What Makes A Good Guitar Teacher?

Tommaso Zillio

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guitar teacher shred

How can you tell if a guitar teacher is right for you?

Indeed, how can you tell if a YouTube guitar teacher even knows what they are talking about?

There are a few key characteristics of good guitar teachers:

  1. Are Italian
  2. Have beards
  3. Wear glasses
  4. Are named Tommaso

If these things are true of your guitar teacher, great! You have chosen wisely.

If not, I suggest finding a new teacher...

Ba-bump. Pshhhh!

In all seriousness, though, there are quite a few things that make guitar teachers, either online or in-person, better or worse. In the video below, I’ll share some of my thoughts on what makes a great teacher.

(Oooh, this is going to be controversial, isn't it?...)

While it's possible that not every good guitar teacher needs to follow those 4 rules, this particular bearded, eye-glass-wearing Italian guitar teacher named Tommaso has plenty of great resources to improve your skill on the guitar, such as my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course, which will help you perfect your knowledge of chords and harmony, and expand your vocabulary on the guitar.

Video Transcription

Hello internet; so nice to see you! One of you wrote a great comment, and I want to expand on that. And it's going to be a great insight into how to choose a good teacher.

Notice he didn't show off while teaching the lesson going really fast, very good for beginners. After the explanation, he went faster.

You see, that's a pet peeve of mine with YouTube teachers, and again, I know this sounds, but I'm gonna say it anyway, seems like many teachers on YouTube are there to show off, not to teach, okay? Those are two different activities. They're both legit. And there's no problem if you want to show off, okay, absolutely. See the problem, but don't call it teaching, because it's not the same.

Think, okay, when you teach something, you want to break it down. If you want, if you're searching for a teacher, by the way, everything I'm saying right now is something you want to see in your teacher, you want to see somebody who breaks things down to the minimum elements, that can explain things to you step by step, they can break things apart, show you every single piece, and then we put it back together. Otherwise, it's gonna be very hard to learn.

One other thing I see a lot of people here on YouTube doing, which I really don't like, especially when I have to learn something, because I don't know everything. Sometimes I go on YouTube and search for how other people do things, because I'm curious, or how to do new things, because I'm curious.

But you see those people saying, okay, I'm gonna teach you how to play this complex technique. And then they just play this complex technique faster. And then they play it even faster. Okay, and then you can barely see what their hands are doing. You can barely see what is happening.

And then of course, you can slow it down with YouTube, the YouTube feature where you can play the video at half the speed, and then you can even transcribe the thing, note by note.

But if they don't tell you what they're playing, what is the process in their mind behind those note choices? If you can’t see how they're thinking about all that, then it's useless. I mean, I might as well go and grab a piece of music I like and transcribe it. And I can learn more this way, rather than searching for a lesson on YouTube where people are doing the same thing, but not playing as good as the original record, for instance. Okay.

And, I mean, I see these all the time. And I'm not saying that I'm the only good one, there are plenty of great teachers on here. Okay? Plenty, and I know several personally, okay, plenty of people who know how to take what they do, break it down to the small elements, teach you those small elements. If you drill the small element and then put it back into the big hole so that everything works together. Okay.

See, that's a pet peeve of mine. I don't like when people don't explain. Okay, I don't like when people just show things, and it doesn't tell me how they think. And then some of the people explaining this will not even understand this question. ‘How do you think?’ ‘I don't know I'm just playing it’. And again, that's legit. It's not a problem. If you want to be, say, a musician, if you want to show off, or if you want to be famous for your musical ability. You don't have to be able to explain anything. Okay?

There's plenty of rock stars out there who are great at playing very original, very creative things, but they have no idea how to explain what they're doing. And that is great. It's not part of their career, as long as they don't teach, okay?

There's also plenty of teachers that have the opposite, they may not be as creative, they may not be as proficient, but they are able to see what other people are doing and are able to break it down are able to teach it to you. Okay, and that's more of my side of things. Okay, that's more what I like to do.

I like taking things, breaking them down and explaining them step by step. Okay. And that's what I did in the video that in this comment, which is linked by the way so you can go so go and see where I'm playing some legato licks and then playing them super slow.

Can I play them faster? Yes. Can I play them faster than even playing the video? Yes, of course. That's not the point. I'm not there to show off. I'm not there to show you how good I am, okay, I'm there to show you how to do it yourself and how to break it down so that you can create your own things. Big difference, okay.

Now of course everything I'm saying in this video is completely my opinion. You can agree you can disagree. You can be a teacher and disagree with everything I say, that's great, more power to you. No problem. I'm not saying it like I have the truth on my side; that's my opinion. And in my opinion, if you are searching for a teacher, you want a teacher that can break those things down to the small little elements and is able to understand what you are missing. What you don't know, what nobody told you yet, and he's able to tell you the obvious things, the obvious things for them, but is this gonna make the big breakthrough for you?

That’s what I do well, that's at least what I am trying to do. But I think I am fairly successful at that. Okay. And since this is the internet, I'm gonna be completely shameless here and plug my courses. Okay, I have two courses. One is called Complete Chord Mastery, it's a course of chords and harmony. And in this course, there are no prerequisites except knowing a few of the notes around the fretboard, which are going to work on the course anyway.

And in this course, we start from absolute scratch. And we go from there to become a complete master of chords and harmony, to be able to improvise harmony, play chord melodies, play all these kind of rhythmic, interesting parts in a very good artistic style.

Okay, I have another course called Master of the modes, where we talk about scales and modes, where we learn how to play those scales and modes, and related arpeggios, and how to use them to improvise. A good lead over any kind of chord progression doesn't matter if it's in strange modes, if it changes key, if they do something strange with a chord, we learn how to improvise, also how to compose solos over nearly any chord progression. Okay. And it also is going to give you all the options because in those courses, I'm showing you my mental process, I'm showing you how I think about that. I'm showing you what things I'm choosing and what things I cannot choose because the music theory tell me to go in a specific direction to make a sound good, and the other direction would not sound as good.

So, I'm telling you, those are the options for everything. I'm telling you how I think. And then you can always since you know, I'm thinking you can always go against what I'm teaching and create different sounds. Because I told you exactly how I am thinking, I'm telling you, this is the rule done.

I'm telling you, if you do this, that's how it sounds, if you do this other way, it sounds a different way. I'm playing those notes because of all these. And that's what I think it's good teaching. And that's why I'm teaching this way. Because I have this idea with teaching. And I'm trying to live up to the idea of the perfect teacher and breaking down everything and giving you my thought process. Am I succeeding? Hopefully.

Whenever you go around and see people, and again, this is true for YouTuber, or offline teachers. If you go around and see people who are showing off, but they're not breaking things down, they are probably going to be great musicians, more power to them. But they may not be your first choice for a teacher.

And now all this video, I know it sounds like a big advertisement, okay. But it's important to know that sometimes you there are great players out there. But you are going to be frustrated learning from them. And you can always choose other people okay, I'm going to be learning further from them, because I like their specific style. I like the way that they do things.

Like I said it’s completely your choice but know that if they're not able to break this down, you will have to do the work, you will have to break it down, you will have to figure out what is happening because they're not going to figure it out for you.

Oh, you can find somebody who figured it out and he's able to explain it. With all that said, good luck in finding anybody to teach you okay. I really wish you all the best. When you find a good teacher, stay with him or her, don’t leave that person because people can teach you can take you really, really, really, far. Okay, so I'm not saying change your teacher. I'm not saying anything. When you find the right person. You're good. This is Tommaso Zillio for, and until next time, enjoy.

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