How to Eliminate a Guitar Student's Biggest Mistake

(Image credit: Damian Fanelli)

Throughout many years years of teaching guitar, I've learned how to pick up on behavioral patterns in my students.

Depending on the student’s age, experience and commitment level, some of the patterns are pretty typical—such as expecting the teacher to magically do all the practicing for them, not providing ideas as to what they would love to learn next, being late for lessons, etc. You get the idea. Today I want to talk about one of the biggest self-sabotaging mistakes many students make.

This "silent assassin" applies even to some of my most committed students. It goes something like this: I show my student an example. Before I am done with it, he or she (the student) starts to try to play it immediately. This happens more often than not while I’m in the middle of showing them "how to play it."

Get it? I have no idea why students do this. Sometimes it drives me bonkers. It must be a human-nature thing. But, as you can imagine, there's a huge disconnect here. How can a student play something correctly when he or she doesn’t know fully how it's supposed to be executed in the first place?

I don't know why this happens. Maybe they're anxious to see if they can do it, or they're impatient. I don’t think people are even aware of it. But "why" isn't really the point. Here's a tip: If you're a taking a lesson, remember to listen till the teacher is done explaining something to you. It will make it much easier for you to learn. And then you'll still have the rest of the day to practice it.

You'll make your teacher much happier! Hope this helps!

Polish-born Metal Mike Chlasciak has recorded or performed with heavy metal greats Rob Halford, Sebastian Bach, Bruce Dickinson and Axl Rose. Mike is the long-time guitarist for Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford's solo endeavor, Halford. Mike's new album, The Metalworker, is available at For more info, check out his official website and visit him on Twitter.

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