Learning a musical instrument isn’t always easy, but if you put the work in then the rewards are enormous. The guitar has an innate appeal, being arguably one of the coolest musical instruments you could ever pick up, but it isn’t very forgiving when you first start learning. That’s why so many people invest in an instrument only to leave it gathering dust in the attic or sitting in the corner of the room as if it was just a decorative ornament. If you’re ready to pick up your guitar again or if you’ve just started learning to play, finding out about guitar lessons for beginners and what you should expect in terms of content is absolutely essential. If you find the right selection of lessons and stick at it, your guitar won’t be left abandoned and gathering dust like so many are.
The Very Basics
If you’re an absolute beginner who’s never picked up a guitar before, some of the most essential components of guitar lessons for beginners are the very first ones. These should cover basics such as the parts of the guitar such as the fretboard, how to hold the instrument and how you use each of your hands when you’re playing. This might seem painfully simple, but if you don’t get these basics right, it will significantly hold your playing back when you try to tackle more difficult lessons.
Your First Notes and Chords
Guitar lessons for beginners generally follow a step-by-step format, so after you’ve gotten accustomed to the instrument, you should receive some detailed lessons on playing notes and strumming your first chords. During this process, you’ll be introduced to the most common methods of displaying guitar music, namely guitar tabs and chord charts. Again, these are fairly simple skills once you’ve gotten used to them, but some guidance during guitar lessons for beginners is extremely valuable. As well as covering the chords themselves, there should also ideally be a lesson looking at how to make changes between the chords, because this is a particularly difficult area for new guitarists.
Basic Music Theory and Scales
Music theory has something of a bad reputation, but the truth is that almost all music is built on the ideas it teaches. It provides a framework to understand and compose music, and for that reason it is an absolutely vital component of guitar lessons for beginners. Scales are inexorably tied to music theory, because they are the collections of notes which you can use to put your music theory knowledge into practice. You might have already learned about chords and even progressions, but knowledge of music theory and mastery of scales enables you to decode any chord and invent your own progressions at will.
Introduction to Genres
The fundamentals of guitar mentioned in the preceding sections are one thing, but the world of the guitar really starts to open up when you cover different genres. The best guitar lessons for beginners will give you a brief overview of essential genres such as rock and blues, with blues being the more important of the two. These lessons should give you the knowledge you need to play and even compose songs in the genre, developing your understanding of how the same theoretical concepts are applied to produce the diverse range of music we know today. In the process you should also learn about the conventions of different genres, the sort of chords that are used and any additional techniques you’ll need. This is when you’ll start to notice your playing really taking shape, and usually marks the end of guitar lessons for beginners.
As always, when you’re looking for something on the internet or in a store you need to be sure that you’re receiving quality for a reasonable price. This isn’t always easy to determine, but many sites offer free lessons or have YouTube accounts you can browse through to give you an idea of how good the instruction is. Try to find some sample lessons and watch them carefully. Even though you may be out of your depth with a particular lesson, it’s a good idea to try to play along to see how the instructional style works for you. If you can find a sample of one of the guitar lessons for beginners offered by the site, then this process will be easier. Think about things like video quality, how well you can see what the instructor is doing, how well the concepts are explained (could you explain what you’ve learned to somebody else without referring back to the lesson?) and whether or not you receive written material to make the exercises contained in the lesson easier to follow.
Conclusion – Thinking About the Future
Although you’re just starting your guitar-playing journey, it’s important to avoid being short-sighted when you choose guitar lessons for beginners. Whilst some providers might cover the beginner lessons well, you should also look at the more advanced lessons they offer. If you’re hoping to play bluegrass, for example, you should ensure the genre is covered later in the course (or that the option is available) before you choose your lessons. Think about where you want to go with your playing, and look at the lessons available to ensure your needs will be met. Beginner guitar lessons are just the first step on your journey, so you need to know where the path takes you afterwards too.
About The Author
This article was written by James Harper of Guitar Tricks. Founded in 1998, Guitar Tricks was the Web’s first multimedia guitar lesson site. 15 years later, Guitartricks.com features over 40 guitar instructors continuously creating a massive library of online video guitar lessons (8000+) covering every musical style, technique, and level of ability.
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