My One Goal When Teaching Guitar
Under: Guitar Lessons
Although that might sound like I’m trying to hook you in, I really only have one goal when teaching guitar. It’s definitely NOT what you think!
My one goal when teaching guitar is:
“To give the student the tools and skill to enable them to teach themselves”
Read it again. It’s not about me teaching them to play super-fast. Nor is my goal to motivate themselves to practices for hours and hours each day.
It’s also not about me making loads of money from them taking lessons with me. It’s about them.
It doesn’t matter if you are a “real” student, I see face to face. Or if you’re a “virtual” one – who’s sat halfway around the world, the same goal still applies.
Of course, I’m there to teach the student new ideas such as songs, techniques, theory, scales, chord etc. I’m also there help problem solve and motivate them during the lesson to push a little bit harder.
I’m also there to help them with what they should be practising at home. So that they practice and they achieve their goals. Yes, all of this matters but my end goal matters more.
So what does it all mean, how do I make it work? How can you apply it to your advantage?
Why you need a guitar teaching
Firstly, there are a number of things only a guitar teacher can help with, whether you pay a local tutor or have a friend who willing to help.
In order for me to reach my one goal when teaching guitar, I need to make sure the student knows the following:
- How you sit, hold the guitar
- The different hand positions
- Open chords
- Rhythm, time and timing
- Understanding of basic theory concepts
As well as
- Basic scales (Major, Minor, Pentatonic, Blues)
- Knowledge of the CAGED system
- An understanding of the blues
- The basics of soloing
- How to practice
- Efficiency of movement
Of course, learning and memorising songs is just as critical as these two lists.
Let me clarify an important point here. I believe someone needs to show you the basics, face to face. As when you’re starting out, you need someone to check you’re not making mistakes. An experienced player will ll hear when you fluff the third string, even though you think you’ve got it!
They can correct your sitting or hand position when it’s wrong or slipped. Books, DVDs, and YouTube are great. However, you have to have someone walk you through the basics – first.
Back to those two lists! All of these are either skills or tools.
For example, you need to know why you want to use a certain chord voicing over another one. The skill is knowing which one you should pick, whereas the tool is knowing that different voicings are available.
Just like the tool is knowing that you can play 8th in time and with great feel. The real skill is being able to slightly push and pull the beat to give the song a human feel and make it sound like you’ve been playing it forever!
The most useful tool is being able to slow down a few bars or passage, master it slowly. Then bring up the tempo while not making any mistake. Finally perfecting it.
The skill is having the discipline to use this method and trusting the process.
Moving past the basics
Once you’ve learned how to build chords and practice effectively, then you’ll want to spend some time on scales, licks and solos.
The only other skills you need is to learn how to hear the chord changes and the melody line. Of course, being able to write it out in music and TAB is also a fantastic skill to have.
When you have all of these together, you’ll be able to progress by yourself, as long as you put in the work and set goals. You should be fine.
This could take you years, however, a great teacher will enable you to learn and master the basics in the shortest possible time.
I like to think of it like this, it’s a bit like building a house. Start by getting the foundations in strong and in the right place. Once you’ve done this hard work, then it’s easier to build as you’re not corrected other people mistakes.
When a student gets to a certain place, where their skill level is good and their foundations are strong, it’s rewarding to see them fly. Of course, they should come back from time to time to just have a check-up and to have someone to remain accountable too.