The other day, a student called me who I hadn’t given a lesson to for about 5 years. Totally out of the blue, as a result of running into him last September, he called me, saying he was looking for “new inspiration.” This was certainly rewarding for me to hear, as he had always been one of my favorite students, and also one of my proudest teaching achievements when it came to what he went on to become!
He told me that mainly he was a guitar teacher now, and that he had lots of beginners, but was at a loss for any new material to give the kids he sees as they were becoming more advanced. We started to jam, and I was in an instant, impressed with his maturity on the guitar, and I sure heard a lot of old “Arlen Roth” licks and influence that had become such a big part of him and his playing! It was an amazing thing to witness, as I had not seen him since he was really young, and I remembered him as more of an “observer” than a “player”. Yet, his playing sure reflected that his “observing” had really turned into good “playing” without a problem. I always loved how he played, but it was rare when he would feel like opening up enough to really perform in front of me. This time, he certainly had opened up, and was literally “hungry” for more input. He also credited my teaching style for always making it so clear for him, and I suspect he was trying to improve and enrich his teaching “chops” as well as his playing.
It was a really enriching for me as well, as his former and now, current teacher, to see the progress he had made over all that time, and to know that he was now enjoying teaching guitar himself. I do teach an awful lot of teachers, or certainly folks who have gone on to become teachers, and I enjoy the fact that I have made a difference to them, as well as inspired them in both the playing and teaching directions! After all, I have always found that especially being self-taught, the art of teaching has really helped me to more deeply understand what it is that makes me tick!
So, now I look forward to his coming all the time, and to entering a new phase of guitar education for him. It should be a really interesting ride though, because it’s very rare when I get to teach someone many years later, as an advanced player, when they actually started out with me, barely knowing even some guitar chords! Stay tuned, it should be fun, and I’m really looking forward to this new kind of teaching experience!