These days there are many options available to anyone who wants to learn to play the guitar. There are a ton of youtube videos, books, and apps. There is a good chance that you have a teenager or college student in your area looking to earn of few extra dollars teaching guitar. You may have a relative that is willing to show what they know. Some towns may even have a professional guitar teacher with many years of teaching experience.
As long as you feel like you are making progress, does it really matter how you learn?
It most certainly does!
Let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective. Imagine you want to learn how to repair your car. Who would you like to teach you?
Do you choose an entertaining youtube star who shows you how? You don’t know much about him. Where he got his training, or how much experience he has. Most of what he says sounds right, but you are not sure because you have never repaired something like this before.
The young man down the street who is always working on his car out in the driveway. After all, his car runs some days, so he must know what he is doing.
Your uncle who worked on his own car back when he was in college over forty years ago. He seems to know what he is talking about, but you have never seen him actually touch a car.
How about the guy with the awesome-looking hot rod that you talked to at the car show. Sure he said he has never shown anyone else how to work on a car before, but he is willing to try it.
The certified mechanic who runs a reputable shop in town and teaches auto repair classes at a local trade school.
I know the mechanic at the school will be more expensive than the other options, but in life, you usually get what you pay for.
You are probably saying that the dangers of learning guitar the “wrong way” are less consequential than getting bad advice on repairing your car. And you are correct.
But the principle is the same.
Cheap guitar lessons will cost you a lot more in the long run.
You risk learning bad habits that will take a lot of time and effort to correct.
There is a good chance that an inexperienced teacher will teach you things that have nothing to do with your goals as a player. Many young or inexperienced teachers will just show you a version of what they are currently working on without considering if it is the right thing for you to be learning right now.
Random videos can lead down a dead-end path. After hours of practice, you are no closer to your goals.
Working with a professional guitar teacher with years of experience will help you avoid these pitfalls. They will have a plan for you. They will guide you down the most straightforward path towards your goal. You will learn the correct way of doing things from the beginning. The cost of studying with a professional teacher is worth it because you will learn much faster and avoid a lot of the frustration that most guitar players experience while learning to play.
About the author: Brian Fish is a professional guitarist living in Northeast Ohio and is an expert guitar instructor at Guitar Lessons Geauga.