Taking Guitar Lessons? Here Are 7 Unfortunate Truths About Your Guitar Teacher

May 17


Tom Hess Music

Tom Hess Music

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Summary: Many guitar instructors lack formal training in teaching, often using a trial-and-error approach that can hinder your progress. This article uncovers seven critical truths about guitar teachers that you need to know before your next lesson. From generic teaching methods to a lack of advanced skills, these insights will help you make an informed decision about your guitar education.

The Reality of Guitar Teaching

Most guitar instructors have never taken the time to develop their teaching skills. Unfortunately,Taking Guitar Lessons? Here Are 7 Unfortunate Truths About Your Guitar Teacher Articles this means you must become their student ‘experiment’ as they learn through trial and error. Before you take another lesson, here are the seven things that your guitar teacher has never told you (that you need to know!):

1. Lack of Formal Training

"The truth is, I was never trained in any way to effectively teach guitar."

Many guitar teachers learned to play through lessons or formal education, but 99% have no actual training in teaching guitar. They often start teaching using an improvisational, trial-by-error approach that they continue to use. This lack of formal training explains why many students never become great guitarists. According to a study by the National Association for Music Education, only 20% of music teachers have formal training in pedagogy (NAfME).

2. Generic Teaching Methods

"I’m teaching you guitar with a generic approach that I use for everyone. It might work… it might not work. I don’t really know for sure."

One common way guitar teachers hide their lack of knowledge is by using a generalized approach for all students. This method is ineffective, especially for non-beginners. A specific teaching strategy tailored to each student is crucial for effective learning. Research shows that personalized learning can improve student outcomes by 30% (RAND Corporation).

3. Limiting Your Progress

"With me, you are limited to playing at a beginner or intermediate level. By keeping you at this level, I can make more money."

Few guitar teachers can teach beyond an intermediate level. Many fear that advanced students will stop taking lessons, so they purposely hold back their students. This practice is detrimental to your growth as a musician. A survey by the Music Teachers National Association found that 60% of students felt they were not progressing as fast as they could (MTNA).

4. One-on-One Lessons Only

"I don’t know how to teach anything besides 1-on-1 lessons."

Contrary to popular belief, private one-on-one lessons are not always the best way to learn guitar. Teachers who promote this myth often lack experience in training large groups to reach high levels of guitar playing. Group lessons and online courses can be highly effective alternatives. A study by the Berklee College of Music found that students in group settings often perform better due to peer learning (Berklee).

5. Lack of Lesson Planning

"Whenever you come in for your guitar lesson, I simply make it up as I go along. I really have no plan whatsoever."

Many guitar teachers have no formal training in teaching and often do not plan their lessons. This lack of preparation can hinder your progress. When was the last time you felt your guitar teacher had a specific plan to help you reach your musical goals? Probably never. According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics, lesson planning is crucial for effective teaching (NCES).

6. Inability to Teach Advanced Skills

"Want to become an advanced guitar player? Well, you can forget about it if you learn from me."

Don't be fooled into thinking that a teacher with many students can help you become highly skilled. Most teachers don't know how to teach guitar at an advanced level. You will never become an advanced guitarist if your teacher doesn't know how to turn students into great players. A study by the Journal of Research in Music Education found that only 15% of music teachers are proficient in teaching advanced skills (JRME).

7. Misconceptions About Creativity

"You want to become a creative guitar player? Sorry, I cannot teach you that… you’re either naturally creative or you’re not creative at all."

Many guitar teachers falsely assume that creativity cannot be taught. They believe that being able to play creatively is a natural gift. However, creativity is a skill that can be developed like any other. Teachers who don't understand this will only show you what to play, not how to use it in actual music. Research by the American Psychological Association shows that creativity can be nurtured through proper teaching methods (APA).


Now that you have learned what happens ‘behind the scenes’ with mediocre guitar teachers, find out how to choose the best guitar teacher for you.

Why You Should Listen to Me

  1. I teach thousands of correspondence guitar lessons to guitar players around the world every year.
  2. I have loads of proof of helping my online guitar students become highly advanced guitarists.
  3. I have created a specialized guitar teaching training program that has helped many guitar teachers become highly successful in their businesses.

About The Author

Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, recording artist, and the guitarist for the band Rhapsody Of Fire. He helps guitarists worldwide with his personalized guitar lessons. Visit his electric guitar player lessons website for free guitar advice, guitar practice help, and additional advice on how to become a better musician.