This article was submitted by Guitar Jar contributor: Ed Peczek
If you’re thinking about learning to play the guitar there is no better way than with the guidance of a qualified and experienced guitar teacher. Learning to play guitar on your own can be a difficult and often frustrating process, plus you can never really tell if what you’re doing is right.
…you’ll be more likely to make good progress by learning with somebody who is dedicated to helping you become the best guitarist you can be…
Having a professional guitar teacher to guide you through the process not only guarantees that you learn correctly, it can also help you to learn to play guitar even quicker. Whilst choosing to study with a guitar tutor is by far the best way to learn, the choice to seek the help of a guitar tutor does not end there.
It is important to note that not all guitar lessons are the same. The quality and content of guitar lessons will differ greatly from one teacher to another. Choosing the right guitar teacher is an important first step in your journey into the learning how to play the guitar.
Here are some of the main things you should look for when choosing the right guitar teacher for you:
It takes time for a guitar teacher to become good at what they do, as is the same in any profession. Every guitar teacher has to start somewhere, but you should not aim to be one of the first students through their studio doors. Guitar teachers who are just starting out will still be working out how to teach effectively and will still be in the process of putting together their catalogue of teaching resources, and because of this you will not be getting the best tuition for your money. This is not to say they won’t develop into a good teacher in a year or two, but there are better options out there for you right now. It is wiser to look for a guitar teacher who has at least a few years experience under their belt.
Be very careful though not to confuse age with experience. Some teachers have been around for a long time and have racked up a lot of experience in that time, but you should be sure they are still interested and committed to actually teaching. You may find that the guitar tutor with the most experience may not be interested in teaching new students anymore, but will do it just for the money. By learning to play the guitar with one of these tutors you will not be getting the best value for money unless you can find a way to reignite their spark.
Make sure your guitar teacher is someone who teaches the guitar professionally as a full time occupation. You’ll find that full time guitar teachers take their jobs more seriously than a guitarist who does a bit of teaching work on the side. You’ll be more likely to make good progress by learning with somebody who is dedicated to helping you become the best guitarist you can be.
Make sure your prospective guitar teacher is actually interested in teaching and has a burning desire to help you become the best guitarist possible. Some guitar teachers teach because they need to pay the bills or just enjoy the extra money it brings in. It is important to make sure you find a guitar teacher who can motivate you, and there is no better motivation than learning from somebody who has a burning passion for music and who actually enjoys teaching the guitar to others. It can be difficult to find such teachers, but it’s worth studying with one when you do find them because your progress will be much faster and you will enjoy learning so much more. This can be the difference between a fleeting interest in music and a lifelong love of the guitar.
The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true when it comes to finding the right guitar lessons. This is not to say that the most expensive are always the best, but it is certainly a good idea to avoid those who offer the cheapest guitar lessons around. Most teachers who charge low rates do so because that’s the value they believe their tuition is worth. Do you really want to learn how to play guitar with a teacher who has such little confidence in their ability to teach?
If your budget is tight, it is much smarter to choose a less expensive package offered by a generally more expensive tutor, even if this means getting a shorter duration of lesson. Some guitar teachers offer a range of services and you will likely find something to suit your budget, no matter what that might be.
A good indicator of a guitar teacher’s dedication to their profession is to see if they offer any additional support to their students. These are things for which the guitar teacher is not paid for, but are still offered despite this in the spirit of providing a good service. It is a good idea to look for a guitar teacher who offers a little more to their students besides just guitar lessons, as it can help you to expand your horizons beyond the material discussed in your lesson. Some things to look out for might include:
It is worth shopping around to find a guitar teacher who ticks all the right boxes. Choosing the right guitar teacher can result in a lifelong love of music and playing the guitar. Make the wrong decision and it can dampen those dreams of following in the footsteps of your guitar heroes.
Photo of the guitarist courtesy of fmgbain.