3 Things To Ask Yourself Before Starting Guitar Lessons
If you’re thinking of taking up the guitar, you’re making a great choice – probably. While the guitar is lots of fun to play, it’s not the best option for everyone, which is one reason why a lot of new learners give up. So before you take the plunge, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Why the guitar?
Firstly, why are you choosing the guitar? It’s important to be honest about your real motivations. If you simply love the instrument, you’ll be fine. But if you’re just learning because you think it’s ‘cool’, or you’re trying to impress the girls/guys, then you might find that you lose your enthusiasm pretty quickly when the reality of the work it really takes to learn to play kicks in.
There’s nothing wrong with having these kinds of ‘external’ motivations. But if they’re not combined with a genuine love for the guitar itself, you may discover your interest is short-lived.
2. Are you choosing the right way to learn?
Having gotten clear on your motives, think about the path you’re going to take. There are various ways to learn the guitar, but these basically boil down to choosing between lessons with a teacher, or teaching yourself to play.
It’s hard to beat one on one instruction with a good teacher for getting the best possible start, but sometimes this isn’t possible. You’ll need to consider your location (read more about finding a guitar teacher in your area), your budget, and your schedule, as well as your personality. Private lessons can be expensive and inconvenient, not to mention stressful if you don’t find a teacher you click with.
If you decide to teach yourself, you should still follow a structured lesson plan. Your options include using a guitar tutor book, guitar lessons DVDs or a course of online guitar lessons. (one such course that I like is Jamorama – see my Jamorama review for more details).
You’ll also need to ensure the lessons you choose will cover the type(s) of music you want to play, although most good quality general guitar lessons will give you the fundamental skills you’ll need to play the basics of most musical styles, and you can get more specialised instruction later. Read more about the different types of beginner guitar lessons.
3. Do you know how the guitar will fit into the rest of your life?
To get good at the guitar, you’ll need to practice every day. This sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of people don’t actually bother – and then they wonder why they’re not making any progress. Many start with the best of intentions, but life gets in the way, and the guitar practice schedule goes out of the window.
While there’ll sometimes be days when you genuinely can’t practice, it’s important to make the guitar a priority, and plan in advance how you’re going to fit it into your life. Set aside a regular time each day, and stick to it as much as is humanly possible. Making guitar practice part of your routine, like brushing your teeth, will make it easier to stick with (read some more guitar practice tips).
If you can answer these questions before you make the commitment to starting the guitar, you’ll be more likely to keep it up, since you’ll clearly know why you want to learn, and how you’re going to proceed.