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3 Reasons Not To Learn Guitar At Home

Want to teach yourself guitar? Are you sure? Although many successful guitarists are self-taught, there are situations where it’s not a great idea – read on and become aware of these before you take the plunge.

1. You Want To Learn Classical or Flamenco Guitar

Teaching yourself guitar can be great – you’re free to chart your own course, and there’s no need to spend time travelling to lessons or fork out huge sums for a private teacher. There are downsides however, and one of the potentially most damaging of these is that it’s very easy to get things wrong. And because you’re learning guitar alone at home, you’ll have nobody around to put you straight.

Now, depending on the type(s) of music you’re learning, this isn’t necessarily a huge problem to begin with. If you’re just strumming along with your favourite pop or rock songs, you can still sound decent even if your posture and hand positions are horrible. This isn’t to say it’s ok to play with poor technique – at some point it’ll cause problems and will need to be sorted out, so you should try to get things right from the beginning. But sloppy habits won’t necessarily hold you back right away.

But styles like classical and flamenco guitar require more technical precision, and it’s especially important to start off with good playing form, or you’ll find it difficult to progress. And while you may be able to learn this from self-teaching materials (good videos in particular can be helpful), it’s harder. So if you’re really serious about giving yourself the best start with these styles, lessons with a good guitar teacher are the way to go.

2. You’re Not Vigilant Enough When Practicing

stop signFollowing on from the above point, whatever style of music you’re learning, you need to be very careful about maintaining good posture and playing form if you’re teaching yourself. It’s very easy to fall into bad habits, and not so easy to break them when they’re established.

To prevent this, it helps to practice in front of a mirror. This makes it easier to observe your hand positions and general posture. It can also be helpful to spend some time every so often reviewing the section in your guitar lessons course (you are following one, right?) that discusses these things – it’s always good to be reminded of the basics.

3. You’re Not Highly Motivated

Some people don’t manage to teach themselves the guitar successfully because they just aren’t motivated enough. Once you’ve been playing for a little while, it’s easy for the initial burst of enthusiasm to wear off, especially when you realise that learning guitar isn’t quite as easy as you might have thought. This is where encouragement from a teacher can come in handy, but if you’re self-taught you don’t have that – which is why you need to be highly motivated to keep going.

Unfortunately, many people who take up an instrument will give it up within months. Avoid becoming one of these statistics by being very clear about your reasons why you’re learning guitar in the first place, and remind yourself of these when you start to feel discouraged.

Now, this article isn’t meant to try to put people off teaching themselves guitar. Private lessons aren’t always an option, for various reasons, and self-teaching does have some advantages for many people. Just make sure you’re aware of the possible pitfalls, and stay on track by following a good course of high quality guitar lessons, such as Jamorama (downloadable – see my Jamorama review for more info) or Learn and Master Guitar (book/DVD series).

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