I’ve seen my fair share of students come and go over the years of being a guitar teacher. While of course it’s always sad to lose a student, I’m very emphatic that the end of our lessons together doesn’t mean the end of that student’s musical journey. After having taught guitar lessons in Washington, DC for about six years now, I have come up with things I like to tell students that are quitting guitar lessons:
Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Do the math of how many years we’ve worked together. However many years, times about 50 lessons a year, times 30 minutes a lesson… That’s a lot of effort and commitment you’ve put into learning the guitar. You went from a novice with completely smooth fingertips to a musician with calluses and an ear for chords and melody. There are so many people who would be so jealous!
Be aware of the different avenues that are available to you as an experienced musician. Quitting lessons with your Washington, DC guitar teacher doesn’t need to be the end of your musical education, and it certainly shouldn’t be the end of your musical journey. While guitar lessons with me may stop, you can and should continue to play, either by yourself or with other musicians. As much as I learned from my guitar lessons, I learned just as much from playing in bands and collaborating with other musicians.
Use the guitar as a source of relaxation rather than stress or anxiety. I know that there is some stress involved with practicing and preparing for a lesson or recital, but if you’re not taking lessons anymore, the pressure’s off. Take this break in lessons to use the guitar as a way to escape into an activity that’s just for you.
Appreciate the Discipline
Learning the guitar is not an easy task. The hours of practice, the sore fingers, the dedication to the development of muscle memory… if these things were easy, everyone would be a great guitarist. This discipline can be carried forward into every aspect of your life, your studies, your eventual professional life, or any new hobbies or interests you pick up along the way.
Look For Opportunities
Explore professional opportunities. This sounds more serious than it actually is. Any time someone pays you for music, whether it’s a sold out concert you perform, or a few songs played for a local theater organization, you are acting as a professional musician. Of course most people don’t take guitar lessons with the hopes of getting rich, but you’d be surprised how fun and rewarding even low level paid gigs can be.
Be Social With Your Music
Take advantage of the social benefits music offers. Music has been bringing people together for all of human history. Playing music is a great way to meet new people, whether they’re fellow musicians or just music lovers, and you can form friendships that will last years or even a lifetime.
Enjoy a relaxed approach to practicing. Now that your teacher isn’t harassing you about practicing every day, practice can be a little more relaxed. Set yourself achievable short term goals, and think about the end results of those goals when you practice. I suspect it will be a little less stressful if you’re practicing for your own benefit and not with the goal of impressing a teacher.
Try Something New
Pick a new style of music. When I was a teenager, I listened to almost nothing but heavy metal music. I know it sounds strange coming from someone who’s been teaching classical music, but it was almost all I listened to! As I got older though, I began to appreciate just about every form of music I could find, and learning to play in new styles really breathed new life into my playing and music appreciation. There are also other instruments you can learn if you play the guitar.
Consider the permanent importance of music. While many jobs are automated away, music has always been important to people, whether they were kings in Europe or someone else. Whatever else changes in the world, your ability to play will always impress the rest of the world.
Use music as a source of joy. When everything else in the world feels chaotic or otherwise negative, music can always be used to bring joy to the player and the listener. Never forget that.
Whatever the next steps are in a student’s musical journey, I’m always proud of all that they’ve accomplished in the time we spent together, and I hope that music will always be a source of wonder and joy for them. However, sometimes I believe that they might only need a break. Once they’re ready to go back to learning the guitar, Lessons in Your Home will always be here to teach music.
At Lessons In Your Home, our instructors are thoroughly vetted, professional, and passionate about music. Our teachers will come right to their home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are being taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to every student! Contact us today to learn more.
By Andrew Pendergrast