MICHAEL MURRAYGuitar Teacher and Performer
Choosing a Guitar Teacher
Choosing a guitar teacher is the most important decision you will make in learning the instrument. Your first teacher will influence how you play for the rest of your life so choosing a good one is crucial. My own experience proves the importance of having a good guitar teacher at the beginning. My first teachers were in retrospect not very good and although I continued to improve this was often in spite of not because of them. As I got better over the years I picked up many bad habits but through hard work still managed to play more and more difficult pieces. I reached a level that many would consider quite advanced and managed to get accepted into a university music program. Even at the university level I did not have good teachers and as the repertoire I was required to play kept getting more and more difficult, I realized that there were serious problems in my playing that were stopping me from improving very much beyond the level I had attained. I also realized my current teachers did not have the knowledge to help me correct these problems. Fortunately, I met Bruce Holzman at a summer music school and his analysis of my playing convinced me that he was the person I needed to study with to correct my technique. Over a period of two and a half years I studied with Bruce and relearned the guitar from the very beginning. Relearning the guitar after many years of playing is not enjoyable but was necessary for me and unfortunately it is necessary for many other players if they want to advance beyond their current playing level. It would have been far better to learn it right the first time. Afterwards I adopted the philosophy of only studying with top teachers and researching very carefully who I should study with next. Studying with poor teachers cost me years of development as a guitarist and hindered me greatly in reaching my potential as a player.