The following is an excerpt from my forthcoming how-to book on running a successful guitar teaching business. I thought it would inspire an interesting discussion. What do you think?
I can hear the legions of Standard Notation Defenders sharpening their swords even as I write this. I’m sorry—I think it’s crazy how militant some teachers are about starting their students with note reading, as if tablature were some gateway drug that starts guitarists on a path of laziness and stupidity. The opposite is true. Tablature is a fantastic tool for making guitar music accessible to beginners.
Granted, being able to read standard music notation opens many doors. It’s essential for jazz, orchestral, classical, or studio guitarists. In the same way, understanding basic algebra is essential for anyone who wants to manage their business’ finances. So do you teach algebra in kindergarten?
Your primary goal in teaching most beginners is to get them hooked on playing guitar. Every once in a while you’ll get a beginner who’s so psyched on guitar that they’re hungry for the challenge of learning note reading. But the vast majority are wary, and rightfully so. The guitar is a tough instrument at first. It’s much harder to get a guitar to sound good than, say, a piano. Why compound the challenges of buzzing strings, tuning difficulties, sore fingertips, and the dreaded F chord, with the epic task of learning note reading?
Update: The Handbook is now available for purchase here.