Welcome future guitar players! The guitar is
perhaps the most ubiquitous instrument of the present day. Guitars
are of central importance in jazz, rock, folk, blues, and classical music just to name a few.
As a guitar teacher, I try to introduce my students to as many different
styles as possible without losing sight of the need for fundamentals.
All my students are given a solid foundation in note reading, music theory, and ear training. That said, I am fully
aware that people often want to learn to play the guitar just like
their favorite musician. Bring in your favourite song and
listen to it together. Most likely I can show you how to play anything
you want to learn!
The Guitar is a tricky instrument to teach to say the least. Unlike teaching piano where things are much more structured and Royal conservatory examinations are considered the norm, guitar is often taught in a less structured manner. Guitar students often do not get regular practice sight reading notes. The focus is more on chord shapes and tableture. Being proficient at note reading is not an "end all be all" for great musicianship, but a basic literacy in music should be a priority. After all, this is one of the primary ways that musicians comunicate with each other.
The guitar fretboard is kind of a mess in my opinion. Unlike the piano, it is non-linear and has the exact same notes repeated on different strings every five frets. This makes it very difficult to sight read notes. Very few guitarists are good at this as a result. However, with a little perseverance the fretboard layout can be memorized and sight reading can be taught. I try to pursuade my students to learn this without being to dogmatic about it. After all, if its not enjoyable they probably won't do it. This is more true for adults than children.
Its also true that the guitar is the type of instrument where spacial recognition of chord shapes is the commonly accepted way of learning the instrument. This is also problematic in my opinion. Its fine to start by learning how to play a D chord using the tradtional "cowboy chord" shape, but eventually this leads to stagnation. It is more effective to learn the what the notes of a D chord are (D F# A) and find as many variations/combinations of these notes as possible all over the fretboard. There are many many ways to play a D chord on the guitar. I haven't tried to count them all, but I'm guessing there are over 100 unique ways to play a D chord on the guitar. Go find as many as you can and tell me what they look like! Congratulations, You just mapped out the fretboard!