Back in the day, there were only three ways to learn how to play guitar. You had to learn on your own, enroll in music school, or find a tutor somewhere in town. Today, there are hundreds of options for budding guitarists. You can learn from online lessons and tutorials completely for free, or you can still go with one of the many tutors in town. Or you could even learn from some of the best guitarists in the world, who happen to still love teaching people and give lessons via video call.
Having so many options can leave people spoilt for choice. But since there is nothing quite like having a real human teacher to interact with and help you learn, here are some tips for making the right choice.
Decide How Much You Can Spend
How much you can afford will largely affect whom you choose as a teacher. A pro teacher, including some of the famous guitarists who offer lessons, is likely to charge hundreds per lesson. But the upside is that you’ll get top-notch training and guidance from the best of the best. A month of classes from an in-person tutor can cost about $15-$25 a lesson. More or less, depending on the skill level of the guitarist and where they are. You could also get a full month of lessons online for the same price. However, if you are really desperate, you can forgo the teacher altogether and use tutorials and lesson apps to learn.
Think about Style
If you have a specific style in mind that you are going for, then you might want to attend the lessons of someone who is known for that particular style. For instance, a lot of my friends who give lessons are either metal guitarists or jazz guitarists, but they’re good at several different styles. However, almost all their students come to them largely because of the style they are known for. This is quite simply because who better to teach you the nuances of those genres and styles than the patrons themselves?
Ask Them about Experience
Even if you don’t have a specific style in mind, everyone needs the same basics. Now, a foundation can be laid for a beginner even by a slightly more advanced beginner. But this is not a good idea because only a more experienced player who has been teaching for some time will have been through and corrected a lot of the common mistakes novices make. Moreover, they will be able to spot these mistakes in their students and correct them before they become a bad playing habit. Simple things such as how you grip the guitar, how you hold the guitar pick, and so on can actually revolutionize your playing. Make sure your prospective teacher has been playing for a long time and teaching for at least a few years. Also find out whether they have played in bands or solo. Try to find a teacher that has experience playing in the kind of settings you see yourself playing in.
Find out Their Methodology
Don’t jump straight into a course without finding out how the teacher is going to be teaching you. A good teacher will be able to take your goals into account and guide you towards them. There is only so much one-size-fits-all when it comes to guitar playing. Everyone learns at different paces and in different ways. So if the teacher is planning to teach you certain chords by this date and this much songs by that date, they’re not for you. A guitar teacher should be tailoring their lessons to your abilities and interests. If you are a beginner, for instance, and you want to learn rock songs, wouldn’t you be put off if your teacher taught you some chords and then tried to make you learn to play Counting Stars by the One Republic? Not when you could use the same chords to learn Castles Made of Sand by Hendrix or More Than a Feeling by Boston!
Other things that you should be looking at include their personality. If they don’t seem like someone you can click with and get along with, it’s going to be hard to learn. Think about the teachers you didn’t like and the ones you did from your school. Try to find teachers with the qualities you liked and without the ones you didn’t. The better your relationship with the teacher the easier it will be to stay interested and learn.
Of course, this means also considering teaching style. If you respond better to highly disciplined teachers, make sure that the guitar teacher is like this and not so casual. It also helps if the teacher is still performing them.
Above all, make sure that the teacher is a lover of music. This way you can be sure they are not just doing it for the money or for the sake of doing the job.