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Apprehension about taking lessons

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Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 145
Topic starter  

I told myself before the summer started that I was finally going to take lessons. Now the summer is here and I have yet to take 1. I am nervous that I won't be able to learn what I want. And I think my pride is getting in the way as well. What do you guys think?


Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171

Taking lessons can be a hard thing for some folks to do.

I don't know you personally so I don't want to talk to the pride issue, but just in general:

Very compitent people don't like to feel incompitent. Some teachers have a way of "putting students in their place" that can be extremely uncomfortable for people who like to take a lot of pride in what they do, or who are highly regarded in their own fields. Good teachers simply don't do that at all.

Good teachers are focused on what the student needs.

Now, I'd like to hope that I'm on my way to being a good teacher. So I'll talk a bit about my approach.

I tell my students upfront that in my view there are two types of people who play instruments. Musicians and hacks. Musicians, in my view, are those people who wake up every day and want to work to be a bit better than they were yesterday. Hacks are satisfied with just noodling around on their toy and don't really care about music or musicianship. I feel sorry for hacks, and I won't have them as students.

Then I let my students know that everything we're going to be working on, scales, clean chord changes, rythm excercises, sight reading excercise, everything . . I do too. I'm right there with them. Maybe I've been doing it longer, so I've had more days where I got a little better than they day before than they have, but we're both doing the same thing. I'm just there to help them be more efficient at doing it.

I've had very good luck with adult students who are nervous about taking lessons. Particularly those who have self-taught themselves things.

In fact, I keep that as part of my lesson hour is the time when I ask my students to show me something they've been working on at home that isn't in our lesson. After a few weeks, most adults students start going out of their way to "wow" me with this part of our time together, and I'll jam with them for a little bit on a tune they've decided to learn on their own, or using a technique they decided to pick up themselves. If I have some pointers for them on it I'll show them my thoughts, but mostly I give them about 10 minutes to teach me something.

Some students balk at this, saying that they're paying for me to teach them. But again, I share my thoughts that if you know something well enough to teach it to someone else, then you've really internalized it. I'm using that part of the lesson for a few things a) to learn what you like, so that I can better tailor the lessons to your interests b) to see what you're capable of, the more interested you are the harder you'll work so this stuff is often far more polished than your scales (naughty naught!) c) to help you internalize information, 'cause if you can teach it to someone else, then you really know it.

If you find a good teacher you'll not have any problems once you start going. If you find a teacher but you don't click, ask them to recommend someone who has the qualities you're looking for. Again, good teachers are happy to recommend students to someone else if the teacher isn't what they're looking for.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST

Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 15

I just began lessons with the coolest teacher in the world. He is a friend of the family and runs a guitar school out of his basement(recording studio). He is awesome so maybe you can try finding a friend or someone who you might know through another friend or something. It might make for an easier time and more relaxed.

And every one knows the number one guitar rule is "It must be comfy"

Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 46

I just got my guitar about a week ago and I am having my first lesson this weekend. I know where you are coming from about feeling nervous (though I am excited at the same time).

I'm not really sure why I feel nervous... It's not like I am his first student and he can't remeber how badly somebody like me plays. I'm sure he sees it all the time. I guess it's just human nature to be a little nervous when doing something you haven't done before. :)

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 323

I am 47 and put off having lessons for YEARS. I just bummed around in the bedroom I had a book Beatles Complete and I taught myself the notes and a few open chords but I couldn't play any of the songs.
Well I started lessons about 6 months ago and it was the most nerve wracking thing I think I have done (besides walking down the aisle!) but now I really look forward to every lesson...
One of the first things he did was set up my guitar PROPERLY (acoustic) he lowered the action for me and that made a huge difference..
I have learned scales pentatonics strumming patterns and more its great and now six months later I can actually play some of those songs.

Do it do it do it you wont regret it....

Good luck

I still suck but I suck a LOT LESS lol !

I know a little bit about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything...
Looking for people to jam with in Sydney Oz.......

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

I had a book Beatles Complete and I taught myself the notes and a few open chords

I had that book out of the library for about two years - it's excellent.

Shibby - take a few minutes to think what you want from your lessons. I always find out my students' three favourite songs before I come away from the first lesson and try to take tabs along the following week. If they don't open up in that first lesson, then I have a standard first six songs which we work through and by the end of that six they've usually relaxed and learned enough to be asking for particular material.

I had a student ask me about alternate tunings one week. Geez, I worked hard at that lesson, especially as I had no idea he was going to ask about it. It's now part of my syllabus, but you will get more from your lessons if you know what you want to achieve. Saying something like "I wanna play like Jimi Hendrix" is no good to a teacher if you don't tell him you like Victoria Beckham songs (pah, spit) best of all.


A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at:

Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 145
Topic starter  

Okay I have found a teacher that is supposed to be pretty good. I got all pumped up decided i was going to take lessons and when I tried to call, I couldn't reach him. What a let down...

I was hoping I could take one this weekend, OH well I'll try again today.