Posted on December 11, 2013 by Andy John

There are different types of students and there are different types of teachers.  Here’s my advice:

Tell your teacher your concerns.  It is ultimately your money, time, and musicianship.  Most teachers are very good listeners but may have ways of teaching that don’t jive with your goals.  I have found in my experience that if I assign too much of something that is ‘good’ for the student but not necessarily fun, the student will lose interest and eventually quit.  If I give only fun songs that the student brings in to learn they may be fine with that for a while but won’t improve as a musician.  There has to be a balance.  My easiest students are the ones who always do what I ask and trust that I will get them where they need to be.  This is easy for me to say because I’ve already practiced the boring stuff!

Tell your teacher you need progress and ask if there is a certain path that they have in mind.  A method book is a sure-fire way to develop a skill in a metered way.  I like to use them because by the end of the book it is clear what the student has accomplished.  You can also look to the last page and see if that’s something you’d like to be able to do.  I have personally gone through probably 20 method books from cover to cover.

Method books are not always fun.  They can be tedious but if your goal is to progress then it’s worth wading through it.  If your goal is just to have fun then don’t worry about a method book but don’t expect to get much progress either.

I feel like my teacher just goes from one thing to another but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better. What should I do?