What I Teach On My First Guitar Lesson

Usually, on the first lesson I have with a new student, I have a few objectives in mind.

  1. Get to know each other
  2. Teach guitar

Because it is the first lesson, I find it good to spend about 5 to 10 min just to let both my student and I settle down and get to know each other. Apart from the friendly greeting, I usually start off by asking some casual questions about their favorite songs and artists/bands, why they want to learn guitar, etc. Obviously there is no fixed topic while we chat; the point is to have us feel comfortable with each other.


So what do I teach on my first lesson?

Depending on the progress of how much the student can absorb, typically, I am able to cover two broad ideas related to guitar. They are:

  1. Parts of a guitar
  2. Basic habits of posture (How to hold a guitar)

1. Parts of a guitar

Generally speaking, a guitar has three main parts: the head, the neck and the body. The head is where the tuning machines are. The body is where the sound hole or the pickups will be. I often say to my students, “If there is a head and a body, then this is the neck” while pointing to the guitar neck.

The neck is really the most important guitar part guitarists must know. The basic requirement is to be able to recognize what is a fret and to identify the strings according to their standard numbering and letters. For example, string 1 is the thinnest and string 6 is the thickest.

Most beginner guitarists tend to confuse the fret bars for the fret. I often say to my students, “The fret bars divides the frets. The fret is the area, not the metal line/bar.”

The strings are named from string 1 to 6 as: e-B-G-D-A-E

I use two acronyms for my students. 

From string 1 to 6 From string 6 to 1:
  • every
  • Body
  • Goes
  • Down
  • And
  • Eat
  • Elephant
  • And
  • Donkey
  • Got
  • Big
  • Ears

For more information on the parts of a guitar, you can refer to my article entitled “Parts of a Guitar” via the URL:

http://www.guitarfaculty.com/Parts-of-a-Guitar

 2. Basic Posture

Basically, I discuss about the idea of “How to hold a guitar”. It is best for you to do the little exercises with me in person. I will talk about how the left hand (fretting hand) should feel comfortable holding the neck area when you press the strings. I will also talk about how strumming should feel like.

What is worth highlighting is that in my first lesson, I will assist my student(s) to correct any mistakes to prevent the bad habits from forming. Bad habits of playing guitar, such as holding a chord wrongly will hinder a player’s potential to play skillfully in the future. This is one of the reasons why having a personal coach/instructor is beneficial.

In essence, my first lesson is really a glimpse of what my students can expect to experience in my lesson session. I always have one to two objectives to cover every session. If time permits, I might cover more aspects of music ahead in time. For example, using the first lesson, I might teach a new chord is the student is a fast learner or when time permits. On top of that, I ensure after every lesson, my students will have homework to work on. This way, he/she can improve progressively.

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