On Teachers and Lessons (1/3) – 6 Benefits of Weekly Lessons with a Private Teacher


There are many ways to learn guitar. We can do it all alone. We can use books, DVD’s, and online videos. We can join a program like The Woodshed® Classical Guitar Program. And we can also use the time-tested method of working with a private teacher. Guitar lessons with a teacher is a common way to learn guitar, and it has several benefits. Below you’ll find 6 great benefits of working with a teacher to learn guitar. This is part two in a 3-part series on teachers and lessons.

Benefit #1: Accountability

One of the chief benefits of working with a teacher is accountability. We know we’ll be asked to perform on a given date. So we are more likely to practice when we may not feel like it, just to save face. A teacher can set concrete goals and timelines. And this can spur us forward. We move ahead because we feel compelled to meet our obligations.

Benefit #2: Guidance

A guitar teacher can also plot our path. He or she can introduce skills and challenges at the right time. Alone we may skip core skills and fundamentals. But a teacher may be able to guide our study to ensure a strong foundation.

Benefit #3: Choosing Repertoire

One of the primary roles of a teacher is to choose the appropriate repertoire. And the quality of the lessons and the experience often hinge on this one skill. If a teacher chooses the right pieces at the right time, learning guitar can be a joy. As students, we likely don’t know the available repertoire. And we are not aware of the challenges involved in one piece vs. another. This is where a teacher can be of enormous help. They can choose pieces to introduce and reinforce current and previous lessons.

Benefit #4: Sounding Board

A teacher can be a “sounding board” for our ideas and revelations. We may creatively sculpt a piece of music. And the teacher can reflect on what works and what doesn’t (and give reasons why). We may have ideas of practice methods or routines. We may discover new avenues of technique or expression. The right teacher can help us to flesh out good ideas. Or they can point out where we miss the mark based on inexperience or missing context.

Benefit #5: Questions Asked and Answered

In the course of daily practice, we may notice areas of confusion. We may have questions. And a teacher can address these. Curiosity is one of the most effective practice tools. And it is the nature of curiosity to bring up questions. A teacher can either answer questions, or point us where to look for our own answers. Plus, a teacher can ask questions. Questions prod us to think and examine what we know. We connect the disparate bits of knowledge and form a more complete understanding.

Benefit #6: Social Interaction

And not to be underestimated, social interaction is a big part of private lessons with a teacher. Often a teacher and student will form a very close bond. It is an intimate relationship. The student shows vulnerability and trusts the guidance of the teacher. The teacher holds responsibility for the well-being and musical growth of the student. As adults, weekly lessons with a teacher may be the most frequent interaction with any one person. This is often far more interaction than friends and family. And as such, lessons can fulfill our need for human contact and communication.

And Other Random Benefits

Besides the above, we may find other benefits arise from our relationship with a teacher. We may find community through recitals and studio gatherings. We may learn of concerts or other events. We may discover the psychological benefits of regular practice. Structured and organized lessons and practices can bring order to life in general. We may derive physical benefits from the practice. We may increase focus and bodily awareness. We may learn to enjoy music and/or the natural world more acutely. The benefits of music can be amplified by a good teacher. But likewise, the wrong teacher can lead things down the opposite path. In the next installment of this series, we look at where teachers can go wrong. Know what to look for, and you can avoid the wasted time and other detriments of bad teaching.


Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 


I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.





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