Did you know the guitar has been around for about 4000 years but wasn't overly popular until the late 1800s? Once it starting gaining traction, however, it didn't look back. In fact, the electric guitar made more impact on the evolution of music in the twentieth century than any other instrument.
For a city with a reputation for being 'boring', Canberra, the capital city of Australia, has a thriving music scene. Pubs and clubs are the place to be for live music by local performers. The National Arboretum and Botanic Gardens often host outside performances in the warmer months, or you can head to Llewellyn Hall or the Playhouse if you'd rather be inside.
Then there are the festivals. Sometimes, it seems like one finishes only to have another one start. Groovin' the Moo is popular with the younger set, with Enlighten and Floriade Nightfest appealing to family groups. For all ages, head along to the Canberra International Music Festival, or National Folk Festival to experience a diverse range of music styles and even try your hand at playing some instruments.
Listening is great, but what if I want to take guitar lessons in Canberra?
You're in the right place. Canberra and regional ACT is overflowing with music teachers, particularly for piano and guitar.
Housed in the old Ainslie Infants School, Music for Canberra is a great place to begin enquiring about guitar lessons in Canberra. This organisation runs free events, teaches classes for all ages, levels and instruments and are generous with advice. It's not your only option, but before you make your decision, you'll need ask yourself three questions:
- What type of guitar do you want to learn, and what style of music?
- How do you want to learn?
- Where would you feel most comfortable having your classes?
Type of Guitar and Style of Music
Put simply, there are three main types of guitar: acoustic, electric and bass. Each type comes in different sizes, and produces different sounds which has an impact on the style of music you can play.
Take the acoustic guitar, for example. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes—an important consideration as smaller students may find a full size Jumbo acoustic difficult to hold. Size also determines the sound. Acoustic guitars also take either steel strings (better for folk, rock, blues and country) or nylon strings (better for classical or flamenco). A good teacher will advise you when you're ready to buy.
Electric guitars and bass guitars also come in different shapes and sizes. Don't choose a teacher who plays electric guitar if you're in to folk music or classical, and bass guitars are not so great for solo work.
So, figure out what style of music you want to learn, and let that inform the type of guitar to help you choose the right teacher or group.
Type of Tuition
You've determined the genre of music you would like to learn, and whether you're looking at acoustic, electric or bass. Your next step is to decide what style of teaching and the lesson structure you would prefer. There are a number of options.
Perfect for brand new beginners, especially young children and school students, or for advanced students who are looking for more intensive training, private guitar classes are easy to find in Canberra. Some primary schools welcome private tutors to teach onsite either during the day, or after school. For all ages, most music schools and associations also have a private lesson option, and there are many freelance guitar teachers available who are not associated with a formal school. Check Music Teachers Online for current lists of available tutors or try Canberra Guitar Studio for lessons in the comfort of your own home. Of course, Superprof is a great place to look to find teachers offering reasonably priced private guitar lessons in Canberra. Your first lesson with a Superprof tutor is often free as well.
Small group classes
Semi-private lessons with a few other students who are at a similar level are not only cheaper but may also be more interesting as you'll be playing pieces with multiple parts. It's also nice to play music together with a group and, in doing so, learn from your classmates. As with one-on-one lessons, most schools offer small group classes. Some freelance teachers, including those on Superprof, will be happy to negotiate a price for a small group lesson.
Music school class
Canberra is home to a number of music schools that provide classes in a range of instruments for all ages, from toddlers and beyond, and in a selection of class structures from private to full ensemble. As a starting point, try Bellchambers Music School, Mojo Guitar Teachers, ACT Academy of Music or Music for Canberra.
Community and social groups
There are a number of local groups of people who get together regularly to make music. These groups come in a number of forms:
- informal groups of friends with a common interest
- focus groups, such as the Canberra Musicians Club, whose primary activity is presenting live local music
- evening and weekend recreational short courses offered by colleges and the Canberra Institute of Technology
A great way to find community and social groups is via the Meetup platform.
Teaching online is becoming more common in Canberra. The biggest advantage, of course, is that teacher and student do not need to travel or even be in the same state. Accessing online teaching is easy as long as you have a solid internet connection and a webcam. Ask music schools if they have this option, and definitely check the Superprof platform as your tutor does not need to live in Canberra.
This appears to be an increasingly popular option among our younger, teenage YouTube generation, many of whom do a lot of their learning on this platform. If you are motivated, teaching yourself using online resources can be a cost-effective way to learn. Of course, it's not entirely free as you will need a guitar to practise with, and it may be good to take on formal lessons later if you want to pursue a career with guitar.
Location of your Lesson or Group Practice Session
The beauty of the guitar is its transportability. This is particularly so for the acoustic guitar, of course, however, the electric versions do need amps and leads but it's still not as tricky as a grand piano.
With this in mind, your lessons or group practice sessions can almost be held almost anywhere, including outside. A private tutor may teach their classes in your home, their home or they may rent a space. Music schools usually operate out of dedicated classroom spaces that are set up for the purpose. Social groups often use free community halls, members' houses or a rented space.
If you're just beginning, you may prefer a more private, quiet space where you can focus. For people taking classes at a music school or with a small group, transport availability may need to be factored into your decision. Larger groups or ensembles will also need to consider other nearby groups who may not appreciate the 'music'.
Your level of comfort is an important consideration when you are looking for a suitable place for learning guitar.
A Final Word about Practice
Everyone knows the importance of practising to improve but does this place too much pressure on some people?
One of the most often cited reasons for giving up or stopping your guitar lessons is "I don't have time to practise." This is the point where your lessons become a chore rather than a joy—and joy is what we should be looking for when we're playing an instrument.
If you're struggling with finding time to practise in between your classes, talk to your teacher about it. Most teachers would prefer you continue with your lessons (and get that weekly practice) than give up completely. They may even restructure your sessions so the emphasis is on fun rather than learning serious classical pieces for an exam.
So, what are you waiting for? There's a guitar out there with your name on it—and the perfect teacher to help you learn.