I’ve had a few Guitar Lessons – What has it taught me?
Recently I found myself stuck in a bit of a hole with my playing. I found that I wasn’t progressing as much as I would like. So I tried a few things to try to get out of this hole, however, no matter how much I tried to climb out, I always found myself slipping back into it. So I decided to have a few guitar lessons and see if that would help me get out of my rut and expand my playing somewhat.
This article is just going to go over a few of the things I have learnt since taking some lessons and also explain why I think it pays everyone to have a few guitar lessons now and then. No matter how advanced you are as a player.
A Goal! Something to Practice!
I feel this is where I struggle when trying to improve. I am very good at practising, if I have something to practise I will sit down and do it. However, I am not very good at giving myself something to practise. This is where getting a teacher can be useful. They will sit with you and find your “weaknesses” and then set your homework to go away and practise. I have only had a few lessons but I can already see an improvement in my playing just from practising the few things he has given me.
Of course, we could talk about how to practise, and maybe that will be a follow-up article on how I go about doing it. I think everyone is different in this area, it is about finding a way that you enjoy and sticking to it. When you have a good routine and something to practise you will be surprised at the progress you can make.
Someone else judging your Playing (In a good way)
I mentioned this above, Good to have someone else judging you, but in a good way. We are all guilty of this! We sit in our rooms and twiddle away and we become oblivious of our bad habits and without anyone there to say otherwise, we wouldn’t know we were picking up bad habits. Luckily having a lesson gives you the chance to sit in front Oscar someone and have them judge your playing and pick out any “flaws” or “bad habits” you might have. This is not saying you are a bad player and is not a bad thing, just little things that could improve your playing.
An example for me was that I tend to let my little finger on my fretting hand do a lot of the work where my ring finger should be. Luckily, some of the exercises he gave me got me out of this fairly easily. Do I notice a difference? Yes! Playing solos feels a lot more natural and fluid. If you have never had lessons and are completely self-taught, You might have habits like wrist position or pick position. These are things a teacher will pick up instantly.
Learning things I have put off
When playing the guitar we all fall into the trap of, if we can’t play it or don’t know it we won’t bother. This could be scales, Patterns, theory or anything else! If we don’t know it we won’t bother learning it. One thing about having lessons is that it has forced me to pick up these skills and knuckle down and learn them! You quickly find out that they aren’t that bad either, when you have a routine (Something we will touch on in a minute), learning a new skill is fairly easy.
For me, it was arpeggios. I have put off learning them for years! Now, I know them and understand them better I have already noticed a difference in my playing and my improvising! It was a skill I put off for ages, but once I learnt them it opened up a whole new level to my playing!
Someone else’s way of looking at something
Teaching yourself things is always good! Learning new ways to do things. However, once you have learnt to do that thing, that’s it, you move on to the next thing. What I discovered having a few guitar lessons was that you learn different ways of doing things you already did. Neither one is right or wrong but just different! Great to add to the back pocket in case you need it in the future.
An example is I always use to practice scales from the low E string. however, my teacher said to try looking at it as using the same shape but starting from the root note all across the fretboard. This was so simple yet blew my mind! Little groupings of notes, in the same shape, but all over the neck! Another thing might be chord shapes and moving between chords, you might do one way but they might do another. Both are correct but different.
Guitar Lessons give you an actual Practice Routine
We have all tried to practice more and also practice better, but if you are like me you find yourself jumping around from skill to scale to technique! Never focus on a certain aspect of playing and mastering it. This is where having guitar lessons really comes into play! Your teacher will give you a routine to follow which will break down several skills and make you practice for X amount of time.
My teacher gave me an hour routine which was broken down into different areas of playing and how long to practice them for. This made a huge difference! I was able to sit down, pull the plan up and know for the next hour I will be doing these things for this amount of time! This meant I wasn’t getting sidetracked with noodling or anything else. My hour’s practice was exactly that!!
Make another Music friend
The last point I want to make is that you get to make another music friend! You get to expand your network and meet other musicians. Always nice to expand your music group and get to know other musicians. We all have this weird obsession with guitars and music so making friends with similar interests is always nice!
This doesn’t really help your playing but does increase motivation and can lead to gigs or filling in further down the line! Something to keep in mind while trying to expand your network.
That is what I have learnt from having guitar lessons! I would highly advise that if you find yourself in a playing rut or don’t really know how to progress I would recommend you find a good tutor and take a couple of lessons. Even if you just have one lesson. You will find out so much about your playing.
Do I plan to continue to take lessons? I do! They won’t be frequent or weekly but every few weeks I will catch back up and go over my weak points and improve! I can’t wait to see and hear the changes in my playing in the coming months!
Thanks for checking out this article! I have plenty more like it. I will do an update to this article in the next few months documenting what has changed and what else I have learnt from having lessons! Might even do an interview with my tutor! So if you have any questions about tutors and for a tutor please let us know on our Instagram.
Check out our other Articles here