My goal for this blog is to make it a resource not only for those learning guitar, but also those teaching it, especially as a fair portion of my readership are guitar teachers. For example, the resources page is there for anyone's use.
If you're thinking "hmm, I'm not a teacher", well these principles are still really useful for those learning the guitar.
1. Don't neglect the skills:
By skills I mean scales, chords, rhythm, arpeggios, reading, tone, technique etc. etc.
This one seems obvious, but it can be easy to just give in to what a student wants when they just want to learn songs. One thing I'll always tell my students is that the better their skills are, the easier they can learn or even create songs in the future. The last thing you want is a student who hasn't progressed at all outside of learning a few new songs.
2. Incorporate skills into things they enjoy:
You need to balance what skills you're learning with some things they enjoy. 9 times out of 10, this is going to be songs they like, other times it can be improvisation, song writing or something else.
This is really important for two reasons:
1) They are actually enjoying learning the guitar.
2) They are applying their skills in a memorable way.
As much as possible, try to be intentional about what fun stuff they do in line with what will actually push them at their skill level.
3. Be a Guide:
This is one aspect that I truly believe but at times can be hard to get right. I believe your role is closer to a "guide" than a "teacher", or even tutor. A teacher will spend hours each week with students, while you will only spend 30 mins to an hour with yours. Of course, that time you will need to be teaching and explaining content, but your goal should always be setting them up for an effective week of practice appropriate to their level. This means they need to know HOW to practice whatever you just taught them.
You also need to have some long term direction so that you are actually guiding them towards their goals.
It's important in this that you give them independence and don't spoon feed them everything. I'll encourage my students to go and learn songs on their own, and just show them to me or come to me when they need help with a certain section etc. That way they don't need to wait for my permission to do more playing and learning.
4. Tailor the Lessons:
Each student learns differently, has different natural talents, enjoys different things and has different goals. So it's really important that you treat them this way when you give them lessons/an overall plan. This also means that at times you will have to go against what they would naturally want to do to help them improve on their weaknesses. Remember, you're the expert, so that's your responsibility.
And while this is a given, it also means being prepared for each lesson and at the same time being flexible to adapt to the student's needs.
5. Have Clear Goals:
This is really applicable to anything in life, so of course it's also applicable here. But you need to know what their goals are, what your goals for them are, and why they even like guitar in the first place. This is really important not only for their own motivation but also so that you can know how to put a plan in place to help them best reach this.
I trust that this has been helpful for you in your teaching endeavours, or even your learning endeavours.
Let me know what you think are some essentials for teaching and don't forget to contact me for lessons or enquiries etc.