5 Questions you should ask before you start taking guitar lessons

When new students come for their first guitar lesson they usually have a few questions in their mind.

Questions such as:

  • Will I ever be able to learn the guitar?
  • Do I have natural talent?
  • Will it take a lot of time until I start seeing any result whatsoever?
  • Do I have the beat in me?
  • Will I have to practice guitar every-day?
  • For how long?

 

The problem with these question is simple.

Even if you get the right answers for your questions those answers will make you none the wiser.

The following questions, on the other hand, lead to results in your guitar learning mindset, your choice of a guitar teacher as well as how much value you’ll get from that teacher. 

And even if the answer you get will not be perfect (sometimes it just can’t as you’ll see below) that answer will help you achieve the results you want much sooner.

 

1. What are my musical goals

 

You decided to start learning guitar for a reason right?

What is that reason?

Do you want to be the popular guy with the guitar in your town?

Do you want to become a Rock Star?

Do you want to learn music so that you can worship God better?

Do you want entertain your friends by the campfire?

 

Because it’s important to know, that the musical journey of those answering any of these questions in the positive, differently, is going to be completely different.

Yes, it’s still the same guitar you’ll be playing (up to a certain extent, as you’ll see in the next question) but the things you need to learn, and the order you learn those things, can be entirely different.

 

2. Should I learn on an electric or an acoustic guitar?

 

If I had to answer this question for you, I would choose the electric.

It’s easier to learn since the strings tend to be lighter and the “action” that is, the distance between the strings and the fretboard is usually thinner.

This means your fingers will need to press less hard. An issue that tends to crop up when you’re learning barre chords.

That said, my goal has always to be a Rock guitar player, so an electric always suited my needs.

You should go for an acoustic or a classical guitar if you’re specifically into music that is played on your instruments – thus learning on that specific guitar will help you reach your goals.

 

Note: There is a myth going around that you have to first learn on an acoustic and then switch to electric guitar. This is complete nonsense. Which guitar will you choose to learn on, should depend entirely on your musical goals.

 

3. Who is the teacher, local or online, who can get me the results I want?

 

Notice that I didn’t ask something like, who is the cheapest, the most expensive, the closest to my home or the most famous.

Results - being able to play the guitar, in the shortest time possible, and enjoy the process – are the only thing that matters.

And yes, a bad teacher can break you as much as a good teacher can make you (if you put in your own effort of course).

 

4. How can I be an ideal student?

 

If you have found a great teacher, one who’s concerned more about your goals than his, who has the ability to get you reach your goals in the shortest time possible, and is also fun to work with, treasure him.

There aren’t many who fulfill all the criteria above.

And the best way to treasure a great teacher, who may keep teaching you for decades, is by being an ideal student.

One who always does his best to be motivated, practices regularly, is focused and goal oriented.

 

5. How can I prepare myself for the first lesson?

 

Most of my beginner guitar students, actually would know some things they learnt from Youtube, guitar blogs or tabs. 

Which is great, and in fact I ask my students to play things they know in their first lesson to gauge what they have learned so far and if there are holes that need to be filled.

However, this is not what I mean by “preparing yourself”.

Your first lesson is not an audition. Definitely not one based on your current playing skills.

You need to prepare yourself by having your goals written down (the more specific the better) so that you can show your guitar teacher clearly what is the result that you want.

If you found a great teacher, he will be very interested in your goals and he will think that you’re an ideal student.

Few students have very clear goals they want to achieve, and so far I haven’t had a student who had written them down before the first lesson.

But when I have a student who comes with clear goals in his head, I immediately realize there’s a very high chance this student will go places.

The guitar teacher’s dream!

If, on the other hand, your guitar teacher, doesn’t bother at all about your goals and is more interested in showing off his skills, then you may start considering a different teacher.

 

Conclusion

 

What I want you to do now, is to compare these 5 questions, to the example questions at the beginning of this lesson – the ones most students ask, and lead to nowhere.

Can you spot the difference?

If you do the exercise of asking quality questions, not only in your guitar playing but also in your personal life, you will, guess what – get results.

Which is what you’re after, no?

 

Robert Callus is a guitar teacher, songwriter and blogger based in Malta. Learn more about playing the guitar, music and the pursuit of happiness on www.learnguitarmalta.com

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