1) How long does it take to learn the guitar? / How many lessons are necessary to get to a level where I no longer need a teacher?

I get asked these questions A LOT and the answer is: how long is the proverbial piece of string?  It’s actually a pretty impossible question to answer and here’s why:

  • The possibilities of what you can do on the guitar are pretty much endless.  Check out some virtuoso players in a variety of different genres – classical, jazz, blues, metal etc.  These guys have spent many years getting their playing to the level it’s at now and would probably be the first to admit that they still have a lot to learn.
  • How much progress you make with your playing depends not only on what is taught in the lessons, but also on how long you spend in between lessons practicing these concepts in the right way.  Everyone has different learning capabilities, levels of enthusiasm and time to dedicate to learning guitar.  Some students will get beyond beginner level in a matter of months, others can take much longer.  Learning guitar can be tough, especially at the beginning, but once you have mastered the basics, there is so much more you will be able to do on the guitar.  You will need to dedicate some time each day (even if it’s just 10 minutes) to practice the things we work on in lessons.  If you have a very busy schedule and don’t think you will be able to find time in between lessons to practice, you will probably make very slow progress.  If this is you, please think carefully about whether to start learning guitar. As your guitar teacher, I will be committed to helping you get where you want to be with your playing, but ultimately you will get out of it what you put in.
  • Ask yourself the following questions: What would I like to be able to do on the guitar?  What would have to happen for me to achieve my playing goals?  Once I know what it is that you would like to achieve, I’ll be able to give you a much clearer idea of how you can move forward.  Learning guitar can be a cool hobby, but it can also be a life-long pursuit. One final point I would like to add to this: Students who attend lessons frequently, practice diligently and take full advantage of all the things I offer, make much faster progress and ultimately get more enjoyment and satisfaction from their guitar lessons.

2) Should I buy an acoustic or electric guitar?

This really depends on what you want to do with it!  Think about the kinds of music you enjoy and would like to be able to play.  If you’re into laid back singer-songwriter stuff and would like to learn to play some songs and maybe have a go at singing along, an acoustic guitar would probably be a good bet for you. Acoustic guitars have steel strings and are different to classical guitars, which have nylon strings, although they look pretty similar. If you like listening to loud rock music and want to learn to play some crunchy riffs and screaming solos, then an electric guitar is more likely to be the way to go. There is no law that says you need to learn to play on one kind of guitar before “progressing” onto another.

3) Practice at Home

Every student is expected to take responsibility for their own practice. Consistency is important in learning, particularly in music study. Students who practise frequently will enjoy quicker progress than those that do not. It is a good idea to schedule practice at a regular time (ideally in a morning if possible) to enjoy the greatest benefit. Children are more likely to practise regularly if they have a set time that fits in well with the rest of their routine. Parents pay a key role in motivating their children to develop good practice habits; their encouragement is not to be underestimated. 10 – 15 minutes a day is sufficient to sustain a good level of progress, though 5 minutes is better than none at all. Without exceptions, my best students are the ones that practise the most.

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