Learn To Play The Guitar

Guitar Preparation 101: What the beginner needs to know before taking Guitar lessonsAs a guitar teacher with students of all ages, I am used to getting a lot of questions about everything from gear to practice regiments. Often, when a beginner simply inquires about taking lessons with me, they also have a lot of questions that they would like answered before the actual lessons begin. This article will discuss some of these questions and will be benefice for the new student who want to  learn to play the guitar.

Guitar for Beginners

Buying Your Guitar

Obviously, you will need a guitar. But which kind should you get?

I know that there is a lot of information and advice out there when it comes to buying a new guitar. There are a lot of things to consider. I always tell my students that the best way is really to go out and try many guitars so they get a sense of what feels right to them.

You can easily get a cheap guitar that just feels more comfortable than a more expensive one. You may also try an expensive one and actually realize that you get what you pay for. It all varies from time to time and depends also what the individual player is looking for.

Obviously, the price and quality are factors to be considered. But what is just as crucial is how the instrument feels. Is it easy to play? Are you comfortable playing it? These are the things that a beginner must consider.

The Tuner

You will also need a tuner. There is nothing worse than playing everything correctly and the guitar still sounds bad or wrong. If this is the case (and everything is being played correctly), it is probably because the guitar is out of tune. This can be very frustrating for a student and can be de-motivating. So a good, electronic tuner is very much advised. If you are on a budget, there are various guitar apps that you can actually download for free. However an actual tuner is definitely recommended.

The Pick

Unless you are studying classical guitar, you want some good guitar picks. Picks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and even colors. Pick sizes come in three types of gauges (thickness): light, medium and heavy. As a beginner, light is usually the preferred choice since it makes strumming the guitar a bit easier at first. However, I suggest that you get all three sizes, and maybe a couple of different brands as well. This way, you can experiment and find the pick that works best for you.

The Chords

Although your teacher may provide you with materials and handouts, it is also a very good idea to have a good chord book. It does not have to be a super expensive book with all kinds of chord variations. Remember, as a beginner, you will be getting a lot of information and things to practice, so you do not want to overwhelm yourself. So a simple chord book with some basic first position chords plus some additional beginners’ information would be very handy.

Having a good chord book is also wise to get before the actual lesson. Take some time to prepare a bit. See if you can figure some things out by yourself. The technical issues can be addressed once the lessons with your teacher begin.

Practice Notes

The two most frequently asked question that I get from beginners learning guitar is when they can start playing songs, and how much time they should spend on practicing. This really varies from student to student. You should know that it does take time to learn how to play and/ or even strum a few chords. There are many elements you must master. You have to work on finger placement, timing, committing things to memory etc. So you need to be patient. The good news is that if you keep practicing, you will master it. And what seemed really difficult when you first began your lessons will seem like a breeze after a few weeks if you practice wisely.

However, do not rush things. Everyone learns at a different speed.

As far as practicing goes, it is much better to practice a little bit every day, than it is to practice a lot at one time (one sitting.) If possible, have your guitar teacher set up a practice schedule. I do this with my own students and it works like a charm. I have even developed my very own practice plan/guitar course for those students who want to learn quickly and more efficiently.

The Fun

Patience, motivation and persistence are really key factors for the beginner who wants to learn to play the guitar. However, one crucial element is missing of course: FUN! Don’t forget to have fun learning guitar! The more you enjoy it, the more patient, motivated and persistent you will be.

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