3 Basics You’ll Learn When You Start Guitar Lessons

When you start taking guitar lessons for the first time, you may wonder what to expect, particularly if you've never played an instrument before. Here are some of the basics you'll typically learn once you have an instrument in hand and arrive at your first lesson.

1. Hand Position Technique

Correct technique is one of the most important aspects of playing any instrument. However, even if you've played other instruments before, you'll still have to learn guitar technique. A lot of technique in music has to do with posture, which is to say, the positioning of different parts of your body while playing (especially your hands and arms).

For instance, your left hand is placed on the neck of the guitar. You use it to hold down strings between metal bars called frets to create different notes. But your fingers have to be placed and positioned just so. If your finger touches the fret, for instance, you may get a buzzing sound. Your teacher will teach basic techniques to let you get a good sound from the start.

2. Left Hand Positions

Since a guitar can create multiple notes at once (unlike, say, a flute), chords tend to be very important when learning guitar. If you're new to music, you may wonder what chords are. Essentially, they're a combination of notes (usually three or four) that sound good together and typically function within the key you're playing in.

To create chords on a guitar, all you have to do is place the correct left hand fingers in the right spots and strum with your right hand. Your teacher will likely teach you left hand positions for a few basic chords to get you started.

3. Lead Sheet Reading

Lead sheets tend to be important in guitar playing. Instead of laying out every note of the harmony, lead sheet music gives you the melody and tells you the chords needed to accompany the melody. This allows you to easily translate from the page to the left hand positions you learned for various chords, instead of having to quickly read many notes at a time.

Lead sheet reading does require the basics of music reading ability, though, since you have to be able to read music enough to figure out the melody. So your teacher will need to teach you how to read key signatures, time signatures, and basic rhythms as well as the staff and clef and the symbols used to represent chords.

These are some of the basic skills you'll learn when you first start out taking guitar lessons for the first time. Some of these skills can be taught and learned well with virtual lessons, but others (specifically technique) are much easier to learn through in-person lessons. In-person lessons allow your teacher to demonstrate correct hand positions and more.