For many, many years now, I have been a teacher as well as a performer/recording artist. This has always put me in a unique position when it came to finding and evaluating talent. And boy, there have sure been a lot of talented guitarists to come through my door! I have always enjoyed helping them along in the process of also being a professional musician, which is obviously, also a very important part of the learning process!
Some students I enjoy taking into the studio and recording with, especially when it’s a new experience for them, and some have even become band members with me, or I have asked them to sit in with me at certain shows. This is always a thrill for them, as well as me, because it’s finally a chance for them to really show their “wares. And to test all that new-found knowledge in a “real life” situation! It’s always been beneficial to me to mentor players into my own band because what I have taught them is really “my” way of looking at the guitar, so if I need them to do something quite specific in a musical situation with me, they’ll be able to do it with little prompting. The best musical collaborations are certainly the ones where you can trust the players as much as possible, and where they really understand, instinctively, what you are looking for. This is always a pleasure, and the kinds of players I work with may only need an occasional “nudge” in the right direction to know what I need out of them.
But the mentoring process is really a great one, and I hope someday that you too will be a musical mentor to somebody. Young players are crying out for guidance, and they soak up new knowledge like a sponge! The players I have always had in my bands are also players whom I really respect as guitarists, and I love to not only give them cool roles to play within songs, but I also love to let them ”step out” and also solo as well. I also enjoy “trading off” licks with them, as this is a keen way to really encourage them to learn right on the spot…which is the true way I always learned the best, also….like my life depended on it!
So, to all you students out there, who I am either mentoring directly or indirectly, just remember that this act of “passing it on” in a mentoring fashion is just about the most giving thing you could ever do, ad it will continue to pay you back in positive dividends forever!