I'm gonna toss this question out there mainly for the newbie & early intermediate type players...
I recently have started teaching on a very small scale & I really would like to get some feedback from some of the newer players on this forum about what they would most likely be looking for when signing up to take lessons for the first time.

Now I know that much like 25yrs ago when I started, "SONGS" are going to be THE main thing that most students would be looking for. Most people take lessons because of certain songs that they want to learn, NOT because that want to learn scales & theory. That usually comes later.

SO....Excluding "Songs"....What are some of THE main things that YOU would look for when taking lessons for the first time? I ask, because you always hear people complain about having to spend time learning stuff that they have no interest in. Theory is great & scales are important, but much of that stuff will come into play AFTER people have a somewhat good grasp of the basics of the guitar.
I tend to think that students will learn much more & much quicker, if they are being taught stuff that keeps them interested, vs. stuff that they could care less about. So, my thought is to have something of a general "Beginner's Package" put together, to go along with the songs people will want to learn and I'd love to get an idea of what is important to the avg beginner here.
Be as specific or as general as you want, I'm just hoping to pick some brains and get some ideas from you guys if you don't mind.

Thanks a ton guys/gals,

I'd say teach the notes on the strings first (starting with what each string is, then the notes on the first few frets) along with a few chords, then introduce some 3-chord songs, power chords, etc. But don't wait too long to get into songs, then people will lose interest. Also teach how to tune.
Thanks man! I appreciate you taking the time!

Let me ask you guys this...When I was starting out in the 80's....EVERY single Rock/Metal type of instructional method spent a ton of time on the Blues influence on Rock/Metal & really hammered you with Bluesy/Pentatonic licks & scales.
Is that something that is still important to younger players today....I'm not trying to debate whether or not it's important....I just want to know if it is important to YOU as you start out?

Teaching the basics: What fret is what note, how to dissect chords etc, etc. Then, I'd look for a teacher to be a varied player so I can learn more jazz licks udnerneath metal riffing.
R.I.P. Charles Michael "Evil Chuck" Schuldiner
B. May 13 1967 - D. December 13 2001

Quote by eggsandham2
cuz ppl hate how power metal they are cuz they think its "gay" or w.e, which is immature and dirogitory
I'll speak from my personal experience here... I'm still somewhat starting out at guitar. My join date was when I got an electric, all I knew before that was some chords and where certain notes were. My guitar teacher recently started teaching me some blues stuff, and it's gotten me into playing blues in my spare time. I learned the hexatonic blues scale on my own, he taught me a few 12-bar blues things... good stuff. As long as you explain how it relates to them, I think it's a good thing to teach.
My teacher started by teaching me basic chords then i had to use these in a strum pattern with a change every bar or two then a few scales then a simple song he usually tries to teach things only if the song requires it like he started teaching me about bends when i started on californication it keeps people interested but it also helps with theory a bit
My recommendations:

1) link each theory/exercises/scales lesson to a song or portion of a song to show how the theory is applied & to maintain interest

2) make a progress chart or lesson plan that shows how your method can take them from where they are at, to where they would like to be. That will give them a yardstick by which they can measure their progress as a player. You may also be able to use it to encourage people to buy bundles of lessons that take them through a portion of your curriculum.

Happy teaching!
The first thing my guitar teacher did (when I used to take lessons), was ask me why I was playing guitar. At the time, I said for fun, and just to have fun jamming about etc... So I wasn't much of a serious player. He didn't teach me much theory, just basic chords, and distinguishing the guitar in songs and basic scales etc... After a few weeks, I told him that I actually wouldn't mind taking it up seriously one day, you know, like playing in gigs and stuff, so he began teaching me the theory, but I was happy to learn it if it was essential to my playing.
Thanks guys...it really is helpful to get your opinions.
The basics are the basics...obviously....but WHAT part of the basics is most important in an actual lesson-Teacher/Student setting is what has been on my mind. Mainly because there is soooo damn much info out there to be had, that from a teaching standpoint, it can make you wonder where the importance of actual one on one lessons really falls these days. Things like tab for songs and endless numbers of arp/tapping/tech based tutorials are no longer a rarity like they used to be.

This is gonna sound "old Codger-ish" of me....But honestly, when I started at like 16 or whatever....There was obviously no internet, computers were still the size of Cadillacs.... Guitar Player and Guitar World were the only guitar magazines available here domestically in the US.
I used to take a freakin an hour and a half round trip bus ride, to go to the only bookstore in the area that actually sold the Japanese magazine called Young Guitar. Which, of course I couldn't read, except for the tabs. When Guitar For The Practicing Musician came out...it was like the freakin Holy Grail of guitar mags. LOL Actually though, Young Guitar was still cooler, since they always had tabs the GFTPM never had.

Anyway....all ranting aside....It is helpful to get this feedback, since really knowing what is & will be important to the average student is a bit tougher to decipher these days, with soooooo much "free" info already out there for anyone with in a mouse and a finger to click it with.

thanks again,

I would ask them (the student) what THEY want to learn I guess. This could backfire, but if they don't want to be bothered with the theory and just get into learning the technique then maybe that's what's best to keep them interested.

I understand theory is important, but learning guitar is different for everyone: Some just want to play their favourite artists' songs, and others like the in-depth approach of understanding how it all works.
Fan of the Ottawa Senators

Quote by apak
My G string keeps slipping when i bend it.
Any suggestions?

just a few sugestions

1) pentonics
2) major/minor scale SHAPES
3) Associate every technique to a song

Ex: first 2 notes to the G minor scale starting on the 6th string are the first to notes of the intro to Cowboys Form Hell by Pantera
This works for almost any situation....

Quote by PaulyVengeance
Punch it. Punch it until it goes away.
You said besides "SONGS", but I think if you just plan to teach people songs they want, and ALSO teach them theory/technique you may be approaching it wrong. What I wish my teacher would do is teach me a slice of technique or theory or whatever, then give me a song that demonstrates how that is used.

Teach the guy the pentatonic scale, then show him a song that is based heavily on it. And make sure they know it too. Say "Ok, so you can see how they did this song with the pentatonic scale, bla bla bla etc etc etc."

Also, just because you mentioned magazines, you could try opening up a magazine with your student, checking out some of the licks they give you and trying them together, don't base the lesson around it or anything, but I find that sometimes things will be really difficult to figure out myself, but once I have the teacher do it a bit, I can figure it out by myself later.

Also, don't be shy about offering your thoughts on his equipment. Teach him about guitars, amps, cables, effects, pedals, strings, pickups, all that. Teach about how certain genres came from other genres, all that fun stuff.

Basically, don't be afraid to sit down and talk to your students, you don't have to be constantly instructing them about hammer ons and pull offs or about chord progressions. There's no problem taking 5, 10 or 15 minutes out to chat about where the music they like came from, who pioneered it, and the theory behind the songs.
Well, since you're starting to teach, I'd recommend...

1. Looking at your student's technique, if it's a major flaw, fixing it will make them worship you.
2. Teach them how to read tabs, not many students want to know how to read sheet music, they mostly believe it's too hard.
3. Teach them some basic blues licks and chords (make sure they go together so they have something to play around with)
4. Basic pentatonic boxes and a scale or two (Tell them where and how it's applied in music so they have a better understanding of why and how it's used)
5. Then the intro to a well known song
6. Then teach them I Cum Blood.
Start throwing in some music theory to every lesson. Just Start small, jusgt enough to get the point across. They will thank you in the long run.
Thanks again everyone...I do appreciate it. The feedback has been very helpful.
I realize that every student is going to pretty much be a unique case unto themselves, and as a teacher you need to be perceptive enough to catch their vibe and figure out what will work best for that particular student. So it's nice to get some varied takes on the topic.

scales and stuff, but you might want to throw in something flashy every lesson, like teaching them how to tap at the end of the lesson,or hammer ons &pull offs, or just basic stuff like that
& remember if they have trouble remembering the string tunings EADGBE

B***jobs to
I am taking guitar lessons, had 4 lessons at one a week.

First lesson I learned power chords and 5 open chords, G, E, A, C, D

Second lesson I learned a chord changing exercise. 4 quarter notes of playing whatever 1 chord you want then 4 quarter rests, then 4 quarter notes of a different chord.

Third lesson I learned minor pentatonic scale and a 3up lick.


Fourth lesson I learned the notes, so like if he put his finger on the 6fret E string I would know what note that was.
A, A#,B,C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G,G#

Then I learned E minor, D minor, A minor and Fmajor 7 chord.

Then learned The first part of californication.
you definately don't wanna bore them...first some open chords, those are always a good way to start and there fun...tell them if they wanna ever learn a song of riff they can ask you to help them learn it...ask about their musical favorite genres...everyone wants to learn to play smoke on the water and back in black! scales are good after but next id say go onto bar chords and make sure they know their E and A string roots...then maybe some scales but dont bore a kid too much with scales at first...hope this helps!
oh yeah and teach them how to tune their guitar, put thumb up for open scales above 2nd fret, under for bar chords, how to read tabs, etc.
What i always look for is his/her attitude. For instance, My first teacher was John, basically a Pothead. My family had an inside joke that if i told him his mother died, he would go
"Oh, thats sucks i guess. So.... you wanna learn a song, or what?"
In his case, if i didnt practice or basically do anything, he wouldnt care. He wouldnt even act disappointed in me.
My other teacher was way better. I was all confused about scales and modes and stuff(still am, lol) but one lesson he was like:
"well, if it sounds good, then screw the theory and just play."
And so I did, and i think i got better( up to a point).
So i suggest you act accordingly to what the client wants to hear, i guess. As long as its correct.
Man, i just rambled on and on. Im sorry.
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Hi.. I've been playing since March/April.. so am very much still a beginner. I 1st took guitar lessons at school when i was 11/12... but then gave up..!!! 20+yrs later, i've forgotten everything i learned in those 2 years. A few months ago, we were given an old acoustic, so i got myself a book, learned myself a few chords & started playing some easy simple songs. I'm now at a stage where i can play 20 or so songs (but i'm struggling with them barre chords!!). I've now got myself a lovely acousic & a basic electric guitar. I'm now looking to take some lessons. I'm not sure what i want from them though.. theory, i guess.. as the guys on here keep telling how important theory is!

So, in answer to your question.. I'd teach them how to tune, the basic open chords, a couple of simple songs (that really does feel like progress when you can string something together into a recognisable tune!) & then go on to the more 'boring' stuff like scales & such.

Sorry if i've not been much help.

R x

Freshman acoustic
Learning how to read notes, and where the notes are on the fretboard.
Gear List:
'97 Gibson Explorer w/ Duncan SH-4 and SH-2
Fender Jazz Bass 'Crafted in Japan'
Yamaha Acoustic Guitar
Vox AD30VT w/ VFS2
Roland Cube 30 Bass
Modded "St. Louis" Wah
Dunlop .88 Tortex picks

I used that to get me started. Basic technique, slash chords, open chords, barre chords and 7th chords, strumming patterns, a few scales, exercises, no theory. There are also some songs suggested on each lesson, although I didn't care much for them. All a fresh beginner needs.

Last edited by Whiskky at Jul 10, 2008,
not wanting to sound funny because i think its good that you are asking these questions... BUT, you would get the best reply from each and every one of your students... you need to learn to assess what each one needs and focus on that. it will be different for every student.

good luck with the teaching. i hope it goes well and makes you rich (ish)
Thank you please.