by Chuck Millar

Let's go on a musical journey in time

How are you doing today? Hopefully, you’re as curious about music and playing the guitar as I am. Right now, we're in an amazing time when online guitar lessons, including guitar video lessons and online fiddle lessons, are available, and just about anything you want to learn is at your fingertips.

The Musical Landscape

Around 30 years ago, the musical landscape was much different. Learning music was quite different. When I first started my musical journey, it was like every story I’ve ever heard before from the thousands of musicians I’ve met over the years. Some call it getting the bug or catching the bug. Whatever it is, it’s simply a passion for music. This drives us to want to know more about it, understand it, feel it, touch it, make it, and live our lives through music.

My story begins in 4th grade, although many years have passed, and the finer details have faded. I’ll never forget the moment I became interested in learning music. Along with my classmates in Solway, MN, our class was enlightened by a 5th-grade girl. She brought all sorts of musical instruments into the class to help garner interest in music and to introduce musical instruments to young people for the first time decades long before online guitar lessons were even a thought.

Truth be told, my main interest was in the 5th-grade girl, but secondarily, I became enamored with the violin and wanted to play it. On the bus ride home, it was all my brain could think about other than the girl, of course. I wanted to play the violin, so I asked my parents if I could play one.


Over the years, my parents have been nothing but supportive. At first, they were rather hesitant. They’ve already gone down that path with an older sibling. Which didn’t turn out as they hoped for. That experience in their back pocket doomed me to the same musical failure of my siblings' past. I was determined, however, and persisted in asking my folks if I could play the violin. After enough pestering, they finally gave in to the idea on one accord. You see, my sister already had a violin from when she played. So that piece was worked out, but for me to get violin lessons, I was to play an hour a day for one month. Keep in mind, I didn’t know how to hold the violin, tune the violin, or anything of the sort and it was nothing less than excruciating to listen to.

Playing an Hour A Day

I didn’t have much as a kid, but with enough grit, I made my way through the first month of playing an hour a day. Without knowing a lick of what to do and relenting, my parents eventually kept their word. I was able to get violin lessons from the only private violin instructor for miles around.

No Internet

Back then there were no online violin lessons or online guitar lessons. No place for music lovers to flock and learn from. The internet existed, but there was nothing to look up at that time. While my musical journey had just begun, my entire world of musical knowledge would depend on my parents' willingness to pay for private music lessons. Along with the knowledge and teaching ability of my first music instructor. In a small town, that’s by enlargement can be challenging. We were so disconnected from any large city or music culture. Away from the world's great composers and musicians.

Inspired Greatly By My Instructor

I was lucky in a lot of ways as I was inspired greatly by my instructor. One day after taking lessons for a short period of time, my mother and I were invited to go see him play at a local venue. While we were there, he played country and fiddle music along with some bandmates. This was vastly different than the classical music we’ve learned at this point. It was both exhilarating and fun!

The last song of the show he played was "The Orange Blossom Special," and I was amazed by the song. My instructor’s ability to play such a high difficulty song and how the crowd was awed by the performance as well. A new passion was instantly born, and my lifelong love of the fiddle had just begun.

I was excited beyond imagination and immersed myself in everything my instructor had to offer. I even won a local fiddle contest and, from there, also joined my first Bluegrass Band based on that notoriety at the age of 12 or 13. It seemed like the sky was the limit, and soon, I became what I thought to be the best fiddle player in the area. Like most people who experience Platos, there wasn’t much available from my instructor or from the musical landscape that inspired me to challenge myself.

Reality Set In

After a few years, I was a young cocky, early teenager thinking I was the top dog in my area. My Mom ended up getting a promotion with her work that required us to move to the Twin Cities. Soon after being settled in the house, I started my search for the local music scene. A new reality set in, as I quickly found out that I was no longer a big fish in a little pond but a very little fish and a huge pond of talented musicians. I was way behind the game as far as it came to my development as a violinist, and fiddle player.

At this point in my musical career, I had also picked up playing the guitar, mandolin, and bass along the way. While these weren't available for me as a youth, having online guitar lessons, mandolin, and bass lessons would have made my world much smaller. Much easier to navigate learning these instruments because private guitar lessons weren't in the cards, and there were no online lessons.

Online Video Lessons and/or Courses

At this point in history, there weren't violin, fiddle, mandolin, bass, or acoustic guitar online video lessons or online courses available. I relied on meeting as many local musicians, watching and learning what they did as much as I could in real-time, trying to remember what they did that I could pick out, and try to teach it to myself and use it in a way that made me memorize what I’ve learned so I could keep it and expand upon it later. I slowly was moving along and progressing with my skills, and it seemed daunting at times but I was always steadfast in wanting to learn more and needing to learn more and become better as a musician.

Practicing 6 Hours a Day

After High School, the path was set for me, my fate was determined, and I was off to music college for Music Performance. Young and determined, I was ready for whatever college had to throw at me, ready to take my next step, ready to learn all I could learn, and finally arrive at the doorstep of musical success.

While I learned all the music theory anyone would ever need in their lifetime and the work ethic the carry a full college load of credits and somehow find a way to practice 6 hours a day, how to become a great musician in the genres of music that I loved seemed farther away than ever after spending four years learning classical studies with ⅓ of the time spent on pre-requisites and classes that had nothing to do with music as part of liberal arts, well-rounded education.

Reality Set In Again

In my mid 20’s I was finally starting to get noticed as a musician in Minnesota and was starting to seek out and jam with touring musicians. I came to a new reality again and realized that these national musicians were so far above and beyond where the general musician in Minnesota was, but I was determined to get to that next level. There were lots of questions that arose, besides natural talent, how did these musicians get so good, and how were they playing things in ways that were never explained to me?

The reality is that most of these musicians at the time learned from families of musicians or learned from other top national musicians as their instructors. In other words, they had access to top-tier knowledge that the general public, including myself, didn’t have access to.

National Musicians

After traveling and playing music along with national musicians, befriending them, and learning from them, I found a couple of basic truths.

#1 Most professional musicians are great at playing amazing music, not necessarily teaching it.

#2 Most professional musicians are fantastic people and willing to show you some tricks they know. However, you have to be a good enough musician to decipher what’s being taught. You have to be good enough at music theory to break down the nuances of what they are doing to sort complex musical ideas. You have to be good enough to notice intricate parts that can be tricky to understand. You have to be able to digest and incorporate what you learn into your own playing.

As it turns out, going to college was more helpful than I previously gave it credit for. Understanding vast amounts of music theory coupled with ear training, an intense focus. Having the desire to break apart the material obtained from the national musicians, I finally started to see the patterns, traits, and musical ideas that they were playing that were there all along. Over time, I began the process of breaking them all down into smaller digestible parts, categorizing them, and defining their characteristics. I need to understand it in a way that both I could understand and explain to others.

Grow and Foster the Culture of Music

In my 20s, I met my future wife, Sandi, who is also a musician. She shares a passion for music equal to my own, and together, we created our own music program, which didn't yet include online guitar lessons. Over the years, we’ve been able to grow and foster the culture of music in a big way. Still, to this day, we want to give more to the music culture and our students.

We’ve had the dream of having a video lesson program. Including online guitar lessons that held true to our vision for years now. Finally, we've had the opportunity to make it a reality. Together, we’ve gathered lifetimes of musical knowledge, and we want you to benefit from our trials, failures, and successes by giving you all of the tips and tricks we’ve learned through the years. You will be able to skip the headaches, or the countless hours of trying to break apart film, or hard-to-hear audio. It's all in one spot, including online guitar lessons and over 1500 backing tracks to jam along for basically an instrument.

We’ve done all the work, so you don’t have to. Lesson Pros is confident that we’ve created the world's best online guitar lessons, fiddle lessons, and mandolin lessons, with more to come.

For more information about the best online guitar lessons around, just visit

Thanks for reading
Chuck Millar

Lesson Pros

If you are interested in learning to play an instrument, check out our Guitar Courses or All Lesson Pros Courses.


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