How To Train Your Guitar Students To Become Better Guitarists

Being an excellent guitar teacher requires more than just teaching guitar. You also need to:

*Train your guitar students to practice in effective ways, to keep them progressing and staying motivated to continue practicing consistently.

*Coach your students so they believe in themselves and are ready to fulfill their musical potential by doing the things you tell them to.

Teaching guitar is about communication. It’s about how you help communicate musical ideas and knowledge to your students. Training and coaching refer to the ways you help your students learn, apply and integrate the things they learn.

The guitar teaching tips in this article help you learn how to be a coach and trainer for your students:

Guitar Teaching Tip #1: Help Your Students Become More Confident By Giving Them Constant Victories

You need to help your students understand that they have the ability to mastery any skill they are practicing and having a hard time with. This is how they become more confident, gain trust in you and keep pushing through in order to achieve their musical goals.

Your students’ confidence grows when you help them simplify problems that are holding them back so they are easier to fix.

It may be difficult for your student to play two different licks together, when they are able to play them just fine separately.

It’s up to you to help your student understand that he does have the ability to play this idea. This can be done without slowing everything down or making him play anything too difficult.

This is how you do it: sustain the note at the end of the first idea to allow your student more time to get ready to switch his hands for the second idea.

When the last note of the first idea is sustained, it creates a variation of the lick that is a lot easier to play than the original. This makes it so your student is able to practice both ideas at playing speed without slowing down.

After you increase your student’s confidence level, make the note in the middle shorter and shorter until he is able to play the entire lick up to speed.

Guitar Teaching Tip #2: Point Out The Problem That Is Holding Your Students Back

When your students gain confidence, it’s time to challenge them a bit more.

Make variations of the exercises your students are working on. These variations need to expose problems in their playing and get them to focus on correcting them.

Here are two ways that creating variations can expose the problem:

*Make the problem more challenging. For instance: have your students play an idea on guitar that has tough stretches in the fretting hand that are lower on the fretboard.

*Make the problem occur more often. For instance: have your students repeat a tough picking hand motion several times in a single lick. This gets them to practice it more often.

Guitar Teaching Tip #3: Make Custom Exercises For Your Guitar Students To Work On

You have to make sure your students’ practice is both fun and effective. This motivates them to continue practicing until they realize their goals.

Make a lot of various exercises that make your students work on their problems in many musical scenarios. For instance:

*Show your students how to transpose licks into other scales or keys.

*Make several guitar licks for them that have the same guitar technique challenges.

*Make a musical etude from the original guitar lick for them to integrate it into real-life guitar playing situations.

Guitar Teaching Tip #4: Make Your Guitar Students Feel Proud About Making Progress

Celebrate every moment of progress your students make and give them praise for their success. This gives them a sense of pride and gratefulness for you as their teacher, trainer and coach.

Motivation in the 21st Century

Throughout history, one important aspect of all facets of education (including music) revolve around the ways that a teacher helps to motivate their students. A teacher can be most-effective when the student trusts in the teacher. This relationship between teacher and student creates the natural love of learning that is nurtured by the teacher and is grown by the student. An important way that a good teacher helps to continue nurturing this love of learning is by accessing various types of motivation to give the student goals that they can achieve. In the field of education, there are two important types of motivation: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

By definition, extrinsic motivation is the type by which the teacher includes objects, rewards, and other “prizes” that are offered to the student for a “job well done”. The effect is this: the student works for the reward and receives the reward all within a short period of time. As such, extrinsic motivations are organized, worked for and achieved all within a short period of time. As soon as one series of extrinsic motivation triggers are completed, another set must be created and distributed by the teacher. An example of such extrinsic motivation would be the use of stickers to offer to students as a reward for their progress or conduct in class. The reward is given when the various tasks associated with the sticker are completed; the next task that warrants an additional sticker is provided to reset the previous task. As such, the motivational circle continues.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation, by definition, offers the student internal rewards for a job well done through the actions that the student presents to the teacher. Essentially, by working hard or completing a task and thus receiving a strong sense of accomplishment for completing such a task in a successful fashion, the student not only receives accolades from the teacher, they also feel good for completing the tasks. There are no outward rewards, as is the case with extrinsic motivation. Instead, the motivation comes to the student through the feeling of accomplishment that comes with the completion of each task they set out to complete. This sense of accomplishment is the internal reward that nourishes the natural internal desire to learn that is within each student.

A good teacher is able to juggle both of these types of motivation. In the setting of the private music lesson, the teacher has the opportunity to get to know the student well enough in order to decide what tactics to use to help encourage continuous motivation. With the advent of various technological tools, the task for helping to motivate students has become increasingly easier.

In a series of surveys that were published in 2013 and 2014, facts were provided which stated that over 1-in-4 children under the age of 8 know how to use a computer, tablet, or smart phone. In the same study, it was calculated that 1-in-3 children between the ages of 9-13 had mastered the use of such technologies that they could confidently teach an adult to troubleshoot problems. Children that used technology for educational purposes in the home had a greater sense of problem solving skills and a higher ability to complete tasks when a reward was provided (such as the collection of points, completion of a level of a game, or the completion of the game itself). This use of extrinsic motivation to offer reward for the completion of tasks allows the student to have fun while completing the task at hand.

For all of us that have studied music as children, currently have children studying music, or teach music, we know that the challenge that we all face is this: learning a musical skill takes a lot of effort and time to succeed. The proper amount of time to master skills associated within music take many years. Many masters of performance art such as professional musicians, singers, record artists and recording engineers will all agree to this fact. All individuals of the same pedigree will also agree that at one point along the way, at least one teacher inspired them to thrive in their musical studies. This teacher, usually known and remembered by name, created the spark for musical growth that creates a life-long love of learning. This is strong proof to argue that intrinsic motivation is the powerful resource to help nurture life-long success.

There are many interesting tools that a music teacher can use including various apps on a series of topics including music theory, music history, ear training and recording techniques. In addition, there are many programs such as YouTube, Garage Band, Ever Note, among others. Each of these tools offer a cornucopia of options for any music teacher and music student to create a fun environment to increase motivation. No longer do students have to sit at their instrument and only have books as their primary resource to learning. By using the many multitudes of tools available, teachers have the option to create a personalized studio that fits the needs of many of learning environments. This allows the student to enter a world of vast possibilities that were not available 15 years ago.

The trick for every teacher is to create be willing to embrace this new generation of technological advancement while nurturing intrinsic motivation in an extrinsically motivated environment. In conclusion, there are many tools available to all music teachers, parents, and students in this new generation of technology within the 21st century. It is important to observe that these tools as mentioned will help encourage everyone to have fun while enjoying their musical studies yet these tools are not only secrets to success. The teacher must know how to motivate students to “keep going” through the successes and challenges that naturally come to all music students. The mixture of extrinsic and intrinsic motivational triggers will help to create the next generation of musicians, music enthusiasts and music appreciators. This is the main goal that will help keep music alive and thriving for the next generation and beyond.

Don’t Fall For The Myth Of Perfection

“The things that I have learned in my guitar lessons so far is really cool. I need to master this stuff before I learn anything else though.”

Have you thought this, or said it before? If so, you are not alone. Many guitar players have thought like this. On the surface, it sounds perfectly reasonable right? Take the things that you have learned and perfect them before adding more things to your plate? Makes sense right?

Wrong! You do not want to take this approach to learning how to play guitar. The reason is that if you spend the amount of time it is going to take to master any one guitar playing item in isolation, when you go to play anything else that isn’t that item, you are going to quickly realize that you now have to start over with this new item and perfect that only to find out that something else will need the same treatment. You will repeat this over and over and it will literally take decades to get to your ultimate goal. How frustrating would that be?

I’m going to use a non musical example to further illustrate this point.

Say you were planning on becoming a professional body builder. You hit the gym for your first day of training and you’ve made your plan on how you are going to become this awesome body builder. You decide that the best way to reach this goal is to only work on one muscle group at a time until you built that muscle group up to where you wanted it. To break down how insane this is even further, let’s say that you only want to build up that particular muscle group on one side of your body only? After working out for a few months, how weird would it look if you had a huge left bicep and the right bicep was tiny? How would that bicep look in comparison to the rest of your body?

Pretty silly right? Yes it is and this is exactly what you are doing by only focusing on “perfecting” one aspect of your guitar playing while completely ignoring everything else.

Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on improving your guitar playing from week to week. If you are a better guitar player this week than you were last week and you have a way to measure this, every week. You are on the right track.

The mastery that you are looking for will come and it will come faster if you focus on improving multiple areas of your guitar playing at the same time instead of pulling each single item out and trying to master them in isolation.

All the best to you and your guitar playing.