How to Find the Right Guitar Teacher

Learning music is a wonderful thing. Studies show it can improve the overall quality of life of the student in dramatic ways: from emotional and mental health to academic edge. I believe music is one of God’s greatest gifts to Man.

But not all music instructors serve up the same quality instruction. I’ve had several students over the years who have told me horror stories about how their previous instructors discouraged them, called them “stupid”, or yelled at them. It’s unbelievable that such behavior even takes place. (And many of those same students have thrived in my studio. So it wasn’t all the student’s fault!)

So, how do you know if an instructor is right for you before you even have your first lesson with them? Wouldn’t that be nice to know? It could save you some valuable time, confidence, and money!

Here are a few things to look for in your next guitar instructor (or any type of instructor):

  1. Is he/she interested in your goals?

    • Call your prospective teacher, or send an e-mail to let them know you’re interested in lessons. In their response or first conversation with you, do they show a genuine interest in you? Do they ask you questions about your specific musical goals and offer creative solutions for how they can help you accomplish those goals? A good instructor of any kind will have the heart of a mentor, or coach, and demonstrate a genuine desire to see you succeed.
  2. Has he/she had good success with their other students?

    • How many students have they taught? How did those students do? What accomplishments do the students have under their belt?
  3. Is he/she highly skilled and proficient in their area of teaching?

    • What accomplishments does the instructor have in their area of expertise?
  4. Does he/she follow an organized system of instruction or do they “shoot from the hip” with every new lesson?

    • It’s important to find out if the instructor has books they follow or a method they have written themselves. You can waste a lot of time and money with a teacher who is disorganized. You can simply ask them if they use any particular books or what their teaching style is.
  5. Does he/she sound kind and patient in their communication with you?

    • As a budding instrumentalist, the last thing you need is someone to discourage you. So, try to find an instructor who has a temperament that would be good for you.

Pretty simple stuff, but this advice can go a long way. Many people waste their time and money with instructors that are either impatient and mean, or just inexperienced and disorganized. When you find the right instructor for you, who is genuinely interested in your goals, you have a golden opportunity to really excel and soar!

Now, let me ask you a question: What are your musical goals, guitar-related or not? I’d love to hear them! Just leave a comment below.


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