The Biggest Misconception Guitar Players Have About Taking Guitar Lessons
By Tom HessWhat is the role of a guitar teacher? It’s not as simple as you’d think... many people would say it is: “To teach students cool things like songs, complex techniques or other skills”. If you think this, you are wrong. The true role of any guitar teacher is to:
- Determine any guitar playing issues that hold you back and frustrate you and fix them.
- Enable you to get MASSIVE results in your guitar playing very quickly.
- Give you the skills required for attaining high musical goals.
- Coach you through the whole process of becoming a truly great player.
Need proof of this?
Check out the video below where I give a guitar lesson to a student of mine and walk him through the entire process of improving his sweep picking technique:
As you watch the video above, focus on the following points:
1. Problems In Your Guitar Playing Are Often Caused By A Breakdown In Your Fundamental Technique
Whenever you take guitar lessons with a great teacher, he needs to know how to see the core cause(s) of your playing mistakes and help you understand precisely how to fix them.
Watch out for guitar teachers who try to “fix” your problems by giving you a lot of new exercises to play (without examining the flaws in your technique or explaining how to correct them). I call this approach the “spray and pray” approach - it includes throwing a ton of exercises at the problem and hoping that everything seems to fix itself (rather than helping you solve the problem’s fundamental causes).
As you saw in the video above, the student claimed that his main problem was an “inability to play fast and clean sweep picking arpeggios”. He definitely did not need additional exercises to practice. Instead, he needed to understand the three causes of his stated problem (that I got him to see in the video). This got him back on the correct path and will help him master any arpeggio he plays from now on.
When your guitar teacher helps you dissect your playing and practicing in deeper ways, you will gain the skills needed to solve any problem that comes up in your playing for the rest of your life.
This leads to another crucial point:
2. Solving Fundamental Problems Has Amazing Effects On Your Guitar Playing As A Whole
Difficult challenges in your guitar playing (such as not knowing how to be creative, not being able to play something fast enough, etc.) are never the REAL problems. These are simply surface level issues that are symptoms of lower level causes. By correcting a cause for a specific problem, you will frequently observe major improvements in other aspects of your guitar playing that seemingly had nothing to do with what you were originally trying to improve at.
In the video you watched on this page, you noticed that correcting a few fretting hand problems made it much easier for my student to play clean arpeggios. Note: these same technical movements are also important for smooth and clean legato technique, fast chord changes, two-hand tapping and two-hand synchronization while practicing scales. Getting good at these things leads to what I refer to as “progress by ripple effect” and it’s one of the most exciting feelings you can feel during practice.
To find out more information about transforming your guitar technique in this way, check out this free online resource on how to play guitar faster.
Why Understanding The True Role Of Guitar Lessons Is Crucial For You To Make Tons Of Guitar Playing Progress:
There are many guitar players who think they don’t need guitar lessons. These players generally think that: “they can learn the exact same ideas a guitar teacher can show them for free by themselves”. This assumption stems from the idea that guitar teachers simply “give you new things to practice”.
Of course, even if it was true that you could teach yourself the exact same things that an average guitar teacher could teach you, understand that the act of “learning things” is very limited in its ability to provide you with huge results in your playing.
Here are four reasons why:
Reason #1: You will probably only learn a few of the things you need to work on to achieve your musical goals and will also learn things in the wrong order. This is very bad. The order in which you practice and learn new concepts makes a MASSIVE impact on how much overall progress you make in your playing.
Reason #2: You don’t get the necessary feedback and analysis of your playing/practicing that is required for making fast progress.
Reason #3: You have to work through a lot of trial and error, and hope that somehow the correct answers to your problems will fall into your lap.
Reason #4: Most guitar players simply don’t have a high enough degree of self-discipline to do everything needed for transforming themselves into amazing guitar players on a consistent basis. With no experienced teacher to keep them accountable or coach them through the process, they will easily lose focus and wander down the wrong path. This commonly happens even if someone has all the correct things to practice right in front of their face.
Note: it is true that there exists a very tiny percentage of guitarists who work by themselves to learn how to reach their musical goals, solve their playing problems and get themselves to consistently do everything needed to become awesome players. We generally say these people have natural talent. These musicians will generally become great players with or without guitar lessons. However, for the rest of us (who were not born with these natural gifts), taking lessons with an experienced guitar teacher provides a massive boost of natural talent right into your system – giving you the ability to play just like all of your favorite guitarists.
To learn more information about the issues most guitar players are facing with building their guitar speed (and how to overcome them), download this free guide on how to play guitar faster.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional musician, composer, and highly successful guitar instructor who trains and mentors guitarists with online guitar tuition. Visit tomhess.net to get free guitar playing tips, guitar playing resources, mini courses and more guitar playing articles.