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Are the lessons fun? We all want to play guitar because its fun. Right? Too many guitar teachers or even guitar schools ruin the experience because they make the lessons so stale and BORING.
What is the track record of success for beginners? What's the success rate of taking total beginners to play well? Or what's the success rate for beginners who've tired for years but are stuck? Check for proof of the students abilities and transformational experiences.
Personality: All teachers of even guitar schools have a personality to them. The key here is to find a match for your personality and what you are looking for. For example; Do you envision yourself sitting and reading classical music or playing rock and roll? Would you feel more comfortable with a touchy feely music teacher or a guitar coach? Are you looking for the highest quality instruction or would you be ok low quality as long it's convenient? Would you prefer a highly motivated teacher who takes his/her job seriously or be ok with the part-timer who just does the bare minimum? There is no right or wrong but it needs to be a match for what you're looking for.
“We had been looking for quite some time and trying different classes and browsing, until we met Preston. Our daughter had classes in the past with other teachers and schools, but we didn't see any progress... Since our first meeting with Preston, we were amazed how he had a different approach and was engaging and dedicated to teaching. Our daughter was so excited that she couldn't wait to start her first lesson.
“What makes Preston different from other teachers is that he makes it fun for kids and is such a great instructor with lots of approaches and ideas. She has been taking lessons for 3 months, and we are amazed at what she has learned and how her life is so affected with everything she has learned so far. She found herself in guitar! Watching her every time she comes home from class with so much excitement and motivation to do more makes us so happy. I can't wait to see what will be in the next 3 months.”
- Mirjana / Parent
An Open Letter to Beginners
Learning to play the guitar is such an exciting time in life for kids!
I still remember that day in 8th grade when my friend Brad brought his electric guitar to school to show it off. He played the intro of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica in the all and i couldn't believed it! It never occurred to me that was possible or that perhaps there was a chance I could learn to play my favorite songs too.
He lent me a Musicians Friend magazine and I probably went through at least 100x looking at guitars. I then convinced my parents to let me buy my first guitar with the money I’d saved from harvesting potatoes (we lived in a little farming town in Idaho). Dad was skeptical at first because it wasn’t the “traditional” acoustic guitar type; however, after convincing him that it did have a volume knob and wouldn't be too loud I got my first guitar, an Ibanez GRX 20 (see below). I couldn’t put it down, and it quickly overtook video games as my new favorite childhood obsession!
However, none of my family members were musical, and there wasn't too many guitar teachers around but my mom found a lady who did guitar lessons out of her basement....
She'd teach the lamest songs and if that wasn't bad enough she'd sing while me and some other kids played. Kumbaya, Muffin Man, "Mama Don't Allow." It was the worst! I was 15 years old and wanted to play rock and roll, but I thought, “Ok FINE! If this is what it takes, I'll do it...”
Over the years, I've had 11 guitar teachers. I had everyone from stay-at-home moms, to college kids who thought they could teach because they played in bands, to hippies with really bad breath, to guys with big music degrees who would just show off the whole time! I even tried looking up stuff online, but it was all so confusing.
Long story short: Thousands of dollars, hundreds of lessons, and years later, I realized that most guitar teachers are not equipped to really train kids how to play correctly. This became even more apparent to me when I ran my first class as a substitute teacher years ago.
The shocking “substitute teacher” experience
that finally caused me to start my own school…
When I first moved to Salt Lake City, I made friends with a local guitar teacher. I let him know I wanted to pursue a career in music. Long story short: I ended up being a substitute teacher for him one day and was shocked at what I discovered...
… I realized every student I met with could barely do anything on the guitar, even though they’d been taking lessons for 2+ years!
They all had binders full of music sheets but could barely play a scale or any of the songs they had. They were still trying to remember their basic chords and were fumbling through simple riffs. After I explained and demonstrated what a scale is and what it’s used for, another teacher ran out of his lesson and was blown away at what I did.
Wait, what? I was so confused...
It really wasn't anything special, just some basic blues licks. I thought, shouldn't this be normal? I mean, aren't we supposed to be the "pros" here?
Needless to say, I was never invited back, as the students began asking me for lessons... Thus, SLC Guitar was born. :)
Fast-forward nearly 8 years, and SLC Guitar is now one of the most sought-after schools in the greater Salt Lake City area. I’ve developed my own custom method that’s superior to what 98% of schools teach (more on that below)...
To learn more, click the button below to apply for a free consultation. I'd be happy to chat with you to see if you'd be a good fit for my school.
After working with 11 different instructors and working with 100s and 100s of students over the years who’ve had previous lessons, I have a very good idea of how "professional lessons" are taught.
Here's the breakdown:
The Read-A-Book Method: In this method your teacher will help you read a book. Thats it.. Sound boring? Yea it is. Not only does it take forever (years) to get to the cool stuff. What kid wants to practice for years and when asked to play has to run and grab his book (because he can't play from memory) and play "Blow Ye Gentle Winds" or some other lame song written 100yrs ago? There is such a disconnect with the kids who have a vision of playing cool songs to impress friends & family. And if that's not bad enough, it's common to do this method for years and still be at a beginner level on the majority of real musical skills such as playing by ear, playing with other musicians, and being creative with music.
The Wing It Method #1: Teach Random Songs Method: Every week you go to your lesson the teacher asks… So what song do you want to play? No structure, no strategy, and hardly any musical training. Just mindlessly moving fingers around to what the teacher scribbles down on scratch paper. Imagine a teacher asking a kindergartner what they want to learn each week? Not good... Yea it’s a bit more fun than the boring read a book method but this is hardly anything to be called "professional guitar lessons." In reality the teachers who use this method don't know what to teach so they throw anything up against the wall to see what will keep you entertained and paying for another week.
The Wing It Method #2: Drown The Kid In Random Theory Concepts: Similar to the show-random-songs method, but instead of songs, its random musical concepts: circle of 5ths, tertian harmony, the modes, etc. Theory buffs stroking their egos spouting off concepts that the student isn't ready for. Just like how you would never teach calculus to a 1st grader it doesn't make much sense to drown a beginner with music theory jargon.
Yes, some teachers are better than others and most are also nice people. But due to the flawed approach that 98% of guitar teachers use, most students ultimately fail to learn how to play the guitar. And sadly the kids are left thinking they weren’t "good enough," they lacked “natural talent” or didn't have some special gift that only others have. But the truth is, the entire premise of the teaching method being used set them up to fail.
After just 90 Days, your child will know...
Oh yea, and they'll have written 2-3 songs of their own!
Is It Worth It? Ask These Parents & Students
My son has been coming here for the past nine months and we have nothing but great things to say. He was a complete novice when he started. Now he has an extensive knowledge of riffs, etudes, chords... the list goes on and on. It is so exciting to watch his progress. He takes a particular liking to creating his own songs, an easy feat for him now because he learns music theory and composition along with amazing instruction on how to actually rock out. My 9 year old happily goes to TWO hours of guitar classes every week. It is NEVER a fight to get him to go to guitar. He actually keeps begging me to let him take MORE lessons a week, he cannot get enough. Preston and team really know their stuff and we are so glad to have found them.
Our 11-year-old son has been taking lessons from Preston for 7 months now. He's never played the guitar before and I can hardly believe how fast he's learning and how good he's getting now, all thanks to Preston's teaching style, his dedication and his interest in each and every student's success. I am so glad we found Preston. He teaches guitar in a way that is fun and effective. If you want to learn in a fun, engaging and good-paced environment, you can't go wrong with SLC Guitar and Preston.
Preston is an amazing teacher. My daughter has learned so much the short time she has been taking lessons from him and we are so pleased we went with SLC Guitar for her lessons.
Preston is a great teacher and very knowledgable - he basically eats, sleeps and breaths guitar. This is reflected in his teaching. He cares very much about his student's progress, while maintaining a fun atmosphere for us to learn in. His classes are very organized and well-planned. He also has a student resource center which is helpful for slower learners like myself. We definitely recommend.
I've been taking guitar lessons here for about 3 years, and my progress is unbelievable. I had previous lessons with another music school for about 5 years, and I really think Preston could have taught me everything they did in less than a year. Preston is the best guitar teacher you'll find anywhere near Salt Lake City. If you want to learn how to play guitar correctly and be creative with it, don’t look anywhere else.
Andrew’s Timeline: Age 5 to 8
Andrew began taking lessons in 2016 at 5 years old. He works VERY hard, and we put together a timeline of his progress to demonstrate a few things he has learned.
Who Is SLC Guitar For?
SLC Guitar is for students who want to learn guitar (the right way) in a fun, enjoyable atmosphere and excel. So, if you don’t want your kids to have fun and laugh as they learn, then this probably isn’t the place for you. And if you don’t want them to be pushed to excel, set goals and achieve them, then we probably wouldn’t be a good fit either.
However, this program is for you if…
About Preston Howard
Preston Howard is a full-time professional guitar teacher and the owner of SLC Guitar. Having studied with 11 private guitar teachers over the years and studying music in college, he decided to start his own school based on a unique process known as The Complete Guitar Mastery Method.™ It’s proven to get results faster than the other three methods typically taught.
Preston has devoted 100% of his time and energy into his method. He spent 6 years as a member of an international network of guitar teachers and music school owners brainstorming the most effective methods, and he’s spent 1000s of hours developing and testing his own unique method known as The Complete Guitar Mastery Method.™
Now, with over 5,000 hours of face-to-face coaching under his belt, he’s learned how to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-digest lessons. His students say his method is unlike anything they’ve experienced before in that it’s very structured and organized (a rare trait among musicians) while also being fun and lighthearted!
When not helping his students learn the guitar, or improving the methods at SLC Guitar, Preston enjoys playing guitar himself, studying music, composing music, He also enjoys snowboarding, kickboxing, and reading.
We need help buying our first guitar. Can you help?
Yes! This is one of the things we can discuss in our free consultation.
Yes. We also have bottled water and a nice comfortable seating area to relax in or to get some work done using our free WiFi!
You don’t need to know anything about guitar / music. Just like a soccer mom learns a bit about soccer, you'll probably learn a few things about guitar. Just know that legitimate skills do take time to develop, there will be ups and downs, and your support is critical for their success.
SLC Guitar has multiple programs and various options so it depends. The most important question would be, “Are we a good match?” So, we offer a free consultation so you can come to the school with your kid and check things out. When we find out what your kid’s musical interests and current skills are, we will recommend the right program.
Although public school programs can be a good introduction to music, the lessons are often very one dimensional and taught by non experts. SLC Guitar is totally different.
Most of our students have had guitar lessons before and all say the same thing... Guitar lessons at SLC Guitar is a night and day difference from other guitar schools. Most guitar teachers use one of the 3 ineffective methods referred to above and quite often this is why your kid lost interest, didn't want to practice, and/or failed to make real progress.
Although there are some decent videos on YouTube, it's full of misinformation, contradictory views, and information from "teachers" who don't work with people face to face. Not to mention no structure or feedback. Comparing SLC Guitar to YouTube is like apples to oranges.
After their very first day. It's common for kids to learn an entire etude after their first day; even if they have no musical experience. Results may vary though.
Apply for a Free Consultation
Click the button below to apply for a free consultation. After you submit your application, we’ll have a short phone call to get to know each other. If we feel like we’d be a good fit, then I’ll invite you and your child to come into the school for a free consultation.
APPLY FOR FREE CONSULTATION
Simply fill out the form below and I will be in touch with you shortly.