It’s been a few years since I last taught, and I have found many of the traditional methods of instruction have given away to a new modern way of teaching: Both with and against the internet.
The internet is a wealth of information on learning anything you want. The down side to that is that you will find numerous ways to lean and do the same task. A student has to work a little harder to focus on the way he’s being taught and avoid the confusion of seeing it done differently in a myriad of different videos.
The art of American Kenpo is based on a style formed and taught by Ed Parker the same way to his students throughout his life (he did modify it a few times, but it still came from him). Today, you can find thousands of videos on how to execute any given Kenpo technique, all interpreted differently.
Musicians through the years often modify or change the way they play something. Sometimes it comes from improvisation, and sometimes they just figure out a better or more comfortable way to play a song they have to play every night. Sometimes they change the key for the sake of easier vocals, or it may simply be a matter of inversions.
Then you have the millions of people who post their own interpretations of a particular song, many of which are way off how the original is played.
There are more ways to play any given chord then most guitarists can think of off the top of their heads. Learning one way, and seeing someone do another doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If anything, it’s a lesson in how flexible music really is.
A capo, for example, can be confusing to some students, as I had to explain to one of mine recently. I showed that Pete Townshend’s use of a capo in a video playing “Let Our Love Open the Door,” did not change the chords he was playing… just the position he was playing them in.
It showed me that with the fact that everybody has a video camera on them these days, combined with YouTube and Facebook, that I have to include the instruction that the way I’m teaching a song may appear different than how the student sees it played in a video. However, that the important thing is that they learn it one way first, and then they will see how easy it is to change and play it how it’s most comfortable for them.