Benefits of Taking Guitar Lessons
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation conducted research in 2018 on 500 aspiring guitarists and discovered that the top reason for beginner and aspirational guitar players to learn the guitar is because they wanted to pick up a new skill and for self-improvement. On the downside, a study from 2015 found that 90% of beginners will quit within the first year. Those who abandoned the guitar cited the lack of free time as the number one reason for quitting followed by the lack of progress or not learning skills as quickly as they had expected. Committing to guitar lessons is one of the best ways for beginners to learn the instrument because it can help them overcome common obstacles.
“I advise anyone who wants to learn guitar to get a teacher unless they are very musically inclined. One should learn all their scales too. That is very important.” – Prince (quoted in his high school newspaper)
Guitar Lessons Encourage Discipline and Commitment
We live in an “On Demand” world where we see online how-to videos that promise to teach people how to learn a new hobby in 20 minutes. People expect instant gratification and often forget that it takes many hours of practice and dedication to become proficient at anything. There is no one to hold the self-taught guitarist accountable to put the work into practicing daily. This is not a problem for people who have self-discipline but I think most of us are easily distracted by other priorities such as running errands, school, careers, family, Netflix and socializing with friends. The way we spend our time is often a reflection of what is most important to us. By committing to guitar lessons and making time for daily practice, a beginner is making the statement that they are dedicated to learning the instrument. Furthermore, the guitar teacher can keep the student accountable because the teacher always knows when a student hasn’t put the time in to practice.
A Guitar Teacher Brings to Light What a Guitarist Should Know
“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.” - Leonardo da Vinci
Relying solely on online tutorials can not only limit a guitarist’s skills but can also leave beginners feeling lost and left wondering, “What’s next?” Self-taught guitarists run the risk of learning things in random order which can cause confusion and feelings of discouragement if they are not ready to develop the next skillset. A guitar teacher provides direction and guidance because they understand the next logical step in the student’s development and can assess if the student is ready to learn a new skill.
Self-taught guitarists are also in danger of carrying incomplete music knowledge. If a guitarist is learning solely through online videos and is only focused on learning new chords, the guitarist runs the risk of missing other information like posture, the proper way to hold a guitar, strumming patterns, fingerstyle technique, music vocabulary, percussive tapping, exercises to improve chord clarity, arpeggios, scales...etc.
A Guitar Teacher Ensures That Teaching and Practice Time Is Used More Effectively
There is no need to pause a video or start it from the beginning for the umpteenth time. A teacher gives immediate instruction with on-the-spot feedback. Custom lessons where the teacher identifies and focuses on the student’s weaknesses and recommends exercises that hone in on those inadequacies ensure that at-home practice time is used most efficiently and effectively and can help with quicker advancement.
A Guitar Teacher Provides Realistic Expectations and Encouragement
Many beginners start playing the guitar with the unrealistic expectation that they will be able to rock out like a rockstar after a few months of work. Many quit because they become demoralized when they can’t seem to play a song by their favourite artist. In reality, the guitarist probably chose a piece of music that did not match their skill level. A guitar teacher can provide realistic expectations and encouragement to aspiring guitarists who feel that they are in a rut so that they will be aware of what a normal timeframe should be for skill development. Managing expectations prevents beginners from feeling like they’ve failed and that the guitar is simply not for them.
Guitar Lessons Provide Opportunities To Perform
Opportunities to showcase newfound skills are motivating for those learning a new instrument. Recitals are often great ways to motivate students to continue to practice, learn musical expression and performance, and work towards a goal. Something as simple as having a jam session with the guitar teacher teaches aspiring guitarists how to connect and communicate musically and can help them discover their playing style.
Guitar lessons can be invaluable to those learning to play the instrument recreationally. They encourage regular practice, ensure comprehensive learning, help achieve quicker skill progression, manage expectations, give encouragement, and provide opportunities to perform. However, the best teacher in the world cannot turn a guitar hobbyist into an expert if the student does not put the hard work into daily practice. If you are learning the guitar on your own and feel like you are in a rut and feeling discouraged, find a compatible guitar teacher and sign up for guitar lessons. This might be the thing that will restart your love for the guitar.