What to look for in a guitar teacher?
Ok, so I'm biting the bullet and going to take some lessons. I would like to know what to ask the teacher to know if he/she is the right person for me. A little background info:
I've been playing guitar since I was maybe 12'ish? But off and on and never took it real seriously, by the time I was 16-19 I was playing in gigs for parties and some bars but, again, never really practiced and I had to give it up to save my relationship (in hindsight, I should have gave up the girl instead). So fast forward to today, I've been OCD'ing the past few months and practicing 15 minutes daily and some sprints up to 4 hours on weekends. I'm 100% comfortable with rhythm guitar, I know a lot of chords and variations, about 30 songs very comfortably. No issues strumming or anything. I've been moving more towards picking and faster soloing (blackbird and Johnny b goode for example). I'm learning the pentatonic shapes on my own, learning to do them in my sleep and knowing which position works where in major and minor. For that, I do an hour or so of "leading" with some youtube backing tracks in all sorts of keys (was E only at first). My ear is getting more and more accurate, I can feel it when I'm trying to lead lol I say "trying"... lol I made a deal with my wife, I can up my "guitar time" to at least 1 hour every 2 days and 30 minutes a day... Which isn't easy with a newborn but my daughter just loves the guitar so I'm lucky in that regard :) I don't know what my end game is, I'm never going to make a living with this but I'd love to be a great guitarist and pass the love of music onto my kids.
What I want to get out of lessons is finding my bad habits and some exercises to "fix" them... Also someone to jam with and, at the same time, learn from. I'm looking for private lessons. I can feel myself getting better and I just to make sure I'm on the right track and keep improving. I say I feel getting better because the other day, playing to "sad track in Am" I could really push my feelings into the fretboard... It was a strange sensation, albeit addictive as hell once you can relate to the music you're making. Since I'm not one to be very good to express myself otherwise. :)
So now that I've ranted too much to ask my question which is basically, what to look for in a good teacher?
It's easy to find a guitar teacher to jam with, but you want one who has skills AND knows how to teach them to you. If their only answer to "How did you learn how to teach?" is "Well I've played in bands for X years" then you need to find another candidate.
Ask about their students' record at Grade exams (for example), make sure they can read music (you don't want to turn up with a song in piano & vocal form to work with and find out they're not able to work with it), and ask for a free lesson in advance to make sure they're not just going to bang on about matters of no importance.
Do ask prospective tutors to set out some kind of syllabus, - what they're going to teach and in what order - and always ask what a particular lesson is designed to teach once you've started. Any decent tutor will tell you exactly what skills each lesson is designed to teach.
And if you don't feel you're getting what you deserve, fire them and get another one.
I learned to teach training lawyers to write contract legal - some of the answers you get won't always be what you expect.
"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
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Thanks for the reply! Great tips which I will keep in mind when selecting a teacher. Thanks
Just to add a few things to Alan's response...
1. Look for a teacher who can play the style you want to play. I've heard some teachers tell prospective students things like "if you can play classical guitar, you can play anything". Wouldn'tcha know - they're a classical guitar teacher! While many guitar techniques will transfer to other styles, some are more specialist in nature. If the style you want to pursue involves right hand tapping, sweep picking, or classical guitar techniques, you want someone who knows what they are, can demonstrate them, and can explain how you can do them too.
2. Look for someone you can communicate with easily. Someone who shares your communication style you'll learn from more efficiently.
3. For the jamming part - look for a teacher who inspires you when you're jamming. For most students, you want someone who can 'dial back' their chops to be a bit above your level in a jam. You want to be left with the feeling that with a little bit of work you'll be able to play like that. If they pull out all the stops during a jam it can leave a student with the feeling that they'll never be able to play like that - and that can be discouraging.
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Thanks! I'm going to a group workshop "learn the fretboard" and next week meeting with a potential teacher, armed with some good questions and knowing what to look for. :)
I've taught a while and I learned to teach guitar by - well teaching guitar for ten years.
Some things I think (guitar) teachers need:
1. The ability to break down complicated ideas into steps
3. Good communication skills
4. Open mind to what the student wants to do (the teacher doesn't have to like the song - as long as the pupil does)
5. Be an inspiration to the pupil - show them its fun to learn not just a chore
I also think one thing I found with many teachers is they think its their show, it definitely was with one of my teachers - he showed what he could do rather than helping me. He was very good at being "an inspiration" no doubt and I really still look up to him in many ways. However when my students come - I'm never the loudest person, I pull back on my volume and I make sure it's them who does the playing. Sure I may show them quickly a cool idea - how it sounds - but there were so many minutes on end with my teacher where he showed off. Not cool!
together we stand, divided we fall..........
I'd say finding someone with similar style interests to you is crucial, also a good teacher should be organized an professional, and hopefully have quite a bit of industry experience.