Nobody has ever just picked up a musical instrument (any music instrument) and just started playing it. That’s not the way that learning to play music works.
Learning to play a musical instrument is a time-consuming activity that requires a whole lot of “want-to.” There’s no substitute. There’s no substitute for practice time, either.
I’ve had people say to me, “I wish I could play a guitar like you play.” I don’t say it, but what I’d like to say is, “If you REALLY wanted to play, you’d have learned to play.” Wishing doesn’t translate into playing. PRACTICE translates into playing.
So my point here is that unless a student is willing to forego other activities in favor of practicing, music lessons just aren’t going to do much good. You don’t learn to play at a weekly hour or ½-hour music lesson. You get instruction at that hour or ½-hour lesson, but you learn to play by practicing several hours each and every day between lessons. Without that kind of time and effort commitment, music lessons given by the best of the best music teachers won’t do a bit of good.
I’ve always believed this about music lessons: Music is sound. Music theory is about how that sound computes, so to speak. You don’t learn theory first. You learn sound first, and then the music theory behind the sound will make sense.
Learning to keep time is the first step in learning to play music. All first music lessons should be lessons in listening rather than in playing. Music students should be able to pick out the beat of the music they hear. When they can hear the rhythm, then it’s time to start teaching notes, scales, and chords.