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Discussion Starter #1
Question to the Guitar Teachers out there, and those with experience in this situation...

My pre-teen daughter has been taking guitar lessons for about 2 years. Currently she is working in the 3rd book of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method series. We have her taking weekly 30min private lessons (with a bit of a break during the summer months).

My question is... how much longer are weekly lessons really necessary? Especially since she is nearly done the 3 book set. Should we consider reducing to every 2 weeks, or something else? What should she be taught next?

I am fully aware guitar playing can easily be a life-long learning experience... so at no point are you truly "done" learning. I only started playing late in life, and I play purely for my own pleasure. At some point I'd like my daughter to surpass me (probably won't take long ;)) so teaching her myself is not really the greatest alternative.

Thoughts?... guidance?... recommendations?... all appreciated!
 

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Once the books are done, its time to learn how to play whatever music she likes. There will be new things to learn as she discovers new music.

What is her goal out of playing? How far does she want to take it?

I dont see any reason to space out lessons unless it's a financial thing.
 
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My question to you. How passionate is she? Does like it or love it?

To excel at guitar, it must be one of your top priorities!

How much time is she willing to dedicate to practice?

Does she have to be told to practice or does she do it willingly?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She likes guitar. She is not Hendrix incarnate. It is one of her several weekly extracurricular activities.

She practices about 10-20 min 4-5 days per week on her own, plus has a 30 min Lesson 1 day each week. So, she's touching a guitar about 5-6 days per week. Usually she is in a routine where she'll automatically go and practice once her school homework is done. Sometimes she needs to be prodded. Occasionally she'll spend 20-30 min practicing if I am sitting with her, providing guidance and encouragement.

I want to keep here engaged, and continue to coax her along with Guitar, at least until she understands the reality of the skill she is being taught and develops a real passion - or conversely - until she realizes guitar is truly not a passion she wants to develop. I know this whole process would be much easier if she was fully infatuated with learning how to play guitar. She is not. But that is by no means a reason to quit. To me, it only presents a challenge in determining how she should be taught.

If she hated playing, I would not force her to continue. I have asked her if she wants to quit, and she continually says No.
 

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I think by book 3 she's ready to branch out and follow a path of her own choosing. Does she have a favorite music type? Do you play guitar/jam with her?

We need one of the teachers to offer advise
 

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I think just the fact that you show interest in her playing will keep her somewhat motivated! It also shows you care.

I think if she were to play the music she likes would also be motivational!

I only play the music I personally like but on the odd occasion I have to play what others like as well!


For me the ultimate motivator and key to my playing happiness is putting on some ACDC and rocking out! I love it!

Play as much as time allows with her! This is a key motivator in itself!
 

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Why stop the lessons if they give her a goal, keep her on task, and ensure that an instrument is in her hands on a consistent basis? Unless there is a financial need to end them, I wouldn't.

As a preteen, she is just about to really 'discover' music. If she already possess some technique, has a rudimentary understanding of music, and has covered some of the mandatory boring stuff 'you gotta learn', just imagine would could happen as she falls in love with a band, album, or style of music. Maybe she will never explode with enthusiasm, but now is not the time to forecast this outcome.

TG
 

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I think by book 3 she's ready to branch out and follow a path of her own choosing. Does she have a favorite music type?
We need one of the teachers to offer advise
This is why I said it's time to start learning songs. Maybe get a drummer involved, if she's playing electric. If there's nothing that makes her want to keep playing, she won't. After getting the basics down, I'd start teaching songs or riffs/licks appropriate to the student's skill level to show them how their knowledge works in the "real world".
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As a preteen, she is just about to really 'discover' music. If she already possess some technique, has a rudimentary understanding of music, and has covered some of the mandatory boring stuff 'you gotta learn', just imagine would could happen as she falls in love with a band, album, or style of music. Maybe she will never explode with enthusiasm, but now is not the time to forecast this outcome.
Hopefully this is bang on!
 

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My advice is to keep with it as long as she is happy. There are books to be taught from that go to concert level skill. If it becomes a slog where she isn't happy with her own progress, or if she wants to rock out, consider switching to a different type of lesson, which may or may not be with the current teacher.

In fact, if she stops wanting to go, do have her try private lessons with someone who teaches her music theory, not theory as in music reading, but theory as in how music works.

I had lessons at school for a couple of years and then took lessons in a group at Yamaha until they closed the store. By the time Yamaha was done with me, I wanted something else. The pace of those group lessons was so slow, and the books were not for young teenagers.

I assumed that was what guitar lessons were and resisted furthur instruction until my early 20s. I wish I knew how amazing theory could be, I wasted so many of my best years for development being terrible.

I picked up a couple of books in-between, but I really learned very little until those later lessons. The teacher was brilliant, the ideas were revolutionary and the pace was outstanding for a few years.

How you find a great teacher is a tough question. You're in BC?
 

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Generally...

I have always augmented a lesson program (originally, either Mel Bay or Hal Leonard, but now I use my own program) with other materials to address more specific things like technique, sight-reading, or whatever, and whatever the student feels they want to learn. Might be pop music, something they're doing at school, a movie or TV theme, something parent approved, something a friend is learning, something to duet, etc.

Usually students learn the first few frets well from method books but need a new approach to the next few frets. So, combining their wants with up the neck stuff can be an effective way of re-igniting a passion for the instrument. Any student who can learn an open position melody can learn the same up an octave at the 12th fret, and any student who can learn a melody in both the open and 12th position can learn to play the same melody in a new key at a different fret.

After Hal Leonard Book 3 there are still likely to be weaknesses. If it's chords, for example, then I would concentrate on those, if it's sight-reading I would emphasize that. Regardless, a student should split their time between exploiting their strengths and practicing their weaknesses. These will eventually merge at a higher level, as all aspects of music are mutually supportive.

After Hal Leonard Book 3 there will still be many keys/modes, styles, techniques, etc that are unfamiliar. Combine any of these with something that grabs the student's interest. Every student I teach gets a pretty thorough initial interview about their likes and wants, and that same interview happens annually, plus I tweak it throughout the year. A teacher has to stay current with their students or they risk losing them.

Weekly lessons help keep a student on point, help to maintain goals, help those who are paying the bills track the practice regime, and help the teacher and student move the progress along. When a student is ready (usually by grade 9 at school, sometimes sooner) I will try to switch them to one hour bi-weekly lessons...twice as long to practice between lessons and every lesson twice as long, just half as many of them. Right now I have a couple of students who want more frequent longer lessons and I'm fine with that if they can handle the workload and the cost. Every student is different, so whether your child needs weekly lessons or not is a function of their own determination and the oversight of guardians...but, it is unusual for a preteen to continue well on their own so lessons would be a benefit. The frequency is up to you.

It's late and I'm tired so I've doubtless left things out, but that's it in a nutshell for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Appreciate the insights from everyone so far.

I'll likely discuss with her Teacher the activities and ideas that everyone has mentioned so far and make sure we come up with a game plan that we are confident in. I guess actually having a gamelan for beyond Book 3 is something I feel is necessary.
 

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She likes guitar. She is not Hendrix incarnate. It is one of her several weekly extracurricular activities.

She practices about 10-20 min 4-5 days per week on her own, plus has a 30 min Lesson 1 day each week. So, she's touching a guitar about 5-6 days per week. Usually she is in a routine where she'll automatically go and practice once her school homework is done. Sometimes she needs to be prodded. Occasionally she'll spend 20-30 min practicing if I am sitting with her, providing guidance and encouragement.

I want to keep here engaged, and continue to coax her along with Guitar, at least until she understands the reality of the skill she is being taught and develops a real passion - or conversely - until she realizes guitar is truly not a passion she wants to develop. I know this whole process would be much easier if she was fully infatuated with learning how to play guitar. She is not. But that is by no means a reason to quit. To me, it only presents a challenge in determining how she should be taught.

If she hated playing, I would not force her to continue. I have asked her if she wants to quit, and she continually says No.
Sounds like what you are doing is working. If we all practiced that much, we'd be doing all right!

Generally...

I have always augmented a lesson program (originally, either Mel Bay or Hal Leonard, but now I use my own program) with other materials to address more specific things like technique, sight-reading, or whatever, and whatever the student feels they want to learn. Might be pop music, something they're doing at school, a movie or TV theme, something parent approved, something a friend is learning, something to duet, etc.

Usually students learn the first few frets well from method books but need a new approach to the next few frets. So, combining their wants with up the neck stuff can be an effective way of re-igniting a passion for the instrument. Any student who can learn an open position melody can learn the same up an octave at the 12th fret, and any student who can learn a melody in both the open and 12th position can learn to play the same melody in a new key at a different fret.

After Hal Leonard Book 3 there are still likely to be weaknesses. If it's chords, for example, then I would concentrate on those, if it's sight-reading I would emphasize that. Regardless, a student should split their time between exploiting their strengths and practicing their weaknesses. These will eventually merge at a higher level, as all aspects of music are mutually supportive.

After Hal Leonard Book 3 there will still be many keys/modes, styles, techniques, etc that are unfamiliar. Combine any of these with something that grabs the student's interest. Every student I teach gets a pretty thorough initial interview about their likes and wants, and that same interview happens annually, plus I tweak it throughout the year. A teacher has to stay current with their students or they risk losing them.

Weekly lessons help keep a student on point, help to maintain goals, help those who are paying the bills track the practice regime, and help the teacher and student move the progress along. When a student is ready (usually by grade 9 at school, sometimes sooner) I will try to switch them to one hour bi-weekly lessons...twice as long to practice between lessons and every lesson twice as long, just half as many of them. Right now I have a couple of students who want more frequent longer lessons and I'm fine with that if they can handle the workload and the cost. Every student is different, so whether your child needs weekly lessons or not is a function of their own determination and the oversight of guardians...but, it is unusual for a preteen to continue well on their own so lessons would be a benefit. The frequency is up to you.

It's late and I'm tired so I've doubtless left things out, but that's it in a nutshell for me.
Mooh always gives good advice.

The only thing I would add about bi-weekly lessons is that for some students, practice will get put off because they have so much time between lessons and then they forget what they have learned by the time they get around to practicing. If your daughter is a procrastinator, two weeks may be too long between lessons. You know her best.

Appreciate the insights from everyone so far.

I'll likely discuss with her Teacher the activities and ideas that everyone has mentioned so far and make sure we come up with a game plan that we are confident in. I guess actually having a gamelan for beyond Book 3 is something I feel is necessary.
Yes, talk to the teacher. He/she may already have a plan. It might be Book 4, it might be something else.

If you are looking for ideas, the Royal Conservatory has some great fingerstyle material. A lot of people get their shorts in a knot over "classical" guitar, but the RCM has dramatically improved their selection of repertoire since any of us old fogeys took lessons and they cover all of the bases with their materials. I find it's a great direction for students who don't have specific goals of their own.
 

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Sounds like what you are doing is working. If we all practiced that much, we'd be doing all right!



Mooh always gives good advice.

The only thing I would add about bi-weekly lessons is that for some students, practice will get put off because they have so much time between lessons and then they forget what they have learned by the time they get around to practicing. If your daughter is a procrastinator, two weeks may be too long between lessons. You know her best.



Yes, talk to the teacher. He/she may already have a plan. It might be Book 4, it might be something else.

If you are looking for ideas, the Royal Conservatory has some great fingerstyle material. A lot of people get their shorts in a knot over "classical" guitar, but the RCM has dramatically improved their selection of repertoire since any of us old fogeys took lessons and they cover all of the bases with their materials. I find it's a great direction for students who don't have specific goals of their own.
A qualifier...I only offer the one hour bi-weekly to those who show evidence that they can handle it. Many can't.

Ditto on Royal Conservatory. I rarely teach from their books as my Conservatory training was in piano, not guitar, but I did fail to mention fingerstyle in my earlier response. There are lots of books available of fingerstyle arrangements.
 
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Is she only learning the fundamentals (Hal Leonard (notes, fretting, scales etc)) and does she play any songs?
I always tell those that are learning that a good resource to augment their lessons is google/U-tube.
'How to play *** on guitar'.
There are many vids to choose from for a particular song.
You may have to click on a few different vids to find one that is closest to being accurate.
When someone learns how to play their favourite tune, it tends to help with smooth transition of notes/chords.
When it's fun to play, you want to learn more.
 

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The humber jazz program sells their boos at the store as well, if new challenging material is on the horizon.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Is she only learning the fundamentals (Hal Leonard (notes, fretting, scales etc)) and does she play any songs?
I always tell those that are learning that a good resource to augment their lessons is google/U-tube.
'How to play *** on guitar'.
There are many vids to choose from for a particular song.
You may have to click on a few different vids to find one that is closest to being accurate.
When someone learns how to play their favourite tune, it tends to help with smooth transition of notes/chords.
When it's fun to play, you want to learn more.
She's only played the content in HL Books 1 through 3 so far, plus a few simplified songs from another HL basic songs book.

I am pretty certain the Youtube thing will not work with her (at least not yet). She is very much a sheet-music player. She sight reads very well, to the point where she won't even look at the tab if it is also included on the page. In fact, she sight reads so much, that she doesn't really bother to memorize her weekly assignments... she just reads as she's playing. I try to encourage her to memorize pieces once she's learned them, so she can focus on the flow and timing rather than the reading.

I'm sure at some point in the future Youtube will become a go-to resource. There is no denying it's wealth of content.
 
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