4 Mistakes You Might Be Making When You Take Guitar Lessons (And How To Avoid Them)
by Tom Hess
Your Guitar Frustrations
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Guitar lessons can either be your greatest shortcut to becoming an incredible guitar player… or a massive waste of your time and money.
To get the most from taking guitar lessons, you need to:
- Find an expert guitar teacher who has a track record of transforming ordinary people into excellent guitar players.
Not all guitar teachers are the same. Finding the right guitar teacher for you makes all the difference. (Keep reading and I will show you how to find the right guitar teacher for you below.)
- Be an excellent guitar student, so that your guitar teacher can make you the amazing guitarist you want to be.
When you and your guitar teacher both do your part, becoming a great guitar player is a simple and enjoyable process.
Your Guitar Frustrations
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Question: “Tom Hess, what does it mean to be “an excellent guitar student”?”
Answer: It means you need to do what your teacher tells you to do and trust your guitar teacher’s expertise, even if his/her teaching is different from the advice you heard elsewhere.
Watch this video to see why having an expert guitar teacher whom you trust helps you master the guitar a lot faster and easier:
To be a good student, avoid the common mistakes many people make when taking guitar lessons. These 4 mistakes slow down your progress and waste your money (and time).
Mistake #1: Encouraging “Information Overload” (Without Realizing It). Here Is What This Means And Why It Hurts Your Musical Progress:
You probably expect to learn new information each time you walk into a guitar lesson, right? You are not alone. Many guitar students feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth if they didn’t learn something new.
Why this mindset makes it hard to become a great guitar player:
When you take guitar lessons, you are not really paying for “guitar lessons”. You are paying for results (becoming an awesome guitarist and feeling amazing every time you play your guitar). If you don’t get the results you pay for, it makes no sense to take guitar lessons, right?
Learning new information IS very important, but it is only one of the pieces that makes you a better guitarist. The other pieces include: applying the information you learn to real music, integrating it with other skills you already have and learning to use your skills in real life, so you can play guitar at your best when it really matters most. These are things an expert guitar teacher coaches you to do, because you cannot learn to do this very easily on your own. This coaching is key to getting the results you want from guitar lessons.
Solution: Judge your guitar teacher on the progress you make in your playing, NOT on how much “new stuff” you learn in every lesson. A great guitar teacher will:
- pace the flow of new content, so you don’t become overwhelmed with too many things to practice and learn the things you are being taught quickly and easily.
- help you master things you haven’t fully mastered that hold you back from becoming an awesome guitarist.
- train you to tie it all together, so you feel like a musician and not just a guitar player.
- mentor you when you feel frustrated with your progress, so you remain motivated to practice and improve as a guitarist.
(Note: If you’ve ever been frustrated with yourself as a musician, you know how destructive that frustration can be to your musical progress. Watch this video to learn 10 simple ways to eliminate musical frustration forever and become certain that you WILL become the killer guitarist you want to be.
Mistake #2: Being A Perfectionist. Here Is Why This Mistake Hurts Your Musical Progress And What To Do About It:
You are a perfectionist if you think you must fully master everything your guitar teacher shows you before you learn any new information or practice tying your skills together. Perfectionists think that music must be mastered in a linear, step-by-step way.
Here’s why this mindset makes it hard to become a great guitar player:
Reason #1: If you are a perfectionist, you’re likely to quit guitar lessons because you fear falling behind with what you’re learning. When this happens, you get off the path to great guitar playing and all the time and money you invested into guitar lessons is wasted.
Reason #2: There are dozens of skills you must learn and master to become a great guitar player. You need several lifetimes to master them one by one, in isolation. You improve much faster when you focus on several skills at the same time using the geometric approach.
Reason #3: Your guitar playing becomes out of balance. Mastering a single musical skill doesn't really help you until you can apply and integrate your skills together. Until your skills are in balance, you will always feel like something is holding you back when you play guitar. This is very frustrating.
Mistake #3: Not Trusting Your Guitar Teacher. Here Is Why This Mistake Hurts Your Musical Progress And What To Do About It:
When you take guitar lessons, it’s important to trust that your teacher knows a lot better than you do how to reach your musical goals. (Otherwise, why would you give the teacher your money?)
Your guitar teacher’s job is to determine exactly what you need to learn, when you need to learn it and how you need to learn it to become a great musician quickly.
Your responsibility as a student is to tell your guitar teacher about your musical goals and challenges. Then you must practice what your teacher tells you to do. If you try to do your teachers’ job, you waste a lot of money and a lot of time. The more time your guitar teacher spends justifying everything he does to you, the less time he can invest to help you improve your guitar playing.
Important: There is a BIG difference between not trusting your guitar teacher and asking questions when you don’t understand something. It’s ok to ask questions or tell your teacher about your goals or ask for clarification when you don’t understand something. This is not the same as telling your guitar teacher how to teach you.
Mistake #4: Choosing Your Guitar Teacher Based On The Wrong Criteria. Here Is Why This Mistake Hurts Your Musical Progress And What To Do About It:
If you are like most guitar players who take guitar lessons, you probably look for a guitar teacher who:
- Is the best guitar player you can find, or
- Has the lowest price per lesson, or
- Lives closest to where you live, so you don’t have to travel far for lessons.
These are the wrong criteria for evaluating a guitar teacher. Here is why:
Reason #1: Your guitar teachers’ playing skills tell you nothing about his ability to help you reach your goals. There is a massive difference between being a great guitar player and a great guitar teacher. One doesn't guarantee the other. The very best guitar players often cannot relate to challenges and frustrations less advanced guitarists have. This isn’t true for all great guitar players, but is true for most.
Reason #2: All guitar teachers are different. Results you get with one guitar teacher aren’t the same as results with another teacher. A teacher with the lowest rates usually gives you what you pay for…or less. Great guitar teachers deliver massive results in a fraction of the time of an average teacher. This saves you time AND money.
The real objective proof of your guitar teacher’s ability is the number of great guitar students he/she has. This is the only criteria that really matters and it cannot be faked.
Implement these tips to become a better guitar student and find the best guitar teacher to help you become an amazing guitar player other guitarists look up to.
Want to learn exactly what to do to improve your guitar playing quickly? Watch this video guitar lesson to learn 10 ways to improve your guitar playing, so you stop being frustrated and stuck and make your musical progress faster than you ever thought it could be.