Teaching Yourself

Should You Try to Teach Yourself?

More and more, people come in and tell us they’ve been trying to learn from YouTube videos, websites, or from friends or family members. Let’s see what it is that makes this a good or bad idea.

  1. Good Idea: Lessons are free, you can learn at your own pace. The temptation to try and learn on your own is very strong, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you have patience, desire, and time to practice, it can work out for you.
  2. Bad Idea: In the case of videos and websites you may have no idea who your teacher is, you can’t ask questions and most important, they can’t see you. No feedback, no correcting mistakes that will catch up to you later, no hands on teaching.
  3. Terrible Idea: The most common mistake we see is that there is no logical, gradual way that you’re being taught. A lot of beginners come in trying to play songs and chords that are way beyond their current skill level.

Our advice is to at least take a few lessons to get started so that you don’t develop bad habits, so you have some goals and direction, and so your teacher can help you map out a plan.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.” Yoda


Getting Started With Lessons

What you need to get off to a good start.

  • A decent, playable instrument. Make sure that your guitar, banjo, bass or uke is good enough to get started on. A common mistake is buying or borrowing an instrument without knowing much about whether it’s ok or not. Your teacher will be happy to help you when you’re in doubt.
  • A music stand. Music stands range in price from $15.00 up to $100. The low priced ones fold up and are easy to carry around. They work fine unless you have thick, heavy books. The middle price range is like the ones we have in the studios. Heavy duty and sturdy. Prices start around $45.00. Anything above that is just a cooler looking stand, more ornate and usually made of solid wood.
  • Electronic Tuner. Tuners are not very expensive, and they help you learn what your instrument sounds like when it’s in tune. They start at about $15.00 and go up from there. You can also find a free tuner on the internet. Two that work well are the Guitar Tuna, and the tuner from the Martin Guitar company, available on the app store.
  • A sturdy case. You don’t need an expensive, hardshell case, but a decent gig bag or soft case works well.
  • Metronome. The metronome helps you keep the beat and gets you to play your songs without stopping in between notes. They range in price from $15.00 for an electronic metronome, to over $100 for one that has a clock movement in it. If you buy an inexpensive one be sure it’s loud enough, especially if you play banjo or an electric guitar or bass. Continue reading “Getting Started With Lessons”