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Guitar lessons and music careers for guitarists

Updated on July 11, 2011

Becoming a successful guitarist is a lot easier when you start with the right guitar lessons

When I think about guitar lessons, the music industry, and what I should tell any aspiring guitarist, my mind goes back to a question a music shop owner asked me when I was about 13 years old. "Do you read music?" "No, not interested" I said, "I just want to play guitar".

You see, I was only interested in playing heavy rock music, and I made the mistake of not seeing music as a career outside of being a rock guitarist in a heavy rock band. Now here's a little basic information about the music industry. Every ten years the most popular style of music changes and even rock music goes through changes.

Do you remember the days when Nirvana was popular? It was an interesting time when the lead guitar disappeared almost entirely from the music scene. Guitar solos where unheard of in the rock music of that time, whereas 10 years earlier, every rock song had a lead guitar solo.

Then there was that time shortly after when everybody was doing an unplugged album. Acoustic guitar players where cool again. I was hesitantly resistant, but my music career hadn't taken off exactly the way I had hoped, and I was doing numerous cover gigs around town. Fortunately, my music partner was a capable acoustic guitarist, so I survived that one.

Diversity and the seed of opportunity.

So here's what I really need to tell every aspiring guitarist who wants to create a career in music.

  1. Don't be a one trick pony. There's going to come a time when whatever genre of music you're into, will change - Of course I'm not talking about classical music or Spanish music, but modern music. Try learning as many different styles of guitar playing as possible. It'll give you a real edge on creativity.

  2. Consider the possibility that you might not become famous. I know that's a tough one, but music can still be a financially rewarding career if you approach it from an all-round perspective. Learn to read music, record music, write music, understand music, and become better than people who just want to play guitar. They'll be the ones coming to you for help when they're trying to get their music out there.

  3. When some stranger in a music shop asks you to come and play guitar on his country music recordings, don't turn him down because you're only into death metal or something. He or she may know someone who knows someone who can be the difference between fame and obscurity.

  4. Get the most comprehensive guitar lessons available. One day you may decide to teach others to play guitar, or bring out a set of guitar instruction dvds to sell. It helps having a solid foundation to teach others from. It may not seem like it now, but it's an investment for life.

Career opportunities for guitarists.

Let me tell you what I do for a living, seeing as it's one career opportunity.

I make backing music for singers, which means I create the entire recording from the ground up. Drums, keyboards and guitars all done by myself. I've been doing this for about 12 years straight, so I've pretty much got it down pat.

Now I know this isn't just guitar, but a whole lot of other stuff as well. Most of the people doing this sort of thing are keyboardists, so a lot of work comes my way because of the live guitars. It's not quite the same as being a studio guitarist, but I get better results seeing as I'm in control of everything.

Studio work is a lot harder to come by, but once you're in with the right crowd, it can pay quite well. It also helps if you can read music, and play guitar in a number of styles.

Playing guitar in a band can bring in quite a lot of money, but there's a limit to how long you can carry on with it as a source of income. Family life and bands don't go together very well, but some people manage to pull it off.

Teach others how to play guitar. This is a great choice for those with a good education in guitar playing, and enough business sense to make it lucrative.

This last one is for guitarists who have their own recording studio, like myself, and who can write music, and that's to do music for jingles, and perhaps even background music for movies. The competition may be a bit stiff, but once you're in the right circles, and people know and trust your work, you're pretty much set.

Last but not least, become rich and famous. You'll have to promote yourself like crazy, but it's well worth it.

Last I heard, it takes about 10 years to become an overnight success.

All of this starts with the right guitar lessons. Here is a link to the things I think every aspiring guitarist should look for in - guitar lessons


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    • Andrew Webber profile image

      Andrew Webber 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Couldn't agree with you more. Actually, any music instruction course worth its weight needs to teach a good amount of music theory, which includes reading music to truly teach the instrument succesfully.

      When it comes to guitar lessons there seems to be a prevailing tendency to just hack it.

    • profile image

      G.A. Scheid 6 years ago

      And what other instrument can you learn to play without being able to read notes?! Guitar music is the same as any other song type; a song is a song. Theory explains the story in so much more detail. Too bad so many young guitarists lose out on so much in this discipline!

    • Andrew Webber profile image

      Andrew Webber 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Get a complete guitar course and learn all the theory as well as the practical side of playing guitar, then you'll have a model that works to base your teaching on, and you can explain to your students why they're learning what they are.

    • profile image

      Jems Hume 6 years ago

      I want to be a guiter teacher.How to be?

    • Andrew Webber profile image

      Andrew Webber 7 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Dear Blaahhh.

      I urge you to find something meaningful to do with your life, like playing guitar, starting a band or saving the rain forests.

    • profile image

      blahhh 7 years ago

      Blaahhh thiszz sooo freakinqq borinqqqq!!!

    • profile image

      greenguitar 7 years ago

      I completely agree with you. There is a lot one can get from learning music. Thanks for sharing your views.

    • Andrew Webber profile image

      Andrew Webber 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Have you got pre-written text that you copy and paste?

    • nicksstuff profile image

      nicksstuff 8 years ago from Going for a swim in the ocean.

      Too cool for school. This is really good for me. I have been learning chords from an article I found that I posted on hub pages. I hope it's the right info - it makes sense so far. Thanks heaps for your hub - it's all going to help. There is so much to learn.

    • profile image

      Street Musician 9 years ago from UK

      Good advice. Not every one can make it big time, but everyone can work hard and make a successfull living out of music. There are many ways, you just have to find the one you're best at. Blogging is also a good one if you can make it pay.