A Note about “Song of the Week” Learning

Here’s another musing about what I don’t miss about teaching guitar one-on-one. (I may pick it up again now that I’m retired, but this still bears mentioning.)

For some wannabees, “learning guitar” really means: “learning to play the guitar part for some currently popular song,” not “learning enough about the instrument to figure out such stuff on your own.” Sadly, many would-be guitar teachers have been reduced to teaching slackers the “song of the week” – they lose students if they try to make them learn for themselves.

There are probably a million or more former guitar players who, when handed a guitar today, can play the ten or twenty songs they learned when they were kids. And nothing else. A 70-something who knows every Ricky Nelson song but can’t play along on a 3-chord current hit is tragic. So is a 40-something who knows every Goo Goo Dolls song but can’t play along on anything else. Some of those folks took “lessons” for years. But did they really learn the guitar? I think not.

True, if you learn enough songs, and learn from the songs, you’ll eventually figure out some of the things that an actual music teacher will tell you up front. But learning intentionally will save you lots of time – like years, if not decades.


About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like CreekDontRise.com, ClassicTrainSongs.com, and SchoolOfTheRock.com to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

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