How to Find Guitar Classes Near Me – Guitar Lessons, Courses, and Programs


guitar classes near meLet’s say you want to learn to play the guitar.

You may want to play electric or bass guitar in a band. Perhaps fingerpick some acoustic numbers, or improvise some jazz music.

Maybe you fell in love with classical guitar when you heard John Williams or Andre Segovia on the radio as a kid.

It doesn’t matter which type of music you want to play. Booking lessons with a knowledgeable teacher will be a great way to begin.

And if you already play, but want to improve your skills, then guitar lessons are just as important.

Guitar lessons are offered in person, online, and through music schools. But with so many teachers out there, how do you choose the right one?

How to Find Guitar Lessons

Let’s make the job of finding guitar lessons a little easier.

In this article, we’ll explore how to find a teacher or class that suits you. We’ll compare private lessons with online guitar lessons and programs. And we’ll show you what to look for in a great teacher or online guitar program.

First, Decide Your Style

First of all, decide what style or genre of guitar playing you want to learn. The sort of music you like listening to will directly influence the direction of your own guitar lessons.

The guitar is such a versatile instrument. It’s found in all walks of musical life from the blues to rock, through to jazz and classical music. Some guitar teachers offer tuition in several of these genres. Others will specialize in a single area.

Electric Guitar

In a band, you’ll find electric guitarists playing rhythmic chords, or lead riffs and melodies. You’ll also find a bass guitar working with the drummer to provide a rhythmic and harmonic structure to the song.

Acoustic Guitar

Singer-songwriters will often accompany themselves with chords on an acoustic (or electro-acoustic) instrument. Players typically either strum or play in a ‘finger-picking’ style.

Jazz Guitar

Jazz guitarists often play with a band of other instrumentalists. They ‘comp’ by providing chords to support a melody, or improvise solos. Music theory is usually a focus here.

Classical Guitar

The classical guitar has a repertoire that spans centuries. Teachers will usually expect you to learn to read music. Although usually considered a solo instrument, some teachers may offer ensemble opportunities.

The basic skills learned in classical guitar lessons will also apply to any other style or genre.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to find guitar lessons in the area is to ask around. Recommendations are worth their weight in gold. Reputation is invaluable. Look for reliability as well as skill.

Remember that some guitar teachers don’t need to do much advertising. Word-of-mouth recommendation keeps them busy. These teachers are often the best around.

Online Directories

Check out online directories for guitar lessons or music lessons.

There will be hundreds. Find those that allow you to filter by location, skills, or guitar-playing styles. Note that some teachers will pay a directory for greater visibility. It doesn’t make them the best.

Ask at Your Local Music Store

Music stores often rent out available space to teachers. Staff will usually be familiar with teachers in the area. They may have a notice board where teachers can advertise music lessons. Look for links to guitar lessons on their websites too.

Ask a Respected Local Piano Teacher

Local teachers of piano lessons often hear of respected guitar teachers. They will often only refer those they know to be knowledgeable and organized.

Look for Music Teachers on Social Media

Like word of mouth, social media is a great place to ask around for personal recommendations. You might also see teachers posting or performing on various platforms. Use local social media ‘marketplaces’ to find teachers in your area.

Search on Google, Yelp, or Another Search Engine

Don’t forget to specify the locality if you want face-to-face guitar lessons. Be aware that local teachers may not have professionally-run websites. They may not show up on general searches.

Approach Your Local Music School or Hub, Night School or College

Music schools often offer evening classes for adults. They should have good connections with local teachers and can make recommendations. Night schools, or adult education organizations often run group guitar lessons. These may be cheaper than private lessons.

Go to Gigs, Concerts and Festivals

Go to as many gigs and concerts as you can. Networking with people who share your passion can lead in many different directions.

Festival workshops can be a great way of meeting performers and teachers. You’ll get a sense of whether you would prefer individual, private guitar lessons, or if you would enjoy learning with a group.

Investigate Online Guitar Schools

Online guitar schools offer guitar lessons to students of all skill levels.

These schools typically provide an interactive and structured learning experience. Many offer live or recorded sessions with guitar teachers. They usually have plenty of music theory pages and practical resources to explore.

Most also have online communities where learners can connect and share their progress.

For example, The Woodshed® Classical Guitar Program is one of the most popular online classical guitar schools.

Members go step-by-step through strategic exercises and lessons to build general guitar skills. Students range from beginner to advanced, and lessons are appropriate for all levels and backgrounds.

What to Look for in a Guitar Teacher

Once you’ve explored some of the options available to you, you need to decide which teacher is going to be right for you.

Look for a knowledgeable teacher to give you an enjoyable learning experience. This applies to online programs as well as face-to-face guitar lessons.

Here are some areas to consider:

Teacher’s Experience and Ability

One of the best reasons to take guitar lessons is to learn from a teacher’s experience.

Your teacher will be able to recommend music or songs for every stage of your development. They will be able to tailor materials for you. This could save you hours of internet scrolling.

They need a thorough knowledge of the music you want to play in your guitar lessons. They should also have the experience to be able to widen the scope of your interest. They should also be able to introduce you to music that is new and exciting. Music that you might not have discovered yourself.

An experienced teacher will ensure you develop good technique. They will set goals to encourage that.

They should be able to answer any questions you have and give you feedback on your playing and technique. If you’re looking at online programs, ensure you have this vital support facility and that it’s accessible. This could be through forums, reliable contact links, masterclasses, or open mic sessions.

And a good teacher will be a good teacher! Yes, they may also be a dazzling player, but it’s their teaching skills you’ll gain the most from.

Teaching Style

The teaching style of the guitar teacher is an important consideration.

Follow your instincts.

  • Do they talk a lot, or are they more demonstrative?
  • Do they have clear, active lesson plans, or do they allow you to lead the session and then respond?
  • Do they ask questions of you?
  • Are they good role models?
  • Do you feel you have their full concentration?
  • Are their guitar lessons fun and informative?

Make sure the style of teaching suits your objectives.

Teacher’s Personality

We are bound to remember the school teachers we didn’t like. And this affected our enjoyment of the subject they taught.

We also all remember our great teachers. They were patient, supportive, encouraging and fun.

It sounds obvious, but your teacher should make learning enjoyable. Avoid anyone unreliable, unpleasant, or difficult to work with.

Private Guitar Lessons

With the internet at our disposal, many of us feel we can teach ourselves anything. But taking guitar lessons privately with a teacher can offer added benefits.

Pros

  • The student gets individualized attention from the teacher and can ask questions.
  • Feedback is immediate.
  • There are no issues with visibility, audio quality, or resource sharing. You might experience any of these with an online lesson.
  • Students can progress at their own pace. There’s no pressure to keep up with classmates.
  • There are likely to be opportunities to play with the teacher or others.

Cons

  • The cost. Location and the teacher’s experience will both affect this. Private guitar lessons tend to be more expensive than online, regardless of the quality of teaching.
  • The teacher may not have the relevant experience. (To learn classical guitar for example, it is helpful to have lessons with a specialist).
  • They may be disorganized, or unprofessional. Teaching and planning skills are vital. (Word-of-mouth recommendation is invaluable here).
  • The student is often restricted to choosing a local teacher, so availability may be an issue. This is especially relevant if the teacher also has a busy live performance schedule.

Learn at Your Own Pace

Having private guitar lessons with a good teacher will ensure you learn at your own pace. They will know when to encourage you to move forwards. And when to spend more time on a particular goal before moving on.

Your Learning Style

Some of us are visual learners. We prefer to learn by looking at the material rather than listening to someone explain it.

Others are auditory learners. We prefer to listen to something rather than read it.

And some people are kinaesthetic learners. To better understand something, we need to touch or feel it.

An experienced teacher will help you explore your learning style. In a private lesson, they will be able to adapt their methods to suit you.

Group Lessons

Group guitar lessons can be a good option for some people, especially for beginners.

Class groups will usually reflect ability or age. They are often longer and less expensive than individual music lessons.

Students usually enjoy the social aspect of the class. They will learn from the teacher, but also from their peers. There may even be a bit of friendly competition. And playing in an ensemble or band brings its own benefits.

An experienced musician may offer ensemble coaching in a variety of musical styles.

Many music schools offer group electric and acoustic guitar lessons. Classical guitar teachers tend to focus on individual technique. They may be less inclined to offer group lessons. But many will run extra classical ensemble sessions for their students.

Individual Internet Lessons

Private online guitar lessons with teachers are increasingly popular.

The teacher will use Zoom, Skype or other video-conferencing platforms. The student gets individual attention, much like face-to-face guitar lessons.

The pros and cons of private lessons listed above also apply to online guitar lessons.

It can be difficult to duet or improvise with the teacher, but technology is improving all the time. There are ways now to overcome sound delay.

Resource sharing can also be awkward. But this is often overcome by sharing computer screens. The teacher can then often annotate resources throughout the lesson.

Online Guitar Schools or Programs

Online guitar schools are worth investigating when you’re looking for guitar lessons.

Some online programs feature specialized video lessons from world-class professional performers. Others are run by individual figureheads. They are often inspirational teachers. And they have a passion for sharing their knowledge with others.

Flexible

Online lessons or programs offer flexibility. You can access lessons at any time, from any location with an internet connection.

This makes it easy to fit lessons into a busy schedule or to learn at a pace that suits your needs. You can choose when to engage with the lesson and can repeat sections as necessary.

Range of Resources

Online schools usually offer access to a range of good resources. Most offer a variety of courses and tutorials either in person or by video. Very often it will be a mixture of all these, with backup support for a more personalized experience.

They may also include one-on-one lessons, masterclasses, forums, or open mic sessions.

Online schools cover many playing styles and genres. You can pick those that suit your interests and even switch between them.

Structured Progression

Good online programs have sophisticated structures for progression. Some offer bespoke exams or accreditations which can keep you motivated. Most introduce music theory in a timely and relevant way, so you’re not overwhelmed.

The Woodshed® Classical Guitar Program is known as one of the most structured and organized online guitar courses.

Cost-effective

Online guitar lessons can be more affordable than private music lessons. Often, the student pays a subscription for full or selected access to the platform’s content. Sometimes you can pay as you go.

And you don’t need to pay for a private guitar teacher, travel, equipment or studio rental fees.

Supportive

Online guitar schools can offer a supportive and engaging learning environment. Many schools have online communities. Students can connect with other guitarists and share tips and resources. They receive feedback and encouragement.

This can be especially helpful if you don’t have access to a local music community. Or if you prefer to learn independently.

Is an Online Program for Me?

Online learning offers a great many benefits. But before deciding whether it’s for you, bear the following in mind:

  • You will need to be self-motivated and disciplined to stay focused
  • You could fall into bad habits unless you have someone there to give feedback. The Woodshed® Classical Guitar Program offers individual feedback for this reason.
  • There may be limited opportunities to play with others. Though some have Open Mic Zoom calls or other live performance opportunities.

This means that in general, online programs may be more suitable for adults than children.

Your First Guitar Lesson: What to Expect

Your first guitar lesson will be an event to look forward to. But what can you expect from it?

This will vary, depending on your musical goals, and the style of guitar playing you want to learn.

A classical lesson will be different than pop/acoustic guitar lessons. The teaching will be different. But some elements will be the same for any style.

A good teacher should ensure your first lesson is a great musical experience, to get you up and running.

If you’re a beginner, you will learn how to hold the instrument correctly. And you should expect to leave the lesson having made some music and played something. Even if it’s only open strings.

You should have a sense that the teacher has an understanding of your goals, and has a plan for your progression.

You should also have a clear idea of what you need to work on – or achieve – by your next lesson.

Instruments and Resources

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need to spend loads of money to get started. You may not need your own instrument or any guitar accessories for your first guitar lessons. The teacher will want to check suitable sizes and make recommendations.

A music school might let you borrow an instrument (and anything else) to start with. Some music teachers will be able to hire them out to you.

And your teacher will be able to help source a suitable instrument when the time comes to buy one. This is particularly important if you buy second-hand or need a specific size.

An expert eye is invaluable.

“If The Cap Fits, Wear It”

In the end, the type of guitar lesson best for you comes down to personal choice.

Whether you have Skype lessons or join an online program like The Woodshed® Classical Guitar Program, use the internet to your advantage.

You can travel for face-to-face, quality lessons. Or you can choose to join in with other players in group guitar classes.

Whether you’re taught in a music school or begin lessons in the comfort of your own home, you should still look for an experienced, patient teacher. Consider your interests, learning style, budget and availability before making a decision.

And then go and enjoy that first guitar lesson.

 


Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 


I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.





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