Whether you have picked up a guitar for the first time or have been strumming away for years, there is always a tutor out there willing to teach you how to learn and improve.
Hourly rates depend on several factors, your location and the tutor you choose, how qualified and in demand they are.
Do you want personal tuition or as part of a group? Purchasing online lessons is often much more economical than one to one in the tutor’s home or studio.
Select your tutor, after reading many reviews, speaking with them and watching them play; ask if they offer any reductions for block booking lessons. A friend of mine bought her son Gift Vouchers for lessons, cheaper still!
Expect to pay between £20 and £70 per hour.
How many lessons should you book? Now there’s a question. There is no definitive answer! Most professional guitarists insist they are always learning and honing their craft. People can go to lessons for years or weeks, it is very personal. A great teacher gives you structured lessons and goals, so if you practice regularly, then you should see results relatively quickly.
Are guitar lessons worth it?
So, you received a guitar for Christmas, ran up to your bedroom, and perched on the end of the bed in front of the mirror, thinking just how cool you looked?
Then you strummed…!
Ed Sheeran seems to make it look so easy!
Big decision to make now, do you put the guitar on top of the wardrobe to collect dust or is it worth investing in some guitar lessons?
Do you need lessons at all? Some absolute greats were self-taught; Eric Clapton got a cheap guitar at age 13 and hated it, at 15 saved and bought his own and never had a lesson, he never looked back.
Bryan May started playing a Spanish acoustic guitar at the tender age of 7. He would listen and play along to The Shadows, The Ventures and The Everly Brothers. He learnt to play by ear and look at him now!
David Bowie taught himself to play many instruments, including the guitar, as a child, as did Prince, piano at age 7 and guitar at 13.
Pete Townshend, one of the greatest rhythm guitarists of a generation was self-taught too, but he has expressed his regret at not having formal lessons or training.
Kirk Hammet, (Metallica), had lessons from Joe Satriani, the rock guitarist that is a 15 time Grammy Award nominee and has sold over 10 million albums. Hammet maintained the lessons long after he joined the band. Satriani also taught Ste Vai, (Whitesnake and Spinal Tap) and producer, singer /songwriter and rock guitarist Kevin Cadogan.
Even Ed Sheeran taught himself to play but soon realised he could greatly improve his technique and hired a tutor.
Should you decide to teach yourself the internet is rife with tuition videos and groups to which you can subscribe.
YouTube has thousands of videos offering to teach you to play your guitar; I’m wary that a novice can’t be sure that they are being taught the correct way. How can someone on a screen tell if you’re gripping the neck too tight or have poor chord fingerings and improper strumming patterns?
It is too easy to learn poor techniques without someone there to teach you otherwise.
JustinGuitar is a free YouTube channel that boasts over 800,000 subscribers. He has posted in excess of 700 free of charge lessons, though you can make a donation if you desire.
Are you diligent enough to actually sit and study a screen, imitating what you see? If so, then this seems a perfect option for you as Justin has hundreds of excellent reviews. With no cost and no cancellation fees should you find it is not for you, the only thing you might lose is a few hours of your time.
Several online tutorials offer free taster lessons and then a cost per tutorial, the better ones of these will tailor make a plan suited to your capability, for a fee.
If you’re willing to pay a higher hourly rate then some guitar teachers will even conduct a lesson via Skype, that way you can question technique and get an immediate response. There will obviously be added advantages as the tutor can actually hear you and will be able to advise you of any corrections to your style instantly.
This is a great option for someone who lives a great distance from a tutor or even would benefit someone housebound.
If you have decided that, you would prefer to learn in person, then finding a reputable, qualified teacher should be your first port of call. If you move in circles with other musicians then ask around, there is no better compliment than word of mouth.
Maybe speak to your music teacher if you’re still at school, she may know an awesome music teacher, she may even be one!
Otherwise hit the internet, there are several tutors within most localities. Read as many reviews from students as you can, read their blogs, see if you are like-minded, definitely watch and listen to lots of clips of them playing.
Narrow it down, contact them and find out exactly what service they offer. When you’re happy, agree a price.
Some teachers will travel to you though most have a studio or will invite you into their home.
All tutors are happy to teach you regardless of what standard you have reached, beginner, intermediate or advanced. Most will customise a plan that is tailor made to your exact requirements.
When learning in a one on one live situation it is so much easier to pick up the absolute basics, to develop good habits and learn the proper techniques. How to best hold your guitar, to tune it and learn strumming patterns.
In my opinion, these things are simpler to learn when you have someone to correct you in an instant, who can hear what you are playing and repeat instructions as many times as you need to hear them. Someone who can appreciate your hard work and offer encouragement.
I feel that you could learn at a faster, higher impact pace, equalling better results.
There is a case for taking lessons in different mediums, all of which I think are worth trying.
Maybe if you want to just play your favourite songs in your bedroom the free YouTube route is for you. If you have dreams of being centre stage and screaming “Hello Wembley” one day, then consider paying for lessons.
Or, if you have a good ear, you could always teach yourself, it worked for Eric Clapton!