Choosing a guitar teacher is an important part of playing guitar, but it can be difficult to know what you are really looking for in a guitar teacher.
Unless you are an advanced guitar player who has already had one or more great teachers, choosing a guitar teacher can be a daunting task.
One of the biggest problems is that there are so many choices available to you for learning guitar. There are probably too many guitar teachers to count, and that’s just in your local area.
Try looking for online guitar lessons and there is an overwhelming amount of options. The sheer number of choices lead many students to just pick someone at random and hope for the best.
When you choose a guitar teacher in your area or online, many people don’t know what to look for.
What are signs that you’ve found a good guitar teacher who can help you become the best guitar player you can be? What are some signs that you should probably keep looking?
Finding the right guitar teacher for you is an important first step towards your success in learning to play guitar.
Having a good teacher can save you time and money, while helping you learn to play guitar as quickly as possible.
In this article, we’re going to look at:
Different Learning Options
There are several different options available to you for learning guitar today. We are going to look at a few of the most common options to see what is most likely to work best for you in the long term.
Learning On Your Own
With all of the free information available on the internet, this can seem like the obvious choice when you are starting to learn guitar.
Because you can access the information for free, this seems like the best deal at first glance. As long as you have enough patience you might be able to teach yourself to play up to a certain level.
What to do:
Going To A Store Or Music School
The logical choice for some students who want to learn guitar is to go to their local music store or a “music school” that offers private or group lessons.
These schools often have a number of instructors on staff and have everything you need readily available for purchase.
What to do:
It takes a little more work, but you will be happier with the lessons you get. If you end up taking lessons at a music store, ask questions and make sure you can get what you want out of your guitar lessons experience.
Finding A Good Guitar Teacher Locally
Finding a good guitar teacher in your local area can prove to be the best option for many guitar students.
A good guitar teacher can help you learn guitar as effectively as possible, and give you the most control over your musical education.
They will be able to help you learn guitar without the frustration that comes from learning on your own, and steer you in the right direction so you can play the music you really want to play.
What to do:
Learning Guitar Via Skype
Learning guitar via Skype or other video chat software is becoming more popular as technology improves.
If you can’t find a good fit with a guitar teacher locally, or find a teacher you want to learn from who lives outside your area, this could be a good option for you.
What to do:
Guitar Teacher Red Flags
Now that you know about the options available for learning guitar, let’s look at some “red flags” that pop up with some guitar teachers.
These could be some signs that you need to continue your search for a guitar teacher.
Traveling Guitar Teachers
Today, everyone is busy. Anything that you can do to make your schedule a little less packed can seem like a good thing.
This is what leads some people to consider a guitar teacher who is willing to come to their house.
You might see them advertise a slightly higher rate in exchange for traveling to you.
While the convenience of this service can be appealing, there are some downsides.
Guitar teachers who are willing to travel for lessons are often less experienced, leading to lower quality for your lessons.
These teachers can tend to be less reliable as well, leading to missed lessons.
If you really don’t want to commute to your guitar lessons (or can’t), look for a good instructor who teaches over Skype or other video chat programs.
The Jack Of All Trades
Something else to watch out for is the “jack of all trades” teacher - someone who says they can teach several different instruments.
While this teacher may genuinely be able to play all those instruments, their teaching is likely to be less organized than an instructor who has more focus on one or two related instruments.
Some crossover is to be expected - the guitar and ukulele are very similar and if the guitar teacher really does know how to play and teach the ukulele, that should work out just fine.
Some guitar teachers also play bass and like to teach that as well.
What you want to be careful of is someone who tries to teach too many different or unrelated instruments.
It is usually not possible for them to provide the same quality of lessons across the board.
This isn’t to say that the “jack of all trades” type of teacher isn’t probably great at teaching one or two of the instruments that they advertise.
Just make sure that instrument is the one that you really want to learn if they end up being the right teacher for you.
If you really want to learn to play guitar, you are better off finding someone who specializes in teaching guitar.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If your potential instructor really has experience teaching a particular instrument, they should have some sample lesson plans or handouts they can show you before you start lessons.
Free Introductory Lessons
Many teachers and schools will offer you a “free introductory lesson” to give you a sample of what their teaching is like.
In reality, your free lesson will often end up as more of a sales pitch on why you should choose them for lessons, an explanation of their policies, and a few quick tips to try and get you sounding better with the remaining time.
These instructors and schools are banking on the idea that you won’t want to spend more time looking, and will settle for what you’ve found already.
No one really likes shopping around, so this trick often works.
A better idea is to find a guitar teacher who offers a package of lessons with an option to get a refund.
This way you can get to know your guitar teacher over time and really see how they teach before making a decision.
Plus if it becomes clear that it’s not a good fit, you can get your money back.
Things To Consider In A Guitar Teacher
Now let’s take a look at some things to look for in a guitar teacher. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you look at potential guitar teachers.
Do They Teach The Fundamentals?
One of the most important things you can look for in a guitar teacher is the fundamentals.
While learning to play songs is an important part of playing guitar, developing the fundamentals is what makes songs easy to learn and play.
If you only ever learn songs, you are missing out on a lot in your guitar playing.
A good guitar teacher can help you develop the fundamental skills you need so you can play whatever it is you want to play on the instrument.
Scales, chords, arpeggios, rhythms, theory, and other musical skills are what make learning songs easier and more fun.
No matter what style of music you want to play, the fundamentals are the same.
Whether you want to play rock, classical, country, jazz, blues, folk, metal, or anything else - the fundamental skills will apply.
Find a good guitar teacher who can help you learn the fundamentals, and you will be on your way to success.
Will They Work With You And Your Needs?
It is important that you find a guitar teacher who can really work with you - someone who can help you reach your goals.
A good teacher will understand that you are a unique student, and your reasons for learning guitar won’t be the same as other students they teach.
Your guitar teacher should be able to meet you where you are - your ability level, your musical preferences, and what you really want to learn.
Even if they introduce something that doesn’t seem to line up with your goals at first, they should be able to explain to you how the topic will help you get where you want to go.
While some teachers will treat every student the same, teaching the same material in the same way, great guitar teachers will help steer your lessons towards your goals.
If you want to become a professional musician one day, you lessons should look and feel different than someone who just wants to play guitar in their room for fun.
Will Their Teaching Grow With You?
There are teachers who will teach the same way year in and year out. They feel like they have something that works, and it probably does for a certain number of students.
While this teacher will be the perfect instructor for a certain type of student, their teaching style and approach has it’s limits.
A guitar teacher who actively tries to find the best way to communicate concepts to each individual student, researches different teaching approaches, and constantly refines their teaching is someone who can really help you play your best.
The best teachers I’ve ever met were constantly learning themselves - either looking at different approaches to their own field, or looking for parallels in other areas of learning.
When your guitar teacher is consistently working to help you learn more effectively, you will get more out of your guitar lessons.
Do They Build Lesson Plans Around You?
Your guitar teacher should have the skills and materials to build lesson plans around you.
While you should be able to expect your teacher to have at least a loose plan going into your lesson, they should also be able to mold their teaching to your needs and interests, rather than you having to adhere to a strict lesson plan or teaching method.
It should be expected that your guitar teacher plans in advance for your lessons, and for the most part you should be able to trust that their plans will get you where you want to go.
That being said, there will definitely be times where you have a pressing question.
Your teacher should be flexible enough to shift gears if there is something you really want to learn about, or at least build it in to a future lesson if there’s something that really needs to be covered first.
Will You Get Along With Them?
This is one of the most important aspects of finding a guitar teacher. Learning any skill is a process that takes time, and guitar is no different.
Your guitar teacher is someone who you are going to be spending time with every week, so it’s important that you feel like they are someone you can get along with.
This actually goes beyond whether they are friendly or not.
Getting along with your teacher as a person is important, but there are some other points to consider, as well:
You may not need all of the things listed above, but you should take the time to decide what is important to you when it comes to your guitar teacher.
A good teacher will make the whole process as easy and enjoyable as possible, from your first email or call, to your last lesson.
Things To Think About:
We’ve looked at a variety of ways you can learn guitar today, from learning online, to finding a music school, to finding a single instructor either in person or online.
Take a minute to go over the pros and cons of each option and decide what is best for you.
Most people are going to do best with an instructor, whether in person or online.
As you look for a potential teacher, remember to look out for red flags like traveling instructors, the jack of all trades, and the free lesson trap.
When you think you’ve found the right teacher for you, ask questions. Make sure they are someone you can get along with, both personally and professionally.
If you have any questions about finding an instructor or are ready to start lessons yourself, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to help you out.
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