Embarrassing moment #1: you show up to your guitar lesson and your guitar teacher is wearing spandex. Take note; this has happened to me.
When taking lessons from a personal guitar teacher something that has really frustrated me, and I believe would also frustrate you, is that there are a number of things that can go wrong… My own first guitar lesson was in the 80's. At the time I knew next to nothing about playing guitar. Since then I've had many guitar teachers, and here's often what has happened with some of these teachers:
- They spend inordinate amounts of time showing off playing guitar for you and putting on a show while you watch wondering when the lesson will start. My very first teacher was guilty of this offense. The really frightening thing is he wore spandex and played along to a Dio records while doing so. I have to admit, at the time I thought he was pretty cool. Only now looking back do I wish I could revise my memory and run from the room with dignity intact. It's a fact, some teachers are down-right embarrassing. It's a wonder to me that I'm still playing guitar after the 80's
- They'll say, "okay, well here's a scale, go ahead and practice this for a few minutes and I'll be right back." And then they disappear for 15 or 20 minutes while you sit there practicing your scale wondering when they'll come back. Practicing is something you need to be doing at home. An instructor should never leave the room unless they have a good reason.
- Too often guitar teachers simply don't have a lesson plan. You are paying $15, $20 or $25 an hour (or more!) and you sit down with them and they may not even have an efficient methodology that they can walk you through, or anything they've developed that's effective for teaching you while not wasting your time and money. They are often times teaching whatever comes off the tops of their heads.
- Maybe they chose to teach you from a book. Don't be surprised if your a beginning guitarist and you find yourself starting off playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" from an ancient "Mel Bay" book. A fine song to be sure, but it can be frustrating if you're not interested in learning to read standard music notation, or you really just want to play the chords and songs that you're interested in. Quite frankly, I believe, you can waste a lot of time with a book like this.
I've had these things happened to me and I'll bet my wallet some of you can think of things like this that have happened either to you or to a friend.
In the end what do you have to show for it? $600 in the Hole.
Lessons are expensive! I'm sure it's not hard for you to imagine paying $20 a lesson. If you're taking four lessons a month, with one lesson a week, that over six months would cost you $600 of hard earned cash! $600 is a lot of money, in fact you could buy a really nice new guitar with $600. Wouldn't you rather have that than six months of dillydallying with a teacher who doesn't have a methodology and probably is not spending your time wisely? Over the course of the year that's two brand new guitars you could have spent that money on instead! Of course, it's true that not all guitar teachers are like that. If you are lucky enough to find a good one, and you're willing to pay the price, then you're fortunate.
What's your guitar teacher horror story?
I hope my experience inspires you to tell about your own experience with guitar teachers. If you have you're own story I'd love to hear about it and invite you to leave it in the comment section below.