Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How To Find, Choose And Evaluate A Guitar Teacher

The process of choosing a guitar teacher is similar to identifying any other professional service provider. Information needs to be gathered and research needs to be done to help you make the right decision. Here are some questions and thoughts to consider while going through the process. 

Value of Private / Face-To-Face Guitar Lessons
The market is flooded with guitar training books, instructional videos and on-line guitar lessons. However, these one-size-fits-all methods cannot provide the customized and personal training that private or face-to-face guitar training offers. No two guitar students are alike. Every student has their own musical tastes, needs, desired-outcome and timetable. A skilled guitar teacher provides detailed explanations, pointing out your flaws while embracing your progress. A competent teacher, in a face-to-face setting, will take you far beyond what you could learn on your own. 

First Impressions
In your first encounter with a potential guitar teacher, ask yourself these questions:
▪ Is he more interested in talking about himself or explaining how he would help you learn to     play the guitar?
▪ Is he knowledgeable? Articulate? Personable? Respectful? Does he make good eye contact? 
▪ Does he really seem to care about you learning to play guitar? 
▪ Is he truly passionate about teaching? Questions The Guitar Teacher Should Ask You 
▪ What is your experience playing guitar, i.e. Beginner? Advanced? Former player?
▪ What style of music do you want to learn, i.e. pop, rock, country, folk, classical, jazz, blues, heavy metal? 
▪ What kind of guitar do you want to play, i.e. classical, steel string acoustic, electric? 
▪ What are your long- and short-term goals? 
▪ Do you want formal training, or do you just want to strum to your favorite songs? 

Questions You Should Ask The Guitar Teacher
▪ How long have you taught guitar? 
▪ How many current students do you have? 
▪ What styles of music do you teach? 
▪ What ages do you prefer to teach? 
▪ Where and when do you teach? 
▪ What is your payment policy? 
▪ What is your cancellation policy? 

Questions You Should Ask Yourself 
Learning to play guitar is an investment in time and money. Before you go down that path, ask yourself these questions: 
▪ Whose idea is it anyway? Do you really want to learn to play guitar, or is the idea coming from your parents or friends? 
▪ What is your desired outcome? 
▪ Are you willing to commit to weekly lessons and a daily practice schedule, i.e. 15-30 minutes a day? 
▪ Can you afford purchasing a guitar, accessories and lessons? 

The Intangibles
 ▪ How Important Is Your Teacher’s Personality? 
The personal relationship you develop with your guitar teacher will go a long way in 
determining how well you progress as a guitarist. He should make your guitar lesson   something you look forward to each week. Enthusiasm breeds motivation. Conversely, an unpleasant teacher can destroy your love of the instrument and potentially turn you off to learning any musical instrument. This is particularly true with children.

▪ Does Your Teacher Need To Be A Guitar Virtuoso?
Not necessarily. In sports sometimes the most gifted players become the worst coaches or managers. It works the same in music. Just make sure your guitar teacher possesses a basic degree of proficiency in the types of music you want to learn. 

▪ How Much Should Price Factor Into Your Decision?
When choosing a guitar teacher, your concern should not be how much a private lesson costs, but how much value are you getting out of the lessons. Ask yourself: “What kind of result am I paying for?” Don’t let a few dollars either way make your decision. Quality guitar instruction is not a commodity. Saving a few dollars in the short-run could cost you in the long-run if the less-expensive guitar teacher doesn’t work out and you need to start over with the instructor you wanted in the first place. 

Where To Find A Qualified Private Guitar Teacher
Check out local music stores or the music departments of local colleges and universities. Another option is to find guitarists who teach on their own. Because these individuals run their own businesses, their skill sets and teaching acumen are often greater than teachers working for someone else. To find them ask your friends or event / wedding planners for the names of solo guitarists that they know, have worked with, or have heard perform. Another option is to Google acoustic guitarists, electric guitarists and classical guitarists. 

Doing your due diligence in finding the right guitar teacher for your needs will pay dividends in the end. Choose the person that comes closest in meeting your criteria. Once you connect with the right teacher, you will learn a skill that can last a lifetime. 

About The Author: Rick Iacoboni is an acoustic guitarist, guitar teacher and music lecturer. He has performed at more than 1,000 events and has taught guitar throughout his career. For more information, visit http://www.domari.net/. 

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