I’m sure you know of someone who has never taken guitar lessons but who can captivate an audience. That’s because a lot of people learn how to play the guitar by ear and “feel.” There are only a handful of shapes and patterns you need to know in order to play hundreds of songs, so if you learn the feel and sound of those shapes and patterns, you can play a lot of music on the guitar without knowing a lot about music.
What skills do you need to learn if you just want to play lots of songs?
You can find these common shapes and patterns in many books and you can watch free video lessons online that show you how to play your hundreds of songs using these common shapes and patterns. (To find lessons on songs, type “how to play song name on guitar” into the YouTube search box.) Below are some basic chords from my book The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, and be sure to check out my post Easy Chord Songs for Beginning Guitarists.
How do you become a really good guitar player?
If you really love music and you want to understand and express it as clearly as possible, you’ll also need to study the fundamentals of music, which have been used for hundreds of years. Serious guitarists practice important concepts like rhythm, scales, and chord voicings in order to communicate through their instruments more effectively. Beginning guitarists can save time, energy, and money by studying these concepts right away, but learning them at any point of your journey with the guitar is beneficial.
Everything is on the internet, and that may be the problem!
This is a crazy time to learn how to play guitar because there is so much information available online. But where do you begin? How do you prioritize all the information and exercises you find? Are you willing to spend hours and hours working on things that may not actually help you reach your goals? Who is going to check your work, answer your questions, keep you on track, and personalize your practice plan so your practice time leads to the results you want?
While there’s a ton of information available, nothing can replace the effectiveness of a good teacher. A good teacher will create a plan that is specifically designed to help you reach your goals in the most effective way possible. Challenging concepts can be clarified quickly, and most importantly, the learned skills are applied to the music that you want to play. A good teacher will also hold you accountable to you assignments, measure your progress, and keep you inspired and productive with helpful tips and practical advice.
So, are guitar lessons worth the money?
Guitar lessons are worth the money if you value your time, you have clear goals and a strong desire to reach them. If you are going to invest your time and energy learning something, it makes sense to learn the right skills in the most effective way possible. Whether you want to become a professional musician or you just want to learn how to strum through a few of your favorite songs, a good teacher will help you reach your goals and have fun along the way. The next step is to find a good teacher who is a good match for you: How to Find a Good Guitar Teacher.