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The Top 10 Things To Look For in a Guitar Teacher

Last Updated: June 28, 2016 / by Helen Baker



When you close your eyes you see your name in flashing lights, you know you're destined for great things. But like all the greats, you need a little help to get there.

It doesn't matter if you are starting from scratch or if you want to up your game from amateur to pro, everyone has to start somewhere. So, if you are ready to put in the hard work to make great things happen, you need to find a good guitar teacher along the way. 

It does help if you do a little bit of research first. So here are a few things to look for in your search to find your perfect guitar teacher.

What To Look For In a Guitar Teacher

There are a few obvious things to look for before you ultimately decide. This includes:

  • education
  • experience
  • skill level
  • style of music they teach

If these things have checked out, here's a few tips to help you make your choice. 

Hear­say

Keep your ear to the ground. If you have friends that have taken lessons with someone, hear what they have to say about the teacher they are going to.

If you don’t know anyone taking lessons from a guitar teacher, check reviews online. You can even ask your potential teacher for some testimonials.

Bottom line is, try to get more than one perspective on a specific teacher. What works well for one student might not work for you and vice versa.

The X­-Factor

You are probably very passionate about music and the love for the guitar that is driving you at the moment. So pick an instructor that mirrors this same passion. It doesn't really matter what subject someone is teaching, if they are enthusiastic about the subject it rubs off. So make sure that  your guitar teacher is enthusiastic about teaching you too. 

Get The Attention You Deserve

You really need someone who will go that extra mile for you. Make sure that your guitar teacher is not booking too many students in case some extra time is required to complete a particular lesson. Don't settle for a teacher that watches the seconds tick by as you try to learn from them. 

Be Frank

Ultimately you and your teacher should form a great team. Make sure the lines of communication are wide open. Talk about what you want out of your lessons and listen to your guitar teacher’s comments and suggestion on how to get there.

Make sure you are both working towards the same goals while remaining on the same page.

Get An All Rounder

Sure, learning to play your favorite band's song is awesome, but you need more than that. You need a guitar teacher that can teach you about all the aspects of playing guitar. 

Get someone who can guide you on all levels. You are probably going to need to write your own song or two at some point. If your teacher has some advice about the music business or how to record a demo that might help a lot later on.

This point also ties in with the previous one: be sure to tell your teacher what areas you want to work on and find out if they are going to be able to assist with those areas specifically. The more detail you can give the better.

A good teacher should be honest with what you can expect from them and what you can expect from yourself. You don’t want to set unreachable goals for yourself, but you also don’t want to waste time and money.

You Are an Individual

It's important to work on your personal relationship with your teacher. Sometimes personalities just clash, so try to work towards making a connection with your guitar teacher.

You could have just bought a book and gobbled up as much information as humanly possible, so instead, you want someone to guide you and not just bombard you with heaps of info.

New And Exciting

No­one wants to do the same thing over and over again.

Look for someone who can challenge you, someone who sees your potential and nudges you in the right direction.

Keep in mind, however, that there are going to be things that seem tedious and unexciting. I am sure a lot of musicians are not fond of doing scales, but everyone needs to practice. Just make sure there is a good balance.

Value For Money

Everyone has a budget and obviously you wouldn’t want to break the bank, but know that more experienced teacher will ask a bit more. If the rates are very low then it probably means that your guitar teacher doesn't have a lot of experience.

Remember, many people may be willing to quote you for some lessons, so do your homework and check their credentials. Sometimes paying a bit more money from the start will save you a bit of money in the long run.

Make a List

You should have an idea of what to look for in a guitar teacher by now, and one or two questions have probably crossed your mind as well.

Make a list of concerns and questions you might have and feel free to ask your questions to see if you have the right fit.

Don’t Be Afraid To Look Around

Have a look around and see what different teachers can offer you and what suits your needs and expectations. You may do one or two lessons with a particular teacher and realize it might not work for you. Don’t feel obligated to stick with the first teacher you find. As with all things in life sometimes you have to break a few eggs.

Good luck on your search for the perfect guitar teacher and remember to bring your best to the table. There are no miracles ­ to become a great guitarist takes a lot of work.


About the Author: Helen Baker

I am a freelance teacher and writer based in Ann Arbor, MI. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, I spent some time teaching English in Paris and, thereafter, returned to Ann Arbor where I was involved both in the media and academics. Currently I am a stay at home mom, working as a freelance writer and teacher. I love all my guitars and I also have an affinity towards old grand pianos. I love singing, traveling, reading, writing, watching films and spending quality time with my husband.


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