One of the best ways that I have found to give thanks for something, especially a skill or talent, is to teach it to someone else. While there are many benefits in doing this, some very specific ones come to mind and they are: It makes you better at whatever your doing, It gives someone else the opportunity to learn what you know, and its a great way to show that you aren’t selfish and want to help others. So with this idea in mind, let me give you some in depth reasons why teaching other people guitar makes you better player.
When I first started teaching guitar I was still in college and my first student was a kid who needed to learn some basic classical music so that he could audition for the school of music at SUNY Fredonia. I was a little nervous about teaching him at first because I didn’t know if I would be good enough to teach him properly. After a few weeks of lessons, I quickly found that there were many aspects of his playing that I would be able to help him get better at. The most important thing that I found was that teaching someone else to play makes you dissect what your actually doing to a very detailed level. This in turn makes you understand so much more about your own playing and technique.
When you need to describe a certain chord shape, scale, or technique, you will find yourself taking a whole new look at what your doing. This is necessary to do so that you can find a way to tell another person how to do it. After just a month or two of working with my first student, I found myself playing with more precision and more confidence because I truly understood more about my own playing. Now fast forward about seven years of teaching guitar as my main occupation and you can only imagine the confidence and insight that comes with that much focus on showing other people what you already know.
Now here’s the question you might be asking yourself, “How do I know if I’m good enough to teach someone else”? First of all, in my opinion, the phrase “good enough” is not that important, especially when you just want to help out a friend or family member. There are so many different aspects to guitar playing and I’m sure that you might know a particular chord shape or scale that someone else doesn’t know. Start small and just give it a shot. Find a friend or family member and offer to show them something easy and basic. I guarantee that they will be excited to learn it, even if it’s just a simple chord or melody.
Seeing how other people react to learning what your trying to show them will in turn teach you many things about what your doing and how you can do it better. The whole idea here is to have fun and spread some knowledge around. Don’t worry about being paid or having the right background, just find a willing person and tell them that you want to help them learn something new and fun. Who knows, you may just find yourself enjoying it a lot! I know that I did. So much that I made a career out of it.