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When I began guitar lessons over forty years ago there were few choices for learning to play the guitar. You either bought a book and taught yourself or you called the local music store to set up lessons with a randomly selected live teacher. I was only eight years old when I met my first guitar instructor and I remember it like it was yesterday. He was a part time lounge guitarist that always smelled like cigarette smoke and definitely didn't enjoy teaching kids. He was impatient, grouchy and didn't hesitate to yell at me when I nervously chewed on my guitar pick. I didn't understand him, I didn't enjoy the lessons and soon wanted to quit. Fortunately my mother understood the problem and talked me into continuing with a different teacher. I was luckier with my second teacher, Miss Mosier. She was a twenty-something hippy that loved kids as much as she loved to teach. I actually began to look forward to my lessons. When she introduced a little finger picking exercise that lead to playing an old Bluegrass song called Buck Dancers Choice, I was hooked. Finally, I was actually learning to play guitar and having fun! Today, due to inexpensive video technology, there are many options that take the guess work out of learning to play guitar. Now it is possible to bring world class instructors into your home to teach guitar for less money and often in less time then it takes to learn from a randomly selected local instructor. Here are 10 tips for selecting a guitar lesson program: 1. The Medium: find a dvd based or online guitar lesson program that offers both video and audio lessons with a book as a reference guide. This combination should work well whether your primary learning style is reading, listening, watching or a combination of all three. 2. Good Production Values: the video lessons should be thoughtfully organized. There should be lots of close ups of both of the instructors hands as they demonstrate each lesson. The audio needs to be clear so that each note and chord can be distinctly heard. 3. Skill Level: If you are a rank beginner make sure that the guitar lesson program states that it is geared for beginners. A beginning guitar program should teach the parts of the guitar, re-stringing and tuning as well as the fundamentals of scales, chords, keys, reading tabs and playing songs. If you are interested in a specialized program like Blues Guitar Lessons check to see what level of skills are required before you begin. 4. The Instructor: ideally should have experience as recording studio musician as well as touring with a band. A college degree in education and lots of hands-on teaching experience are equally

important. 5. Music Theory Instruction: should be peppered through out the guitar course. A basic understanding of how scales, keys and chords work can free you from the limitations of just memorizing songs. This can provide the musical tools necessary for writing songs and improvising solos over just about any kind of music. 6. Guided Practice Sessions: this means that the video instructor first teaches you a system for practicing the guitar then plays along with you to help establish good habits. Much enjoyment and progress can be lost due to poor practice routines. In fact, I would be willing to bet that a high percentage of the people that quit do so because of a poor understanding of good practice fundamentals. Only one guitar lesson course that I am aware of gets this exactly right. 7. Jam Tracks: these are usually short recorded songs or rhythm tracks that provide a way for a guitar student to practice playing with a band. Jam Tracks can be invaluable for learning to play rhythm guitar parts in synch with other musicians or while improvising solos. 8. Individual Pacing: a guitar lesson program should provide an environment where the student can learn at a pace that is ideal for their individual learning style. 9. Fun: that's exactly right, a guitar lesson program should be fun. If it isn't fun early in the program it will be hard to stay motivated long enough to develop even basic guitar skills. 10. Price: expect to pay about $130 to $200 for a top-notch, dvd based, guitar lesson program that is aimed at rank beginners through intermediate acoustic and electric guitar students. There are many lesson programs available in the $30 to $60 range that have some of the important benefits mentioned above but I have found most of them to be somewhat incomplete and inconvenient. For detailed guitar lesson reviews go to a website like While a great, organized, video guitar lesson program taught by a top instructor can be critical to learning to play the guitar there are also a few other essentials: - Start out with the highest quality guitar you can afford. Too often cheap beginner guitars won't stay in tune, are hard to play and just don't sound very good. A guitar that is priced in the $200 to $500 range will be much more satisfying to play. Why make learning guitar harder than necessary? - Expect that playing the guitar will feel awkward at first but that slowly it will become easier and smoother. Don't quit. Practice frequently in short bursts of 10 to 20 minutes. When your hands are sore or you start to become frustrated take a break. - Learn how to practice like a professional: this is a significant eakness of many, if not most, guitar lesson programs. Rarely is there enough emphasis on learning how to practice effectively. A good practice routine should have a definite structure and purpose with fun activities at the end as a motivator. Practice sessions that are generally short, frequent and fun usually stimulate rapid learning. For more information on this topic read an article called "Learn To Play Guitar Twice As Fast In Only Half The Time" at

John Mackinnon started taking guitar lessons over 40 years ago and still enjoys the learning process. His website, is dedicated to reviewing dvd based and online guitar lesson programs, offers guitar related articles, guitar resource links and a free newsletter.

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10 Tips For Selecting A Guitar Lesson Program  

To recive quality information on how to play the guitar like a pro, please click the following link:

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