The fact is, that playing guitar should be fun. It should be a source of relaxation and enjoyment. It can also be a little stressful in the beginning - learning all that new terminology, training your fingers to do things they've never done before, learning the names of notes, the blisters on your fingers and not knowing if you are playing it correctly!
Choosing the right direction for guitar lessons should be the least of your concerns and, rest assured, there is more than one right answer.
You can really narrow down your options to one of four choices - you can "go it alone", you can take private lessons, you can take a home study course, or you can take online lessons.
Going it Alone
This is not as bad as it may sound. There are plenty of successful guitarists that had enough raw talent and persistence to become very accomplished without ever taking the first lesson.
Most did it by gathering information on their own. Picking up tidbits here and there, learning to play songs from listening to the recording, and watching and learning from other guitarists.
The ones that master the guitar on their own typically start out with a lot of natural talent and desire, and most tend to start at a young age.
There are advantages to learning guitar with a private instructor. Many students prefer the interactive, one on one environment of private lessons.
Lesson programs can be tailored to the individual student and the instructor can guide the student in a hands on fashion.
The downside of private lessons for many is the sheer cost of it. A good instructor could, on a monthly basis, cost the equivalent of a weeks worth of groceries, or a motorcycle payment!
Another deterrent for some is having to abide by a regimented schedule, which may be a challenge for those with a busy life style.
Home Study Courses
Home study courses, which usually consist of a combination of lesson books and DVDs, can offer the convenience of taking lessons at the students own pace. The student is not tethered to a schedule and does not have to complete lessons within a time frame.
The downside is that some of the quality courses can be on the pricey side, and also, it can be cumbersome keeping up with books and DVDs. If the coffee gets spilled on the lesson book or the dog chews up the DVD, the student has to re-order.
Online lessons are a great alternative for the student that prefers the home study environment, but does not want to keep up with all the course materials of a home study course. In addition, a good online course can be updated, improved and revised and the student can reap the benefits of updates and improvements in real time.
The best online courses include audio and video, as well as text lessons with charts, diagrams and pictures. They are generally much less expensive than some of the other alternatives, although like home study courses, they lack the personal touch of a private instructor.
Some online courses attempt to bridge that gap by offering email support and/or forums for students in need of personal assistance.
Prior to the advent of the Internet, private lessons were the only game in town. Now, with advances in technology guitar students can become proficient on the instrument without ever leaving home.
Many students prefer a combination of the above choices, choosing to start with an online course and then graduate to private lessons later on. As a guitar instructor, I can say that I always prefer to take on a new student that already has the basics under their belt. It is always more satisfying to help a student develop their style on guitar as opposed to spending weeks teaching them how to play an "E" chord.
Ultimately the choice is different for every person, according to their own goals and needs. The important thing at the end of the day, is to get a guitar in your hands and start playing!
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!