I got my motorcycle endorsement over the weekend.  Took a class (with my wife, so it was almost a date…no kids, just us, motorcycles, 8 other students, and two instructors).  My wife has a motorcycle and I have never driven it, so this was a way to get started and have fun together.  Plus, she got a refresher.

Anyway, the point of this post was how the instructors impressed me.  They were friendly. They were helpful.  They listened.  They observed.  They taught.

A while back I was given guitar lessons as a present, but I never settled on an instructor.  I liked the ones I met with, but it just didn’t work out. Then I started some guitar projects and felt guilty about spending money on those projects and the cash outlay if I took lessons.  So I recommitted to practice (in a structured and organized fashion) instead of taking lessons.

I’m now questioning the intelligence of that decision.  Especially since I have not made a huge improvement on my practice (some, but not much).  I probably won’t sign up for guitar lessons any time soon (I really want to build/buy a speaker cabinet), but I’m curious what your experience has been.  Am I focused on the wrong things?  Am I missing opportunities to learn and improve my playing?  Should I just focus on actually playing instead of amassing equipment?  What, dear reader, is your opinion?


8 thoughts on “Weekend

  1. Vann and I are going on a similarly defined date–Evelyn’s back to school night. Just the two of us–along with how many hundreds of other parents….

    As for your question, I would say spend the money on the lessons. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the equipment more as you learn how to use it to its fullest potential.

      • I have a friend who will allow her children to start taking piano lessons ONLY after they show they are ready by practicing first. Once they prove that they will practice a certain amount of time each day will she find them a teacher. That might be a motivation for you to practice. Get into a routine (with guitar practice) so that when you do find the right teacher, you are already working hard to build on what is taught in your lessons.

  2. In a completely unrelated area, I have found books, online videos and tutorials can only take me so far. They teach me recipes, and not much theory. I become better when I can understand the why behind the decisions I need to make.

    A mentor, not an instructor, I think is what you are looking for. They can be paid, but you don’t want someone to just teach the how-to’s.

    • Good point. I think this touches on what I was trying to say in my entry about community. I’ve been riding bikes most of my life, but just in the last year or so have I entered a community and found someone I would consider a mentor. A person who provides advice, help, and guidance. Often just showing me the why rather than the how.
      I guess I should start talking and meeting more people once I find the guitar community!

  3. I would agree on the lessons. As someone who has been playing and leading worship for a long time, and has been pretty self taught. I have been amazed at how much I have improved in the last 8 months of lessons. I was really surprised at how close I was to things, but actually having someone connect the dots has been a revelation. I definitely would say go for the cab so you can hear yourself. But lessons should be a priority.

      • Yes they do. I’m a little strange in that my work schedule changes so I have Mondays off in the winter and I would spend a couple of hours each Monday practicing. But I do find myself actually making time for practice and even just picking up a guitar to work on modes, scales, or new chords/voicings. I also will often watch TV with a guitar close and try to figure out songs/jingles etc. to work on my ear. What is harder is being able to set up the whole rig and practice with effects as much as I should, but it is becoming more necessary so, I’ve been doing it more.

        The 2 big motivators are, not wanting my teacher to suspect I haven’t practiced, and not wanting to waste the lesson money.

        One side benefit is that lessons have given me the excuse to buy more gear.

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