How To Be A Good Music Student

I've had hundreds of students, and I can tell you that success isn't always directly correlated to talent. In other words, I've had students that just weren't built for guitar playing surpass ones with a lot of natural talent. Enough that I've seen patterns that you can use to succeed in your own lessons. Here are a few of the best.

Show Up

This goes without saying. You need to be there to get the most out of it. I don't mean that you should only take private in-person lessons, although I do agree that this is the best format to learn in. I mean you need to get up and go to meet success where it's at. Show up to your lessons. Show up to class. Show up to detention. Show up to your own success story.

Ask Questions

This is critical. Some teachers are highly knowledgeable and excellent at what they do, but if you don't ask questions they will just ramble and you will lose an opportunity to receive information you really need. It doesn't mean they're obtuse or anything, it just means you need to clue them in on what you are curious and passionate about.


Record your classes to audio or better yet, video. Take efficient notes. Sometimes I will take time after a session to jot down a few of my thoughts. I just retain things better when I document them in a couple different mediums. Make sure you get permission from the teacher though. I've never had a teacher say no but I still ask.

Review Documentation

When I record lessons I make it a point to review them at least once before the next one. It just makes learning more smooth. I'd say I pick up 15-30% more info when I review the recordings. Over a year of guitar lessons that's a lot of information! Plus, it's good to listen to yourself even if it's unbearable at first. Trust me, it's always unbearable in the beginning for everyone. That's because we are always our own worst critics. But that means you are in control of your own worst critic-- so tell them to be nice, and sit down and listen to yourself. You will progress so much faster when you come to terms with your progress or lack thereof.


Duh. You gotta put in the time, you gotta put in the work. You could have the best teacher in the world but at the end of the day you are responsible for putting in the work. They can't practice for you. Be comfortable with the fact that sometimes you might not feel like you're progressing at all. It's ok to feel that way, but make sure you check in with your teacher about it before you get all bent out of shape about your seeming lack of progress.

Stick With It

Be in it for the long haul. Don't get all wrapped up in your short term successes and setbacks. Just keep showing up. Be that cat that's always there when the door opens at your lesson time. I have also seen many students who lacked natural ability surpass naturally gifted students by coming again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Again.

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