An open letter to prospective music students
If you are reading this, you have some interest in learning music with an instructor, to whatever degree that is. You have already made a huge leap toward a rewarding pastime, and discipline, that will truly enrich your life. I would like to talk to you a bit, and help with the decision making process.
While an instructor is not “necessary” to learn music, it is “necessary” for the vast majority, and extremely beneficial for everyone. Getting a qualified, competent
instructor can be the difference between actually learning the instrument, and watching it collect dust in the corner. As an instructor we have played the instrument for an extended period of time, thus we know all of the pitfalls for beginners, and intermediates alike. I have seen for myself many times when people who tried for years to self teach guitar, come to me, and within weeks they have made more progress in two weeks than they had made in the previous two years!
Music is a discipline, as such, it can help an individual to create goals, and develop ways to accomplish them. These skills translate to other aspects of daily life. While honing these skills, and ways of being, it is much easier to have a couch in the matter, keeping you honest and motivated. This is a basic of human nature, that to reach our full potential, we need someone to help push us.
The importance of the instructor, is often overlooked. Similar to everything in our consumption society, typically price is king, and typically you will get what you pay for. When choosing a music instructor this is particularly important, to recognize the difference between “dude bro” as I affectionately call them, and a qualified music professional. This is not the say that “dude bro” is not a decent musician, or potentially a great one, but this often does not transfer into being a good instructor. When choosing an instructor you should choose one that will help you understand music as a whole, not just how to play this song, or that song. The goal of the instructor should be to foster an understanding in theory, and technique. A qualified instructor is perfectly capable of helping you learn to play hey whatever that one song you are interested in may be, but the difference is we are looking to help you understand your instrument, and music as a whole, so that when a song strikes your interest you have the tools, the skill set to be able to learn the song yourself.