Why Teaching Beginner Guitar Students To Read Music Is A Big Mistake

by Tom Hess

Do you want your beginner guitar students to study with you longer and become better guitar players faster? Avoid teaching them how to read music. Teaching your beginner students to read music often makes them quit guitar lessons. Here is why this happens (and what to do instead): 

Reason #1: Your Students Become Bored Quickly

Most of your beginner guitar students do not take lessons to learn how to sight read. They want to play music on guitar. Your students become bored when you force them to spend time reading music, rather than playing music. When your students feel bored, they are likely to quit lessons.

Reason #2: Your Students Lose Motivation To Practice Guitar

Getting your students to practice consistently can be a big challenge. This challenge becomes a lot bigger when you force your students to practice something they find extremely boring (reading music). When your students don't practice at home, they start to feel like they are wasting money (and time) on lessons every week. This causes many beginner students to quit.

Reason #3: Reading Music Is A Distraction From What Your Students Really Need To Learn As Beginners

Your beginner students need to develop confidence in their ability to learn guitar and become good musicians. Learning to read music does not help them develop this confidence.


Get your beginner guitar students to play actual music as soon as they start lessons with you. Show them that they can make progress and improve very quickly. This builds positive momentum and makes your students motivated to keep improving and coming back to you for more lessons.

If your students truly need to learn to read music, you can teach them to do it later (when they are no longer beginners).

Want to learn a lot more about becoming an effective guitar teacher? Read this article to learn how to teach beginner guitar students and become the teacher all students want to study with.

Improve your guitar teaching skills by learning how to teach guitar to beginners.

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