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How to Become a Better Guitar Student

Helping Your Guitar Instructor Help You

Getting proper instruction on guitar is a must if you want to become successful at playing the instrument. Most guitar teachers have spent a considerable amount of time learning their craft and are eager to share what they know with you.

The teacher’s time with you is limited, however, so it is a great idea to make the most of your time both inside and outside of lessons. Here are four essential tips on how to become a better student.

Develop a Respect for Time & Use It Wisely

First and foremost, respect for time means showing up for your lessons on time. This not only shows respect for the teacher and indicates you are serious about learning; it also gives you the full amount of time allotted for the lesson.

Secondly, it means spending the necessary time at home practicing what your instructor teaches you. It is best to practice at the same time, and for the same length of time, on a daily basis. This habit will follow you into a life as a professional musician if that is the path you choose.

Finally, being timely is simply a good habit to develop. If you do choose to pursue your music professionally, you must be on time (meaning, early enough to set up and do a sound check) for your gigs – or you won’t get any more.

Ask Questions

We have all been in situations where a question formed in our minds but we didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask it. Maybe we were afraid of being judged silly or stupid. This is not the time for that kind of self-doubt. Your instructor will be grateful that you asked the question, particularly if it is to clarify a point. Your asking questions shows that you are engaged and interested in your learning.

If you are in a group lesson situation, the other students will appreciate it, too. Rarely will you have a question that someone else didn’t wish they could ask themselves. Once they see that questions are invited, the door will open and the learning will surge. Be bold!

Pay Attention and Listen

As stated earlier, your time and the instructor’s time is valuable. During your training session, make the effort to focus on the lesson. Minimize any potential distractions. Do what you can to leave the outside cares of your life at the doorstep when you arrive. Turn off your phone. If you are in your own home, turn off any other noisemakers that do not facilitate the lesson. Put your pets in another room. Close the door and make it clear to others in your house that you are not available for that period of time.

Follow your instructions as best as you can during the training. Practice what he or she tells you to do, and do your homework. Throughout the week, write down any questions that you want to address in your next lesson. Being active and listening during your lessons will bolster your success.

Be Creative and Take Control

This does NOT mean ignoring the teacher’s instructions and going off on a tangent by yourself.

As you learn certain things (chord progressions, for example), you will find that certain other musical concepts you’ve been learning may suddenly connect or fall into place. These “a-ha” moments are not to be ignored. You should indicate these instances to your instructor. These moments may lead to your training going in a direction different from what you and your instructor originally had in mind. But it just might be the right direction for you.

In other instances, you may feel that you want to learn a different aspect of guitar from what you are currently learning, or you may feel that your training is going too fast or too slow. Whenever you have a concern about these kinds of things, don’t hesitate to bring it up. Your instructor may either make adjustments or explain to you why you should stay the course. Either way, communication like this is crucial to maximizing your training.

It all Comes Down to Respect

Respect for time and communication with your instructor are crucial factors in becoming a better student. It may also inspire your teacher to become better as well. While you’re at it, have respect for yourself and set aside time to practice. Be patient with yourself. Finally, respect your instrument and practice good maintenance. See some of our other articles on how to care for your guitar.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664.

Services include:

  • Acoustic Guitar Lessons
  • Electric Guitar Lessons
  • Bass Guitar Instruction
  • Classical Guitar
  • Spanish Guitar
  • Learning to Write Music
  • Advanced Improv Techniques
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  • TABS or sheet music



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