If you have considered learning to play an acoustic or electric guitar, or even a bass guitar, you may have wondered how you would begin your lessons. Assuming that your learning style best fits private instruction, a guitar teacher is definitely the way to go. Who are these instructors and what do they teach? Let this be your first lesson!
A guitar teacher may teach in groups or one-on-one. They may be self-employed, or work for a studio or music store. Guitar instructors come from all walks of life, too. Some of them are full-time teachers, while others do it part-time to bolster another, unrelated job. Some guitar teachers may even be working musicians who just need some extra income. Depending on the instructor you choose, you could go to their location for your lessons, or they may come to your home.
Styles & Methods
Some guitar teachers may focus on a particular style of music while others will offer a more comprehensive spectrum that includes a little from each of classical, pop, folk, blues, rock, and others. Don’t be afraid of learning bits of different styles if your interest lies in a particular field – there is a lot of crossover.
There are instructors that focus on specific levels of playing, and there are those that have both the patience and experience to teach all levels. It’s always fun for a beginner’s guitar teacher to see his or her students’ eyes light up when they learn their first song; while other instructors get a thrill from teaching an advanced player a complicated passage. When looking for your instructor, be very honest with your skill level and what you are looking to achieve. This way, you will find the best match.
If you are brand new to both the guitar and music reading, your instructor may start by teaching you some basic music theory, including how to read notes, music notation, and guitar tablature. Your guitar teacher will show you around your instrument, pointing out the different parts of your guitar, how to best hold it, and even how to install and tune the strings. From there, you’ll learn how to strum and pick, pick up the fingering for the most basic chords, and you’ll be on your way to your first set of simple songs. You will be amazed at how much you can learn in a short time.
As an intermediate player, you will already have learned the basics and have a general understanding of your instrument, as well as the style of music you truly want to focus on. Your guitar teacher will help you get to the next level. For instance, you may have decided that you want to focus on playing rock music with an electric guitar, so your teacher will introduce you to power chords and train you on how to use amplification and effects pedals. Perhaps you prefer an acoustic guitar and you love the blues. Your guitar teacher would then shift your focus to the 12-bar progression, a foundation for many blues songs. These are just a couple of examples. Your guitar teacher should develop a lesson plan specific to your goals.
Advanced students may have all the techniques down, but still need to work on refining their style and dexterity. As a student of country or rock musical styles, you may work on picking up speed or adding jazz chords. As a classical player, you may further develop your fingering and soften the string noise made by less practiced players. Advanced-level players may even begin writing their own compositions. Your instructor might help you with arrangements, and you may even move on to public performances.
Learn and grow
The world of music is dynamic and ever-changing, you should be, too! Look for a guitar teacher that keeps up with the newer styles, techniques, and equipment. You may find that even your instructor has an instructor, and this is a good thing – it means that you chose a teacher with a passion for learning, too. Have fun taking your playing to the next level – and practice, practice, practice.