The majority of students who take up guitar will give up in the first 6 months. In fact I was go as far as to say that 80% of people who take up guitar will give up lessons in the first 6 months with most of them putting their guitar in some hidden cupboard. Sorry to sound pessimistic but its just a reality.

In my early years of teaching this would worry me and although I accepted it as a fact it continued to bother me. I had began reading books on successful coaches and found that while some coaches had low success rates others had consistently high rates of success. The famous American basketball coach John Wooten is one very good example. He beat almost every record in his sport.

I then decided not to accept the 80% failure rate among my students. My aim was to turn that number around and have an 80% or more success rate. I began keeping stats and found the critical period was the first 6 months of course. I also discovered that most student’s short term expectations of themselves was often unrealistic even if they were not aware. Most were expecting to play songs within weeks and many expected after 6 months to be competent guitar players. I will stress that 6 months is possible if you practice 4 hours or more a day but most students are not prepared to do more than an hour and most do less.

Expectations seem to be one of the deciding factors so I worked at bringing things into perspective. First of all students should not look so much in terms of weeks, months or years but in hours of practice and of course quality of practice. A top professional guitarist will have done around 10,000 hours but to reach a reasonable level 1000 hours will be enough. My advice is simple. Track the hours you spend practicing and make sure you have a teacher who can ensure your practice is quality practice.

Hope that helps.

David Hart – Program Director


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