Big Teaching Mistakes That Great Music Teachers Don't Make

It is important to work with the best teacher possible to ensure you don’t waste time learning from someone who doesn’t get you the results you want in your playing. Additionally, when you take lessons from a mediocre teacher, you put yourself at risk of learning poor playing habits that may hold your playing back for many years to come. This makes it critical to be able to spot big guitar teaching mistakes and know when to look for a better music teacher. When you take lessons with a great teacher, you become a better player and reach your musical goals much faster. 

Here are a couple of the most common teaching mistakes great music teachers never make:

Mostly Teaching You With Songs And/Or Using A Generic Teaching Approach

If your music teacher is primarily teaching you through songs, it is a good indication that he doesn’t have a strategy for helping you become a great musician. Teachers often teach through songs because they don’t know how to focus on a student’s specific needs, goals and learning style in order to get them the exact results they want. Eventually, the student grows bored of learning these songs, or fails to see any reason to continue lessons once they have learned them (because they feel this is the highest goal that lessons achieve for them). This leaves the student either without a teacher, without any idea of what to do or without motivation to get any better (because they are bored practicing the same song over and over).

A great music teacher will learn how to teach music using a goal-oriented approach. You know your teacher does this if they asked you about your musical goals before lessons began, and then designed a specific plan to help you reach those goals. Music teachers who do this help you get the specific results you want without wasting time practicing songs or doing things that don’t seem to take your playing where you want it to go. This makes music lessons more fun, because you know every lesson brings you closer to your ultimate musical goals. 

Note: This same idea also applies to things like teaching music theory early on in lessons without showing you how to play actual music. Or teaching you things like how to read music when it has nothing to do with what you want to accomplish. Great teachers never make these mistakes.

Not Showing You How To Practice What They Teach

It is a huge mistake to not show guitar students how to practice. Many music teachers only show you exercises, phrases or other ideas during lessons… then they expect YOU to know how to practice them at home. This is the job of the teacher, not the student! Great music teachers always show you how to practice so you get results at home.

Guitar teacher trainer, Tom Hess says, “A great guitar teacher doesn’t just show you cool things during the lesson, he shows you how to practice them on our own. He shows you how to practice right there in the lesson, observes you practicing and corrects mistakes you make. This way you know for sure the best, most effective way to practice what is taught so you improve faster when practicing at home.”

Now that you know what mistakes great teachers don’t make, evaluate your current teacher (or anyone you are considering taking lessons with if possible). If they make these crucial mistakes, consider finding a new teacher who doesn’t. Take your music lessons seriously!