I am tempted to just write, “Take lessons from me!”, and sign off but I realize that’s not too helpful, so here are a few ideas. Music Lessons are a big investment, 6 months or a year of lessons can buy a nice guitar, so you’d better spend that money wisely.
-The first step stars with you. Be able to state your goals as clearly as possible. What do you want? Help with strumming? Lead guitar? Fingerpicking? How will you know you’ve reached your goals? When you can play 6 different strum patterns and use them in 6 songs? Play pentatonic scales up and down the neck in any key? The better you can state your goals, the easier it will be to find help. Also, be realistic about the time you will have available to practice. It’s easy to make big plans, but after a few weeks the reality sinks in and you will have to settle in and make the commitment for the long haul. A 1/2 hour a day, 4 or 5 days a week may be all you can handle.
-Finding a teacher: Ask other guitar players who they recommend. If one teachers’ name keeps coming up, that’s a good sign. Formal education isn’t necessary, but knowledge, competence and kindness are. Music stores use teachers to help sell merchandise, they aren’t necessarily better. When you talk to the teacher; besides asking the price, credentials, etc., state your goals and ask what they can do to help you reach them. Ask for a trial lesson, show them where you are as a player and state your goals (and any time constraints). They should give you a reasonably clear idea of what to do and how to get there, along with a general estimate of the time required. If they don’t, keep looking! Most teachers charge on a monthly basis, so don’t sign up for long term contracts. Private lessons tend to be unstructured, and it’s easy for both teacher and student to be lulled into a rut. Keep your goals in mind and your lessons on track, don’t settle for busy work!
One final way people use instruction is as a motivator; the regular lesson times and cash outlay help keep them focused on music. This is mainly my adult students, who are busy with families, careers, and survival. It keeps music in their lives.
I wish you the best in finding a teacher! Take responsibility for the direction of the lessons and the practice necessary. Ultimately, you’re in charge.
*Parts of this post were taken from my book, “No Fail Guitar”, available on Amazon.