Sometimes I have the pleasure of coming across a student who simply has “the goods” right from the get-go. This rarely occurs, but it’s one of those things that you just know when you hear and see it. As a teacher, it becomes so important to properly nurture this talent, and to not “over-teach” or hit the student over the head with too much meaningless work. If you see that a student is already gifted, you must be able to keep feeding that gift, and to be able to give them material that will be inspiration, as opposed to just “perspiration!”
When a player is gifted, and already on their own unique path within the guitar, I love being the one who helps nudge them in the right other directions that will help inspire them onto greater creative heights. This is important, because the perception of music as a creative art form by the player is what truly defines just how advanced, and how “ready” they are to become full-fledged artists. It’s not how much you know, because we can never know “it all”, but more how well we can apply what we already know that defines us as an artist. I can recall when I was touring and recording with singer/songwriter John Prine, he’d come to me and say “Arlen, can you teach me a new chord so I can write a new song?!” Besides being funny, this spoke volumes to me about how well he knew himself as an artist, and how he could take his “limitations” and turn them into new ideas and creative concepts. After all, with just a few chords at his disposal, Prine was and still is, a terrific songwriter!
When I am teaching a gifted player, which is always a true blessing, I love to help them along further on their path of self-learning. I mean, let’s face it, in the end, we all really teach ourselves, and it’s up to our teachers to help guide us and inspire us onto greater things when it comes to our own self-improvement. This is what I always strive for, and what you, as players and students must always aim for as well! Good luck, and see you out there again on future blogs!