Choosing A Guitar Teacher – Part 1
By Vishaal Kapoor
How do you decide which guitar lessons to take, who is the best guitar teacher, or which guitar school your should choose? Surely all guitar lessons are the same, right? If I want to learn guitar, it should be the same to learn from teacher A or B or from the music school down the road, right? I mean, they MUST have students who are able to play since they have been in business for a while, right?
If this were true, we’d have hundreds and thousands of great guitar players emerging in the country. The truth is that most music schools hire other teachers to teach the instruments. Some teachers have been there for many years, and some just teach for short periods of time at the music school and move on. The scary part is that most teachers are not trained in any way and don’t really have a proven strategy for helping students overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. I mean, if a teacher doesn’t stay for long in a music school, does the school keep track of what you want to be able to do on the guitar?
Probably not – most music schools teach music grades (even for guitar), and expect you to go for exams to become more advanced and pay them more money. I’m not saying that learning through the grades is necessarily a bad thing – it really depends on your goals. If your musical goal is to just strum some of your favourite songs in your own bedroom, why would you need the grades? If you wanted to learn how to write songs, doing guitar grades doesn’t really help you either. The fact is, the grades provides a “cookie-cutter” method of learning to play the guitar, which does not and cannot work for everyone. You end up learning boring stuff from a book, and going through the book – which you could have done on your own.
Even worse, if you don’t learn grades, your teacher may just teach you how to play songs, one after another. Sounds good? Well, if you’re only being taught how to play song after song, then I’m sorry for being blunt, but you’re wasting your money. You can learn songs on your own, what you should be learning in your lessons is how to become better at doing that – you should be increasing your musical skills, technical ability and many other important aspects in your lessons.
The point here is not to talk bad about other teachers or music schools. The point here is do your due diligence, do a little bit of research, and find the right guitar teacher for you.
Guitar lessons are NOT like a can of coke! With a can of coke, you can choose to go to 7-Eleven, KK Mart, or some random convenience store, and you’d be getting the same, exact thing at different prices. It becomes easy to make a choice – just go for the lowest price. But with guitar lessons, its more complex, especially if you are not already an advanced guitar player. You want to find the best teacher for you, someone you can depend on, and who cares about your goals.
After all, you wouldn’t learn swimming from someone who you weren’t sure you could trust as a teacher and instructor, right? So it is essential that you select your guitar teacher carefully.
Check out part 2 of this article: How to Choose a Guitar Teacher – Part 2 to get more tips on choosing the best guitar teacher for you.