So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start taking guitar lessons?  Congratulations!  You want to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success and taking lessons from a quality instructor is a huge first step.

 You may have spent a few hours in your bedroom trying to play the guitar that’s been in your closet for a few years.  Maybe you’ve tried to find lessons on the Internet or dug up some tablature for your favorite song.  You won’t get very far if you don’t find a good instructor.  They will be able to help you avoid the pitfalls associated with learning a new instrument and will help set you up for success.  Here are some ways to find a good instructor:

Go to Local Music Stores

Many music shops offer lessons.  Go to the store and ask around.  You’ll often be able to talk with an instructor or two when you go.  If the store doesn’t offer lessons they will almost undoubtedly have a list of people who offer lessons locally.  Ask the advice of the staff at the store.  They’ll be able to point you to the right instructor.

Check Craigslist

There are many instructors who advertise their lessons through craigslist.  The best ones will have links to videos of themselves playing so you can get an idea of what kind of musician they are.  Don’t both if the ad doesn’t seem professional.

Try Your Local Church

There are a ton of musicians involved in playing at the churches in your area.  If you’re so inclined, pop in to your church and catch the guitarist that played that morning (if it looks like they know what they’re doing).  If they don’t give lessons they probably know someone who does.  Musicians tend to hang out with musicians.

After you’ve found some potential instructors take the time to get a feel for their style.  Ask them to play some of their favorite songs or tell them what kind of music you want to play.  It’s important to make sure you’re learning the type of skills you want to learn.  Both you and your instructor will end up frustrated if you choose an instructor that wants to start by teaching you Segovia scales when all you want to do is be able to play some Jimi Hendrix.  While finding that perfect instructor can take a lot of work it will pay off as you become a stronger musician than you ever could on your own.