As you all know, I really enjoy bringing my lessons to you all the time on Gibson.com, but the private teaching I often do really lends itself to help me always come up with new ideas for you as well. I have always found that just as there are playing “chops”, there are also teaching “chops”! This was very clear to me way back when I started my Hot Licks series of lessons in 1979. I would come from doing a bunch of really stimulating lessons, and immediately put my ideas and thought on tape, while my teaching “chops” were still churning away!
It’s great because I also love to meet new and interesting students that always make me delve into things a little more deeply than normal, and to get in touch with what really matters. Not only that, but it makes for an improvement in my own playing, as it never fails to stimulate new ideas in me. Many times, I’ll even come up with a whole new song idea just from a particular lesson where I happen upon some wonderful new riff or idea. The private lessons also make for new ideas when it comes to having to take unique approaches towards a new student. After all, we all learn and play in our own individual ways, and coming at it from a new angle is a refreshing way to look at what you may have already taught in another way previously!
And let’s not forget that some players walk through that door who are so good, they can actually shed light on some new ideas I may’ve not thought of before…these are great moments when the teaching itself, and the student, actually help me learn something new! This used to happen all the time when I was documenting all those great players for my company, Hot Licks Video, and I would always pick up and learn new things from somebody I was recording. I remember being particularly moved by the fingerstyle of Tuck Andress, or Scotty Anderson’s lightning approach to thumbpick and finger technique, or Eric Johnson’s phrasing! All of these things were not only stimulating, they were inspiring!
So all in all, teaching is really about the give and take between you and your student, and you just never know where the next inspiration is going to come from. Always be ready for it though, because it may just be around the corner of the next lesson!