Have you always wanted to pick up the guitar but are not sure where to start and what you need to know? As a guitar teacher, there are some questions I often get asked by students and parents when looking for guitar lessons. Below are some of my thoughts on them which will hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect and how to begin on your exciting journey with the guitar!
Q: I’m new to the guitar. Where should I begin?
A: If you have trouble following available online resources to begin playing the guitar, I would recommend looking for a teacher. Since a professional would be better equipped to create a structured curriculum and monitor your progress, you will be able to gain more out of the lessons and pick up the relevant skills and techniques more effectively.
Q: What are some benefits of having guitar lessons?
A: Perhaps you have been convinced by all the success stories you have heard from friends or musicians about picking up the guitar through online lessons like Youtube tutorials and the like. However, based on my experience from teaching, I find that these resources do not guarantee improvement and can sometimes prevent it as there is the possibility of students picking up the wrong position or fingering on their own. By engaging the help of a qualified teacher, such problems in playing can be quickly identified and corrected so that you will be able to better produce the desired sound, as well as not run into any risks of injuring your hands in the long run.
Q: What is the difference between an acoustic, classical, and electric guitar and how do I make the right choice between the three?
A: I think the most important thing to bear in mind when making your choice is to look at what genre of music your real interest lies in. If you enjoy listening to contemporary pop music like those by Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars, I would suggest you go for acoustic guitar lessons. If you are looking at playing 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 taking up lessons on the electric guitar.
Still not sure which guitar is the best for you? Book a free guitar trial lesson at Aureus Academy, and let our teachers help you find the right guitar for you!
Q: Which examination board should I take my guitar exams from?
A: Some students and parents who place an importance on having 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.
Q: How do I make playing the guitar less painful?
A: You will definitely experience some pain when you first start out on the guitar as your fingers are still not used to the stiffness of the strings, but please do not be afraid or discouraged! There are actually 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 with regards to 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 and I promise that eventually, after attending a few guitar lessons and keeping up with your practices, playing will become more effortless as you develop sufficient muscle strength.
Q: How fast can I learn a song from scratch?
A: How fast you can learn a song would depend on your level of playing and the complexity of the song. It also really depends on your goals for the song or how polished you want your performance of the song to be. On a general basis, 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 learning how to play certain songs quicker or easier is to simplify the arrangement. I have some young students who encounter difficulties in pressing certain chords and I would usually simplify all the chords and create a simpler arrangement so that they can play the songs they want.
Q: What makes a good guitar teacher?
A: Besides the most obvious factor 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!