People are so pressed for time these days. With many guitar teachers to choose from, would-be students need to quickly discover which teacher is right for them.
Questions to ask potential guitar teachers
Often the first questions that come to mind are, “Where are they?“, “How skilled are they?” and, “How much do they charge?“. Less often people consider the style of teaching on offer. Ignoring the approach taken by a particular teacher is a mistake that could lead to a frustrating series of lessons, slow progress, maybe even a complete waste of money.
To find out a guitar tutor’s teaching philosophy you should find out about what they expect from students each lesson, how each lesson is planned, and how you will be assessed.
Reading a guitar teaching statement
Very few teachers seem to produce formal teaching philosophies, or if they do they don’t publish them online. It might seem like a high-brow pursuit reserved for those who dream about pedagogy. I found it an eye-opening experience to write one, and would encourage others to do the same. For you to see a bit of what I’m talking about I’ve posted a concise version of my teaching philosophy below.
Tim Griffiths’ Guitar Teaching Philosophy
A guitar student will be successful if they are taught correct technique, music theory, and do a lot of practice. To motivate students to progress I plan lessons around what they want to play, and cover many aspects of each piece including timing, scales, intonation, technique, and dynamics.
One of my first students wanted to learn Fade to Black by Metallica. Using the intro riff I taught him timing, how to play the electric guitar more like an acoustic, and the scale being used by the lead guitarist in the solo.
In each lesson my students learn about how guitars work, new theory and technique. Recently one student wanted to know how chords and keys were related, so I taught him how the notes are laid down on the fretboard by drawing a diagram. Then we practiced playing in a particular key to hear and identify chord sequences matching each key. Another student focused on a particular scale, so we explored the different ways of playing those notes on the guitar, and we built riffs including new skills of bending notes and vibrato.
In my teaching I share my passion for current music technology with my students, for instance improvise with scales to backing tracks on Youtube, or recording chord sequences using Garageband on the iPad.
I am keen to share my guitar knowledge and skills with guitar students no matter where they’re coming from. I can teach bass, lead, and rhythm guitar and am open to many styles. I seek to create an inclusive learning environment by always giving students positive feedback and suggestions for how to improve. I take pride in seeing my students blossom and form their own bands. I look forward to helping many more students progress in the future.