Ever since I can remember, whatever I learned on the guitar, I felt it was necessary to pass on. I really can’t say why it is I have always felt this way, but it certainly was never really about the money, even though many of us professional musicians have always turned to teaching as an added way of making some income!
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I am totally self-taught, and so many people would always ask about my distinct style, and how I could show them some of it. This has always been the case ...folks wanting to learn my unique string bending approach, my pedal-steel like licks, my slide guitar, etc. … But yet, one can never really create a clone of one’s self from teaching, but lord knows sometimes it can come awfully close!
I do know that more than anything, teaching is inspiring. It’s not so much learning things note-for-note, which may be some one’s approach, but more about getting the overall “picture” of what another player’s style is all about, and plugging THAT into my, or someone else’s style. When I was developing as a young player, I definitely had certain influences, and even continue to, but I never needed to learn their solos or parts note-for-note, rather, it was important to “capture” a bit of what they were about, that would inspire me and push my technique and style in new directions.
This is why here on the Gibson lesson I love to hit you with varying ideas and concepts, and to surprise you with things that you never expected to learn! I always made a pact with myself that every time I picked up a guitar, on any given day, I would force myself to learn something new! This, believe it or not, is still the case, and it’s what keeps me going, always creating new ideas and new concepts to learn as well as teach.
Another great aspect of private teaching, which I still do, is that it keeps your “chops” up incredibly well! It actually makes you a better player. For example, I have some really advanced students who create a huge challenge for me, making me “dig deep” for new ideas each time I teach them. Well, this really makes me a better player, because I must focus on certain styles in a very concentrated way, such as string bending, vibrato etc., and this forces me to make the technique that much better.
In the end, it’s really the student that also teaches the teacher, by challenging him to come up with new and fresh ideas, and before you know it, you’re playing together! I know this, because many of my students I have mentored, and brought into my band! More on the joys of teaching next time … till then, adieu!
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