5 Signs Your Guitar Teacher is a Turd
Most beginners, once they find a guitar teacher they like (or can at least tolerate) will stick with that teacher for the duration of the lessons. If you're one of these people, then perhaps it's worth your time to make sure that the teacher you are committing to isn't a turd. This blog post will go over five signs that your teacher isn't worth the time, energy, or money you're spending on them.
1. There is trash everywhere and the place smells awful.
Okay, even if your guitar teacher is a genius, do you really think you're going to enjoy hanging out in a place that smells like a cat's rear end? Is it really all that lovely when you see beer cans in the corner, you're sitting on a ripped up chair, and there's trash from your guitar teacher's latest fast-food-soire sitting on his guitar amp?
Maybe you're not as intense about disorder as I am in my professional life. When I'm teaching, I want the students to focus on guitar and nothing else. Bad smells, paraphernalia, and trash are all indicators of a teacher who doesn't care about making your experience pleasant.
2. Your teacher makes you feel inferior by showing off, or has an angerness problem.
There are some guitar teachers who just shouldn't be teaching. These are the ones who are just too bored with teaching to keep their abilities, or their angerness, to themselves.
Some teachers use their guitar lessons as chances to show off. They would rather be in front of an audience. I have found that these sorts of teachers tend to have a hard time accepting that they are "just a guitar teacher." Perhaps you've met one or two of them? They're analogous to the people who go into guitar shops, turn up an amp, and show off their chops. They need an audience. Teaching students becomes a chance to show off exactly how awesome they are at playing guitar.
Other teachers have such an unsatisfactory life that they push their frustrations on their students. I once had a teacher like this. She taught me viola, but it was only her way. I was to play viola whether I liked it or not! I had no opinion that mattered, and my enjoyment of the instrument was fiercely neglected. If I brought something up? I was roundly put down. Eventually, I had to quit. There are guitar teachers like this.
If you feel afraid to ask to learn something that you want to do in guitar lessons, or afraid to quit at all, I beg you to ask yourself why. Is it because you don't normally feel comfortable asking for what you want, or does the teacher you are working with give you no choice in the matter? A wise teacher will collaborate with you on what you want to learn, and be compassionate when it's time for you to move on.
3. Your guitar teacher seems like his/her mind is elsewhere.
I really dislike it when I am talking to friends who are easily distracted by bright and shiny objects. When a friend of mine hears a beep and stops listening to what I am saying, just to do something on his phone, I get the feeling that I'm disposable to him. I feel like I am the human equivalent of a text message to him! This would drive me insane in a lesson that I am paying money for. If your teacher can't get away from distractions, he or she will never be there for you.
I hate to ask an obvious question here, but do you really want to work with and would you trust someone who shows you, week after week, that he's really not into teaching you? That he is more engaged with his phone in your lesson? Presence and quality time count for a lot.
4. Your teacher never remembers what you worked on the previous lesson.
How can a teacher help you with long term goals if he doesn't remember what you worked on in the previous lesson? For, if a teacher doesn't remember what he showed you in the recent past, he can't well guide you to where you want to go in the future. This is my biggest pet peeve about teachers. That they wouldn't take notes about what students worked on in the past so that they can structure what to show them in the future, near and far, blows my mind.
Great teachers keep lesson notes. When teachers don't keep lesson notes, they don't care about what you want to do with guitar because they won't be able to remember what you worked on in a previous lesson.
5. Your guitar teacher overloads you with stuff you must complete by the next lesson
When teachers teach on a whim, they usually aren't prepared to teach you a topic that is appropriate for you. Worse, when teachers just fly by the seat of their pants, they tend to overload you with stuff you need to do by the next lesson. They forget that you are the student who doesn't earn a living, playing music. They'll assign too much. They will overload you. This is the mark of a very inexperienced and naive teacher.
When teachers overload you, they are expecting you to complete what they could complete quickly. This shows a lack of compassion for where you are as a student. They need to chill out and relax, and give you only the right amount of stuff to work on (I call these appropriate challenges). Too much, and you'll feel as if you're being worked to death. Blech!