One of the great things about learning how to play guitar is that it’s a never-ending task, there’s always something new to learn – and that’s a good thing! In my opinion, one of the best choices you can make to enhance your guitar-playing skills is to take guitar lessons with a well-qualified teacher.
Having said that, we are sure you are wondering why would I take classes when I can do it on my own?
Guitar lessons with a teacher
Great question especially when you look at all the free resources on the internet these days.
So why is taking lessons better for your development? This is what we will discuss today in this article.
Formal lessons must be tailored to suit the student’s requirements.
While taking private lessons is not a perfect solution (with some downsides), the benefits outweigh the negatives. let’s take a look!
Pros: You are still a beginner
To get our point across, let’s take a look at the definition of the word ‘novice’: it can be defined as ‘deprived of knowledge or education’ (Merriam-Webster).
Simply put, this means you don’t know what you don’t know. This is not a bad thing! This is especially true when you are just learning how to play.
Not to scare off any beginners, but the sheer fact is that learning how to play guitar isn’t something people can usually just “pick up” (if it were that easy, then anyone could do it, right?)
Think about all you have to learn in the beginning:
- What are the parts of a guitar?
- How to hold the guitar
- Knowing how to play the strings of the instrument
- Knowing how to play notes and chords
- This only concerns the mechanics and physical parts of the machine. Add in basic music theory (which is basically the language of music), and you can easily see where a beginner may not know where to go or what to do.
A good guitar teacher will give you a roadmap to follow as you learn. They’ve been there themselves, so they’ll know the best way to guide you:
- What topics to learn?
- When do you learn them?
- When it’s time to focus on something new to explore.
Why do some people use personal trainers when trying to lose weight or become healthier? Because – as anyone will tell you – working out can be a constant pain. It’s very easy to get excited at first and then lose interest over time. While a personal trainer can tell you which exercises to do, he or she keeps you motivated and always striving to do more (and do it better).
The key word here is accountability. Accountability ranges from toddlers to guitarists of any age. It can be essential to have a ‘when the going gets tough’ when you as a player start to encounter some roadblocks and speed bumps in your progress.
I’ll tell you a story that happened to one of my teacher’s friends: He had a student who he thought would be the next major guitar hero. So his parents invested their money in a decent guitar and more money with my teacher friend who has an excellent reputation.
Over time, it became clear that the student, in his young mind, was losing the desire to succeed. He had not practiced what the teacher taught, that was blatantly obvious. So what did the teacher do?
He could have just said, ‘Whatever – I get paid no matter what this kid decides to do or not do.’ But he didn’t. One day after another situation in which a student did not practice, the teacher told him to put his guitar away. For the next several minutes, he proceeded to teach him a lesson more important than any guitar-related topic.
He pointed out that he (the student) wasted (the teacher’s time). Not only that, he was wasting his parents’ time – and their money. Perhaps more importantly, it indicated that the student was wasting his time. Not caring about anyone else’s time was one thing, but not respecting himself enough to learn was simply unforgivable.
He held the student accountable for his actions. And he was right – it was a life lesson that, to this day, is still burned into his mind.
Here’s the moral of the story: Guitar teachers (well, any music teacher, really) are the coaches in the world of music.
Pros: Save time and effort
A good guitar teacher can save you a lot of time and effort.
Well, it took me about 7 years to reach a certain level in guitar (ABRSM Grade 5 in Classical Guitar). While there is a student of mine who used to exercise daily for no less than two hours, he reached the same level as me in only about two years!
That is, I saved him about five years of confusion!
In my opinion, this point alone replaces all the previous positives and even outweighs the negatives as well. What do you think?
Cons: Can be expensive
Guitar lessons with a teacher held in a one-on-one setting can be expensive. There’s no denying that, and it’s fair to say that it’s likely more expensive than any paid (and self-directed) online tutoring software you might come across.
But this cost must be taken into account. If your car breaks down, do you know how to fix it yourself? Do you know what to do and when to do it? Do you have the right tools? Most likely, the answer is no – you won’t.
A great guitar teacher should be considered one of the best mechanics you can take to have your car repaired. You are paying for the knowledge and experience that this person has and that they will teach you to enable you to succeed.
Guitar Lessons with Me
If you would like lessons with me one-on-one, I can find the time for you on my schedule and I will do my best to save you lots of confusion. You can contact me directly by leaving a comment here, or through the Facebook page Classical Guitar Essentials. We can discuss your needs and goals, and I will design a curriculum for you that fits them.
Guitar Lessons with a Teacher – Conclusion
There is one point to make here – as we noted in our introduction to this article, guitarists of all skill levels will always have something new to learn. So, while some of our points about taking guitar lessons with a teacher may seem like they’re geared toward beginners, the same things are valid for those who have been playing guitar for a while.
They may still be ignorant (remember, that’s not a bad word in the proper context) about certain guitar-focused topics, and they certainly can become as uninspired as any beginner. This is where a great guitar teacher can make a huge difference.
Ultimately, we feel that my recommendation for taking guitar lessons with a teacher (at least at some point when you’re learning to play) can be an invaluable experience, and may far outweigh any financial cost you may have at the time.