Active Melody Review 2021: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson?
Even though Active Melody’s genre coverage is limited, there’s no denying that the program is extremely valuable. This is proven by the number of people who are satisfied with the subscription. Even if you are someone who’s hesitating to commit, you can first gauge the lessons by watching its free content on YouTube.
As for the lessons itself, Brian Sherrill is as skilled with the guitar as he is at imparting lessons. Each video is broken down into digestible content, sprinkled here and there with theories and history. The production quality is also solid, even those uploaded on YouTube.
This course only focuses on the jazz and blues genre. However, it does explore each lesson thoroughly. Sherrill gives valuable insights both for beginners and masters alike.
Value for Money
Again, this site only caters to a specific genre. But given that it only costs $69 for a year’s worth of subscription, this program is cheap for the value it offers.
With the site created for a minimalistic approach, it’s fairly easy to navigate the content. It also provides free lessons on YouTube.
Looking over at its Facebook page, Instagram account, and YouTube channel, it’s hard to find criticisms about this program. Even those who are paying for the premium content are extremely satisfied with Sherrill’s lessons.
What Is Active Melody & How Does It Work?
Active Melody is a website dedicated to teaching people how to play the guitar. Although it has a premium monthly or yearly subscription, the site offers free content on its YouTube channel.
This free content lets you gauge the value Active Melody offers, helping you decide whether or not it’s the right fit for your genre preference. Its premium content dives deeper into the value that the free content offers. Moreover, it provides useful features and other perks that justify the subscription benefits.
Aside from the lesson itself, the site has been designed with a minimalist approach. There is little clutter and navigating it is fairly easy. The lessons are also categorized well with sample audio for each video, giving you a sneak peek at what’s in store for each one.
Here’s an Active Melody review that will give you comprehensive information about the program.
Who Is Active Melody Suitable For?
Although Sherrill is an excellent guitar player and teacher, not everyone may be interested in the lessons he’s offering. That’s because he’s mostly teaching about blues, country, jazz, and bluegrass. However, if you are interested in learning those genres, Sherrill goes in-depth with each lesson he provides.
Some of the lessons he imparts are:
- Positioning Solo techniques
- Short scale segments
If this has piqued your interest but is still on the fence about becoming a premium member, you can peruse his free content and decide for yourself.
What Makes Active Melody Unique?
Instructor Brian Sherrill dives deep into a specific topic rather than just touch the surface. For instance, if he’s taking on a song that has a lot of solo positioning segments, he’ll teach you more about it. The same thing goes for other aspects that are heavily featured by a particular song.
He also has a wide understanding of the blues genre. Whether its history or where a specific style originated, Sherrill will touch upon it. Of course, there are drawbacks to this singularity too. We’ll talk about them below.
Who’s the Instructor of Active Melody?
Before we dive further, let’s get to know who’s the teacher of Active Melody. Brian Sherrill is a musician at heart and wants to share his gift with the world.
In 2009, he launched Active Melody and has been pumping out content ever since. Sherrill’s guitar skills are aligned with his ability to impart knowledge to his viewers and students. He’s patient, well-spoken, structures the lessons effectively, and is comfortable expanding on a particular topic.
Regarding the lessons, Sherrill has significantly improved on this front as well. This isn’t surprising given that the guy is still progressing his guitar and teaching skills as time goes by.
His lessons today are far more in-depth. It dives deeper into the subject while peppering the content with intriguing information. Of course, Sherrill mixes it up.
A few days ago, he uploaded a video that was talking about freezing on the spot when you’re asked to play for a small crowd. Sherrill suggested that players prepare for such an occasion as it will likely come up in the future. If it hasn’t already.
He advised that players prepare five or 10 songs in advance. Following that, they should transition their skills to improvisation levels. Doing so will take the social pressure off and allow players to be in the moment. Sherrill is a huge advocate of improvisation; a common theme that he usually covers and expands on.
Apart from the genre itself, he also covers popular artists such as:
- Eric Clapton
- Chet Atkins
- B.B. King
As you progress, he’ll guide you through lessons where you’ll learn improvisational and compositional skills. This is one of the most popular lessons he provides as it builds the necessary foundation for producing original music.
What Does the Program Consist Of?
As mentioned earlier, the site is pretty straightforward. When you visit the site, you are taken to its home page where you’ll find two major sections.
The first one is the “View All Guitar Lessons.” Clicking it will take you to the playlist section where you’ll find the latest videos uploaded on the right. On the left is where the lessons are categorized.
What’s cool about the left section is that it’s arrange alphabetically. Even better is that it caters to all levels of expertise. Beginners, advance, masters – it doesn’t matter. You’ll always find hidden gems of knowledge from every video.
Moreover, Sherrill has created a playlist based on the keys that the songs are played on. If you’re someone who leans towards a particular key, Sherrill has songs about it that you can learn.
Here’s a list of the keys you can learn:
- B Flat
The second one is where the site members provide an Active Melody review. They share their progress, their experiences, and the value they’re receiving since joining the community.
Aside from testimonials, Sherrill also gives the community a monthly challenge. As Sherrill himself said, the challenge is not a contest. It’s there to give members – free or premium – the same goal that they could reach together.
For premium members, you’ll find that there are two more videos provided by Sherrill that goes deeper into the lessons that are being covered. You’ll also have access to other features that make learning so much easier.
Here are the benefits that premium members get:
- Continuation lesson to the free content provided
- A slow walk-through video for a more comprehensive guide
- A video with a tablature instruction
- Playback speed controls
- Loop specific sections for easier learning
- Full-screen mode
- Perspective switches to accommodate right and left-handed players
- Key Transposition
- Synth Metronome
- Tablature with audio only
- Switching guitar neck perspective
- Download tablature as PDF
- MP3 jam track with or without the guitar section (downloadable)
As you can see, there are a lot more features available to the premium members. In other words, you gain more control over the content you’re consuming.
If you’re into the Rock and Roll genre, learning Blues is an important skill. Blues, jazz, and country music have significantly influenced the emergence of Rock and Roll (1). Since Active Melody provides lessons to these roots, it’s worth considering this historical fact before making your final decision.
Active Melody Pros and Cons
What separates Active Melody from other services providing guitar lessons is that it has only a single teacher. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. Let’s look at them.
What I like about Active Melody
- Specific genre to learn
- More personalized lessons
- Audio and video quality has signficantly improved over time
- More in-depth lessons as newer videos are added
What I don’t like about Active Melody
- One-dimensional, with just one teacher delivering the lessons
- Lack of collaboration, different perspectives, varying styles, and curriculum depth
Active Melody User Reviews and Testimonials
Whether free or premium members, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a negative comment about Active Melody. This is a testament to Sherrill’s work and the satisfaction that the members feel towards the service.
Even premium members have time and again expressed their gratitude (2) for joining the program. Some have been part of the community for only months, while others have been with Sherrill for years.
If you want to check what the members are saying yourself, you can visit Active Melody’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel. You’ll find most of the comments – more than 95% – are leaning towards the positive. The same thing can be said when looking at the likes and dislikes ratio on YouTube (3).
As of this writing, Active Melody has 23,7000 followers on Instagram (4). Its Facebook page (5) boasts over 146,000 likes. Its YouTube channel has amassed 274,000 subscribers. Going by this figure, it’s safe to assume that Active Melody will only grow from here. This is especially since Sherrill continuously uploads valuable content each week.
Should You Pay for an Active Melody Premium Membership?
As mentioned earlier, paying Active Melody for a premium membership largely depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for varied genre lessons, then you should find some other service out there.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in the Blues genre, then Active Melody offers fantastic value. Any competent guitar teacher will charge between $30 to $35 for an hourly lesson (6).
In Active Melody, you can get a monthly subscription for $10. Even better, you can pay $69 for an entire years’ worth of premium access. You’ll receive all the previously released lessons, as well as new videos that will be dropped every Friday.
Video Reviews & Results
My Final Verdict
I give Active Melody a rating of 4.12 out of 5.
There is no denying that it has certain limitations, particularly with the genre covered. However, when you consider all the variables – content, price, value – then it’s at least worth a try.
Even if you only want to become a free member, the benefits you’re getting from the YouTube channel and its community is already massive. The production quality of each video being released every Friday is also above-average compared to other channels covering this service.
If you’re still ambivalent about Active Melody, follow its channel first. Get a feel of how the content is structured and produced. After that, it’s up to you to find other services or finally commit to the affordable value it offers.
Frequently Asked Questions