Choosing a Guitar Teacher
Why have a guitar teacher?
Although there are many guitar instruction books, videos, DVDs and on-line lessons; none of these can take the place of a good guitar teacher.
Only your own personal teacher can listen, watch and assess your playing each
week during your private lessons and correct any mistakes in your playing
technique or music reading. This is important.
Having a good teacher can save you a lot of wasted time and effort in learning wrong and unhelpful playing habits and then having to re-learn to correct your technique. It will also make your learning easier, faster and more enjoyable.
When you learn to play the guitar, the right person will be able to asess your progress and know when you are ready to move on to the next stage in your learning process.
By providing you with feedback, inspiration and encouragement, a good guitar instructor will take you far beyond what you could learn on your own.
When you look for a teacher, look for the best. You may not want to become a
virtuoso or a professional guitarist, but never settle for an inexperienced or mediocre teacher just because you are an amateur or "just a beginner."
Guide for choosing guitar teachers — some things to look for:
1. Is the teacher experienced? Ask how long they have been teaching. It takes time for a teacher to learn how to teach effectively.
2. What is the teacher's background? Who did they learn from? Have they taken part in master classes? Have they had performance experience?
3. What does the course cover? Many guitar teachers specialize in one area or musical style only — for example; they may only teach chords and strumming, or finger style blues. There are some guitar teachers who will only specialize in Spanish flamenco music.
If this approach to music suits you, that's fine. So if you really want to be a great rock guitarist, take lessons from a rock teacher.
On the other hand, you may prefer to learn guitar from someone who takes a more comprehensive approach to music learning — perhaps using classical guitar techniques and who will explore various styles of music with you such as Classical, Blues, Renaissance, Baroque, popular, folk and Spanish. This approach (especially for beginners) builds a strong musical and technical foundation as well as inspiring a love and understanding of all music.
4. Does the guitar course cover music reading and music theory? These are a vital part of learning any musical instrument and will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of the music that you are studying and playing.
5. Does the teacher have private one-to-one lessons or do they teach in
groups? Learning the guitar in a class or group can be fun. However you will
learn much faster and more effectively with individual lessons that are tailored
to your personal needs.
6. What is the cost of lessons? Experienced guitar teachers are in demand and are usually not the cheapest. In general, don't look for the teacher with the lowest rates. These teachers are often inexperienced, and as with most things, you'll get what you pay for.
7. Does the teacher offer a no obligation trial lesson or group of lessons? This is worth considering before you commit yourself to a complete course.
In the trial period, the teacher can show you how your course will progress and
the types of music and playing techniques you will be studying. You can use the
trial period to find out if the teacher gives you clear information about posture, playing position and techniques.
Importantly, it will also enable you to find out if the teacher helps you feel at ease and if they create a supportive atmosphere. For success in learning a lot depends on the rapport between you and your teacher.
A trial lesson or two will give you a graceful exit if you change your mind or if the relationship is an obvious mismatch.