Beginning Guitar Lessons?

Whether you’re a first timer looking to get into the world of guitar, a second timer that hasn’t picked up an instrument since senior year in high school, or a parent looking to give their child every possible advantage in life, learning to play the guitar is a fun and rewarding journey that anyone at any age can enjoy. The question, however, on everyone’s mind at this stage is, “Where do I begin?” This article will walk you through the basics of selecting an instrument, finding the best teaching medium, and selecting an instructor that’s right for you or your child.

The Right Instrument

 

As a teacher and a repair tech I’ve found that often times the guitar can make or break a student. The myth surrounding learning seems to be; “we’ll buy something used, or something cheap, and upgrade if they stick with it.” Learning guitar can be an uncomfortable process. Building strength in your fingers is hard, and developing calluses on your fingers can be downright painful. One thing that can ease that pain is a guitar that has been properly set up and maintained. As a guitar ages various things can happen in the woods that will often times move the strings away from the fingerboard and make the instrument harder to play. Some guitars may even come out of the factory this way! I know that no one wants to make a large investment only to find that the guitar is not for them, but when selecting a better guitar, ask the shop about their buy back policy, also ask them how well the instrument holds its value. By finding a place that will buy the instrument back or selecting something that will be easy to re-sell, you end up getting back the money you would have saved by buying the inexpensive or used option.

The Right Method

 

These days there are hundreds of ways to learn to play the guitar. Books, DVD’s, online videos, video games, neighbors, family members, and many more. Any combination of the methods listed could be the right one for you, but one method to this day stands above the rest, One-on-one, or group lessons. The free and cheap methods above such as books, DVDs, online resources, and video games will all do the jobs, but there is one vital piece that’s missing in the process, and that’s feedback. Having an experienced guitar player watch you or your child play, and provide constructive criticism is one of the best way to be sure that not only are you learning, but you’re learning it right. Teachers are also great because they can assess a student’s level of skill and provide material at a level that challenges them just enough to foster improvement. Other resources typically tend to hit somewhere above or below a student’s skill level.

The Right Instructor

 

The guitar has become so popular over the last hundred years, and it seems like these days everybody knows how to play, and the more people there are playing the more people there are teaching. Uncle Jim plays, the kid down the street plays, even mom’s boss knows how to play, but how do you select the right teacher for the job? When looking for the right instructor there are several important questions that you should be asking. Does this person have the level of experience necessary to teach me/my child? Is this person teaching in a safe and professional environment? How much experience does this person have teaching, and how many students are they teaching right now? How patient is this person? Uncle Jim or the kid down the street might be good at playing, but teaching is a whole different animal. Teaching requires patience, experience, and a good attitude. To get the most from your money be sure you are selecting a teacher that not only seems to have all of these qualities, but has been screened by your local shop or teaching studio so you know you are getting a truly professional teacher.

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