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The First Step on Your Guitar Journey: What to Expect in Your First Guitar Lesson

Uncategorized Jan 14, 2024

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step

Welcome to the rich and exciting journey that is, learning the guitar! It's normal to feel a little nervous leading up to your first guitar lesson. Especially if you are an anxiety pig like myself.

  • What if your guitar teacher isn't into the same kind of music as you?
  • What if they make you take your shoes off to walk in to the studio?
  • What if they spend the whole lesson comparing every musical concept to cheese?

In this post I'm going to guide you through what to expect, answering common questions, setting you up for the best start on your guitar journey and hopefully easing your anxiety a little.


Preparing for Your First Lesson

You will be going into your first guitar lesson with zero knowledge. A completely blank slate, ready to unlock the secrets of your musical universe. Or you might learn Horse with no name by America. Either way it's good to know what equipment and guitar accessories you'll need to bring.

Its fair to say that most good guitar teachers will have all the equipment you need at their studio/dojo. All you should need is your guitar and pick/plectrum. Depending on the content of your lessons, it will be important to have your own tuner and capo eventually and you should expect the lessons to be documented on paper. Usually in the form of Tablature, so that you can practice efficiently at home.

"Is there a difference between acoustic vs electric guitar for beginners?"

No, they are the same instrument. The difference is how the sound is amplified. If you are learning on an electric guitar, it's standard practice for your guitar teacher to provide you with an amp unless otherwise stated by them.

Questions You Might Be Asked

  • Have you played before? Your guitar teacher will be interested to know a little about your previous experience. This includes different instruments and singing.
  • What music do you like to listen to? A good teacher will use this to plan a learning schedule of songs which you will enjoy playing. I wouldn't spend 4 months on Slim Whitman's back catalogue if you're into Nu Metal.
  • What do you want to achieve? Your beginner guitar goals could be something as small as playing in time, or learning one whole song. It doesn't matter if you go into it without a goal, your teacher will help give you a clear path as you learn. 

Every guitar lesson is different, every student is different and it's these questions that makes it possible to give truly personalized guitar lessons that speed up the process and keep you engaged.


What to Expect from Your Teacher

A guitar teacher plays a vital role in shaping the initial experience of a student in their first lesson, especially for those starting with zero experience. The teacher's primary responsibility is to create a welcoming and encouraging environment where the student feels comfortable and eager to learn.

One of the first tasks of a guitar teacher is assessing the student's skill level. This is crucial in all guitar teaching methods as it helps in tailoring the lessons to the individual's needs. For beginners, it is understood that no prior knowledge is expected, and the assessment is more about understanding the student’s musical interests, goals, and any potential challenges they might face.

The introduction to learning guitar basics is a key component of the first lesson. This typically involves familiarizing the student with the guitar itself – its parts, how to hold it properly and how it generally makes it's sound. It depends on the teacher's individual teaching style as to how they progress from there. Some will teach chords, some will teach scales, some will go straight into songs and some will teach from a specific syllabus. Which of these is best is a question for another article but what's important is how your teacher delivers information.

Setting a learning path is another critical aspect. The teacher outlines a structured plan that includes short-term and long-term goals. This plan is flexible and adapts as the student progresses. The important thing is that a strong foundation of all-round knowledge is instilled and more complex elements are built on those foundations.

Most importantly, guitar teachers reassure beginners that it’s perfectly okay to start with no musical background. No experience guitar lessons are designed to be step-by-step and patient, ensuring that the learning process is as enjoyable as it is educational. The teacher's role is to guide, inspire, and motivate, making the first guitar lesson a memorable and enjoyable experience.



What your guitar teacher expects from you

As a student embarking on the journey of learning guitar, your role is integral to your success. While your teacher provides the roadmap, your dedication and effort determine how far and how fast you travel. Here are some key aspects of a student's responsibilities in guitar lessons:

  1. Guitar Practice Tips: Regular practice is the cornerstone of learning guitar. Instead of cramming practice into a single long session, such as spending two hours on a Sunday, it's more effective to distribute this time throughout the week. Short bursts of practice, around 10-20 minutes at a time, are ideal, especially when starting out. This approach helps in retaining what you've learned and developing muscle memory more effectively.
  2. Consistency and Routine: Consistency in practice is vital. If your teacher has guided you well, you should know exactly what to practice and how to do it. However, everyone’s schedule is different. If the suggested routine doesn’t fit into yours, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for a more tailored practice routine. If they're unable to provide one, you can use available resources as a guide. For instance, you might find this [Practice Plan] helpful in establishing a structured practice schedule.
  3. Listening and Feedback: Listening to your teacher and being open to feedback is crucial in "feedback in guitar learning." Trust that your teacher has the experience and knowledge to guide you correctly. Remember, guitar lessons alone won't improve your skills; it’s the effort and time you invest outside of these lessons that truly enhance your abilities.
  4. Active Engagement: Finally, your progress is also about being actively engaged during lessons and practice sessions. Ask questions, seek clarifications, and if something doesn’t seem to work for you, communicate that with your teacher. "Student responsibilities in guitar lessons" extend beyond just showing up; it’s about being an active participant in your learning journey.

Your progress on the guitar is a direct result of the time and effort you put into practicing, combined with a willingness to listen, learn, and apply the feedback received. With regular, focused practice and an open mind, you will steadily move towards mastering this beautiful instrument.



Guitar Lesson Pricing: The cost of one-on-one guitar lessons varies significantly based on the teacher’s experience and location. In the UK, where I'm based, you can expect to pay between £15 and £25 per half-hour lesson. It’s important to budget for these costs when planning your learning journey.

Choosing Your First Guitar: When choosing your first guitar, consider your budget and what type of guitar suits your musical preferences. For beginners, it's not necessary to invest in a high-end guitar. A basic, well-made guitar is sufficient to start your learning. There are many affordable options in the market that do not compromise on quality. It’s also a good idea to try out a few guitars before making a purchase to see which one feels comfortable in your hands.

Budgeting for Guitar Lessons: While budgeting for guitar lessons, consider the frequency of lessons and the duration you plan to learn. Regular lessons are important for consistent progress, so factor the cost into your monthly budget. a 30 minute lesson once a week, along with consistent practice would result in considerable improvement. Sometimes, a guitar teacher will suggest 60 minute lessons but I think this is too much for a pure beginner. You have to build up to being able to play for longer.


Remember, investing in lessons is investing in your skill development.


Your first guitar lesson is the gateway to a rewarding musical adventure. With the right preparation and mindset, you'll soon be strumming your favorite tunes and exploring new musical horizons. Ready to begin? Book your first lesson today and let the music play!

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