“Search for a good classcial guitar teacher”
A common tip that can be given to every novice guitarist is to find a good classical guitar teacher.
But what are the criteria that define a good teacher? On the other hand, how do you ensure that you receive good instruction when the class is private?
The first thing that will catch your eye about a guitar teacher is his impressive resume. However, the truth is:
“Being a good guitar player does not always translate into being a good teacher.”
Sometimes, musicians who have a talent for playing may miss out on the basics of the instrument because of their innate talents.
In other words, they skipped the basics of learning the guitar and did not work hard in the beginning as most of us would.
Teaching is a separate art form from playing, and it can sometimes be easy for a player to fall into the trap of careless teaching for one reason: paying the bills.
If this happens, it is negative for all participants and can result in a continuing chain of devastating events.
Another problem is that many teachers have been self-taught (they taught themselves the profession of teaching) and they often copy what was offered to them when they were students.
This may work for some, but the absence of any formal or formal training can create a very diverse set of teaching standards.
So, let’s take a look at some of the essential elements of a good classical guitar teacher.
Patience and the basics
Guitarists in general love to play pieces. They love to play fast pieces (don’t get me started on this).
They love to play so much that they can’t wait to play the greatest, fastest, most amazing pieces. All these things are wonderful things, it is passion, enthusiasm, and energy.
What a good classical guitar teacher needs to achieve is to harness the unbridled passion and guide the student on a continuous and steady course of study.
And the initial disappointment of not playing Asturias in the second week will soon be offset by a sense of real progress. Achieving small goals on a regular basis is fuel for a fire burning over years, not a hot flash that lasts for a month or two.
The number one problem I see over and over again is that students play very difficult pieces! The inevitable result will be a failure with the instrument and a loss of self-confidence as a player.
I don’t really blame the student, but I often say to myself “what on earth did that teacher think?”.
My theory is that some teachers only teach pieces they know themselves, and even if it’s been a while since they’ve played Sor Op.60 they tend to jump twenty paces and give the novices a Bach, or maybe they simply don’t care so much and let the student choose what they want, which is like leaving a kid in a candy store with a credit card!
A good foundation is essential; because it will make the student ready to face the many challenges ahead. Patience will allow him to continuously progress and reveal to him the beauty of simple pieces that are played perfectly.
These are the first and most important components that a good classical guitar teacher should have.
Teaching how, why not, why, and where
Sometimes I feel that students just want someone to explain the instructions to them on the notes. Put your second finger there, use your forefinger on the B string.
This kind of simple instruction is not only limited in terms of developing pupils’ skills but is also quite mind-paralyzing for the teacher.
The instructions are all on the paper and the diligent student should not need someone to read them out loud. Instead, the teacher should instruct the student as to the reasons and how of the piece.
Why finger playing as it is? How can you play that style? Why does the composer use those notes there and how can I practice this passage to make it sound better?
In short, the best guitar teacher is the one who teaches the students how to teach themselves, he just opens the door for them and shows them the way as they go on.
The difference between session and practicing
The actual progress that a guitar student makes doesn’t happen in class, but rather during practice sessions at home. Lessons are there to guide, encourage and inquire about some incomprehensible things.
Practicing sessions are where all these skills and techniques are put into practice. If the students are only practicing during the actual lessons, they will:
- Progress at a very slow speed.
- Pay a lot of money to practice!
Practicing sessions should have structure, objectives, change, repetition, etc. It is the teacher who needs to teach the student how to manage these practicing sessions.
The tremendous discipline that good practice requires is not innate to everyone, so a good classical guitar teacher will not only take care to teach you how to play the instrument but also how to practice effectively for fast progress.
The teacher should encourage the students to think about their playing in a curious way rather than carrying out a set of commands placed on the music staff.
Communication and passion
Communication has always been essential to learning. The concepts passed on from teacher to student are often uncomplicated, yet if communication is not present, even the simplest ideas may not be understood.
Everyone learns differently, so a good classical guitar teacher should be aware of how each student learns and meets the individual’s requirements. Some people like acting, some like scientific analysis, and kids like games.
Brilliant progress in understanding can bring a lot of joy and satisfaction to the teacher as it is the case for the student, so persevering on a topic until it becomes understood is worth it.
Passion is what led us all to music in the first place, and in the muddy depths of guitar fingering, we can forget to enjoy the sounds of the guitar.
So, I think it’s important to display and share your passion for the instrument with the student. Just a little time (not the whole class) to watch a YouTube clip of a famous musician playing the piece the student is practicing, or you playing the piece that made you play guitar in the first place.
This kind of off-script could spark an entire week of practicing, believe me.
Music education never ends for anyone. The journey is indeed a source of happiness but in the early stages, the endless journey can be incredibly burdensome.
Without any structure, the sense of progress can be completely lost and the student may feel aimless or powerless.
Therefore, I think structure is crucial to the beginner and intermediate stages of development. I have always been a big supporter of the tiered systems offered like London College of Music and Trinity because they provide goals and a framework to stick to them. This website has been prepared in a similar way as a testimony to my belief in structured learning.
A good classical guitar teacher will have a structure for the learning process for the benefit of themselves and the students.
Lots of notes
“Lots of Notes, Mozart”. This is my favorite line from the movie “Amadeus” (if you haven’t seen it before, I recommend watching it right away).
The guitar is a difficult instrument to learn, no two can disagree with that. There are many technical challenges to overcome.
However, it is important not to neglect a good education in music such as learning musical theory, how to analyze a piece, how to read melodies, the history of music, and the difference between music genres. All this is just as important as playing the notes written on the paper.
A good classical guitar teacher will vary the lesson each time, in order to strike a balance between playing technique and reading the musical notes, and the student’s understanding of what he is playing and his progress as a musician and not just as a guitarist.
Finally, let’s not forget that learning guitar is primarily for fun. Not all of us are capable of becoming creative artists, on the contrary, many of us just want to bring some variety and joy to everyday life.
A good classical guitar teacher will make you want to practice more, go to concerts, and come to your next class.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and have you experienced a good or bad teacher.
Where can I find a classical guitar teacher online?
Google “classical guitar teacher near me” and chances are you will find one.
How much is a classical guitar lesson?
Depends. But usually, it can cost anywhere between $15 to $60 per hour.
Can you self-teach classical guitar?
Yes. However, it requires a lot of commitment and patience. Having a good classical guitar teacher, especially in the first stages will save you a lot of time and frustration.
How many years does it take to learn classical guitar?
There is no clear answer to this question as it depends on how much you practice every day, and what do you want to achieve. On average, to be a confident player might take between 3 to 5 years.
Can you learn Classical Guitar online?
Yes. Everything now is taught online and classical guitar is no exception. If you are really serious about learning guitar, you can start with the courses here, click here to learn more about Classical Guitar Essentials courses.