PHIL KEAGGY - Grammy nominated and seven-time Dove Award winner, is one of the world’s great guitar players and a pioneer in contemporary Christian music.
- June 7, 2017
- Guitar Lessons
Guitar classes are available to help you learn guitar quickly and, hopefully, correctly. Not all teachers are the same, though. In fact, they’ll all have their own spin on learning guitar. While the theory and patterns are the same, the fingering and technique may vary from player to player and therefore teacher to teacher. There are schools of guitar that teach a set curriculum but teachers will still have and take the liberty to share their own thoughts and experiences. This is good though. You’d expect a good teacher to share his or her unique secrets. Worth the money? We’ll weigh out some of the logic and you can decide.
Schooled Teachers with Degrees
There are guitar teachers who have graduated college with degrees in mastering guitar and music. These guys or gals bring a serious wealth of knowledge to the classroom. If they are a good teacher, they’ll be able to take you through the systematic flow of learning to play guitar correctly. Reading music will be front and center and will also be the method. Ear training and improv skills will likely be a part of the training but not its core. If you are wanting to go quickly, these teachers may frustrate your crusade. They have a valid point in keeping you at a healthy pace and you do need the discipline of reading notation and being able to play a concerto someday right off the page. For the rock star wannabe or the person who has no desire to play classical music, though, these teachers might not be for you. You should respect them no matter what because they are amazing at what they do.
Guitar Teachers with Life Experience
Another kind of guitar teacher is the one who has spent years playing professionally in the field. He or she may not have had lessons or schooling, but they play very well for being self-taught. “Self-taught” is not a completely true descriptor, though, because we all learn what we know from someone. Whether it came from a video or another guitar player, we learn what we know from someone else. The term just means the guitarist had no official training or schooling for their instrument. Still, these self-taught guitar slingers can take you quickly down the road of learning to play mean rock, country, blues guitar etc. You’ll not likely be learning Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in their guitar class. You’ll learn more about playing soulfully and improvising skillfully. Techniques like slide guitar and other specialties will be part of their teaching agenda. Are they worth the money? If that’s what your goals are, you bet.
Teachers Of Songs
One more kind of guitar teacher is the guy or gal picking up extra money by teaching you the songs they’ve learned themselves. Maybe they had a few lessons or even a class or two in college, but their main course is learning songs. All teachers will teach you songs, so that’s not so unusual. If you teacher doesn’t know much about music theory or doesn’t play guitar chords correctly, though, he might pass along a few bad habits. The internet may have been his source for learning songs too, and the chords and charts found on the internet are only right about 50% of the time. Interpretation is the key word here. Someone with limited knowledge makes a chart and diagrams the chords and posts it online. You learn it, but it might be wrong. Worth it? If you learned something new and some part of it was correct, we’ll take the good with the bad. Just be teachable and don’t think you know everything the correct way. Be open because you’ll likely run into someone who knows better and will correct you.
Mentors or Teachers?
A serious guitar player/teacher who has thousands of hours on his instrument will be able to steer you the right way and get you moving along quickly. Learning guitar through a mentor is the best. Whether he or she is classically trained or has been playing for 25 years on the road, you will learn so much. Of course, not every guitar player is a good teacher. It takes patience and gentleness to shape young players. These days, some kids are very sensitive and will break down in the classroom if you raise your voice above a certain level or show an ounce of frustration. If the teacher isn’t just babysitting and the student really wants to learn, the student will be very serious about meeting the teacher's approval. This relationship is key for the student, so find a teacher with good manners and a kind, patient demeanor. When you find this teacher, it is worth every penny, even if he or she is a bit more expensive.
The Student's Responsibility in Guitar Classes
All the focus is on the teacher here, but the student’s responsibility is equally as vital for guitar classes to be worth it. You can have the best guitar teacher in the world, but if the student isn’t whole-hearted or gifted to learn guitar, no amount of money great or small is worth it. Or is it? There are some kids who have no aptitude for learning guitar, but the experience of sitting with a good teacher helps them learn a little and they may learn other non-musical things like patience or discipline. Some students have absolutely no rhythm but mathematically learn how to finish a song. Worth it? Yes, indeed! Does it mean they're going to have a career in music? Probably not, but the life lessons learned in guitar classes may help them in other areas of life. If a student gives it her all and she can play even a little on guitar, we’d say it’s worth it.
If you or your child desires guitar classes and you’re wondering if it’s worth the time and money to take guitar lessons, do it for a couple of months. It’ll cost you a guitar and about $360 for tuition (assuming these lessons are in person). Make sure you do the homework and practice like the teacher requests and, if after three months you don’t feel it’s worth it, stop and do something else. However, if you’ve made progress and can play a few simple songs, it’s worth it. Stay the course! Stay with that teacher until you have exhausted his or her ability to move you forward.
These days you have the option of taking guitar classes in person or simply learning online. At Pro Lessons, we offer an education taught by experienced instructors that move at the pace most comfortable for you. Discover our affordable rates by clicking on the banner below.