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Thread: Getting the most out of a guitar teacher

  1. #1
    Registered User urucoug's Avatar
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    Getting the most out of a guitar teacher

    I recently started taking guitar lessons again. I'm not liking this guy nearly as much as my last teacher before I moved. He is teaching me some good stuff, but sometimes he frustrates me. My main source of frustration is when he give me lessons that I can in noway see is going to get me to my goals. I feel like he's not very well prepared, and he forgets my skill level and goals (he has probably 30 students). With my last teacher, I felt like after every lesson I was just filled with a sense of what I could be doing better, and felt enlightened. With this guy, it's better than if I were doing it on my own, but that's about the most I could say.

    But, he is a very good guitarist. He has some strong points that I really like. I've occasionally brought up my frustrations with him. I don't want to totally change the way he teaches me. Who's more qualified to teach how he plays than him? At the same time, who's more qualified to speak to how I learn than me?

    I'd like to keep working with this guy, and resolve our teaching/learning differences before I would just quit him. What have you guys done to improve private lessons, or would you say it's just a matter of finding the 'right' teacher?
    Last edited by urucoug; 11-10-2011 at 12:45 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    First, I take lessons in short spans, i.e. three to six months. Reason most instructors give me so much information I need some free time at home to work through all of it, so I take a break and go back when I'm ready for the next step. Now that I have the fundamentals down four weekly lessons can get me to the next level.

    If I do not like the teacher I don't come back. If I like what is happening I go back for more. Once you go with an instructor you need to trust him/her enough to give it time to see if you are being taken where you want to go in the correct way. Only you can decide how long you need wait to see results.

    The instructor I use now has a set lesson plan, however, has it so he could reach into his filing cabinet and customize my lessons with paper examples he has on file. Written homework assignments and three specific things to work on each week. 1/ a new song. 2. Suggestion on last weeks song. 3/ theory involved with the new song I am to study. No question when I left his studio what I was to study this week I had it all on paper. Yes, his goal should be your goal.

    There is a waiting list for the good ones. Each time I come back I have to wait a month or so to get a slot. But, it is worth it.

    Good luck which ever way you decide to go.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 11-10-2011 at 02:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    If you want to learn anything from anyone you have to trust his capabilities.Just try to learn his strong points and keep on practicing.If you keep on comparing both teachers you will always get frustrated and end up learning nothing.


    Wedding Venues
    Last edited by monahudson; 01-05-2012 at 06:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Antipodean Downsizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by urucoug View Post
    I recently started taking guitar lessons again. I'm not liking this guy nearly as much as my last teacher before I moved. He is teaching me some good stuff, but sometimes he frustrates me. My main source of frustration is when he give me lessons that I can in noway see is going to get me to my goals. I feel like he's not very well prepared, and he forgets my skill level and goals (he has probably 30 students). With my last teacher, I felt like after every lesson I was just filled with a sense of what I could be doing better, and felt enlightened. With this guy, it's better than if I were doing it on my own, but that's about the most I could say.

    But, he is a very good guitarist. He has some strong points that I really like. I've occasionally brought up my frustrations with him. I don't want to totally change the way he teaches me. Who's more qualified to teach how he plays than him? At the same time, who's more qualified to speak to how I learn than me?

    I'd like to keep working with this guy, and resolve our teaching/learning differences before I would just quit him. What have you guys done to improve private lessons, or would you say it's just a matter of finding the 'right' teacher?
    As you say, he is a great guitar player, and if you only want to learn the way he plays, and no other, fine. But there is often a huge difference between being a good guitarist and being a good or a great teacher.
    The ability to play a few power chords and riffs doesn't mean someone can teach well- although far too many think it does.
    Organization, as Malcolm points out, is an important aspect, as is the ability to connect on a musical level with someone who, perhaps, is decades removed from the teacher in life experience, has different tastes in music, and may have an entirely different lifestyle.
    A successful guitar teacher will be able to teach a multitude of styles, relate to students from 4 or 5 to mature age, and will tailor the material they present to the student according to their specific abilities and skills, the amount of practice time available, and the level of motivation.
    I tell students to imagine building a house- unless the foundations are secure and laid down first, the walls will fall down.
    Verbum sapienti sat est

  5. #5
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    Educator versus musicain

    I think it is odd how people associate being a great player and being a great educator.

    It seems to me that there are many streams of music; from education, to performance, to academics.

    You should approach your teacher in the matter of how are his lessons? not how well he is playing.

    A teacher should always be well prepared. A teacher must relate directly to their student, tailering material to the student's skills, abilites and goals.

    Great teachers should be very much like Liberians, they should be able to provide you with any information you request, and more than that, be able to communicate to you this information in such a way that you understand.

    If your teacher is frustrating you then you won't learn properly and may even be discouraged to the point of not progressing. This kind of defeats the whole purpose doesn't it?

    Either resolve the issues or move on.


    Luke Babarik

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LukeandGuitar View Post
    I think it is odd how people associate being a great player and being a great educator.
    It seems to me that there are many streams of music; from education, to performance, to academics.
    You should approach your teacher in the matter of how are his lessons? not how well he is playing.
    A teacher should always be well prepared. A teacher must relate directly to their student, tailering material to the student's skills, abilites and goals.
    Great teachers should be very much like Liberians, they should be able to provide you with any information you request, and more than that, be able to communicate to you this information in such a way that you understand.
    If your teacher is frustrating you then you won't learn properly and may even be discouraged to the point of not progressing. This kind of defeats the whole purpose doesn't it?
    Either resolve the issues or move on.
    Luke Babarik
    I think you mean a "librarian"? - someone who looks after books in library.

    But a music teacher must be far more than just a librarian. A librarian does not need to have a detailed practical and theoretical understanding of the contents of most books in the library. Whereas a guitar teacher, although he or she may not be the greatest guitar player in the world, most definitely does need to play well enough to demonstrate how all pieces should sound when played correctly.

    It also goes without saying that the teacher must understand all the relevant theory required to support whatever is being taught in the lessons.

    Imho, the main deficiency in many teachers (of any subject) is that too many are not really patient enough or caring enough to really support and help the students as they should.

    To teach effectively you have to be very conciseness about what you are doing. You need to really care about the subject and the way it's taught.

    And you need to go the extra mile on every little thing, with every student, every time.

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