So you are taking guitar lessons. Here are a few tips so that you can get the most out of them. (Hey, who does not like improving faster with less effort?)

  1. Listen to your teacher. This is the most important tip by far. Choose a great guitar teacher and do what they say, especially when it seems the wrong thing to do. Think about it: your guitar teacher has already learned the instrument, AND they have seen many students learning too. If they tell you to practice something it means that it is necessary to make you a better player. The teacher’s job is to make you a better player and your job is to practice as much as you can!

  2. Practice every day. Sure, every now and then you may want to take a holiday, but by and large you want to work with your instrument every day. There is nothing like the power of consistency to make you a better guitarist.

  3. Listen to your teacher. ‘Nuff said.

  4. Slow before fast. Don’t try to play everything you learn as fast as you can immediately. Let your fingers get used to the exercise. Start slow, and increase the speed gradually. Check with your teacher to see if you are doing things the right way.

  5. Listen to your teacher. Even when they tell you the same things 3 times. (It must be important if they tell you the same things 3 times….)

  6. Have patience with yourself. Nobody starts by being great: you BECOME great. And every great guitar player had days where they struggled. Don’t worry if something seems impossible right now, with patience, consistency, and the help of your teacher you WILL be able to master it. I have seen it many times in my students… and your teacher has seen it too.

  7. Listen to… well, you got it, right?

  8. Focus on one thing at a time. In fact you have no choice there: you can’t really focus on TWO things! The only possibilities are to focus on one thing, or not focusing at all. So pick ONE element of your playing that needs work, and focus on that for the next 5-10 minutes. Ask your teacher if you need help.

Finally… did I mention to listen to your teacher? ????

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher that lives in Edmonton. Guitar lessons are available for all local students.