Why take guitar lessons?
Taking private lessons with a capable and dedicated teacher is one of the best ways to take the intimidation out of learning something new. Having a mentor to guide you from concept to concept, but also to help you through the minute (but important!) details will get you learning faster without getting bogged down in the pitfalls of bad technique. Teachers can help remove the feeling of uncertainty that you might be doing it wrong. Teachers can guide you in your journey based on your interests and goals.
So all I have to do is spend a half-hour with you once a week?
Well, not exactly. You will have to practice. I expect my beginning students to practice for about 15 to 30 minutes daily. You don’t have to spend hours and hours practicing every day, but as long as you do a little bit every day you will improve. The idea is that if you are working on a particular concept every day, then the amount of time you spend doing it on any particular day is not crucial. Spend as much time as you have available on a given subject, knowing that you will have another opportunity to improve upon it tomorrow. In our lessons, we will discuss the details of how to practice the songs and exercises that we cover, because the majority of the actual learning will take place while you engage with the guitar on your own time.
What equipment or materials do I need to have?
You will need your own guitar, which you will bring to lessons and use at home to practice. You will need a folder or binder in which to keep our lesson materials. You will also need a guitar tuner, which can be purchased at a guitar store.
At home, you will want a quiet, distraction free space to practice. You don’t need to convert the guest bedroom into a music room or anything like that. A corner of the living room or bedroom is fine. The garage is ok, but if the temperature is not controlled be sure that you do not leave your guitar in there overnight. I highly recommend purchasing a music stand and a guitar stand for your practice space. Another helpful practice tool is a dressing mirror or other large mirror, in front of which you can practice. This will help you see your own posture and fingers without having to crane your neck over the top of your guitar.
You can find a little more info about this in my studio policy.
I need a guitar. What am I looking for?
There are many kinds of guitars out there, at prices that can range anywhere from $20 to $20,000. Either electric or acoustic guitars are fine for our lessons. Just keep in mind that there are some extras that are required for electric guitar players, such as an amplifier and a guitar cable. As a beginning student, you should expect to spend between $150-200 for an entry level instrument. I know that some big-box stores are offering $50 guitar starter packs, but I would recommend that you steer clear. In the long run, it would be cheaper for you to invest the money right now in an instrument that plays easily and sounds good, than to have to suffer through learning on an instrument that neither plays well nor sounds good.
Many entry level acoustic guitars are made with “laminate” woods, which is a fancy word for plywood. The classic and preferred alternative is solid wood, but that can be expensive, especially for a first instrument. The compromise that I have found is in finding a guitar with a solid “top” but is otherwise made with laminate wood. The top face of the guitar is the most crucial in terms of sound quality. The rest of the guitar can be made of laminate wood, and it will have less of an impact on the tone. I have found great sounding beginner level instruments with solid tops for around $200. The type of wood used in an electric guitar is not as crucial. There are many other factors that go into electric guitar tone that I will not discuss on this page.
If you are one of my students or plan on studying with me, PLEASE LET ME HELP YOU BUY AN INSTRUMENT! Having the right instrument for you can make or break your learning experience, and I want you to succeed. I will meet you at a guitar store and we can look through their stock together, free of charge from me.
How do I get signed up for lessons?
Call me at 503.830.4994, or email me at wmarshguitarist [at] gmail [dot] com. I would love to talk to you about your goals and address any concerns you might have.
I have more questions!
Please feel free to call or email them to me. Your question and answer may even end up on this page!