Finding the Right Guitar Teacher
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced (professional) guitar player, you can always learn something when interacting with another guitar player. If you are just starting out, or playing the same things over and over again, finding a great guitar teacher will help and inspire you to create things you never thought you could!
One sure way to get on the right path to learning (or improving) on guitar is to first write down your ‘short term’ and ‘long term’ goals and share them with your potential teacher. Sounds funny to have goals (hey, I just wanna jam!), but in a moment, I’ll explain why having goals is extremely important.
The main reason guitarists do not stick with lessons (or any instrument in fact) is because the goals of the instructor are not compatible with the goals of the student. In many cases, beginning students are shown ‘what to practice’ when in fact what they are learning may not be pointing them to what they want to do when playing guitar.
If you want to be a rock-n-roll guitarist, learning jazz chords would be counterproductive. And if you want to learn to read music as it appears on the staff and translate it to guitar, having a teacher only use tablature during your lessons would also point you in the wrong direction.
So, here is where your goal sheet becomes extremely important. Write down your ‘short term’ goal. If you're a beginner, you may write down ‘play a song’. If you're an intermediate or advanced player you may jot down ‘understand scales better’. Something short term where you can just focus on doing one thing, and doing it well.
Share this short term goal with any potential guitar teacher. See if they understand where you want to go and if they can help you get to your short term goal. Then, tell them your long term goal. For a beginner it may be ‘play an open mic night’ or if you are an advanced player it may be ‘join the jazz band in college’. See if any teacher you interview (yes, you do the interviewing) can get you to your long term goal as well.
With you and the teacher on the same page, you are likely to accomplish more, enjoy your lessons more and become a better player much faster.
As for finding such a teacher, check out your local George’s Music store and if any teachers are available to talk to you about guitar playing, ask questions! Another great way is by personal referral. Maybe a friend of yours takes lessons at the shop, ask them if they are enjoying their lessons with their teacher.
Teachers should encourage, push and challenge you – but most of all inspire you to want to play. The staff at your local George's Music can steer you in the right direction and suggest a teacher who will be a good fit with your musical goals.