Picking The Right Guitar Teacher

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So you’ve recently picked up an axe for the very first time and kicked off a journey towards that lifelong dream of becoming a guitar hero. You have the spirit, you’ve got the attitude, the world is waiting for you to conquer it. The only thing remaining now to is to actually get the hang of that guitar. Well, this might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s the initial mistakes that put off so many guitarists from pursuing their dream further.

Although some of the ultimate guitar greats were self taught, it’s probably the best idea to opt for hiring a professional guitar teacher, at least to get you started and give you that critical initial input and boost towards the music world. So once again, the first several steps are critical. Choosing the wrong guy may put you off guitar for good, so be cautious. There are numerous factors that can determine on whether the given guitar teacher is right for you, but the problem is that you’re new to the whole thing, so it’s not that easy to realize some of the points you need to keep your eyes open for.

So we’ll give you a few tips in order to help you determine who the right guitar teacher for you is. We’ll divide them into several categories, including the following:

  • Getting some things straight first
  • Experience and dedication
  • Cost and availability

Getting some things straight first

So before we start talking about the right guitar teacher, we need to make sure that you have a proper, some might say healthy approach to guitar playing. You may describe this as the work of Captain Obvious, but playing guitar is about making music. A lot of people think they know this, but they don’t.  So in most cases, mastering the ways of the axe also includes various forms of adaptations and acquiring that proper mindset.

You’ll realize what exactly we are talking about further on down the road, but for now you’ll just need to know that it’s about the whole package. So having only technique is not enough, you need to have the feel, the sound, the vibe, the image, the right state of mind, the whole nine yards. Only when you begin to grasp this entire concept will you be ready to pursue the musician career.

Experience, skills and dedication

So now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get down to your future guitar master. What people often seek from the guitar teacher is a musical diploma and although it is most definitely somewhat of an indicator of the teacher’s skills, by no means does it prove that he (or her) has what it takes to teach someone. Similar goes for skills, of course the teacher needs to have them, but it’s not all about the raw technique either.

So apart from having the required level of skills, it all comes down to dedication and the actual teaching skills, or teaching passion if you will. The teacher needs to have that driving force and the ability to enjoy giving lessons and spreading knowledge. He basically needs to have some of the points from the previous chapter covered and well understood. You can usually figure out whether someone is enjoying their work almost instantly, as it’s not an easy thing to hide. So don’t base your judgment on diplomas and flashy tricks, it’s the passion and dedication that count.

Of course, always take the recommendations into consideration as well. If you know someone that can provide you with some firsthand feedback or progress reports, then all the better.

Cost and availability

Of course, you can never disregard the price factor. You probably have a designated budget for the whole guitar playing venture, and you should most definitely stick to it. What you should never do is choosing the worse guitar teacher so you can have more lessons. Taking fewer lessons from the better guitar teacher is always a good option, as taking regular lessons from a poor teacher can ultimately result in losing that spark and the will to make progress, turning your guitar lessons into an utter waste of time.

So if the more expensive teacher can blow your mind every two weeks and make you practice and work on your skills and approach for hours without trouble, then he’s your guy.  It’s all about making progress and mastering the axe and you must never forget that.

The second thing we need to have covered is the availability and the distance. You need to make sure that the guitar teacher is available on somewhat of a regular basis over the slightly longer period of time. This will allow you to build a solid student-teacher relationship and ultimately greater headway as the time passes by.

Finally, we have the distance element – if the teacher is willing to come to your home and give you the lesson, then all the better, but if you are supposed to go to his place for a lesson then you’ll need to take the distance factor into consideration as well. Spending far too much time just to get to the teacher might put you off the guitar, so you need to go local on this one. It’s OK to have a few lessons from that guitar mastermind downtown once in a while, but in general, you will need someone who is relatively close that you can reach easily.

To sum it all up, you need to have all of the factors we’ve just listed nicely covered, but always return to that first chapter. If you are not willing enough or don’t have sufficient determination and strength to succeed, no one else will do it for you. So think hard on what the guitar and the guitar sound represent to you before venturing any further. Mastering the instrument is a demanding, at times even tedious task, but believe us when we say that it is well worth the effort. So take it easy, work hard and rock steady.

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Marko Jovanovic

Marko is a freelance music journalist from Serbia. As a tech savvy individual and a regular Ultimate-Guitar.com news and feature article writer, he contributes on a wide array of musical topics with at least a pinch of rock 'n' roll always present in his work.

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