There are a few reasons you, as a non-guitarist, would end up with a guitar in your hands: either someone gave it to you, you found one for cheap, or simply want to learn. However you got here, you are now on the fence as to whether or not you should really take guitar lessons. The choice can be much more challenging than you’d think and well-worth thinking over before deciding either way.
You should take guitar lessons if you want to advance quickly in a new skill, become more musical, and round yourself out as a person. However, it will likely cost you much of your free time, effort, and spare cash.
Below, I’ll go more in-depth on the seventeen pros and cons of taking guitar lessons to help you make a well-informed decision. I’ll discuss some possible methods of learning guitar that don’t vall for the time commitment of a tutor. Whether you choose to take on a new hobby or not, I hope this list helps you out in your decision-making process!
Pros of Taking Guitar Lessons
There are a lot of benefits to taking guitar lessons and developing a new skill. In the following sections, I’ll be providing you with some of the top reasons why guitar lessons are not only helpful, but also fun.
It Is Not Hard To Find a Teacher
The guitar is a very common instrument, so you won’t have much trouble finding a teacher in your area. It is also not an instrument that is easier to learn if you start as a child, such as piano or violin. You will actually be better at picking up rhythms and notes as an adult and will probably be more driven to learn. Many teachers are used to teaching adults, and there are plenty of guitar learning books that do not look like they are made for kindergarteners.
A Teacher Will Keep You Accountable
An undeniable benefit of having a guitar teacher or tutor is that you will be held accountable for learning new elements on time. A teacher will push you in ways that you may not be able to push yourself, and practicing will take on a whole new twist when you actually need to show someone your progress. In-person critique may not be the most fun, but it is terrific if you wish to improve properly.
Pre-Set Lesson Plans
A teacher will also have a set lesson plan, so you do not need to worry about what books fit your skill level or what you should work on next. Your teacher may even be able to lend you the books you need, so you might not even need to order them. Regardless, a teacher will be no stranger to the struggles of a beginning guitarist and will be able to keep you on a steady track to success.
Keep Your Mind and Body Alert
Though people rarely talk about it, playing guitar can be quite the arm workout. The arm that strums and the hand that finds the chords will both have to answer quickly to the demands of your brain, improving the pathways between your head and body. Your hands and arms will likely feel cramped for the first few days, but soon enough, you will be stronger and more able to play for however long you want.
Learning new skills also keeps your mind sharp. The guitar is a great place to start if it has been a while since you took a class of any kind. It engages the mind and body at the same time and allows you to hone your listening and repetition skills. The older you get, the more you are in need of little exercises like this to keep you on your toes.
You Do Not Have To Be ‘Musical’
The guitar is a pretty easy introduction to the world of music if you have not had one already. You don’t have to know how to read music to play guitar, so you will not have to learn that language. And as it turns out, many popular songs can be played with only a few easy chords. The guitar can be pretty easy to pick up, and as long as you can tell when a note in a chord is flat or sharp, you are well on your way to stardom!
You Can Play Any Kind of Music
Another pro of learning the guitar is that it is not an instrument limited to a single genre of music. Unlike an oboe, it can play pop, jazz, classical, rock, country, and folk (to name a few). You are limited only by your imagination and your taste.
As a guitarist, you will not always be stuck playing the accompaniment or the melody of a song – you can do either. You and your friends can play together regardless of the instruments they play, and all have a blast. Most popular songs also have guitar play-along books, so it is not hard to learn to play your favorite music on your guitar (Related: How hard is it to learn guitar compared to piano?).
New Emotional Outlet
A lot of guitarists feel that their music is an excellent emotional outlet for them. Whether you want to write your own songs or embody those of your favorite artist, singing and playing by yourself can release stress and help you feel your emotions in a healthy way.
Music is an excellent way to de-stress in any case, but playing the music yourself gives you the freedom and creativity that we all need to experience. Playing guitar could quickly become one of your favorite pastimes.
You Gain a Cool New Skill
Being able to play the guitar can be useful in plenty of situations. Picnics and camp-outs can be good places to exhibit your abilities, and such performances are sure to boost your social capital. Church choirs are nearly always in need of guitarists, and it can always help to mention your abilities to friends and employers (Related: how to play guitar with long nails).
If you’re a person who likes learning new things in general, the guitar is a relatively easy instrument that you are never too old to learn or play. It can be done in the comfort of your own home and does not really require a lot of equipment. Many people like finding new hobbies, and playing guitar is a nice ace to have up your sleeve.
Helps Round You Out as a Person
Music opens up a whole new part of the brain and connects your movements to your mind. Learning an instrument at some point in your lifetime is a nearly universal piece of advice because it really does round you out as a person. Adding a new interest and hobby broadens your horizon and gives you new experiences and chances to meet people you would not have otherwise.
You Might Be Able To Teach Someday
If you really put in the effort to excel at your guitar lessons, you may reach the point where you are able to teach others how to play. Being able to teach guitar is a convenient skill to have since (as you have probably noticed) there are a lot of good reasons to take guitar lessons. With guitar tutoring ability, you can earn little income from something you most likely enjoy without putting in much effort.
Cons of Taking Guitar Lessons
While the benefits of taking guitar lessons are sometimes obvious, no situation is perfect. The following sections will take you through some of the main downsides of taking in-person guitar lessons.
Can Be Expensive
If you want a good guitar education, you’ll have to pay for it. While guitar lessons can vary significantly in price, they can also vary in quality. According to Thumbtack, an average session can cost between $40 and $70, which definitely adds up over time. Weekly lessons with a good tutor for three months can cost about $500, and probably more if you live in a big city.
And the cost of the lessons is not the end of your investment. You may find your guitar has sliding pegs that need to be replaced, and specialty music stores are not the cheapest. Strings need to be replaced, a strap needs to be found, and a carrying case needs to be purchased. These little fix-ups do not come cheap, and you need to decide if your hobby is worth the financial upkeep required.
It Takes Up Your Free Time
Guitar lessons and practicing can easily take up to ten hours or more of your week. And as the difficulty of your songs and chords increases, so does your practice time. If you’re working full-time or have other important commitments that you do not want to give up, guitar lessons might not be something in which you should invest.
It Is Noisy for the Neighbors
If you live in an apartment, you likely have courtesy hours during which you are not supposed to make a lot of noise out of respect for your neighbors. Even if you play your guitar with a mute or avoid playing late at night or early in the morning, you will not be immune to noise complaints. If constantly playing, good guitarists can be just as annoying as bad guitarists.
There is also the issue of roommates. Even if you live in a house with your close friends or family, they may not want to hear you playing the same chords every single day. You should definitely consider the people around you before you decide to take guitar lessons since the decision will affect their free time as well.
Does Not Help You Learn Other Instruments
This con is where a former benefit becomes a downside: since a guitar does not require you to read music, learning a guitar will not help you learn other instruments more easily. Trying to play guitar through sheet music is very impractical, but your lack of comprehension of musical terms and notes can take you to the outskirts of the musical community.
The exact opposite is true as well: if you know how to read music from middle school band class, you will still have to learn how to read guitar music from scratch. This “translation issue” may not seem too detrimental, but it is something to consider. Just because you play guitar does not mean you will have better knowledge of other instruments or that you’ll have an easier time learning those instruments in the future.
You Should Practice Regularly To Upkeep Your Skill
Guitar playing must be regular, especially in the beginning stages, or you’re not going to become any good. Even a short break – e.g. a couple of weeks for a family vacation – could leave you playing catch-up for a month. If you get into the habit of skipping a lesson now and again, you will not steadily get better, and you may give up before you can get your money’s worth.
It Takes a Lot To Stand Out
Because the guitar is a pretty standard instrument, it can take a lot of work to stand out from the crowd. If you’re content with playing decently well so you can show off to a few friends every now and again, you’ll probably be satisfied with the outcome of your lessons. However, if you have dreams of releasing an album someday, you’ll have to work for many years to come, so you are not drowned out by other players.
Your Guitar (and Skill Set) May Just Collect Dust
Assuming you have learned everything you need to know about playing guitar and have become pretty good, where are you actually going to play it? You can play for your friends, maybe bring it to a beach or a bonfire, but that might be it.
The odds of your guitar and your skills slowly being forgotten over time should not be ignored. If playing guitar in the comfort of your home in your free time brings you life, then that is perfect! However, if you want others to notice your skill, you should have a plan as to where and when you can show off your abilities. These chances do not just fall into people’s laps like they do in the movies.
Alternatives to In-Person Guitar Lessons
If you think you might not want to take official guitar lessons but do not want to give up your dream of playing, you’re in luck! In the modern world, there are several alternatives to in-person guitar lessons that do not include giving it up entirely. If you decide taking weekly guitar lessons from another person is not for you, check these options before you pawn your guitar.
Learn Guitar Online (Pros and Cons)
While video lessons are less adaptive and personal than tutoring lessons, they can still be helpful for a beginner! If you look up “Beginner Guitar Lessons” on YouTube, you can take your pick of videos that all teach standard chords for free. These videos can be watched on your own time, and you will have much more flexibility when it comes to what songs you learn.
However, the downside of online learning is that no one can help you when you’re stuck. A tutor will know what you’re doing wrong and will point to it, but if you are watching a video but not succeeding, you may not know what to do. If you’re the kind of person who gets frustrated with imperfection, online learning might not be the best way to learn guitar.
Learn Guitar From Friends or Observation (Pros and Cons)
This option is more nebulous but can make up for what you miss in online tutoring videos: in-person guidance. If you have a friend who knows guitar, ask them to give your pointers on your form or tone. If they cannot provide specific advice, you can watch them play and take note of the unconscious things they do.
You can also watch videos of good guitarists and watch their hands, even slow down the video to see their chords and their shifts. Observing and listening will help you pick up on the subtle things that separate good guitarists from decent ones, and mimicking them will help your ability grow.
On the cons side of the argument, you may find it challenging to understand a guitarist’s subtle tricks. If you use only observation to try to pick up the instrument, you will not know the name of the chord you play, only how you think it should sound. An expert guitarist’s fingers can move so fast that you might not be able to catch essential clues.
There are genuine benefits to learning the guitar, no matter your age or position in life.
However, as with any other hobby, pastime, or profession, there are a few downsides to taking guitar lessons. You must really evaluate the amount of time and money you can reasonably spend on a new hobby and keep prior commitments in mind.
Whether you decide to go ahead with lessons or wait for a better time, I hope this article helped you feel confident in your choice!