What to Look For in a Guitar Teacher and How to Select the Best One for You
by: Tomas Michaud
I have been responsible for hiring all the instructors at my music school Starland Music Center for 30 years. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned over the years what I consider to be the best ways to separate the “wheat from the chaff.”
Teaching with a plan
The best teachers always prepare and have a plan: it’s said in teaching that for every hour of teaching you need to prepare twice as much. You should be able to tell whether you’re dealing with a professional just with your first meeting – they will determine where you are, where you are trying to go and then propose a method for getting you there. Even in the first lesson they might give you exercises to evaluate where you are.
The best teachers are not afraid to tell you their methods.
You can always tell the worst teachers, because they are the ones who “wing it.” If you can tell that your prospective teacher hasn’t prepared for the lesson and looks like they are making up stuff on the spot – they probably are. Get away as fast as you can. With these types of teachers you won’t achieve any progress, because there’s no system to their teaching. If you don’t realize this right from the beginning, you end up six months later feeling like you haven’t progressed at all and you become very confused. You may even blame your lack of progress on some ridiculous notion that “you don’t have any talent.”
The best teachers stick to their plans and while they may reward you now and then by teaching you a song you really like, more likely they will find out anyway your tastes and incorporate those into later lessons when you get to that level.
How to find a good teacher also depends on how far you are willing to travel for your lessons. The more consistent you are in not missing your lessons the faster you will progress – and it’s much easier to be consistent if you don’t have to travel too far to see your teacher. 30 minutes travel time is a good average, but only you know what you can honestly tolerate.
Abilities vs. teaching skills
The two are not mutual (but neither are they mutually exclusive). Just because a guitarist is an amazing performer, does not mean that they could be a great teacher. In fact, it’s more likely that the best teachers are the ones who are unable to perform so much because they are teaching so much. When you are a beginner, it’s best to go with a teacher who is excellent at teaching you all the basics, you don’t need to…