Choosing the right guitar teacher is a pivotal moment in the development of any guitarist. Choose the right one and you achieve your musical goals fast... choose the wrong one and you waste tons of time and money only to get nowhere. To understand if you are working with a great teacher, you need to examine different aspects of their general teaching approach. Here are just a few important things to look for:
Do they teach you how to integrate skills together?
Mediocre guitar teachers often show students exercises, licks or techniques that they should practice in isolation. When used as a guitar teacher’s only approach to teaching, this does not help you make fast progress. A great guitar teacher not only shows you how to master skills in isolation, but how to combine these skills together with other skills you’ve already mastered. This improves many aspects of your playing at once, helping you become a better guitarist faster. In addition, this eliminates imbalances in your playing that can hold you back in the long run (such as being able to play fast, but not being able to play great phrases).
Do they teach you in group formats?
Many so-so teachers believe that teaching students in one on one formats is the only approach to use. Great guitar lessons are not just about learning with a teacher one on one. There are tons of things you learn in group formats that simply cannot be learned in private lessons. Learning with others puts positive peer pressure on you to get better, overcome performance anxiety and learn how to play in musical situations (such as improvising or performing in a group). This helps you become a better overall musician.
Do they show you HOW to practice as well as what to practice?
Of course, a great guitar teacher will show you what to practice in order to reach your musical goals. Additionally, they will show you HOW to practice in order to make the most progress. This means they spend time during a lesson to show you exactly how to practice what you’ve learned so you know what to do at home in order to make progress between lessons. This helps you retain what you learn better and master it faster.
Do they improve themselves with guitar teacher training?
The majority of guitar teachers never got trained to teach guitar. Most simply improved through trial-and-error. Some have music degrees, but these do not help them actually teach music. The best guitar teachers become certified to teach guitar by working with a trainer.
Jacob Melling, guitar teacher at the American Academy Of Guitar Mastery, recommends all guitar teachers get training: “The best way to help guitar students become excellent players is to get trained by an expert on how to effectively teach guitar. The teachers who do this give their students the best bang for their buck because they don’t have to guess their way through teaching process. Instead they understand exactly how to get students the results they want, as fast as possible.”
When you ask yourself the main questions on this page, how does your guitar teacher stack up? If you answer YES to each question, congratulations, you’re in good hands. If not, consider looking for a new guitar teacher who will get you the results you want in your playing.