Taking private guitar lessons is the best way to really learn how to play the guitar, and ensure that you’re learning the instrument properly. It also allows you to learn what songs you want, even if there is no sheet music available for it, or no resources online to learn it. How fast you improve depends on how much you practice.
I have a set curriculum that I like to follow, developed over the past 20 years of teaching, but I do allow students to bring in songs that they want to learn, as long as they’re not too difficult. I’m also flexible about how I teach students music – you can learn standard notation if you want, or we can just use tablature and rhythmic notation. Students are free to record the lessons in any way they want (audio or video), and I also have a recorder at the studio that uses SD cards.
The are four basic levels to which I try to develop students’ ability.
1) In the beginning, I focus on getting students comfortable with the instrument, showing them some songs they’ll have fun with, and developing the dexterity in their hands. You’ll get a huge amount of help from in learning songs as I’ll give you sheet music, play along with you, and basically talk you through being able to play the song.
2) Once you’re comfortable learning songs with that amount of help, I’ll start giving you sheet music and asking you to take it home and try to teach yourself as best you can, and then go over questions or problems you may have the next week.
3) When you’re able to teach yourself songs from sheet music, then I’ll start giving you some easy songs to try to learn by ear. I’ll give you some hints in the beginning about what chords are used, or what key the song is in, but eventually I’ll take the training wheels off and throw you in the pool, so to speak, and make you learn the songs by ear, and then tell you if you learned them correctly or not. Obviously, we’ll do some ear training exercises to improve your ability to learn songs by ear.
4) Finally, once you’re comfortable learning songs by ear and learning songs from sheet music, you’re ready to take the leap into improvising your own solos, playing at open mic nights and coffee houses, writing your own songs, or trying to get into a cover band. Beyond this, you’re on your own – I haven’t figured out a secret formula to becoming a rock star.