I am pretty certain that where this subject matter is concerned there will be quite a few people who would say, “but of course private lessons are the way to go because it stands to reason that you want to be booked solid with students so that your business will be successful.” That’s absolutely true. But, three other things that are also just as true are that I just am not able to reach everyone, nor will I be every person’s ‘cup-of-tea’ so to speak, and then there are those individuals who desire to try to teach themselves, which is not an impossible feat if they have what it takes.
To those who desire to try to teach themselves, I would advise them to at least associate themselves with a good teacher and to do this for at least the first 5 years of guitar practice so that when and if they decide to venture out on their own they will at least have a solid enough foundation to build on. If the solid foundation has been established then I say “go for it!”, but I wouldn’t rule out occasional visits to at least one or more teachers because you never know what helpful insights you might be able to pick up.
It goes with goes without saying that for me personally, I would like my students to stay for as long as possible, but their own personal musical growth may only include me to a small or moderate extent. After all, it isn’t all that uncommon for a student to outgrow one teacher and move on to another one, and the only time I would discourage doing that is if they were going to be shortchanging themselves by making the decision to do so without thinking it all the way through.
You see, the dream that any good teacher should have for their students is that when and if they do leave, and at some point in time or another some will, is that they will go out being better than when they first came in, and if they do end up going to study under another teacher then hopefully it will be someone who continues to help them grow and improve beyond where they currently are at the time that they leave.
When choosing a teacher my advice is that it is of the utmost importance that they not only be able to play well, and it would be rare that they wouldn’t have that ability, but that they also have the ability to effectively communicate with you and convey the curriculum to you. The other thing is that they must be able and willing to slow things way, way down so that every pattern becomes much easier for you to catch onto.
If at this point of reading this blog you feel confident enough to learn on your own, the keep in mind that these same preceding principles of having a solid foundation and slowing things way, way down will help you too to be more successful in your endeavour. One thing to take note of is that you will either have to be able to hold your own feet to the fire honestly and objectively, or you will need someone who’s opinion you can trust to help keep you motivated towards attaining productive growth.
Either way you go about continuing to improve your guitar playing skills, it’s also very important to use proper discernment and not let ego get in your way because sometimes good enough is good enough, but the vast majority of the time, good enough isn’t good enough, and it’s absolutely crucial that you be able to know the difference between the two. When you do realize that something is just not as good as it could be, stay focused and patient, because it takes repeating something around 100 to 200 times before it becomes a habit, so if you practice something improperly you will develop a bad habit, and if you practice the same thing properly you will end up developing a good habit.
In closing, I hope that I have helped someone today!
I believe that anyone who truly wants to learn to play an instrument can if they are willing to put forth the effort that is required. Music will demand a lot from you, but what it gives back is beyond any price that one could ever place on it.