Arlen Roth

It’s true that when many of us have kids these days, and if there are very youthful and talented kids among us, there is always a strong temptation toe right away try to go for fame and fortune! This can be a totally devastating error in judgment, because as many of us have all see far too often how success at a very young age in show business can result in difficulties later in life. In fact, there can be difficulties very soon during a still very young life!

There is definitely something to be said in a major way to encourage those who are truly gifted at an early age, but if the “moon and the stars” are promised and therefore expected right away, there is a tendency to be “let down”, even if someone is still making very normal and healthy progress on the guitar! I happened to be a very good guitarist at a very young age, but there was, at that time never a thought about “fame” or anything like that! Instead, it was all about the experience of being a better and better player, and taking in all the things professionally that could help lead me down this path!

These days, with so many children around from the parents of the “Baby Boomer” generation, as well as the “Me decade” of the ‘70s, we are seeing an unprecedented amount of young guitar “phenoms” who are all supposed to simply blow us away with their abilities at such a young age! The problem is that youth is very fleeting, and before you know it you can go from being the “most incredible 12 year-old guitarist in the world” to being just another average or above-average 20 year-old guitar player who is looking for a gig like everyone else!

This is not to discourage you, but actually to encourage you, as you can move forward with a far more realistic level of expectation with your career and within your own playing. This means you can concentrate far more on the things that matter, such as simply being as good as you can, and improving your music and your artistry. When a young kid is playing lots of fast licks and sounds like another SRV, it really has nothing to do with being an artist which is what I’m sure that “kid” really wants to be. The huge “build up” of fame and the acquiring of that fame will only serve to distract and divert that child’s pursuit of what really matters to him or her on the guitar!

So keep expectations at a real level, and be sure to always keep the music first, and “front and center.” It is then, and only then, that true fame and recognition can be bestowed upon you, and before you know it, all that hard work and dedication will really pay off!!

Gibson.com’s Arlen Roth , affectionately known The King of All Guitar Teachers, is music lesson pioneer and the quintessential guitarist. An accomplished and brilliant musician — and one of the very few who can honestly say he’s done it all — Roth has, over the course of his celebrated 35-year career, played on the world’s grandest stages, accompanied many of the greatest figures in modern music and revolutionized the concept of teaching guitar