What Should You Expect at Your First Guitar Lesson?

what to expect at first guitar lesson

Guitar lessons offer a great way to learn how to play the guitar. A good guitar teacher will not only plan a bespoke program of study to get results faster, but will provide you with the motivation to keep up your practice when times get tough. So, what should you expect at your first guitar lesson?

How to Choose the Right Guitar Teacher

Before you can attend your first guitar lesson, you need to choose a suitable teacher. For an in-depth guide, you can check out this article on how to choose a good guitar teacher. But in short, you may want to check the following:

  • Does the guitar teacher have any formal training (music college, conservative, etc)
  • How long have they been teaching the guitar?
  • Do they teach the style of music you want to learn?
  • Are they local to you?

If they have any pupil testimonials or reviews, these will give you an insight into how well they do their job. Like all professions, some individuals are better than others. It’s also worth checking to see whether they offer any additional benefits. For example, do they host student concerts, classes, or workshops? Are they affiliated with a local guitar shop that can offer you discounts on guitar related products?

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Something that is often overlooked is a guitar teacher’s personality. While you’re not necessarily looking to build a new friendship, it’s really important that you are able to get on with your guitar teacher. Learning with someone who is personable and who’s company you enjoy can help to keep you accountable for practicing and will also help you maintain your overall motivation.

A little research at this stage can ensure you choose the right guitar teacher for your needs.

Did you know that you can find a guitar teacher through Tonara Connect's marketplace? By using the filters to help you find the best teacher for you, you'll be taking lessons in no time. Plus, before you book a lesson, you can chat with the teacher to better understand what to expect from their guitar lessons and what the first guitar lessons for beginners with them looks like.

Before Your First Guitar Lesson

When you make contact with your guitar teacher, it’s always good to give them as much information about your musical history as possible. This will help them prepare for your lesson, meaning you will get the most out of the experience for yourself since it's your first time learning guitar. Mention other instruments you play (if any) along with whether or not you can read music. If you tried to play guitar some years ago, mention this as well. It’s also worth telling them what you want to achieve by taking guitar lessons. Any information you give will be helpful for your new guitar teacher.

During this initial contact, the teacher should explain a little about what to expect from your first guitar lesson with them. Every teacher is a little different, so this is your chance to question them about their particular approach.

Get the Right Equipment

If you haven’t already done so, you should ensure you have the right type of guitar before your first guitar lesson (unless you plan to discuss this with your new teacher). Guitars come in many different shapes and sizes, so it’s important to select the right one for you. If you’re unsure, it’s highly recommended you talk to your guitar teacher first before making a purchase. During your initial consultation with them, ask if it would be possible to borrow a guitar for the duration of the lesson before purchasing one for yourself. Most teachers will have a demo guitar that you can use during your lesson.

buying instrument for first guitar lesson

What To Expect From Your First Guitar Lesson


When you arrive at your first guitar lesson, you can expect to undergo a quick follow up consultation. This is your opportunity to break the ice with your new teacher and for them to more clearly understand your goals and aspirations. It will also help to settle any nerves you may have about playing in front of a complete stranger. You’ll be pleased to know that the vast majority of guitar teachers are lovely people. They play music for a living so they can’t possibly be too miserable!

Establish Ability Level

Your guitar teacher will most likely try to get an idea of how well you can play, even if it's your first time learning guitar. If you’re a complete beginner, you can expect to be shown the basic posture and how the hands work. Your teacher will also want to get you playing a few notes to see how well you cope with the physical demands of playing the guitar. Don’t worry about how you sound, they’re not expecting you to play fluently or even produce much of a sound. It’s simply a way for them to gain insight into where you’re starting from. Just do your best to listen carefully and follow their advice. Forget about any mistakes you might make. These are to be expected and you will not be judged in a negative way.

If you’re a more experienced guitarist, you can expect to run through a series of exercises to help establish a baseline. You may even be asked to play a piece of music or a song that you know. Again, the purpose here is to establish an understanding of where you’re starting from.

first guitar lesson

Program of Study

Once your guitar teacher has established a sense of your skill level, they will plan a long-term program of study. This could include work on specific areas of technique, reading of notation/TAB, correcting posture, improving knowledge of theory, or improving musicianship. Most likely, this program will include a number of these areas. The great benefit of going to a guitar teacher is that they can plan a program around your specific needs. This is much more effective than having to rely on a general program or pre-set online course. Having a bespoke program to follow will also help to give you a clear understanding of what you can expect from guitar lessons with your new teacher.

Your teacher should communicate what they plan to do with you and explain how this will help you to achieve your goals. You should feel free to discuss this plan with them to ensure you’re both on the same page. It’s especially important that you raise any concerns here because you don’t want to end up paying to learn something that will not directly benefit you in pursuit of your goals. 

Future Lessons

At the end of your first guitar lesson, you should expect to be offered the chance to book a future appointment. Learning to play the guitar takes a long time, and a single lesson is never enough. A weekly lesson is usually recommended, as this will help keep you fully engaged and practicing often, however fortnightly or ad hoc lessons may also be available.

Hopefully, you will have enjoyed your first guitar lesson, however, if you haven’t then you remember that you’re free to look elsewhere for another teacher. You’re not tied into a long term commitment after just a single lesson, so if you feel as though the guitar teacher is not the right fit for you, consider looking elsewhere until you find your perfect match.