Finding a guitar teacher

I’ve taught guitar privately and in classrooms for over ten years. My experience has taught me a lot. If you want Skype lessons I hope that you’ll contact me. I also have a studio in Ottawa. If you live elsewhere and want lessons with a teacher who’s in your town, here’s how you can find one.

No matter what resource you use, employ caution and properly evaluate the teacher you are considering.

Word of mouth is your best resource. Ask your friends, co-workers and neighbors. If they look forward to lessons and are learning what they want, that’s good. If they’ve found Mr. Guitar God who only plays fast licks and expects students to get it by osmosis, run.

Craig’s List and Kijiji have tons of listings for teachers. It may take some time to get through all those ads. A quick way to narrow down your choices is to know what the average rate for lessons are. If most teachers in your area charge $25 for a half hour and someone’s asking $10, think about it. You could be getting someone who’s starting their teaching career or someone who’s just casing your house.  If you want a teacher with more experience, or if you just want to hold on to your TV, move on to the next listing.

Music stores sometimes have great teachers. Unfortunately, some – not all — only offer lessons as a way to get business in the door.

Websites like www.privatelessons.com can be an excellent way to find teachers in your area. Keep in mind, however, that most don’t screen their instructors. Anyone who pays them can have a listing. (And some are free sites.)

Flyers can sometimes be a good source, especially if you’re looking for an instructor in a particular neighborhood.

City sponsored classes can be great, especially for beginners.

You can find teachers on the net but remember that it’s not always quality instruction. If I had a dollar for every wrong note I’ve heard on YouTube, I’d be driving a BMW. Heck, I’d have a fleet of chauffeured limos. If you already play and you’re looking to learn a particular song, it can be beneficial to see people play it, especially if it’s the artist who made the song popular. However, if you’re a beginner or if you want someone you can interact with, find someone you can see in person.

DVDs and books can offer excellent instruction. I highly recommend www.homespuntapes.com. The big downside to these kind of teachers is that students have to be highly self-motivated. You also can’t ask the teacher questions although you can rewind them. If only the rest of your life was like that, eh?

Music schools can be a really good place to find a teacher. Their reputation is based on having talented teachers. The downside is that many obligate you to a whole series of lessons. You probably don’t want to pay for a whole semester without trying one class or at least, talking to someone who’s taken that class.

Use a search engine. “Your city” plus “guitar teachers” usually works well. Check out the links beyond the first page of listings. Coming up first only means they had great marketing.

With persistence you’ll find a great instructor.

Did you find this post helpful? Please consider keeping me in coffee and my cats in kibble. And it’s only $2.

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About jamiebobamie

Musician - teacher - writer - gets bored easily. I write an almost-weekly blog that includes true stories gathered from 20-plus years of touring, how-to articles for musicians and profiles of performers. Also, I love dark chocolate, I can play "Brown Eyed Girl" behind my head, and I twirl the baton badly.
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12 Responses to Finding a guitar teacher

  1. lisa p says:

    Hey Jamie! I’ve been teaching guitar for about ten years now and I agree with your post, especially the part about WORD OF MOUTH.

    Parents looking for music teachers for their children, PLEASE NOTE:

    Unlike a daycare or public school, private music teachers (and many music schools) don’t have to register with any organization or have insurance. This leaves it up to the parents to ensure the safety of their children. Getting recommendations is usually the only way to learn about the background of a teacher. Asking to stay for some or all of the first lesson allows the parent to see the teacher’s teaching style and compatibility with their child; ANY TEACHER THAT IS NOT COMFORTABLE WITH A PARENT IN THE ROOM IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD!

    Happy music making!

    Lisa P

    • jamiebobamie says:

      I do encourage parents to listen to the lesson while waiting in the next room. However, I don’t like having them in the room because the kids find it distracting. It’s much easier to learn when Mom isn’t peering over your shoulder.

  2. Sophia Cadavero says:

    hey Jamie I’m not sure u remember me but you taught me guitar in Durham before you left for Canada. you also taught my brother Spencer for a little bit. I wanted to say thank you for all the lessons! they were really helpful. Also say hi to the cats for me!

  3. musicmemos says:

    Thanks for commenting on my article about you writing a similar entry. Nice post! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

    -Theresa

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