Many guitar teachers naturally specialize in the area that interests them most.
For example, a folk guitarist may only teach strumming or finger picking patterns for song accompaniments, a rock guitarist may teach only plectrum style lead guitar, and a classical guitarist may teach only music from the European classical repertoire.
This approach is fine for the experienced guitarist who is perfecting a chosen style, but for the beginner, I have found that that specializing too soon can severely limit potential and produce a narrow outlook, which prevents a real understanding of music.
It can also prove very boring.
A wider and more comprehensive approach to guitar music
I believe that a different approach is needed. We live in an exciting age full of potential.
For the first time in history we have access to all the cultures of the world, past and present.
This gives us a marvellous musical opportunity.
I liken beginning guitarists to first-time travellers, setting off with a teacher as a guide to explore the world (in time as well as space).
When they finish their travels, they have gained an appreciation and understanding of the world, which enables them to choose wisely where and when they will settle down to live.
In the same way, I have found that this is an exciting and productive way to begin the study of the guitar and guitar music.
Why not explore the world of music first, before deciding on which area or areas to specialize in?
I have found that students love this approach. For example; when they study an elegant gavotte by Bach one week and then perhaps a blues solo or a syncopated African rhythm the next, it really stretches their imagination and generates enthusiasm.
What guitar music do my students learn?
As well as modern American guitar styles such as blues, rock, ragtime and country, my students explore the rich heritage of European music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary periods.
They also enjoy traditional folk tunes from around the world plus exciting rhythms and melodies from Spain, Latin America, Mexico, the West Indies, the Middle East, Africa and Japan.
As students discover new sounds, they naturally gain an appreciation and understanding of all music.
This benefits and enhances later more specialized study.
And importantly, this approach is fun! It is never boring.