FAQ DSP Guitar Tuition
DSP Guitar Tuition gets asked a variety of questions each week. One of the most commonly asked questions is “how can I find a really good guitar teacher that is right for me?”.
Of course, there are various practical considerations such as price and location. However these aren’t the only factors you should be thinking about when searching for a guitar teacher. So, what are the main things to keep in mind when searching for a teacher?
To help you in your quest, I have put together a small list of questions that I get asked often as well as questions you should ask a potential guitar teacher before you decide to take lessons with them.
What style of guitar do you teach?
This is a good question to find out if your guitar teacher can help you to learn the specific guitar style you want to play whether it be rock, jazz, classical, bossa nova or whatever. You should also find out what type of guitar they specialize in, for example, classical, steel string acoustic or electric. If you aren’t sure, your potential guitar teacher should explain to you the difference in styles and type of guitar to help you decide what you want to do.
How long have you been teaching guitar?
This should give you some idea of how experienced your guitar teacher is. It’s not necessarily true that the longer they have taught the better. However, anything under a year might raise a few red flags for you. Generally speaking, the longer they have taught, the more experience they will have in dealing with the various levels and needs of each student.
Where do you teach?
Does your teacher teach from their home? Do they teach at a studio? Perhaps they can travel to your home. It’s good to ask this up front to check the logistics of doing a lesson with your teacher. If you are starting out, you will want to do lessons more regularly so finding a teacher who lives near to you will be beneficial.
How Many guitar students do you have?
Asking how many students a teacher might give you a rough idea of how popular or successful they are. Of course there is no magic number, but anything around 10 and up is not bad at all. Of course, circumstances differ and there are exceptions. For example, high-level classical guitar professors who only take on one master student at a time. However, having more students can sometimes indicate that at least other people think your guitar teacher is worth taking lessons from.
Can you read Music?
The ability to read standard music notation, as opposed to “tabs” is not absolutely necessary for learning the guitar. However, you will definitely be in good hands if they can read music and have a solid grounding in music harmony and theory. It will also be an indicator of what level of music education they have achieved. And that leads onto the next question.
What is your musical education?
This will give you an idea of how well educated your teacher is in not only playing guitar but also music theory and harmony. Generally speaking, teachers with a degree in music or guitar performance will be able to teach you up to a professional level if you want to go that far. If you just want to learn basic acoustic guitar chords to play your favourite songs you don’t really need someone with a PhD in music but the more experienced the better.
What is your payment policy
Of course you need to know how much your teacher will charge but also what payment system they use. Do they charge monthly or per lesson? Are there discounts for reserving blocks of lessons in advance? Can you get a discount or free lesson for introducing another student? You also want to know what their cancellation policy is. Generally speaking, it’s usual to have a 24 hour cancellation policy but please check to avoid any misunderstandings.
Do you offer group lessons?
It’s most common for guitar teachers to offer private one to one lessons. However, have you ever considered doing group lessons? Ask your teacher if he or she can teach groups of students. You should seriously think about doing group lessons for the following reasons. Firstly, they’ll be cheaper per hour than one to one lessons. Secondly, if you go with a friend or friends, you’ll find more motivation to turn up every as you won’t want to let them down. Finally, it’s a great way to learn to play in groups. It’s also effective in forcing you to play in time, which greatly improves your sense of rhythm and general musicality. A good teacher will have experience with group lessons.
Do you or your students gig?
This is a question to see if the teacher or their students actually use their skills out on the stage. Of course this isn’t an absolute pre-requisite to choosing your guitar teacher but it will give you an idea of what level of guitarist they are. For example, for anyone serious about studying classical guitar in music school, it’s quite common for your professor or their students to regularly appear in recitals. This means you can learn not only about playing the guitar, but also about the showmanship and art of performing.
Do I need a guitar to start lessons?
It is not necessary to have your own instrument to start taking lessons. I have a spare guitar that can be used in the lessons, however to make noticeable progress it is wise to buy your own guitar when you can so that you can practise away from the lessons. "Note if you are left handed it will be necessary to bring your own guitar".
Do I have to take grades?
Grades are optional and not essential to your learning. Grades are a great way to gauge progress on the guitar and generally are favoured by children in order to give them set goals to achieve that will also give them a recognised qualification. Grades can be taken by any student of any age but it is up to you.
Should I buy a tuition book?
It is not essential to have a book in order to start taking lessons, however in the beginning having a book is a great way focus your learning around the basics of the guitar. It will also give you material to use away from the lessons.
What size guitar should I buy for my child?
The size of the guitar will vary depending on your child. As an average a 4/4 size is for a child aged 10+, a 3/4 for ages 7-9 and 1/2 for ages 5+. To be sure you get the correct size I suggest going into a shop and get your child to try various sizes.
Am I too old or too young to start lessons?
You are never too old of too young to start playing the guitar. The guitar will have something to offer all ages.
How often should I take lessons?
It is up to you. I have found that students who come on a weekly basis generally make more consistent progress than those who come fortnightly, however fortnightly lessons can work if you are focused and practise regularly between lessons.
If you have further questions send me an email on the contact form or just leave a comment on Facebook. I’d be really happy to help you out with your guitar questions!
** contact email form below***