Today, I want to share some new thoughts. Do guitarists need teachers at all? In short – answer is No. But, this path, if someone wants to be a bad ass is really difficult one to get right.
At different points we need guitar instructors (or, coaches as I call myself), to help us through some parts. In my life, I learned more from hanging around better players than me and also ones that played slightly different styles than from my formal guitar teachers.
My main core of playing was learned from Metal Method mail-order lessons. Then I joined a High School jazz band. In the jazz band we used to take the bus in order to travel to other schools or competitions and I really, really loved taking a trip somewhere to play music. This planned the bug. In Berklee, I was friends with players who played since they were 6 years old sometimes and they often blew me away ability wise. They were extremely technically proficient and talented. However, sometimes too much talent can work against you … often times, doing stuff that is all of the sudden super hard and challenging is not understandable to someone who breezed through everything.
Me? I had to put in the time every damn time. Sure, some stuff comes easier for me, but there were many times someone’s advice helped me along a lot.
I think guitar teachers save you time, so you don’t get stuck making the same mistake for a year. They can steer you away from getting there in the first place. Sometimes, you need someone to nudge you along with good info. Even Tiger Woods has a performance coach. When we are too much on the inside of our playing we can’t be objective.
Players can get really good on their own, but it takes a lot of self awareness, intuition and looking afar at your own playing. There are a lot of skills involved and getting a good teacher is a huge help. I see many pro players get together backstage and learn from each other. Metal drummers have a great little community all of their own. I constantly hear drummers share skills and ideas.
No one learns guitar “really” on their own, because if you did far away from everyone somewhere in the mountains, you would have your own way of tuning the guitar and playing chords, etc. You Tube, friends, teachers – it is all a part of what allows you to get better. Guitar teacher (a good one, that is) is just the most direct, communicable way of getting info and advice so you can get better.
Food for thought.