Acquiring Musical Skills • Ask Aureus • Guitar

December 2021

All You Need to Know About Learning the Guitar!

Have you always wanted to attend guitar lessons but are not sure where to start? As a guitar teacher, there are questions I often receive from potential students. Let me give you a better idea of how to begin on your exciting journey with the guitar by answering some of them!

I’m new to the guitar. Where should I begin?

If you have trouble following available online resources, I would recommend looking for a teacher. A professional would be better equipped to create a structured curriculum and monitor your progress. This way, you will be able to gain more out of lessons and pick up the relevant skills and techniques more effectively.

What are some benefits of having guitar lessons?

Perhaps you have been convinced by all the success stories about picking up the guitar through online lessons. However, based on my experience, I find that these resources do not guarantee improvement and can sometimes prevent it, as students can pick up the wrong position or fingering on their own. We can identify and correct these problems with help from a qualified teacher. This will help you produce the desired sound better without running into any risks of injuring your hands in the long run.

What is the difference between an acoustic, classical, and electric guitar and how do I make the right choice between the three?

Most importantly, look at the genre of music. If you enjoy listening to contemporary pop music like those by Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars, I would suggest taking up acoustic guitar lessons. If you are into classical repertoire such as pieces by Francisco Tarega or Fernando Sor, classical guitar lessons are great for developing your playing technique and performance skills. Or, if your dream is to become a rock star like Queen or Bon Jovi, then perhaps you might consider electric guitar lessons.

Still not sure which guitar is the best for you? Let our teachers at Aureus Academy help you find the right guitar for you!

Which examination board should I take my guitar exams from?

Some students looking to obtain proper musical qualifications might be concerned about the details when it comes to music exams. For the guitar, the common examination boards include ABRSM, Trinity, and Rock School. Depending on the type of guitar you are learning, you may wish to look at an examination board that is most suited for your purposes. For instance, Trinity and Rock School both provide acoustic and electric guitar graded exams.

How do I make playing the guitar less painful?

You will definitely experience some pain when you first start out on the guitar. Your fingertips are not used to the stiffness of the strings. Do not be afraid or discouraged! There are some useful tips you can try to alleviate this problem. First of all, choosing a lighter and lower tension string can help. Secondly, you can ask a guitar technician to lower your string action (the distance between the strings and fingerboard). This simple setup will reduce the pressure against your fingers and make the strings easier to press down on.

Finally, it is always best to consult your guitar teacher regarding your guitar setup or finger positions so that they can provide their expertise and informed advice. It is important to persevere through this obstacle at the beginning. After attending a few guitar lessons and with enough practice, playing will become more effortless as you develop sufficient muscle strength.

How fast can I learn a song from scratch?

How fast you can learn a song depends on your level of playing and the complexity of the song. It also depends on your goals for the song or how polished you want your performance to be. In general, an easy piece can take a beginner anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to learn. Most beginners should be able to pick up a song with a simple strumming pattern within a week. One way to make picking up certain songs quicker or easier is to simplify the arrangement. I have some young students who encounter difficulties in pressing certain chords. For them, I would usually simplify all the chords and create a simpler arrangement so that they can play the songs they want.

What makes a good guitar teacher?

Besides the most obvious factors of being qualified and having good teaching skills, the next most important quality you should look for in a teacher is a burning passion for music and the instrument. With a teacher who not only knows their craft, but is able to inspire students with their spirit, students are more likely to be motivated to improve their craft while also enjoying it.

Are you preparing to take the first step towards becoming a guitarist but still having some doubts? Book a free trial lesson at Aureus Academy now and have all your questions answered!

Gavin Ng

Gavin Ng is a passionate and dedicated Guitar and Music Exploration teacher at Aureus Academy Causeway Point. He received his Master’s degree in Music from Shih Chien University, Taiwan. Gavin has performed as a classical solo guitarist and in guitar ensembles across multiple cities in Asia. Alongside his career as a performer, Gavin is an enthusiastic music educator who enjoys sharing his passion for music with his students, inspiring them and nurturing their talents.