So you’ve decided to try music lessons, Congratulations! Having the right plan of attack is one
of the most INTEGRAL parts of becoming a great guitar player and by making the decision to
start taking guitar lessons you've taken the first step towards your musical dreams! But if you've
ever tried guitar lessons before or even watched online videos you'll definitely know that just like
guitar players, not all teachers are alike. How do you pick the right one? Choosing the right
guitar teacher can be a daunting task. This one went to Berklee, THIS one has 30 years of
teaching experience, THIS one only charges 20 dollars an hour!
Well, let's start with the basics. Finding someone with good knowledge of the music industry is a
hell of a lot easier than trying to learn from guitar books and CD's especially considering that
neither books nor CD's can really answer your questions when you really need them to.
Unfortunately, having good knowledge does not translate to being a good teacher.
If you ask your teacher what their field of study was, they will often tell you things such as Music
Composition or Music History, And while this is all good knowledge to have, none of it helps you
learn how to teach these concepts to other people.
Have you ever seen those shows where the rocket scientists get to come out and talk about
how they built the jet engine's CO2 combustion rockets and you're just sitting there like "huh?"
It works the same way with lessons. So my first tip would be to find a teacher who speaks your
guitar language and knows how to teach YOU. And no I don’t mean to go out and find a teacher
who ONLY speaks english although language barriers are a factor. I mean that you’re probably
not gonna learn the secrets to neoclassical shredding from a Jazz teacher.
Now let's get to our second point, the one I find to be most unfortunate. Let's say you do
manage to find a good teacher. Let's say you manage to find someone Who went to Berklee,
has been in a band for over 30 years and only charges 20$ a lesson. On top of all of that,
They’re only fifteen minutes away!
Well let me just say that 20$ is way too low to be charging for lessons. Especially if you went to
college. Not just Berklee. I fear for any teacher who values their lessons and their time with their
students to be this low. Why?
Because ANY teacher who values themselves and their time so low cannot POSSIBLY add
value to their students.
If you could go to ANY school in the WORLD, DIME Denver Berklee, The Musician’s Institute of
LA. Where would you go? I’m guessing you’d go to community college right? NO! You’d go to
literally ANY other college, why? Because of the value they bring you. It doesn’t matter HOW
good that teacher is, if they’re only charging $20 a lesson, they’re NEVER going to be able to
bring VALUE to you. They’re never going to take you to a guitar clinic. They’re NEVER going to
be able to buy the recording equipment to teach you how to master tracking. In short, you get
what you pay for. I’m not saying to go for the most expensive guitar teacher you can find, but I'm definitely telling you to think about the value you’re getting from what you’re paying for, is it worth it? Or is it time to find someone who can add a little more value to you?
And what does that mean when they stop adding value to themselves? They stop learning!
They stop studying! They stop saying "Hey I'm going to go out and learn this thing" They START
saying “Oh I went to college, I already know that.” and when faced with questions they don’t
don’t know or don’t know well, they will often give you some short obscure answer that’s really
hard to understand partly because they themselves don't understand it either.
Which Brings us to our Third Point:
Think about it, what would your highschool teacher say if you just looked them in the eyes one
day and just said “You know what? I’ve learned everything I possibly have to learn. I've done
everything there is to do. I’m going to stop learning now.” What would they do? They’d probably
have a heart attack right?
Now imagine going to college, spending 100,000$ of YOUR OWN MONEY, getting a C+
Average in all your classes and then saying the same thing. Crazy, I know, but I have met actual
people like this, who’re still trying to claw their way out of debt to this day. How much value do
you think they offer to their students? Well I can tell you right now it’s going to be a lot less than
These teachers try to sound like they ALWAYS know what they’re talking about and often try to
oversimplify difficult concepts while avoiding to give students challenging concepts so the
students feel as though they are “doing well”
GOOD teachers know their faults, and know how to gather information to overcome those faults.
I will gladly tell you.- I’m a metal teacher, i couldn’t teach you a thing about fingerpicking, and if I
tried i’d probably make a disgrace of myself, my mother, and every guitarist in the history of
fingerpicking, BUT as a professional in the music industry I’ve met and worked with plenty of
people who COULD teach you that,
In short when it comes to finding yourself the right guitar teacher, age is just a number, cheaper
isn’t always better and not every teacher wants for you what you want for yourself. Find
someone who focuses on your goals, find someone who adds value to you,and most
importantly, look for a place where you can have fun! The road to musical mastery is a long one,
and you’re never going to make it if you don’t enjoy the process.
So, Now you know the basics between what makes a teacher good and what makes a teacher not so great.
So how do you start?
Now that you know what to look for, Where do you go now?
Check out our wonderful guide: Industry Secrets: How To Pick A Guitar Teacher Who Will Take You Far
Where we not only go further into what makes a good teacher great,
But how even a great music teacher may not be the right teacher for you.
And We discuss the top 5 questions to ask a potential guitar teacher to make sure they’re the Perfect teacher for you!