Many adults want to learn to play the guitar, and guitar lessons for adults are in great demand. However, many adult learners have trouble finding a guitar teacher, or find that conventional guitar lessons don’t suit their needs. This article looks at the options for adult guitar lessons.
There are two basic routes available – private lessons with a teacher, or teaching yourself. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these choices for adult learners.
Lessons With a Teacher
1. Private guitar lessons for adults
Children who are learning to play the guitar often have private lessons with a guitar teacher. This isn’t always the obvious solution for adult learners however, for a number of reasons. For one thing, adults typically respond to different teaching methods than children. Some teachers may be less experienced or comfortable with adult students, and in some locations it can be hard to find teachers of the style of music you’re interested in. Even after finding a good teacher, adult students often find it difficult to attend lessons regularly. Budget can be an issue too, especially if you’re going every week.
On the plus side, a teacher will demonstrate the correct technique, and will provide encouragement during tough times. If want private lessons, ensure that the teacher is happy to teach adult students, and request references from previous/existing students. Don’t be afraid to interview several teachers if you can – most will offer a no-obligation consultation to new students.
2. Group guitar lessons
You can also learn guitar as part of a group. Group lessons may be offered by private teachers, or by local colleges, music stores etc. These can be lots of fun, and the cost is usually lower than one-on-one private lessons too.
However, some people don’t want to learn in a group situation, and these lessons often seem to be targeted at young men; if you’re not part of that demographic, you might not feel comfortable. If group lessons appeal to you, make sure that they’re teaching the kind of music you want to play.
Teaching yourself to play guitar
1. Tutor books/DVDs
Many adults choose to teach themselves to play, especially those learning pop and rock styles (as opposed to classical guitar). Traditionally, people have taught themselves using a tutor book. Today these books often include CDs, so you can hear how the music/exercises should sound, and sometimes DVDs too, showing you the correct hand positions, posture etc.
Most guitar instruction books are written for a mature audience, so adults often feel comfortable learning guitar in this way. They’re also much cheaper than private lessons, and you can go at your own pace, with no need for travelling or fitting in with someone else’s schedule.
The downside of learning this way is that it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you should be doing from written instruction and photos alone. Your motivation may also wane, especially if the book teaches music you don’t like much.
2. Online guitar lessons
Today, many people turn to the internet for adult guitar lessons, for good reason. As well as being economical and allowing you to learn at your own pace, quality online guitar lessons usually combine written, video, audio and software content, making them more effective and fun to use than books. They’re flexible too – e.g., you can play a video over and over again. Internet lessons cover many musical styles, and can be downloaded and/or viewed online, so you can access them from anywhere. And online guitar lessons are usually created with the needs of the adult learner in mind.
You do have to select your instruction carefully though. Since anyone can put up a website and call themselves a guitar expert, the quality varies, so ensure that you choose lessons from a competent instructor.