1. Is Your Teacher Insane?
Einstein once said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." Sometimes your guitar teacher will teach you lesson material that you won't understand right away. It would be insane for your teacher to continue teaching the same concept using the same method, giving you the same explanation, and expecting you to eventually understand what he is trying to convey. A great guitar teacher is able to reword his explanation and teach in several different ways so that anyone can understand. You will not learn from an instructor who constantly repeats himself when you do not understand what he is showing you. In order to be an effective teacher, he must change the way he is teaching you and the way he explains things. Here's another thing Einstein said: "If you can't explain it to a 6-year old, you don't really understand it yourself". Does your teacher know what he is talking about?
2. Has Your Teacher Gained Your Confidence?
It is essential that you trust your teacher. You won't learn anything if you doubt your teacher's skills or abilities. A great teacher will also instill confidence in you that you are able to learn new things and progress as quickly as you would like to. An essential part of learning is not just understanding, but believing that you are capable of learning. That trust in your teacher is the result of how he carries himself, how confident he is, how well he is prepared, and how well he listens to you. If you doubt your teacher, you have to move on to someone else immediately.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
4. Is Your Teacher More Fast-Paced, or More Relaxed?
You want a teacher who is on the ball. Daniel Coyle in his book "The Talent Code" describes how all the world's famous top coaches and teachers in any discipline, have certain things in common. They all are fast paced, constantly giving lots of pointers, directions and corrections, and they do so very directly without being apologetic or careful about it. They say: "Make bigger strum motions!" (Not: "Hey could you make bigger motions with your strumming arm?). They tell you what to do and how to do it: they don't "ask" you if you could do it. Top teachers don't waste your time and talent: they have the whole "1-2-3-4 Go!" kind of attitude. However: they are also considerate, thoughtful, respectful and caring. They push you hard, but at any given time you will feel that it is: "tough love".
5. By Your Results Of Course.
How quickly do you see yourself progress? Does your teacher take a full hour to teach you 1 song, or do you walk out being able to play 3-4 new songs in 1 lesson? If you barely covered 1 song, then he chose something that was way too hard for you, if he taught you more than 4 songs in 1 hour lesson, then he probably wasted your time and talent giving you stuff that was too easy for you. How many topics does he cover in a lesson? Is your teacher spending half an hour on 1 particular topic, or does he nicely break up and organize the lessons in smaller time sections, that enable him to cover 3-4 different topics in 1 hour? You want the latter. You want a fast paced approach, where about every 15-20 minutes, another technique, song (or part of a song), or theory or exercise gets covered. That way, you will see yourself grow in more different areas of your musicianship simultaneously, and your concentration throughout the lesson stays at peak performance because you're moving on to the next challenge and discovery before your mind is worn down by the previous topic covered. A great teacher will also give you a similar practice regime for maximum efficiency and results.
Now you know what to look for in a great guitar teacher. He needs to possess these qualities if you really want to see great progress in your playing and your understanding of music.
The fantastic feeling of achievement you get when, in no time at all, you can play things you thought you could only dream off, is absolutely priceless. The more effective and efficient your teacher, the stronger that feeling of achievement is going to be.
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Do you want to learn how to play the guitar or improve your guitar playing? Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced guitar player that is looking to improve your technique, knowledge or musicianship?