Big Guitar Teaching Mistakes That Students Should Look Out For

Ever wonder if you are really making progress with your guitar teacher? As a student, it’s hard to know for sure, because after all, you are the student, not the teacher. However, there are several signs to look for that tell you if a guitar teacher is not very effective. Here are 5 teaching mistakes to look out for:

1. You learn through songs only

Guitar teachers who teach exclusively through songs often do not understand how to get real results for their students. By teaching through songs only, a teacher uses a cookie-cutter general approach to teaching every student. This neglects your specific musical goals, learning style, skill level or needs as a player. Although you might learn some things this way, you won’t make a lot of progress to become a better guitarist very quickly.

2. They push you into learning music theory/sight reading

Many guitar teachers think that teaching music theory or sight reading is some kind of requirement for all teachers. In fact, it is not. Not everyone wants or needs to learn these things. Especially in the case of beginners who are just starting out (who just want to enjoy playing the guitar for the first time). Although you may want to learn theoretical ideas down the line to begin to expand your musicianship or understand more advanced concepts, it is NOT a requirement. If your guitar teacher is trying to force you into learning these things and you’re feeling disinterested or bored with it, it’s probably because your unique goals/needs are being overlooked. 

3. They don’t show you how to be creative

Learning how to play things like scales, arpeggios and techniques is certainly important. However, it is also just as important to learn how to use all this in a creative manner to play real music. After all, playing guitar is all about playing music and expressing yourself! A great teacher always shows his/her students how to be creative with the concepts they learn during guitar lessons. If every time you have a lesson, you’re just getting scales or chord patterns to memorize… take this as a sign that you are not being taught to be creative.

4. They don’t teach you how to practice effectively

In addition to learning new concepts during lessons, you should be learning how to practice these things on your own when your teacher isn’t there. This is the most important thing for your progress! Look to see if your guitar teacher is showing you how to practice during your lesson. If they simply give you materials and assume you will figure out how to practice on your own, this is a sign of poor teaching.

5. You aren’t reaching any particular goal

You should always be working towards a specific goal in your guitar playing. A great guitar teacher not only helps you become a better guitarist, but guides you towards reaching your goals. If your teacher does not have a plan for helping you achieve specific goals, you probably aren’t learning as fast as you could be.

To get the most out of taking guitar lessons, look for a guitar teacher who not only doesn’t do the things on this page – but can prove his success with helping other students become great, has excellent teaching credentials and teaches in your desired musical style. These are fundamental traits your teacher needs to have.


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