It’s always a sad day when a student who I see as being truly promising and talented decides (or his parents decide) that the lessons must end. It never seems to make any sense to me, since I am of the self-taught school, and can never imagine giving the guitar anything less than 110 percent! That being said, it’s especially sad when a student is very talented and no one seems to notice it in his immediate sphere except me! In cases like this I always say the student is “like a tree falling in the woods” if I wasn’t there, and it’s really true. There are so many parents these days who either have too many false expectations to make their kids “rock stars”, or who refuse to, or simply can’t perceive the actual talent their son/daughter might have!
Far too many times this great kind of talent gets unrecognized, and it’s such a crime. I mean if my Dad had not said to me “Arlen, quit the violin…I can just picture you playing the guitar, all of this simply would not have happened, and my particular talent would not have been as cultivated as it was. And that was just sheer “encouragement”, perhaps the most important thing of all. Today for example, I got a call from a Dad who wanted to cancel his kid’s lessons, and this kid was just a smokin’ electric blues player! He claims that his son was not “practicing”, but I can certainly tell from his playing each week that he was definitely playing as much as he could. I think it was more a financial issue, which many folks are never willing to admit, and it was a heart-breaker, since I really worry now that this incredible 14 year-old talent will never be realized! Of course, if he really was meant to play, he’ll probably pursue his playing later on, or simply continue at his own pace, but regardless, it’s sad to see him have to part ways with me, since I held the highest hopes and regard for his playing!
My love of mentoring kids like this is long-known, and since I can remember so clearly being in that same boat at that age, I see them literally as me all over again. Most importantly, I see my late daughter, Gillian, who I lost at the age of only 14, and my daughter Lexie who is now 24, both of whom I literally lived to share the guitar and life with, and who mean more to me than all the stars in the sky. I certainly hope no more parents make the mistake of misguiding their kids when it comes to the guitar…we all need the best fighting chance we can get!!