What is the most important role of a guitar teacher? The most common answer to this question is: “To teach students new things to play (songs, solos, techniques, etc.)” This answer is wrong. The primary role of any guitar teacher is to:
Solve your guitar playing problems that are holding you back and keeping you stuck.
Enable you to get big results in your guitar playing fast.
Equip you with the tools you need to reach your musical goals.
- Hold your hand through the process of becoming a kickass guitar player.
Of course you will learn new things in guitar lessons, but that’s not the main thing that will improve your guitar playing quickly. An expert guitar teacher can often solve your guitar playing problems without teaching you a single new thing about music or guitar.
Want proof? Watch the video where I help one of my guitar students improve his sweep picking:
As you watch the video, pay attention to the following:
1. Your Guitar Playing Problems Are Often Caused By Lack Of Mastery Over The Fundamentals
When you take guitar lessons with a great teacher, your teacher must be able to spot the root cause(s) of your guitar playing problems and help you fix them.
Beware of guitar teachers who respond to your guitar playing problems by giving you more exercises to play (without analyzing your guitar practice approach and identifying flaws in your guitar technique).
As you saw in the video of my student’s guitar lesson, his stated problem was “inability to play arpeggios fast and clean”. The very last thing he needed was more arpeggios to practice. Instead, he needed to get to the bottom of the 3 interconnected causes of his stated problem (that I helped him identify in the video). This put him on the right track towards mastery of sweep picking with ALL arpeggios he will ever practice.
As your guitar teacher helps you analyze your playing and practicing in deeper ways, you will be better equipped to solve any other guitar playing challenge you face (now or in the future). This is key to reaching your musical goals fast and is one of the most important things you can learn by taking guitar lessons.
2. Solving Fundamental Problems Has Dramatic Effects On Your Entire Guitar Playing
Big challenges in your guitar playing (such as lack of creativity, problems with playing a particular technique fast and clean, etc.) are NOT your true problems. These things are merely symptoms of other interconnected causes (the real problems). By solving one cause of a particular problem, you will often notice huge improvements in other areas of your guitar playing that had nothing to do with the original challenge you tried to solve.
In the video above, you saw that fixing a few fretting hand issues made it easier for my student to play arpeggios. However, these same technical elements are also crucial to fluent and clean legato playing, chord changes, 2-hand tapping and general 2-hand synchronization when playing scales. Mastering these elements leads to what I call “progress by ripple effect” and it’s one of the greatest feelings you can experience in your guitar practicing.
To learn more about transforming your guitar technique in this way, check out this free guide on how to double your guitar speed.
Why Understanding The True Role Of Guitar Lessons Is Key To Your Guitar Playing Progress:
Many guitarists who think they don’t need guitar lessons believe that: “they can learn the same things a guitar teacher can teach them on their own for free”. This belief comes from the false assumption that the role of a guitar teacher is limited to “giving you things to practice”.
Fact is, even if you could teach yourself the same things that an average guitar teacher would teach you, realize that “learning things” is very limited in its ability to help you reach your musical goals.
There are 4 reasons why:
Reason #1: You will likely only learn some of the things you need to study/practice to reach your goals and (most importantly) will learn things out of order. Fact is, the order in which you practice and learn guitar playing/musical concepts makes a HUGE impact on your overall progress.
Reason #2: You don’t get the expert feedback and in-depth analysis of your playing and practicing that is needed for super fast progress.
Reason #3: You are forced to go through a lot more trial and error, hoping to accidentally stumble upon the right way to reach your goals.
Reason #4: Most people simply don’t have the discipline to get themselves to consistently DO what needs to be done to become great guitar players. Without a great teacher to hold them accountable and hold their hand through the process, most become distracted by shiny objects that pull their focus away from the path that leads to musical greatness. This often happens even if the right things to practice are right in front of you.
To be fair, there IS a tiny % of guitar players who always manage to “figure out on their own” the right way to reach their musical goals, solve their guitar playing problems and get themselves to consistently do what needs to be done to become great players. These are the ones we refer to as “naturally talented”. These guitar players will often become great with or without guitar lessons. For the rest of us (who were not born with natural talent), taking lessons with a proven guitar teacher provides a powerful injection of natural talent directly into your brain and hands – making it possible for you to play guitar like your favorite players.
To learn more about the common problems guitarists face with building their guitar speed (and how to overcome them), download this free guide on how to play guitar fast.