The Old Days of Guitar Lessons
It wasn’t too long ago that a guitar lesson in Atlanta was a 12-18 year old kid that went into a dusty guitar shop, walked to a back room cassette tape in hand and worked out what was to be the guitar lesson, by listening to music one phrase at a time and learning to play music by ear.
New School In-Home Guitar Lessons that Rock
Today’s student is much younger and modern in-home guitar teachers use many more teaching tools other then the boom boxes and the cassette tapes of their predecessors. Today, in addition to learning music by ear, guitar teachers are teaching online music lessons, music reading, music theory, chord charts and tablature.
Guitar Teachers Needed to Meet the Needs Of Younger Students
There are many reasons Guitar Teachers needed to Evolve; younger students are one of the main reasons. In 1998 we had a rule at Lessons In Your Home, no guitar students under age 9. Today we start lessons at 5 years old in some cases. Lessons have become different because our students have and it’s not only at LIYH. Guitar teachers all across the country were feeling the push.
Better Teaching Methods
Hal Leonard Essential Elements for Guitar, Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method, and Alfred’s Basic Guitar Method all give modern guitar teachers new outlets to teach with. Until they made there way to most guitar teachers, most guitar teachers, not having the experience themselves of learning any different, just taught be ear and route.
Smaller Guitar Choices
Another factor which led younger students to take guitar lessons is smaller and scaled guitars. Again, back in the day there just weren’t a lot of properly sized instruments to teach smaller people on. Today if you walk in a guitar shop you will see many choices of smaller bodied and scaled instruments.
A scaled guitar is one made for younger students in a way that the guitar plays properly but it is ¼, ½, or ¾, the size of a standard guitar. While these instruments have existed for a while the price tag has come down to be more affordable. Therefore, parents wanting their young children to play guitar no longer need to break the bank to get the lessons started.
New Music Choices
One unique aspect to younger students playing guitar is they are experiencing more than just rock music. Because the students are now reading music and younger students aren’t really set on only playing Van Halen, as an example. The range and type of music that we are teaching is much wider. At a recent recital, we had a 9-year-old student play a variation on a Bach minuet. Very Cool!
More Educated Guitar Teachers
Over the years, and not to discount the guitar teachers of the last generation, guitar teachers have gotten smarter. The once rock guitarist, instead of the school of hard knocks, now goes to Music College or institutions like GIT – Guitar Institute of Technology, AIM – Atlanta Institute of Music, or even the Berkley College of Music, the best music school in the U.S. Where a rock or jazz guitarist can study.
Some of the teachers coming out of college wouldn’t even think of teaching like the old guys did. Although, all would agree that since we are using so much sheet music and method books in guitar lessons now, new guitarist, on a whole, don’t have as developed ears as the students of the past did.
Just Like Jazz
What’s going on today in Guitar Education is similar to the development of Jazz education. Jazz was a passed down, non reading type of art in it’s early stages. Now you can get a doctorate in it.
Let Us Not Forget
When the only way you have to learn something is to work hard and use your ears, you appreciate and even understand on different levels the art form of Music. It’s harder to do it the old way but the product that came out was superior. The issue was that not everyone could do it and therefore not a lot of product came out.
Although I’m a classically trained guy my roots are in rock and roll. I remember playing in garage bands. I love the new days of young kids learning to read and having a more balanced approach to music lessons but also think fondly of bringing a cassette tape into a lesson and getting to work. In any case, guitar students rock harder then any other instrument.