AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD START LESSONS?
The youngest that we start children out on guitar lessons is 7 years old. A lot depends on the maturity of the child, so at that age lessons may or may not work out. The main problem is the physical requirement of playing guitar. Your fingers hurt at first and holding the instrument can be awkward or uncomfortable. We highly recommend renting instead of buying, and being sure that the instrument’s size is not a problem.
HOW LONG SHOULD I PRACTICE?
Beginning students need to start out slowly, as sore fingers can be a problem in the beginning, so 10-15 minutes a day the first 2 weeks is usually enough. After that, at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week would be the minimum for you to expect to make continued, reasonable progress. Obviously, the better you become the more you’ll want to practice. Be sure to read our blog entry, Getting the Most Out of Music Lessons, as it has additional information as well as practice tips and the best ages for starting specific instruments.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PRACTICE?
Practicing is an absolute must for learning and making progress on a musical instrument. Today’s students have many interests and obligations, but the minimum number of days would be 5, while every day would be best. It’s a lot better to practice some every day than to skip a couple days and try to make up. Scheduling a set time each day is the ideal way to get in enough practice.
CAN’T I JUST LEARN FROM THE INTERNET?
While there are many good sites on the internet, there are also many that leave a lot to be desired. The advantage of taking lessons from a live teacher is that he or she is there to answer questions, demonstrate techniques, and point out the potential formation of bad habits. You just can’t ask a DVD or YouTube video a question! The other problem is that you have no idea who’s teaching you.
DO I NEED TO LEARN TO READ MUSIC?
While reading music is not as important to some styles as it once was, there are still many pieces of music that are not available in any other format. If you’re going to play Jazz or Classical Music it is essential that you be able to read music. Having at least a basic understanding of standard notation is a good idea regardless of the style of music that you play. The best advice is to ask your teacher what he or she recommends. See our blog page for more details.
WHAT IS TABLATURE?
Tablature, or TAB for short, is a number system that’s widely used for guitar, banjo and bass. Instead of the lines and spaces representing sounds, they represent the strings of the instrument. Numbers indicating frets are placed on the lines or spaces and that’s it. The major drawback to guitar and bass tab is that there is no standardized way to indicate timing, so more often than not either they don’t bother to try and indicate it, or there will be standard notation above the tab. This makes it essential to have a recorded version of the song, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to get the correct timing. The biggest advantage to tab would be how easily one can learn it.
IS A HALF HOUR LONG ENOUGH FOR MY LESSONS?
In the beginning a half hour is usually long enough to explain new concepts and hear what you’ve been working on. It’s also a good length for young students since the attention span isn’t much longer than that. After you’ve gotten past the total beginner stage, you may want to take longer lessons. Ask your teacher’s opinion as to whether or not you would benefit from extended lessons. As your skills improve the added time will make sense since you’ll need to focus on more difficult songs and techniques.
SHOULD I START ON ACOUSTIC OR ELECTRIC GUITAR?
It used to be that you were advised to start on an acoustic guitar, but that was mostly because electrics were considerably more expensive. That’s changed and now an electric guitar package with an amp and a carrying bag is about the same price as an acoustic. Both types of guitar have advantages and disadvantages. The acoustic doesn’t require electricity, is easy to transport and needs no additional equipment. The disadvantage is that the strings are thicker and can be a little more difficult to press to make a clean note. The electric is a bit easier to play since the strings are usually thinner and closer to the fingerboard. If you already have a guitar you should start with what you have and your teacher will help you pick out something suitable when the time is right. Lots of people have both acoustic and electric guitars since different styles of music require different instruments.
HOW MUCH DO LESSONS COST?
Lessons are currently $85.00 per month for 30 minute lessons, payable on the first lesson of the month. The cost is the same whether there are 3, 4, or 5 lessons in the month. At the beginning of the school year a calendar is published that ensures each lesson day has the same number of lessons. If you’d like to only take a few lessons, or if you find it difficult to pay the monthly fee, just contact us and we can work out an alternative plan.
DO I HAVE TO TAKE LESSONS FOR A WHOLE YEAR?
No, you can start or stop at any time. The yearly basis is strictly to allow us to plan for holidays, vacations, etc. At the end of the year we sit down and figure out the new schedule. Our winter and spring break, and Thanksgiving holidays follow the Kirkwood School District schedule. Every lesson day, Monday through Saturday has an equal number of lessons.
WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU TAKE?
We accept cash, personal checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. If you’d like to set up automatic payments through PayPal, visit our Online Payments Page.
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
If you have more questions or if you’d like to schedule a free trial lesson fill click the link. FREE TRIAL LESSON
Bob Lucas Guitar Studios
123 West Clinton Place, Suite 200
Kirkwood, MO 63122