What Your Teacher Is Teaching
What your guitar teacher should be teaching you (and in what order)
Wouldn’t it be great if guitar playing could be taught by following a simple list of “to dos?” We could just tick a box each week and print of the lesson. One-on-one lessons just don’t work like that. Universities can offer fixed programs of study because they have students of a very similar standard and who have been working towards and preparing for that specific degree program for years. Even then, it would still be better for students to have a more tailored approach to learning. However, it’s just not practical.
One-on-one guitar lessons are taught with a wide range of abilities. So, what order should guitar teachers teach things in? That all depends on many factors but here are three that are important (and not necessarily in any particular order).
First, it depends on the age of the guitar student. A six year old student would probably find chords very difficult as they don’t have the physical strength needed. Whereas, teaching an older student may prove to be slightly easier.
It depends on the type of guitar a student plays and the style that they are interested in. The minor pentatonic scale will be unimportant for a classical guitarist but it’s probably the most important scale of all for an electric guitarist.
Lastly, it depends on how each student responds to certain material. While a very academic guitar player may love music theory, another student may find it too complicated. One student may like nothing more than working on technique, where another may find it mind-numbing.
Good guitar teaching is not a one-size-fits-all process. One-on-one guitar lessons should be tailored to the individual’s needs, interests, level of skill and academic ability. It will make sense to teach some things early on to some guitar students, but much later when it comes to others. Some areas of study may need to be revisited more than once. Some students need to be introduced in stages.
The question of what order should guitar teachers teach things in has a different answer depending on which guitar student is being taught. Recognizing the individuality of guitar students is extremely important as everyone learns differently and at different paces. A well laid out series of lessons that guides a guitar student through the basics of rhythm and chord work, for example, will encourage a student to want to learn and keep learning.
It’s important to get the fundamentals of learning the guitar when selecting the right instructor to teach you. Ask what their game plan is and how they plan on teaching you going forward. Most teachers will have an idea after meeting or talking to you of what path they will take in their teaching path. What you learn is obviously important but also how you learn.