The Number One Misconception Guitar Players Have About Taking Guitar Lessons With A Teacher
By Tom Hess - 02/29/2016 - 02:26 PM EST
What is the number one function of a solid guitar teacher? In many cases, people might assume it’s the
following: “To instruct students on how to play cool techniques, riffs, licks or solos.” … but this is not the case.
The actual role of a truly helpful guitar teacher is to:
Figure out and solve the problems that are stopping you from becoming better.
Enable you to get great results in your guitar playing fast.
Give you the expert training needed for achieving anything you want with guitar.
Guide you through the entire process of reaching true greatness on guitar.
To be totally clear, you will certainly learn about new things during guitar lessons, but that’s not the
fundamental thing that will make you a better guitarist in less time. Most importantly, a great guitar teacher can usually fix your
guitar playing issues without teaching you a single new thing.
Need proof of this?
Check out the video below where I give a guitar lesson to a student of mine and walk him through the entire process
of improving his sweep picking technique:
While watching the video above, pay close attention to the following critical points:
1. The Problems You Face On The Surface Are Usually Caused By A Breakdown In
While taking guitar lessons with a great teacher, he must be able to spot the underlying cause(s) of your playing
issues and show you precisely how to correct them.
Watch out for guitar teachers who try to “fix” your problems by giving you a lot of new
exercises to play (without examining the flaws in your technique or explaining how to correct them). I call this
approach the “spray and pray” approach - it includes throwing a ton of exercises at the problem and hoping that
everything seems to fix itself (rather than helping you solve the problem’s fundamental causes).
As you saw in the video above, the student claimed that his main problem was an “inability to play fast and
clean sweep picking arpeggios”. He definitely did not need additional exercises to practice. Instead, he needed to
understand the three causes of his stated problem (that I got him to see in the video). This got him back on the correct path
and will help him master any arpeggio he plays from now on.
When your guitar teacher helps you dissect your playing and practicing in deeper ways, you will gain the skills needed
to solve any problem that comes up in your playing for the rest of your life.
This leads to another crucial point:
2. Solving Fundamental Problems Has Amazing Effects On Your Guitar Playing As A Whole
Difficult challenges in your guitar playing (such as not knowing how to be creative, not being able to play something
fast enough, etc.) are never the REAL problems. These are simply surface level issues that are symptoms of lower level causes.
By correcting a cause for a specific problem, you will frequently observe major improvements in other aspects of your guitar
playing that seemingly had nothing to do with what you were originally trying to improve at.
In the video you watched on this page, you noticed that correcting a few fretting hand problems made it much easier
for my student to play clean arpeggios. Note: these same technical movements are also important for smooth and clean legato
technique, fast chord changes, two-hand tapping and two-hand synchronization while practicing scales. Getting good at these
things leads to what I refer to as “progress by ripple effect” and it’s one of the most exciting feelings you
can feel during practice.
Why Understanding The True Role Of Guitar Lessons Is Crucial For You To Make Tons Of Guitar Playing
There are many guitar players who think they don’t need guitar lessons. These players generally think that:
“they can learn the exact same ideas a guitar teacher can show them for free by themselves”. This assumption
stems from the idea that guitar teachers simply “give you new things to practice”.
However, even if it was the case that you could teach yourself the same things that a mediocre guitar
teacher could teach you, know that simply “learning things” is extremely limited in its ability to help you achieve
your guitar playing goals.
Here are four reasons why:
Reason #1: You will probably only learn a few of the things you need to work on to achieve your musical
goals and will also learn things in the wrong order. This is very bad. The order in which you practice and learn new
concepts makes a MASSIVE impact on how much overall progress you make in your playing.
Reason #2: You don’t get the necessary feedback and analysis of your playing/practicing that is required for
making fast progress.
Reason #3: You have to deal with a lot of trial and error, while hoping to somehow find the right way to achieve your
Reason #4: Most guitarists just don’t have the patience and self-discipline to consistently DO everything that
must be done to transform themselves into great guitar players. Without an expert teacher to keep them accountable and guide
them through the process, they will become distracted and lose focus – heading down the wrong path, away from their
guitar playing goals. This usually happens even if the correct things to practice are right there in front of your nose.
To be honest, there is a very small percentage of guitar players who work alone to figure out the right way to reach
their musical goals, fix their guitar playing issues and get themselves to consistently do everything that must be done to
become better players. We usually call these people “naturally gifted”. These guitarists will frequently become
great with or without taking guitar lessons. For the rest of us (who were not born with natural gifts like this), taking lessons
with an expert guitar teacher provides a powerful boost of natural talent right into your mind and hands –
helping you to play just like any of your favorite guitar players.
To find out a lot more about the usual problems guitarists face with building their guitar speed (and how to fix them),
download this free guide on how to play guitar a lot faster.
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