This is it. You’re going to learn guitar. Forget what you think you know and check out the pros’ advice before hiring your guitar guru. Jon Chorba of DFW Rock Guitar Academy in Arlington, Texas, Morgan Henry in Alexandria, Virginia, and Dom Minasi in New York City, riff on finding the right musical fit.
What kind of guitar lessons can somebody take?
Before signing on with a teacher, make sure they’re versed in your area of interest. Musical styles can run the spectrum. Make sure your teacher understands your music goals and can help you meet them before signing on for lessons.
Jon teaches rock-based music meaning: rock, classic rock, blues alternative, metal, and country. He offers private or small group lessons, as well as a cool format called Guitar Team which combines online learning, private lessons, and group classes.
Morgan has been practicing and playing guitar and bass for nearly 50 years. He offers weekly, hour-long beginning and intermediate guitar (for acoustic and electric) and bass lessons.
Dom teaches to a range of students, from beginners to progressions. He instructs in all guitar genres, including harmony, theory, and reading rhythms.
Who takes guitar lessons?
Everyone, including you! Ages range as low as 7 up to 82, in Jon’s case. He says most of the students on his roster are adult men age 25-40 who are complete beginners. Morgan shares that most of his students start off on the electric guitar or bass. On that note, don’t worry about having a fancy guitar, says Dom. You just need an instrument that is playable and stays in tune.
What’s the most requested musical style that people want to learn?
Across the board, popular music and rock are in demand. But don’t let that deter you if you’re dying to learn classical or flamenco. Just do a bit of research to find a teacher who’s right for you. Dom adds he’s seeing more and more jazz students coming in for lessons, as well.
What can someone expect at their first lesson?
Figuring out what you need to learn guitar is what the first lesson is about.
For absolute beginners, Morgan likes to go over music basics and start working from a beginner guitar book. Jon’s goal is instilling confidence and making sure even a total newbie walks out having played something cool. If you have some experience, expect to play a bit so the teacher can assess where you are at to set the stage for achieving your music goals (i.e. world domination via rock stardom).
What does it take to become a good guitar player?
Morgan lays it out, real simple:
- Play a lot
- Have desire and drive
- Stick to it—Don’t let lack of natural musical aptitude slow you down. Almost anybody can get to a level with which they are happy if they don’t give up.
- Find a great teacher
How often should you practice?
You can smooth by on 20 minutes per day, or take it to something like 3 hours each evening, says Dom. It just depends on what your goals are. As Jon says, “if you want to be a dynamite, amazing, virtuoso, in-demand player, you need to practice a minimum of 1-2 hours a day.” It’s a simple equation of more practice time = faster progress.
Any tips for someone preparing to learn guitar?
Set realistic goals, suggests Morgan. Assess your schedule and see where you can dedicate time for studying and playing your instrument. Above all, he recommends, prepare to have fun. Jon also adds to avoid comparing yourself to any other guitar players. Just measure your progress against your playing from yesterday.
Any tips for finding the perfect teacher?
Make sure you communicate well with your teacher, urges Morgan. It’s important that they not only be an excellent musician, but also an excellent instructor. Look for someone who is patient and supportive.
Jon suggests asking how they teach their lessons. He shares that a good teacher won’t be able to answer that specific question until they have more information on you as a student. Jon teaches the same concepts over and over again, but rarely in the same way and in the same order.
Above all, find a person you jive with. This should be enjoyable!
Any last minute insights?
If you just want to learn a few jams and have a part-time hobby, Jon recommends you run far away from teachers who insist on teaching you music theory or to read sheet music. He says they will waste your time and money. However in depth you want your learning to be, Jon suggests you don’t judge teachers solely by their price. He opines that over the long run, you’ll spend more money on a cheap teacher. Just don’t quit, is his number one piece of advice. Even the best have struggled, but they keep going.
Think of learning guitar as a way to tap into your creative energies, as do many of Morgan’s students. It’s a chance for them to step back from their busy lives. He shares that guitar is way to relax and connect in a unique and rewarding manner, whether playing in solo or in a band. He also mentions that learning to play an instrument keep your brain active and healthy. Double win!
Dom says for those who really want to dive in and learn to play, they should be prepared to be opened up to a world of wonder that can become a passionate lifelong study.