How to Find an
Exceptional Guitar Teacher
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Guitar Instructor
When you look for a guitar teacher either online or in-person, sometimes it’s just quite hard to tell whether the instructor is professional and suited for you.
Which guitar instructor should you ultimately choose? How can you tell if instructor A is better at teaching guitar and more friendly than instructor B?
You should actively shop around and choose an exceptional guitar teacher for you because they may have a huge impact on your learning journey. Students learn a lot from watching and imitating the way teachers play guitar, think about music, level of technique, expression and musical nature.
Table of Contents
Get a Professional Guitar Teacher From the Start
The sooner you meet the top guitar instructor, the faster you will excel in guitar with a solid technique. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay extra to hire someone with impressive teaching and educational backgrounds. Whether a guitar teacher teaches online, in-person or hybrid, you should make sure that your potential teacher will:
- tailor your learning curriculum
- inspire a love of music
- motivate you to challenge and grow
- give accurate and detailed live feedback
Many guitar learners make mistakes by trying to start with an ordinary teacher who charges less, and then switching to a better instructor. One thing to note in this shifting process is that you will likely experience confusion in learning, which can take years to get rid of any bad performing habits.
Every guitar teacher is unique and puts a different amount of emphasis in terms of lesson curriculum. Some instructors focus more on the technical side of guitar playing and work on one song at a time, whereas as some might encourage you to play a multiple songs at once and explore sounds and musicality.
Meet your guitar teacher, discuss goals and begin 1-on-1 instruction.
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Check the Teacher's Educational Background
Degrees in Guitar Performance
Where possible, make sure to check the potential teacher’s degree they received during college. The best guitar instructors will hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in Classical guitar or Jazz guitar from top music schools. They are also able to demonstrate a high level of performance through live performance recordings and frequency of touring and performance opportunities. Here are some suggestions for questions related to degrees:
- Are you majored in guitar performance or non-guitar fields?
- Do you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in guitar?
- Did you take any courses in audio engineering, music education, music theory or music history?
Recording and Touring Experience
When finding an ideal guitar teacher, it’s best to see if the teacher has listed any performance related accomplishments. This includes live performing, touring with US and international musicians, participating in the studio recording sessions and productions.
The first thing you should do is to go to the guitar teacher’s professional website and read their bio. If there are any live performance recordings listed, take time to watch the recordings.
Your potential guitar teacher should at least put several descriptions of touring and participating in recording sessions for popular musicians and bands.
Teaching Experience in Guitar
In addition to checking the teacher’s degree online, it’s also important to look for a guitar instructor with at least 3 years of teaching experience. The best guitar teachers will almost certainly teach a variety of styles such as the Classical, Rock, Pop, Alternative, Jazz and R&B.
Make sure to check which guitar type your potential teacher can teach. There are 4 main types of guitar: acoustic, classical, electric and bass. It’s also important to know which type of guitar the instructor is specialized in teaching and performing.
Not every guitar teacher lists this online, but you should check if the teacher has done and passed a comprehensive background check, especially if the lesson is for your child. Some live online guitar lesson websites, such as Lesson With You, offer free trial lessons with expert guitar instructors who are fully background checked.
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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Guitar Teacher
Once you’re done with narrowing down a number of potential guitar teachers, the next step is to talk with the instructors. Here are some recommendations for questions to ask:
- How many guitar students do you teach? What ages and levels?
- How do you build a lesson plan? Is the curriculum customized?
- Do you expect students to participate in recital, jury or competition?
- What are your practice expectations for beginners and advanced guitar students?
- Do you use any guitar method books? If not, what music will the student work on?
- How to do motivate students to practice guitar and improve?
- Do you give daily or weekly assignments?
Take a Trial Lesson First
When contacting potential guitar teachers, make sure to ask if they offer trial lessons. Taking a trial lesson will give you fresh insights on a couple of things:
- Does the teacher speak clearly and ask appropriate questions to the student? How does the teacher respond to the answers the student provided and vice versa?
- How does the teacher initiate and lead the guitar lesson? Is the lesson engaging and fun? How frequent does the teacher play guitar and show the technique to the student?
- What’s the teacher like? Happy, quiet or rather moody? Is the teacher likeable?
- How often does the teacher give feedback? Does the teacher pay enough attention to detail and correct the student? It’s also important to see how the student responds to the compliment and criticism.
- How does the instructor end the lesson? When the instructor gives assignments or homework, does the student leave the lesson clear on what to work on next?
Choosing the Right Guitar Instructor After a Trial
Take plenty of time to choose the right guitar instructor for you. Besides evaluating the trial lesson and teacher quality, consider these following aspects before making a decision.
According to our recent guitar lesson cost guide, the average cost is $35 for a half hour guitar lesson. Live online lessons using video chats typically charge between $25-50 for a half hour lesson. Local private guitar lessons averages $42 per half hour lesson, while in-person group lessons can cost $25 per half hour lesson.
Guitar instructors without music degrees will charge as little as $30 an hour, and expert guitar teachers with advanced degrees in guitar charges between $50-$70 per hour lesson.
Your ideal guitar instructor should offer a flexible scheduling and rescheduling option. Of course, it’s not a good sign when a teacher (or a student) cancels or reschedules lessons too often, but knowing the teacher offers a rescheduling option without a fee can be a plus.
When finding a guitar teacher online or in-person, you should always check and read the lesson reviews. If you’re particularly looking for a live online lesson, you will notice the reviews left in the teacher profile. If 8 or 9 out of 10 reviews are positive, that means the teacher is great and able to teach a high-quality guitar lesson.
If you want to get in-person guitar lesson recommendations, you can ask friends, neighbors or even find a guitar teacher online and ask if they offer lessons in person.
Not many guitar lesson providers require long term commitment or contracts these days, but you’d still want to make sure if there’s a contract required before setting up the first lesson. It’s also recommended for students to check the type of payment the teacher prefers and when to send the payment.
Need help with Finding a Potential Guitar Instructor?
Lesson With You offers live online 1-on-1 guitar lessons with the exceptional guitar instructors who earned at least Bachelor’s degrees from top music schools including Northwestern University, Berklee School of Music, University of Southern California and San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
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