Just because I’ve dedicated my life to music doesn’t mean that I expect everyone else to do the same. (Can you imagine the competition?!) But I think I can teach anyone who wants to learn. I also believe that guitar lessons do not need to be a lifelong commitment. Get what you want/need to know and get on with life. There’s so much that I still am learning that I know you’ll come back when you get stuck or want to add to your collection of knowledge. Below I have listed some “must haves”.
- Fretboard knowledge – Ask any other instrumentalist to name the location or fingering of notes and they’ll tell you straight away. Sadly, most guitarists can’t. Like they say knowledge is power, you just need to tap into it.
- Note reading – While I recognize most adults are set in their careers, I hope ultimately they will learn to read notation even though the situations in which they’ll need to will be few. Guitar has numerous notational systems in addition to traditional notation. Being fluent in these will build confidence and repertoire and lead to a willingness to really read. Younger students are required to read as their paths haven’t been determined and will make the student better prepared for any other musical endeavor in the future.
- General Music Theory Knowledge – Do you really need to know (or care) about a Neopolitan 6th? Maybe not. But knowing about how scales work and how triads are built can give you great insight into how music works. Sure it’s complex, but not incomprehensible. And, I’ve figured out how to explain it without sounding like a DVD player user’s manual.
- Ear Training – It all starts with being able to tune the guitar. If you can hear that it’s out, you can recognize the differences in pitch. From there, you need only refine that skill until you can hear a sound and find it on the instrument. Before long, you doing it for yourself.
- Good Musicianship – Simple things like playing in time, with appropriate dynamics, tone and taste.
A lot of people wonder ‘how long should my lesson be’? It’s my experience that younger students (7-12), need only 30 minutes. We have plenty of time to work on some fundamentals and do some playing.
For those that have completed the basics, and are moving on to chords and repertoire, then 45 minutes is ideal. We still have time to work on continuing reading studies (usually about 15 min). And, we’ll have a good deal of time for exploring different songs and techniques. Adults also should also consider a 45 min lesson. I’ve found that most that are taking up the instrument enjoy the relaxed pace and the time to discuss concepts and technique.
If you’re an advancing player, an hour allows for more playing, study and discussion. There’s so much too talk about, you’ll still be wondering where the time went.