When an individual makes the choice to pick up that dust-covered guitar that sits in the corner of their room, they often face the decision of optional training. There are two choices that stand before the very green guitarist. To take lessons or not?
Which is the right choice and which is not? well let me tell you – they are both excellent decisions. However, there are prestigious benefits to both approaches. First, let me explain to you my musical journey and how I sought the guidance of an instructor and also learned to become my own mentor.
I first started playing guitar on my own and I continued this way for two years. I did very well because I was dedicated and crazy about the art form. Still yet, there came a time when I ran out of energy and had no clear direction.
I did not hesitate to seek professional instruction when I was at my wit’s end. I had an outstanding guitar teacher who was a Bluegrass legend. He was very diverse and was just the thing that I needed.
Best Practice Self Taught Guitar.
What I liked most about my teacher was that he was entirely open-minded about music. He could not play everything that I wanted to learn, but for the time being – he took my playing to a whole new level.
How did this guitar guru do this? well, you know that old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life“? That is exactly what this teacher did for me.
He bestowed upon and instilled in me, the best gift that you can give to a person. He taught me to teach myself. I took lessons from him for about two and a half years until I reached a point where there was nothing new that he could show me.
I simply devoured everything too fast for his comfort. There was something more though that provoked me to part ways. I was beginning to develop my own style on the guitar. When you reach this level of playing, no teacher can show you how to groom your own creation. So let me show you some things to look for in both routes of musical education.
Things to look for when seeking a guitar teacher.
- Someone who is pleasant.
- Someone who is active as a composer.
- Someone who is patient at all times.
- Someone who is not attempting to groom you to be that prodigy student.
- Someone who can look at musical theory with an open mind.
- Someone who will not force musical theory down your throat if you choose not to receive it at this time.
- Someone who can play both electric and acoustic styles as well as the techniques that are common to those instruments.
- Someone who is very well versed in many styles of music.
- Someone who will give you only as much as you can comprehend at any one time.
- Someone who is imaginative enough to connect the dots for different student learning styles.
Perhaps you are already taking guitar lessons, and if for some reason you are no feeling very happy about it – then you must ask yourself one thing. “Do I need guitar lessons or do I need my own brand of learning?” As someone who has spent most of his time learning on his own, here are my tips for getting the most out of this approach.
Advice for the self-taught.
- Have confidence in your own abilities to do this.
- Your thirst for knowledge, sparked from your curiosity will be your greatest beacon of light when moments of doubt arise.
- The internet has it all.
- You can find any information on the guitar for free. You don’t always have to pay for it.
- Use your intuition to distinguish good information from bad.
- Don’t feel bad about starting from scratch. Join the community of other guitarists who are just starting out.
- Start small.
- Learn just a little at a time in the beginning.
- There is a good chance that you already know someone who plays guitar pretty well, so pick their brain.
- There is no such thing as a dumb question and no one will look down upon you for asking one.
I had mentioned earlier that there is a good chance that you have been taking lessons for a while and feel this longing to embark on your own quest. A tell-tale sign of this is if you find yourself forming your own opinions about the music that you listen to.
If your musical mind has evolved to the point where you have another idea of how a passage, riff, chord, or chord structure could be played, then its time to teach yourself. This means that you have reached a level where you find yourself creating small, original passages on the guitar.
Please do not disrespect the musical talent that is trying to be heard, even if you don’t plan on playing for people in a live setting. A lot of people have this basic talent, even if they don’t think that they do. Nurture it and it will be forever rewarding.
One of the best ways to learn absolutely anything new is to pretend that you are the expert. Imagine that you have held this knowledge in your hands for years and that you are teaching someone who is completely new to a concept.
Even if you don’t proclaim the information aloud, at least go over it in your head. Make sure that you set aside some time to do this, especially if it revolves around something that takes a little bit of thought, like musical theory. This has the same effect as writing something down, which in turn locks it in place.
The biggest benefit that comes from teaching oneself to do anything, is that there is no right or wrong. You are not told what to do and what not to do, which means that often times you will find yourself discovering a new way to do something.