The 7 Biggest Mistakes Guitar Teachers Make

How can you help students accomplish more in less time?  How can you eliminate obstacles that get in the way of effective teaching?

There are many roadblocks a teacher may encounter, but some are more significant than others.  If you want to take your teaching to the next level, it is especially important to avoid the following mistakes:

  1. Not Caring About Your Students.

If you teach solely for the benefits that you receive, you should stop teaching. While teachers, like other professionals, should be paid for their work, it is important to focus on serving students and giving them much more value than you receive. If you lose sight of this, you are missing a vital element of the teaching profession.

  1. Playing Guitar Poorly.

Guitar skill goes hand in hand with effective teaching. Your students will emulate you, and you are a role model for their playing.  In our educational system, it seems as if K-12 teachers are expected to excel at teaching even if they do not master their content area while university teachers are expected to excel in their content area even if they do not teach well.  I believe that teachers at all levels should master the content as well as the teaching and learning process.  Keep growing and developing your skills so that you can keep leading your students.

  1. Not Enjoying the Guitar.

If you do not enjoy the guitar, then your students are not likely to enjoy it.  If you begin to experience burnout, ask yourself “What attracted me to the guitar in the first place?” Reconnect with those elements that kindled your passion, and help your students to do likewise.  Also, discover new artists who inspire you and new reasons to enjoy the guitar.

  1. Not Giving Students What They Want.

Students enjoy the guitar more when playing music they like.  It is important to ask students questions like “What do you want to get out of guitar lessons?” and “What are your favorite songs/pieces?”  Then, help students accomplish their personal goals in playing guitar.

  1. Not Giving Students What They Need.

What students need is not always the same as what they want. Sometimes the knowledge and skills that will be most useful in the long term are not important to students in the short term. A good example is note reading. Most teachers realize the value of this, but many students do not.  It is important to balance what the student enjoys now with the skills they will need in the future.  If you can teach both at the same time, you are on the path to success as a guitar teacher.

  1. Communicating Poorly.

If you have all the knowledge in the world but cannot convey it to others, you will struggle as a teacher.  Good communication involves speaking effectively about what you know, and it also involves asking a lot of questions and listening carefully to the student.  You need to discover not only whether you have shared the information but whether the student has received and applied it.

  1. Not Helping Students Learn Independently.

While students benefit from having a teacher over a period of years, they eventually reach a point where they no longer study with a teacher. If you train your students to think critically, ask questions, and solve problems, they will develop into independent learners who can move forward without your guidance.  Instead of feeling threatened by this, you should celebrate it as a sign of a job well done.

If you are making some of the mistakes listed above, identify what steps you need to take to grow and move forward.  Over time, as you improve your teaching, you and your students will reach new heights of achievement.

Question: What did I miss?  What mistakes do you see guitar teachers making? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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