In theory, taking guitar lessons and learning how to play the guitar are meant to enable you to know how to play this instrument, aren't they?
But the objectives of guitar lessons as such are not always very clear and vary from one student to another.
Indeed, some will prefer to take courses to learn just the basics of the instrument while others will have the medium or long term goal to become a real professional guitarist and go further into the learning.
Similarly, a budding guitarist will not have the same requirements, the same desires, the same objectives as an already seasoned guitarist or even as a professional: some will want to learn the basics of the guitar and take the opportunity to learn about music theory, while others want to replay their favorite tracks and others still want to refine a style, open up to other horizons.
There are many examples and we could refer to dozens and dozens of them.
But before we get talking about the various main objectives of guitar lessons, you need to know that there are different types of guitar lessons. What are they?
Depending on which course you choose, your goal will be different.
The Diversity of Guitar Lessons
Each type of guitar course induces a specific learning, with a different pedagogy and methodology but also with different goals.
Going to a music school to learn how to play the guitar
If you want to go to a music school or conservatory, guitar lessons generally follow a rather rigid methodology, in the sense that the teacher does not necessarily adapt to your needs or your expectations.
The highly supervised program varies, however, depending on the age and level of each musician apprentice.
The disadvantage of these courses is their academic aspect, especially if you decide to go to the conservatoire where the courses span over the years, in the form of a curricula with auditions, exams, diplomas.
The advantages of this type of music course are the opportunities to acquire a general vision about music and about guitars and the structure it will bring you. But this can be sometimes to the detriment of the pleasure you get from the instrument itself.
Cultural associations and centers to learn guitar
Other places such as cultural associations or centers have a broader amplitude to teach the guitar.
These places are generally less strict, less scholastic and offer a learning of the guitar with a more playful, more recreational aim of the guitar.
One of the advantages is that they are true guitar professionals, real passionate people who want to pass on this passion and offer group lessons.
The downside is the price of these guitar lessons which is often more expensive than in a music school.
Private lessons to learn how to play guitar
Finally, the other alternative is the private lesson with an independent teacher: with such teaching, you will be able to follow many different objectives according to your level and according to your teacher's qualifications and experiences.
How to work before your take your guitar lesson
Private lessons are for all guitar players, whether you are a beginner, have been playing guitar for years, or are a professional.
The advantage of these guitar lessons is to be able to create a real link between the guitar teacher and the student; the relationship is not merely pedagogical learning of music and guitar training but also a real relation made of exchange and sharing about a common passion: guitar and music.
You can already see: depending on the type of guitar lesson, depending on your personal investment and how much time you are ready to take, you will sometimes concentrate on musical training, sometimes on the instrument, or on learning various musical styles.
The Purpose and Objectives of Taking Guitar Lessons
Guitar lessons have different purposes, they can either oppose each other or complement each other.
First, the main objective of guitar lessons is to acquire the theoretical bases but also practical techniques in music theory (solfeggio) and in the instrument you're playing - the guitar.
Once you have learned the basics about guitars, once you know how to handle it, how to play your first major and minor chords, and mostly, how to have a good sound on your bar chords, you can be sure that you will memorize them for life. But just as for any learning that requires from you to practice, it is necessary to consolidate your knowledge, to discover new techniques, to get up to date, to broaden your musical culture.
Depending on how you've decided to learn how to play the guitar, the teacher can advise you or guide you in the best way to improve and boost your guitar lessons. The objectives of a guitar class can be very varied. We could think of, for instance, that you're playing:
- To prepare for your guitar lesson
- To learn how to play the guitar faster
- To learn how to do improvisations on the guitar
- Or simply: how to play the guitar?
Developing your general knowledge
The other main objective is that you will have the opportunity to develop and improve certain techniques: some guitarists want to learn to play faster, others want to deepen their knowledge in music theory, others want to try out improvisation or attempting more difficult pieces.
Guitar lessons are there for you: with the help of a professional, you will be able to seriously develop your skills and improve your game, or broaden your knowledge about the guitar universe.
The Importance of Setting Goals for Yourself
It is easy to guess, every person has different reasons to learn the guitar but whatever happens, it is important to be able to define goals to reach, levels to cross, to always keep progressing in guitar.
Having a structured way of working
It is only by setting medium or long term goals for yourself that you will be able to overcome any obstacles, to improve yourself and to progress.
Some will want to learn on a day-to-day basis by trying to make a song as soon as possible, but there is a strong probability that they will miss some techniques or other musical knowledge.
By working with a deadline, having an goal to achieve, this shapes your motivation, you work more assiduously, in a more structured way.
Having realistic and achievable goals
To succeed in learning how to play the guitar, to improve your knowledge, to progress step by step in an efficient way, it is essential to set yourself realistic goals.
Indeed, if you want to become the new Satriani or the Jimi Hendrix of the 21st century in 6 months, you are likely to be discouraged and the ultimate consequence will simply be that you'll tend to abandon straight away to learn how to play the guitar. Don't expect yourself to learn how to play the guitar straight away and become the best guitar player!
Begin by studying things that are at your level: if you are a beginner, learn your scales, major chords (major, minor, seventh chords, harmonics, etc.), work out your fingerpicking and dexterity, and progress slowly but surely. Then go to the next level, progressively. Take your time, learn about your guitar like how to tune it and how it sounds best. Ask your guitar instructor if you have one to help you out in the beginning, but also try to tune your guitar yourself to get to really understand how it works.
If you are already experienced in guitar practice, see with a teacher what your level is, ask him what you can learn more about and talk to him about your expectations, your desires so to adapt to your level.
Having Set Goals on the Guitar Allows You to Structure Your Progression
Having realistic goals allows you to keep your feet on the ground and progress in a concrete and sustained way.
For example, you can set goals such as:
- Being able to play with a faster tempo, therefor work speed exercises
- Succeeding in making a solo by playing it 3 times without it being disappointing
- Doing an arpeggio exercise for 5 minutes, once looking at the strings, another time without looking at them.
- Passing a gap of several frets on the neck
- Alternate several barred chords by making them resonate for 2 seconds each.
The examples are endless, the important thing is to understand that we must realize concrete and possible things.
Keep a small notebook around during your guitar lessons
The idea is quite stupid but if you set the objectives you've decided on with the corresponding dates, whether in a small notebook or by making an Excel sheet on your computer or tablet, you will be able to follow your progress (and quickly confirm or not your motivation).
By going back to this small notebook every week, you will gradually get up to date by filling it in with new performances.
The key to progressing on the guitar is being organized, motivated, patient and if you have a good structure to lead you, if you know how to show yourself organized, you will improve significantly without even realizing it.
Having goals on the guitar is a step towards learning new techniques and new pieces that were seemingly impossible to you before.
Everyone Has Their Own Goals for Guitar Lessons!
There are different ways of considering guitar lessons depending on which goals you set.
Some want to replay the greatest hits of their favorite musicians, others just want to learn the guitar, others still want to learn a particular technique and others simply want to relax by playing an instrument that speaks to them.
There are many reasons because the objectives are also different: the goals vary according to the tastes, the desires of the moment and the ambitions of each student.
Indeed, it is he who, finally, chooses what suits him according to what he feels and wants.
His choices will condition his method of how he is playing and learning the guitar because the amount of work will not be the same, the time devoted to learning and the theory neither.
Playing guitar is an artistic way of expressing oneself, whether in a group or in a solo: it allows to open up ones artistic horizon, to broaden ones knowledge, to "speak" via the music of what one to alleviate personal tensions, in short, to flourish.
The essential thing is that the practice of the guitar is and remains a pleasure and a moment of sharing: it is necessary to remain aware of this essential notion which will help you overcome all the obstacles inherent to each learning, concerning guitar or anything else, really.
In short, to be a good guitar player, whether it's on an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar, whether you've just started as a beginner or have been strumming and playing around for some time, think about why you're playing the guitar and what motivates you to help you set your goals. Then work on your chord progression, your strumming patterns, licks and fingerstyle and maybe you're guitar method will be so good you'll be up for being a guitar teacher yourself!