Being a self-taught musician shows incredible skill and ability for learning. Guitar players that have learned on their own have taken the time, practice, and discipline to drive themselves to learn a complex instrument. It is not an easy task for many, but it can be done.
As the most accessible method of learning with multiple online resources, being self-taught can come without having to spend any money (except of course, on the guitar itself), and having the stamina to understand that it takes time to master. There are various online tutorials that you can access for free, or you can spend a little money and purchase some beginner books to help you along as well.
However, should you consider taking lessons from an expert? Arguably, if you can put in the practice on your own time and work at it, you don’t need to take professional lessons necessarily.
But, there are many benefits you can obtain from working with a teacher. Guitar instructors can provide you with a lot more than just professional guidance in your learning to play. Here are some reasons why self-taught players should consider taking lessons.
BAD HABITS TURNED PROPER TECHNIQUES
Chances are if you’re self-taught you probably have picked up a bad habit or two while learning. Maybe you don’t have the correct strum patterns or finger placement. Instructors who teach guitar can help you learn and practice the proper techniques necessary to become a good guitar player. Although you may not be bad at playing guitar your way, there will be certain obstacles that you will run into with your bad technique.
When you self-teach yourself, whether by utilizing websites to look up some helpful kick-start tools or work alongside video tutorials, you find that you adopt the easiest and more natural way of learning, which is not to say that it is the correct form or proper technique. This is a great reason you should consider taking professional lessons where you can learn those best practices to last you in the long-term. Usually, the proper form doesn’t feel natural at first and takes some time to get used to it.
Proper technique and fundamentals of the guitar can encompass a lot of things, such as proper guitar holding, finger placement, how to hold a pick, and more. Without being taught how to do these things in the proper form, you will get in a habit of holding the guitar or playing in a way that can actually limit your advancement. It may not be a noticeable difference in the beginning but can become quite apparent later on when trying to tackle more difficult songs or learning to play something that requires more accuracy.
LESSONS GIVE STRUCTURE & MOTIVATION
The focus when taking lessons is on the learning, but music lessons can also provide the learner with increased motivation. Even when taking online music lessons for kids & adults during a pandemic, the motivation that you receive creates a BIG drive for improvement, practice and will help you to pick up that guitar to practice more often.
Instructors are there to not only help you improve but to give you the tools and encouragement to help drive that improvement. When you become inspired it helps fuel that motivation to keep going, which is another great reward from taking professional lessons.
KNOW WHAT TO WORK ON FOR IMPROVEMENT
The other awesome benefit to working with a professional guitarist who can teach you all the skills in your learning is that you will be able to evaluate yourself better. It’s hard to know where all of your trouble areas are, and having a professional that can help you to track your progress and how you perform can be helpful in your advancement.
An instructor will have a wealth of knowledge for you when it comes to choosing the right songs to play, what songs will be more challenging, and how to increase your ability levels as you go. With structure and goals in mind, you will have a clear path to knowing when you have reached an achievement and can celebrate your wins, which is another tool that helps to keep you engaged and motivated in your playing.
The structure in your time and where to focus is going to be difficult to access working alone since we cannot always determine what areas are lacking more in our playing. Having an instructor to give you proper exercises for specific, individualized learning is what will help you the most in overcoming any obstacles in your playing.
Teachers will take the time to demonstrate, explain fully, and provide you with a tailor-made method unique to your abilities, which is more than a video lesson or book can teach you. They know what practice exercises are necessary to improve upon specific skills that need to catch up to others, and this is one of the most important benefits of taking lessons that self-taught guitarists should take note of.
PROGRESSION WILL ALSO HAPPEN FASTER
Your progress will also benefit from working with a teacher because things will happen faster for you, so if you desire quicker results than trying to do things on your own, this is another reason to take guitar lessons. As mentioned above, the instructor is there to help you to map out a clear plan on your skills and reach higher levels of advancement so that you are able to reach your intended goals in playing, and all of this comes sooner than working alone.
It takes a lot of passion and drive to teach yourself something, and while commendable, there is no shame in asking for and receiving help along the way. There are so many things about the guitar that you may have not considered or know about, and someone who has been playing for many years, and is considered an expert can give you some great insight on things like mastering chords and progressions.
Whether you decide that being self-taught is better than working with a professional, it is still important to understand the benefits you obtain in each method. Though it is completely possible to learn on your own, there are many reasons to choose to work with a professional that can further your skills and abilities.
About the Author: Before she discovered her passion for teaching students how to play their first instrument, Nicole was pinching pennies in her 20s while singing at dive bars across the country. Nowadays, she spends her days contributing to music blogs, parenting forums, and education websites when she’s not providing private music lessons. She finds joy in sharing her insight with musicians, fellow teachers, and parents of musicians-in-training!
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