If you are considering learning to play the guitar, you might ask yourself, “Why take guitar lessons?”
Didn’t some of the all-time greats teach themselves? Sure. Can you learn to play a musical instrument on your own? Yes. Isn’t there a wealth of freely-available educational information on the internet? Of course.
I have nothing against teaching yourself to play. Some of my favorite players are self-taught, though I’m sure they had some help along the way. If you have the perseverance, patience, and motivation to teach yourself to play a musical instrument, then you can do it. It’s a difficult way to learn, but it’s definitely possible.
So, why take guitar lessons? Having a guitar instructor can help you to progress much more quickly than you would on your own. An experienced teacher can assess your playing ability and musical interests, and use them to craft a curriculum that will challenge and inspire you.
Guitar Lessons and Good Habits
Poor technique and practice habits can hinder your development as a musician, and can even cause injury. A good guitar teacher can help you correct bad habits before they become problems. I’ll use myself as an example here.
When I got my first electric guitar, I taught myself to play Iron Man.
On the E-string.
With my thumb.
My first guitar teacher said, “Take everything you’ve learned, and forget it.” It stung. I thought he was going to tell me how hard I rocked.
He could have been a little more delicate about it, but I’m glad he set me straight. He could see that the technique I was developing on my own was not helping me to become the guitarist I wanted to be.
Now, I’d like to think that I would have figured that out on my own, before too long. But, in the time it might have taken me to do so, I had already learned how to play Purple Haze, and the minor pentatonic scale. Why? Because I had someone to show me how. It was thrilling!
Stay Motivated With Guitar Lessons
If you’re learning on your own, it can be difficult to stay motivated. Sure, your parent or housemates might notice that you’re starting to sound better, but unless they are guitarists themselves, they might not be the best source of constructive feedback.
A good guitar teacher will be able to recognize your accomplishments, and make you aware of your opportunities for improvement. Not only that, but having a weekly appointment to show off the fruits of your practice regimen is an excellent motivator.
Guitar Lessons are Great for Kids
Music lessons are especially beneficial for young minds. Learning a musical instrument as a child has far-reaching positive effects that will last a lifetime. Music can increase children’s confidence, and teach them about the rewards of self-discipline. Plus, kids who learn to play music show improvements in cognitive abilities. It’s a complex and intriguing subject, so I’ll leave its explanation to this New York Times article.