Will guitar lessons make you a better player?
A few months ago, I was listening to Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs talking about his very early years when he started playing guitar.
When asked “did you take guitar lessons?”, he answered something like “no, I just picked up the guitar and just started playing it straight away”.
He is a man who’s just full of music swimming around in his head and very creative with it; he’s naturally gifted and full of determination to work at things until he is happy. I suspect he had at least some sort of chord book and idea about how to tune it.
The guitar is a brilliant instrument for ‘nearly instant’ progress, and so would guitar lessons have made him a better player? Probably at the outset they might not have made much of a difference, given his ability and determination; later lessons, however, would have almost certainly made a big difference. He probably absorbed lots from fellow musicians (who had taken lessons) while on tour – lessons by osmosis!
Hobbyists don’t mix in these circles and so we’ll need a bit more help than Yusuf (Cat) needed.
So will guitar lessons make you a better player? The short answer has to be a resounding Yes.
However, we should qualify that answer by reminding ourselves that tutors teach and students learn; what is taught isn’t always learned and certainly isn’t always practised! Proper practice is essential once you understand what to practise (a subject for another time).
Also, the word ‘better’ is a very subjective term, especially from the two very different perspectives of a tutor and a student (and maybe an audience).
A lesson is the process of passing the information from tutor to student and its structure, content and style of delivery is all critical. We all learn in different ways and at different paces.
Let’s take an example
Maybe you have played for a while but are stuck in a rut and are considering lessons in the hope that they will give you that mental lift and improve your playing. Here are you some steps to take:
To achieve anything, within a set time, we all need focus. Whatever route we choose we need to allocate slots in our lives and that’s where guitar lessons will 100% make you better.
They give you that focused time, that dedicated learning and practice.
Treat learning the guitar as a journey, as a life-long journey, and on any journey we need direction, points to help navigate any struggles we may come across and help and guidance when we just need some advice to keep us on track.
If this sounds all too familiar, one of our tutors, Andy Moore, is going to touch on this subject in an upcoming Facebook Live on Monday 26 April 2021 at 7pm.
To find out more about the classes that we offer, do check out our What’s On page. We are proud and pleased to offer such a wide range of online classes. Our in-person classes should also be restarting later in the year, government advice permitting.
NEXT TIME – we’ll look at the different lesson options.
Play some songs.
Stay the course!