Tom Hess: 15 Guitar Teaching Mistakes All Teachers Should Avoid

15 Guitar Teaching Mistakes All Teachers Should Avoid
By Tom Hess
Becoming a great guitar teacher means NOT committing the same errors other guitar teachers frequently make. Once you can do this, your guitar students will achieve their musical goals very quickly and remain students with you for years.
Don’t commit these huge, yet very common guitar teaching mistakes:

Guitar Teaching Mistake #1: Overwhelming Your Guitar Students With New Information
Stop teaching new things to your guitar students every single lesson. This makes it more likely that they will feel overcome with too much information and quit lessons altogether.
Bring together teaching with training your students on apply and totally master the things they already know. This will massively accelerate their progress and keep them from becoming overwhelmed.
Watch this guitar teaching video to see how to help your guitar students overcome their musical problems:

Guitar Teaching Mistake #2: Not Finding A Way To Keep Track Of Your Students’ Progress
Here’s how tracking your students helps both them and you:

1. It gives your students proof that they are improving. This inspires them to want to get better faster and practice more.

2. Since your students now see the proof that YOU are a great teacher, they feel motivated to study with you for longer.

3. Your guitar students can tell that you are concerned with the progress they make. This makes them more dedicated to taking lessons from you.

4. You become very familiar with what your students need in order to reach their musical goals. This makes things much easier for you.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #3: Teaching All Guitar Students With A Generic Teaching Approach
Stop using general teaching methods or cookie-cutter courses for all your guitar students (with the exception of beginners). There does not exist a generic “best” teaching method for all students. Build customized strategies to help your students solve their unique problems and achieve their personal goals.

This guitar teaching skills assessment helps you teach guitar students in a way that gets better results.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #4: Not Getting Your Guitar Students To Practice
You must inspire your guitar students to practice consistently (and have fun doing it). If they don’t practice on a consistent basis, they won’t get results. This makes you look like a poor guitar teacher.
This article discusses how to motivate your guitar students to practice.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #5: Not Actively Training Your Guitar Students On How To Practice
Don’t assume that your guitar students understand how to practice when they are own their own at home. Most don’t, unless you:

1. Observe them during lessons and make corrections.

2. Train them on how to think in order to fix problems during their practice.
Training your guitar students to practice in this way will make them great guitarists a lot faster.
Check out this video to see how to teach your guitar students to practice:

Guitar Teaching Mistake #6: Teaching All Your Students How To Read Music
Only teach your guitar students how to read music if:

1. This is needed for their long term musical goals.

2. They are at very least intermediate level guitar players.
If you teach your guitar students how to read music too soon, they’ll become bored and disinterested (quitting lessons in the process).

Guitar Teaching Mistake #7: Not Taking Any Interest In Your Students As People
Keep in mind, you don’t simply teach guitar... you teach people. Your students have to know that you identify with their specific challenges. This is what inspires them to practice and improve.
Familiarize yourself with your students on a personal level. Find out what motivates them to take guitar lessons. Then change your lessons using this understanding to make them more customized to their needs.

Notice: Be subtle when you do this.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #8: Asking Your Guitar Students What They Want To Learn In Every Guitar Lesson

Your guitar students aren’t taking lessons with you just to learn whatever they think they should learn. They need you to show them how to fix their problems and accomplish their musical goals.
As a guitar teacher, you must lead your students down the right path towards becoming a great guitarist. As a guitar teacher, it’s your job to help your students reach their musical goals as fast as possible. To learn how this is done, get training for how to effectively teach guitar.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #9: Not Showing Your Guitar Students How To Apply What They Know
Your guitar students need you to show them how to apply all the skills they already have into actual music. If you don’t do this, most of your students will never think to do it on their own and will have difficulty making progress.

Look for a balance of teaching new concepts and training students to apply what you teach into music.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #10: Not Teaching Your Guitar Students To Integrate Their Skills Together
You also need to help your guitar students tie everything together. Show them how to integrate everything they know with the new things you teach them. By doing this, you will give them the power to really improve their skills fast.
The concept of integration tends to be a hard one to understand for many students. As their teacher, you need to make this easy.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #11: Teaching All Your Guitar Students In A Private Lessons Format
Your guitar students need more than private lessons to get the most out of what they learn from you. If they exclusively take one on one lessons, they miss out on interaction with other musicians and chances to play music in everyday musical situations. They also never get the chance to overcome performance anxiety and don’t get to practice making their guitar playing consistent while performing.

Answer: teach in multiple formats. Integrate private lessons together with group classes and other creative formats to give them a better opportunity for growth.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #12: Not Helping Your Guitar Students Achieve Particular Goals
While not every student you have necessarily wants to become a virtuoso, EVERY student wants to get better by studying with you. Learn what their goals are, then break down these goals into long/short term goals and figure out the steps needed to reach each one.
Additionally, your students need to know that the things you are teaching them are helping them reach their goals. This encourages them to do what you tell them to do so they can make faster progress.

Guitar Teaching Mistake #13: Teaching Guitar Using A Linear Approach
Your guitar students will become better players a lot faster when they learn with a geometric approach instead of a linear one. This video demonstrates why a linear approach to teaching guitar fails:

Guitar Teaching Mistake #14: Incorrectly Teaching Music Theory
Don’t make these mistakes when trying to teach music theory to guitar students:

1. Teaching it starting from the core basics and advancing in a step-by-step manner before teaching them about chords/scales, etc.

2. Teaching in isolation, instead of showing your students how to apply it in music.
To teach music theory effectively, you must:

1. Show students how learning music theory helps them play what they want.

2. Make sure that when you teach music theory, it matches up with your students’ overall goals.

3. Show your students how to apply theory concepts into a musical context.
This video demonstrates how to teach music theory to guitar students:

Guitar Teaching Mistake #15: Teaching Guitar Using Songs Only
You can certainly use songs as part of your guitar lessons, but ONLY teaching songs is not the best way to turn your students into great players.
Instead, improve your guitar students’ general musical/playing abilities. Use songs to showcase specific concepts you teach, but not as something to act as a replacement for actual teaching.
To understand more on the topic of becoming a successful guitar instructor, take this guitar teaching skills assessment.

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist and the guitar player. He helps people from all over the world learn how to teach guitar. Visit his website to get free guitar teacher resources and to read more guitar teaching articles.