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Guitar Lesson Options...

...Identified, Explained, Recommended


Before we discuss guitar lesson options, let's be honest with each other.

Words like:

Lessons... School... Homework... Practice...

... most of us learn to despise. That's because we associate them with grades, marked up papers, or feeling like we somehow failed.

Just as with much of life, if we change our view and our attitude, we realize they they can also lead to...

Learning... Improvement... Enjoyment... Proficiency.

There are so many guitar lesson options that one is sure to be a perfect fit to your talent level, schedule, and personality!

Do you really need lessons?

Maybe you're one of those rare people who learn to play by ear and have a natural talent. You pick up a guitar a few times, play around with it, and *POOF* it clicks.


But I've never met someone like that.

Face it, if you've never played before... you don't know what you don't know. And as you begin learning to play, you will have questions like:

Rather than dread them... read on and discover the best guitar lesson options for you. Your playing will benefit from choosing one or more methods, and you'll be glad you invested the time in yourself.


Software and Online Lessons

If you like to stay behind-the-scenes and remain anonymous, select software, or online lessons. There are a variety of software packages and literally thousands of web-sites offering guitar lesson options.


Community Oriented Web Sites offer forums and articles by feature writers and members. These are typically free sites. The material is often diverse and ranges from mediocre to outstanding. Coverage of a particular topic of interest may be spotty. You rely upon the community's sense of concern to address questions and less popular topics.

One interesting site is Guitar Noise. Guitar Noise is a volunteer-run site dedicated to educating and helping fellow guitarists. The emphasis is on acoustic and electric guitar, but bass guitar and singing are also covered. You can find lessons that cover basic to advanced guitar playing, understanding tablature, how to form chords, even some songs explained step by step (a few with audio or video assistance). The site also has an active song writers group. The music emphasizes classic rock, with an emphasis on artists like Neil Young. The only downside to Guitar Noise is that the abundance of information, can feel a bit intimidating to beginners.


Guitar Manufacturer Lessons... It's in the best interest of guitar manufacturers for you to learn and enjoy guitar. If nothing else, it means you own a product that you'll talk to others about. It might also mean that you decide to purchase additional guitars! At the Fender Player's Club you can select your guitar lesson options by style (Rock, Country, etc.), skill Level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Chops Builder, or Kids), or artist. The information is quite good and some lessons include video assistance. But you have to download the lessons as PDF files.

Similar instruction is available from the Gibson Guitar Lessons page. Choose to watch video lessons based on your preferred instrument, skill level, type of lesson, or artist-instructor.

Some manufacturers, such as Taylor, offer traveling clinics and guitar check-ups.

The best Fee Based lesson sites and Software offer text, video, audio, forums and customer support. They also evolve over time to accommodate changing needs and music interests. Some are created by individual guitarists who want to help - and earn a living in return for their work. Others are created and maintained by education or software organizations.

Be sure to read the fine print regarding system requirements. Some packages do not support Macintosh computer systems. Some require that you download and install software.

These software guitar lesson options are cost effective. Offering the same lessons to thousands of buyers reduces production costs. Competition among vendors often result in special packages that are offered at very reasonable prices.

But... even the best customer support is not the same as an instructor who can see you, hear you, and give you personalized feedback. These guitar lesson options can be great for the self-taught student, or a great supplement to those who have access to occasional in-person instruction.

You might want to read the reviews of ten of the top Software and Online Guitar Lessons.


Classroom Lessons

If you enjoy learning in a traditional classroom setting... multiple others with similar skills to you... one instructor, possibly with assistants... then you have many guitar lesson options. Some primary schools, most middle schools, and nearly all high schools offer guitar instruction. If you (or your child) are still in school, there is almost no better way to start playing guitar.

If you are a bit older, don't give up on guitar lesson options in the classroom. Among those who offer classroom instruction near me are Junior Colleges, University Adult Education, Community Centers, and Library's.

One great benefit of well done classroom instruction is the creation of a guitar ensemble. Even the newest beginners can create impressive music when properly orchestrated. Participating in such a group can boost your motivation and inspire you to practice regularly.

Costs tend to be low, and you have weekly feedback on how your progress measures up to others.


Private Instruction

The most expensive of the guitar lesson options is also the only one where you benefit from one-on-one instruction. Nothing beats a quick fix and an encouraging word to get past a problem or to overcome a mental hurdle. In addition, a good instructor builds your lessons to suit your taste in music, your level of play, your strengths and your weaknesses.

Of course, a poor instructor can make you miserable.

How can you find an instructor?

If you know other musicians, ask around for recommendations... and don't be afraid to interview an instructor or walk away if problems arise.

If you don't, try Click For Lessons. Click For Lessons offers fun, friendly, & patient instructors to teach guitar in your home or our studios. All ages & skill levels. Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical, Electric, Acoustic, and more.

SIDEBAR: For those of you who live in Northern Virginia, I heartily recommend Mr. Wayne and Miss Jennene, collectively known as Wayne's World. They offer private and group lessons in classical, rock, country, folk, Christian, jazz and other styles of music. They offer lessons in guitar, bass, piano, strings, and voice. They don't just teach the instrument, they use modern music and technology to enrich the lesson and emphasize the fun side of playing. They combine all this with a foundation in music theory and sight-reading. Look them up!

Group Instruction - Where the Real Fun Happens!

Imagine you could get together with a group of people who also want to learn, want to play, but you just don't know who... or you're too embarrassed to want to stand out... or you just don't know a drummer... that's where group instruction fits in. And when you get a group of people together to play, fun is a natural outcome.

You might find a local Park & Rec department sponsoring group guitar lessons, where you can blend in, or gauge your progress against others. Or, you might be lucky enough to find a learning environment like they have at Natural Ear Music School, in Austin, Texas.

Natural Ear Music School is run by a group of musicians who want to share their love of music with the young and aspiring artists out there. They were established in 1991 (they like to point out that they started their business before the "School of Rock" movie) and they base their lessons on listening, playing what you like, and playing what you can!

If you have a spare three minutes, check out this video. It's a great example of what they do and the results they get. (You can see more videos on the Natural Ear Music home page, or on their YouTube channel):



Hanging Out With Friends

If you are lucky enough to know people who already play, and who are willing to spend a little time helping you learn, then hanging out with them is one of the best guitar lesson options.

You get some of the advantages of private instruction, without the cost. If you pick up a song or two, you get the reward of playing with others to produce music. Often they will have equipment that you can test out and play around with. They may even have equipment they no longer use and are willing to sell at bargain prices. In addition, it's likely they play music you also like... and they'll teach you how to play it!


DVD's and Books

DVD's and Books can be great. You can mark up books, take DVD's with you... but they don't update themselves. You get what you get at the time that you get it.

But... each can be a great learning tool.

Books are a proven way to learn. Nearly every single class taught in every schoolroom uses books. In fact, for just about any of the methods mentioned above, including software and on-line lessons, books (or e-books) will be part of your learning experience.

DVD's provide additional individual-study and self-paced guitar lesson options. They cover less material than books, but visual instruction takes many fewer words to give you a clear understanding.

Many publishers of guitar lessons now bring the best of these two methods together with books that include DVD's. The DVD's often include demonstrations. They may also include exercises and songs that you play along with, calibrated notes for tuning, or accompaniment (such as drums, bass guitar or more) to add some fun to your practice time.

If books are one of your chosen guitar lesson options, check out a few of my favorites on the First Steps For The Beginning Guitarist page.

If you are a parent, and your child does not like lessons, or school for that matter, consider reading "I Hate School: How to Help Your Child Love Learning" by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, from Zondervan publishing.



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