When taking or giving formal lessons of any kind, the relationship that exists between the student and the teacher has easily as much to do with what you learn as the material itself. There’s always a critical balance in the relationship between the teacher and student, even in school, but when it is one-on-one, the closeness and the effect of each person on one another is even more acute.
I suppose a lot of you feel closer to me as a teacher due to my exposure through all my Gibson lessons and my past Hot Licks video and audio tapes, so in a way, we also could have a closeness that can rival even a private lesson. I know that through the many years I have taught, I have developed many close relationships with my students, many of whom have already become lifelong friends. One thing is for sure, I never made any enemies teaching, and I think that is because I first of all, give of myself and my knowledge completely unselfishly, and, I also convey a lot of interest in what I feel the student really needs. This closeness and true caring is what can really set apart a real teacher from just another one. Above all, the student must feel that you, the teacher, really care, and that you also have a vested interest in furthering their abilities. After all, a student is not going to keep coming back for more unless they feel as if there has been real progress made under your tutelage. And of course, on the other hand, you really need to have the students coming back for more……it’s almost as if the teaching action itself is also a kind of entertainment, where you “leave ‘em wanting more!” It’s true….your teaching must be entertaining as well as informative, and there has to be a nice balance achieved between the two.
If you do become somewhat “entertaining” during your lessons, it’s important to remember that you always must keep the lesson focused, and be sure to “reel it in” and not let the student become too confused nor distracted. Believe me, the student will forever thank you for this “caring” approach, and for the teacher there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a happy student, and that feeling that comes after a lesson where there was a good teacher/student interchange.
The first lesson is always a critical “feeling each other out” kind of situation, in which I often give the kind of lesson that is more of an “overview” than anything else, but this has also the purpose of establishing our relationship, communication, and even simply to see how good a “fit” this particular combination can be. Sometimes unfortunately, it turns out to be a non-stop struggle, but thankfully, those kinds of lessons rarely continue for very long! So good luck in finding the right combination, for as you’ll see, there’s nothing like a good relationship between student and teacher. It can only help you both!