Finding The Right Guitar Teacher For Your Child
After you’ve purchased the right guitar, the right accessories and an amp (the amp is not necessary to get started) you are going to need someone to teach your child how to play guitar. Without knowing what things to look for in a potential guitar teacher, you run the risk of choosing someone based on the wrong criteria. Here is a list of the right criteria to use when choosing a guitar teacher.
1. Will this teacher teach the style of music my son or daughter will play (or already plays)?
Most parents don’t realize that it is important to find a teacher that teaches the style of music your son or daughter wants to play. Many will go with the first teacher that they speak with, regardless of what style of music they teach.
2. Is the teacher qualified to teach guitar?
Regardless of the style they play, you may end up sending your son or daughter to someone who can’t relate to them and won’t be able to help them reach their goals. Also this teacher simply may not be qualified to teach anyone to play guitar. Why would you want to let them use your child as a guinea pig to gain teaching experience?
3. Sending them to a “Jack Of All Trades” guitar teacher
This might sound nice but the truth is that no musician has mastered every style of music. They may not be able to really dig in to what you child needs to learn to be successful at their particular style of music. To put it another way, if you needed to have heart surgery, would you go to a general surgeon or would you go to someone who specializes in heart surgery? You would choose the specialist, why not do the same when looking for a guitar teacher for your son or daughter?
4. The Price Myth
Many parents think that price is or should be the only consideration when determining who they are going to hire for their kid’s guitar lessons. Just like choosing the first teacher you speak with or hiring a jack of all trades guitar teacher, this is a mistake. To use the surgeon analogy again, if you or your child were going to have surgery, would you go with the cheapest surgeon you could find or would you go with the BEST surgeon that you could find?
Do you want the cheapest teacher or the teacher who is going to get the best results for your child? Cheap teachers often don’t have a lot of experience teaching, aren’t certified to teach anyone and use a lot of one size fits all teaching methods. They aren’t able to guarantee results and they likely don’t know enough about getting the best possible results. Also, the amount or progress a typical student makes is extremely slow as the teachers tend to just load them up with a bunch of new stuff each week. In the long run, “cheap” guitar lessons will cost you a LOT in terms of both time and money.
5. Not all guitar lessons (and teachers) are the same
Even before the price myth, the mistake most parents make is thinking that all guitar lessons are the same, last the same amount of time and students are given the same information and in the same way. All guitar lessons are not created equal and all teachers are not the same. If you want proof of this, ask every potential guitar teacher this one question:
How do you teach a typical guitar lesson?
The best question you could ask a potential teacher but nobody ever asks it. This question will quickly show you who is a great teacher and who isn’t. A bad teacher will answer the question immediately and tell you how they are going to teach your child.
There is no answer for this question at this point, because the teacher has not met your child yet and doesn’t know the how to help them. They do not know what your child’s specific needs are. If a teacher gives you any answer except for this one, they are the wrong teacher to hire.
Asking A Potential Teacher The Right Questions
When you talk to any potential guitar teacher, here is a short list of excellent questions you to ask, as well as the answers you should expect to hear.
6. Are you qualified to teach kids guitar lessons?
You will be shocked to find out how many guitar teachers aren’t qualified to teach guitar. Many will answer this question by telling you how many years they have been teaching, some will talk about having degrees from Universities. How long (in terms of years) they have been teaching isn’t a qualification, it is only a statistic. If they state that they have degrees, ask them how many of those degrees are specifically for teaching guitar.
7. What do you tell your students about practicing?
The truth is that there are more than one correct answer for this question. Kids (ages 10 and younger) are going to practice a completely different way than kids ages 11 -12 and teenagers.
The Benefits Of Studying With A Great Teacher
- Save time and money! Your child will struggle less with their playing
- You will know, after you talk to them, that this person is the best possible person to teach your son or daughter
- Your child will make progress faster, have fun at their lessons and stay inspired to play guitar more
Don’t make the mistake of reading this guide and then doing nothing with it.
You are now ready to go out and find the right guitar teacher for your child right now. You know everything that you need to know in order make sure that your child’s guitar lessons will be successful and your child can start to enjoy learning a skill that can last them a lifetime.
About the author
Byron Marks teaches kids guitar lessons in Manchester, NH. Byron is patient, understanding and knows that every child learns at a different pace.