I for one, really understand the absolute necessity for the encouragement of a student. If it had not been for my father saying “play the guitar, I can just see you playing it”, it probably wouldn’t have happened for me at such an early age. My Dad did not possess a great musical ear, but he saw the potential in me, and how much I loved to play music, and with what ease I could pick things up by ear. He, is however, a great visual artist, and certainly understands art and talent when he sees it!
Somehow, his words and guidance always seem to echo in my head when I am seeing a new student, or feel that I have found someone of exceptional gifts. The irony with some situations compared to mine, is that often it seems, the parents of soe of my students are the LAST to know how gifted their child might be! This disturbs me, because I often tell them, “if you had not brought he or she to me, they’d be like a tree falling in the woods…simply never heard, nor appreciated!” Even with that said, a couple of years back, a family brought their daughter and son to me to take separate lessons. You could tell that they really cared much more about the daughter’s lessons than the son’s, maybe because she was older, and “called the shots”, and it seemed like they thought the boy was just along for the ride. Well, as it turned out, this little boy, who would stroll in once a week, with his cheap little nylon string mini guitar with no case, was absolutely brilliant! It seemed as if anything I threw at him, he was able to play, just by observing! The daughter had a much harder time at it, and actually gave up fairly quickly.
Meanwhile, the sad part of the story is that even though I kept raving about the boy’s guitar prowress to his parents, they never seemed to get it, and sure enough, just when he was reaching a real “peak” with me, they shockingly took him out of lessons! He no longer was going to go to “guitar”……and they spoke it as if it were just another stop in his weekly ritual of being an over-booked suburban kid with too many other things to do, like soccer, little league, tutors, you name it!
Beware of this mistake, and also beware of the opposite, as well. This baby boomer generation has a little too much “rock star” in it, and I’ve seen far too many parents who “push” their kids to be into all this guitar stuff, when the kids don’t even care that much about it to begin with! But far and away, the saddest is when a real gift, as this child had, is ignored, or passed over. I only hope he is still playing on his own somewhere, and not letting himself become that “tree falling in the woods”!