, JustinGuitar has over 1.5m subscribers on YouTube, and the website is home to over 1,300 free video guitar lessons. Tommy Emmanuel, Mark Knopfler, Steve Vai and Brian May are among the A-list names who recommend Justin's guitar courses.