It really is true that each student one can have is a real blessing! I have found that not only have I made some of the greatest friends I’ve ever had through teaching them, but also the very act of teaching has done more to teach me than anyone else!
After all, when you start as a basically “un-bridled” player such as I did, and all of your learning takes place in real life as opposed to through teachers and schools and the like, you find that the feedback you get from the students themselves, as well as the need to truly analyze just what it is you’re playing is about in order to teach them is what really teaches you! I always have said that “my students get to hear my best playing”, and that is largely true, since there is so much one-on-one playing they hear, and my efforts to “dig deep” for inspiring material always brings out the best in me!
I had always encouraged my guitar students to tape their lessons, especially so they could hear how things should really sound, and also so they wouldn’t forget some of the many things we’d touch upon during the lessons. This ended up turning into my business Hot Licks, as one of my students moved away and wrote to me that he really missed those “lessons on tape” from me! Well that was all I needed to know that someday I’d create a “dream” business and be able to reach multitudes of guitarists the world over with not only my taped instruction, but also that of others. At that point, video still seemed a long way off, so we only concentrated on audio lessons from 1979 to 1984, when I finally introduced the world to video music instruction.
I can also remember how giving a good lesson or lessons really inspired me to then go into the other room, turn on the tape recorder, and do a particularly good taped lesson. It was as if I was also honing my teaching “chops” as well as my playing “chops.” This has also helped me in the clinics I have done all over the world, as each one seems to further help me to do better and better lessons, with better communication each time. After all, this is what helped make me the player I am today, so why not also improve my teaching by doing it for audiences in a more “seminar-like” atmosphere!?
So, remember that all of you, whomever you may be…if you’re learning from me, and you’re giving me feedback as well, are certainly among my life’s greatest blessings, for sure!! Thanks so much……
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.