Where to begin with lessons?

What's Hot
Much like everyone else, I've spent years playing guitar without improving one bit. I'm now at the stage where I'm pretty frustrated and looking to improve to try and re-ignite my love for playing which has sadly dwindled. 

I've never had guitar lessons before, which is probably the reason for my stagnation. I'm dissatisfied with a lot of aspects of my playing (fluidity, confidence) and my theory knowledge (non-existent). It's definitely time to get a kick up the arse and I feel a teacher is just want I need to analyse my weak points and give me some direction.

Just wondering where on earth you start once you find a teacher? I have a list of frustrations as long as my arm and no clear idea of what I want to improve other than 'everything'!
0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom

Comments

  • MattharrierMattharrier Frets: 97
    Find a teacher first - they will probably ask you to play something, ask you what you want to be able to do/play and then assess where you are.

    My teacher did exactly that - he asked me what my experience was, what sort of things I wanted to be able to do, and then said "play what you'd play if someone handed you a guitar and you had to play something."

    A good teacher just needs to know the destination, they don't need you to tell them how to get there :)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 209
    I agree with @Mattharrier The only points I would add are to find a teacher that will teach the type of music genre you're interested in, eg a classical guitar may not be best placed to teach you rock. Also, if you think you may be interested in progressing to music grade exams, find a teacher that is registered with the relevant examining body, eg Rock School, Trinity.

    As an aside, consider finding a person to jam  with or, better still, join a band. This is a great way of improving, and having fun.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 776
    I'm a teacher and when I first speak to prospective new students I always ask what music they're into and what they want to do with the lessons. Then I ask them to play something as mentioned above and point out any bad habits/technique I notice (usually timing or rhythm issues). If a teacher doesn't plan their lessons and ask each week "what do you want to learn today then?" it shows they make them up on the spot and don't check the following week if you've worked on it. Avoid these kind of teachers who just want to make a pocket money and don't give a shit about progress. Usually they're the cheaper ones in my experience.

    Oh and I can teach online if you're interested. Lol.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom
  • MattharrierMattharrier Frets: 97
    CarpeDiem said:
    I agree with @Mattharrier The only points I would add are to find a teacher that will teach the type of music genre you're interested in, eg a classical guitar may not be best placed to teach you rock.
    This is a good idea - I once enquired with a teacher, and after explaining that I'd got an electric guitar and wanted to learn some rock, he suggested I go out and buy a classical guitar... I did not have any lessons with him.
    1reaction image LOL 1reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • MartinBushMartinBush Frets: 98
    My only piece of advice regarding lessons is to make sure you not only have time to attend the lessons, but also to practice inbetween.

    I have/ had a good teacher and the fact that I wasn't able to devote enough time to practicing between lessons proved to be dispiriting for us both.

    What did work for me, when I found a period where I had time, was setting goals (in my case learning pieces and scales for a Rockschool exam) and focusing. Having done that the response from my teacher went from polite annoyance to being genuinely impressed.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • TheMadMickTheMadMick Frets: 39
    I searched the net for  a"local" teacher and found a young guy who had been to RNCM. He gave me the 1st lesson free and while he doesn't always bear in mind where I'm coming from, I've had a lot of very useful experiences.

    I'm a slow leaner as I've other things to do as well as my guitar lessons (although I practice at least 5 days a week for about an hour) so I space my lessons at fortnightly intervals nominally. Works for us.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 15492
    Get used to the idea that art and education are separate and what you might learn in a lesson might feel pointless to you at the time. Proper music teachers (for any instrument) have decades of experience in getting people to play and actually understand music. What you do with that knowledge on your own time is up to you.

    No different to any other type of language. There are well trusted and proven basic steps that allow continual improvement with minimal frustration. We all learn "dog goes woof" and then some of us only write for forums, and others write serial killer novels!

    The Rock School type things are useful but they have a different aim. Their aim is to get a person playing with others but the certainly lack actual music knowledge and understanding. They meet their aim quite well but for the same time investment more can be done.

    Put it this way - if you had a traditional classical or jazz teacher and the lessons did the traditional approach of playing / reading and some theory then you could easily do the Rock School thing on your own time. The opposite just isn't true.

    If you are starting from scratch with lessons then learn to sight read and get some basic some theory. There is literally no downside to having more information. Just because it might traditionally be taught on a classical (and there are plenty of teachers who don't care what guitar you turn up with) it doesn't mean you can't play it on a BC Rich Warlock.

    Look at it as a fully featured formal education that removes or diminishes limitations you have when creating your art.

    They are separate things.

    I'm a late starter to reading. I wish I had done it 35 years ago. Even from a top 40 covers band / function band position where the bass is usually very basic it would have sped up the learning process massively. Transcriptions are often more accurate than endless internet tabs and they include time information as well. Tab cannot do that.

    5 mins a day is all that is needed to learn how to sight read music. Before you know it, every bit of written music ever put on paper is then available to you. Just like you can now read any English language book ever.
    Humans will swim in the sea even though there are many corpses in it.  They will not swim in a pool with a corpse in it. 
    Therefore all humans have a water / corpse ratio that is acceptable to them.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom
  • willrejoneswillrejones Frets: 35

    Thanks guys, some really interesting points here and always useful to have some different insights 

    I think theory is one area I lack in majorly, have always struggled to get stuck in as I've never found a way to get a solid understanding of the fundamentals in a way that is both engaging and involves playing - trying to hit two birds with one stone. This is definitely an area that if I properly engaged with it, I would see huge improvements. 

    I've found a guy I'm going to try out, see if he can unpick some of my issues and help me figure out what to do!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • kelpbedskelpbeds Frets: 85
    I would advise getting someone who knows how to teach properly. This may seem obvious but a lot of guitar teachers are guitarists first and not really teachers and there is a big difference. I was a school teacher for 30 years before I became a guitar teacher and so many of my students comment on how much more progress they've made with me rather than other guitar teachers because of the way I teach. It's a really important factor!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • MattharrierMattharrier Frets: 97

    Thanks guys, some really interesting points here and always useful to have some different insights 

    I think theory is one area I lack in majorly, have always struggled to get stuck in as I've never found a way to get a solid understanding of the fundamentals in a way that is both engaging and involves playing - trying to hit two birds with one stone. This is definitely an area that if I properly engaged with it, I would see huge improvements. 

    I've found a guy I'm going to try out, see if he can unpick some of my issues and help me figure out what to do!
    Get a keyboard to learn theory. I can't play keys at all, but I find it much easier to get my head around the relationship between notes when they are all lined up in front of me. You can then transfer what you learn to the fretboard as you go.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
Sign In or Register to comment.