Active Melody Review 2023: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson? (2023)

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
  • Improvisation
  • Short scale segments
  • Fingerstyle

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?

Active Melody Review 2023: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson? (1)

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.

Active Melody Review 2023: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson? (2)

Apart from the genre itself, he also covers popular artists such as:

(Video) How to Actually LEARN GUITAR Online

  • 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:

  • A
  • B
  • B Flat
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • F#
  • G

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.

Active Melody Review 2023: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson? (3)

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.

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.

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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).

Active Melody Review 2023: Is It The Best Online Guitar Lesson? (4)

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

Our Rating:

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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

Can I cancel my subscription to Active Melody anytime?

Yes, you can cancel your Active Melody subscription anytime month to month. However, it’s unclear what would happen if you sign up for a year then cancel your subscription. This is why it’s always best to try the free content or monthly subscription then go from there.

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What’s the Length of Active Melody’s Free Content?

Active Melody’s free content depends on the topic being covered. Sometimes you’ll get an 8-minute or 10-minute video. Other times, it can reach 20 minutes or half an hour.

What’s the Length of Active Melody’s Premium Content?

Active Melody’s premium content is quite lengthy. Often, you’ll receive a 20-minute or 30-minute video dissecting the lessons into digestible sections.

How Responsive Is Active Melody on Its Pages?

Brian Sherrill is quite responsive on Active Melody pages. He usually answers queries and thanking his followers who are throwing praises his way. One recent example is when members complained about a recent issue on the content’s video. Sherrill responded to the complaints and it was fixed shortly after.




Is Active Melody worth it? ›

Active Melody is particularly useful for those interested in blues lead, improvisation techniques, and lead guitar patterns. Sherrill specializes in these areas, which means guitar players interested in those topics will see more value in a premium membership. This doesn't mean his content is bad or incomplete.

Do online guitar lessons really work? ›

Although I love the personal experience of being able to play guitar in the same room as someone else, I've found that online guitar lessons have proven to be an effective method for teaching new and advanced guitar students alike!

Where is it best to learn guitar online? ›

  • Fender Play. Classy yet inviting beginner-friendly platform from the biggest name in guitar. ...
  • Guitar Tricks. One of the best for intermediate and advanced players. ...
  • TrueFire. Big-name instructors and innovative learning tools lead the way. ...
  • ArtistWorks Guitar. ...
  • Guitareo. ...
  • Simply Guitar. ...
  • Yousician. ...
  • JustinGuitar.
Feb 7, 2023

How much does Active Melody cost? ›

At $12 a month or $89 a year, the membership is reasonably priced. The free lessons alone offer a extensive amount of guitar instruction. Brian at Active Melody is the guitar teacher you probably wish you always had.

How long does it realistically take to learn guitar? ›

For someone who practices around 30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week, with medium intensity, it'll take roughly 1-2 months to play beginner guitar songs, and approximately 3-6 months to confidently play intermediate and slightly more advanced songs with technical elements.

How many hours should I study guitar a day? ›

A beginner guitar player should try to practice for at least 30 minutes every weekday. If you are aspiring to make it as a studio musician or professional guitar player, you should try to practice for at least 90 minutes each day. Most professional guitar players practice 180 minutes — 240 minutes each day.

Is one guitar lesson a week enough? ›

Weekly lessons are the best way to learn guitar because frequent check-ins will keep you focused and motivated. As a beginner, the most important part of your practice is consistency. Playing every day, or even two or three times a day, is the key to success.

Are guitar lessons better in person or online? ›

You get immediate feedback from your instructor:

Feedback is important for any skill, whether cooking or playing the guitar. In an in-person class, the instructor can hear you play and give you tips on how to improve. This is difficult and often impossible to replicate online.

Who is the best guitar teacher in the world? ›

There have never been more educational resources available to guitarists.
Before we had the Telecaster.
  1. Mel Bay. (Image credit: Mel Bay) ...
  2. Joe Satriani. ...
  3. Michael Angelo Batio. ...
  4. Paul Gilbert. ...
  5. Tomo Fujita. ...
  6. Justin Sandercoe. ...
  7. Burt Weedon. ...
  8. Jennifer Batten.
Oct 22, 2020

Who is the best all around guitar player? ›

The best guitarists in history:
  • Jimi Hendrix.
  • Eric Clapton.
  • Jeff Beck.
  • Chuck Berry.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan.
  • Joe Satriani.
  • Steve Vai.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen.

Who runs Active Melody? ›

In 2010, Brian Sherrill created Active Melody as a way to share his passion for music with others. In 2015, he was able to leave the corporate world and focus all of his time and energy on building his dream job into a successful multi-million dollar business that it is today.

How do I cancel Active Melody? ›

That's a firm promise and commitment. If you want to cancel a subscription you have with us, please visit My Account > Billing, and clicking on “Cancel Membership”. When you cancel a subscription with us, you will continue to receive your subscription benefits until the end of the current billing period.

Is melodic free? ›

Available on macOS, Windows, and iPad. Download Melodics™ for free.

Who is Brian Sherrill? ›

Brian Sherrill is the proud co-owner of Coastal Indoor Golf along with Bridget Dehart. Golf has something that has always been the center of Brian's life since as long as he can remember.

How long should a melody last? ›

Most melodies are eight bars long and tend to be broken into two four-bar phrases. In this song, you can view the opening phrase as the question and the second phrase as the answer. This is a common technique among melodies and helps the listener hear a melody as complete.

Is melody more important than rhythm? ›

According to many, melody is more important. Melody can express a wider variety of emotion than a rhythm can, in most cases. The performance of a melody, to some, can be more captivating than the use of rhythm.

Is a melody a solo? ›

Melodies are sparser, solos are denser. Solos wouldn't stand up as melodies by themselves. Melodies are statements, solos are fillers. If solos sounded like melodies they wouldn't be solos and vice versa.

Will we ever run out of guitar melodies? ›

Although the number of possible melodies is finite, it is so very large that for all practical purposes, the supply of new tunes is infinite.

Should I start with melody? ›

You can almost always tell the songs that started with chords: the melodies tend to sit around one or two notes as the chords change underneath. By focusing first on melody, you are more likely to imagine more interesting melodic shapes, including leaps, a climactic high point, and a better use of vocal range.

How do I get better at melody? ›

Here's a step-by-step guide to writing memorable melodies so that you can help your songs stand out within the music industry.
  1. Find your scale.
  2. Build onto of a chord progression.
  3. Start with rhythm and lyrics.
  4. Improvise!
  5. Work on the verse melody first.
  6. Come up with multiple options.
  7. Let the melodies sit.
  8. Edit as needed.
Nov 27, 2021

How many times should a melody repeat? ›

A basic melodic fragment is repeated three times, with variation happening on the fourth iteration. Example: Chorus of “Paradise” (Cold Play), as well as the chorus of “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele). ABAB. A melodic phrase is sung, followed immediately by a new melodic fragment.

Why do musicians tap their feet? ›

WHY DO MUSICIANS TAP THEIR FEET. Tapping your foot when listening or making music is a great way to stay aware of where the beat is. That helps you feel the song's groove while keeping up with the rhythm. It makes the whole playing more personal!


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