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Teaching Skills Teaching Skills > Teaching Troubleshooting > Guitar Teaching Tips > Meat and vegetables
Summary: Bite-sized chunks of wisdom that you can use to sharpen your teaching skills and increase your awareness.

Meat and vegetables

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Make each lesson part of a balanced diet.

Your students may think they want to learn nothing but cool electric guitar licks, but you know that you owe it to them to give them something of an education in the subject of music. If they don't develop as musicians they will never gain any independence and this will ultimately stifle their enjoyment of the instrument.

The trick is to balance each lesson. I usually start with the grittier stuff: 10 - 20 minutes of exercises, scales and a bit of brain-taxing music theory. Then the middle part of the lesson it's good to work on a specific song or tune - something that stretches the students abilities, but that also provides them with a sense of producing an end result.

The last ten minutes or so I like to lighten things up. Depending on what stage of development the student is at; what age they are and what their musical likes and dislikes are I might do a bit of improvising with them, play over some songs we have already sorted or (with young students) play some music-based games. I see this as actually teaching my students to enjoy their playing - something a lot of guitar teachers either take for granted or overlook the importance of.

Don't teach a whole hour of solid theory - its like eating nothing but potato! Equally, don't spend the whole lesson pandering to the students desire for 'instant guitar'. That's nothing but gravy!

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