Arlen on Students who “Lay Off” for a Long Time
It’s hard for me, and for other very dedicated players to ever imagine, but there are actually guitarists who end up “giving up” their instruments for long periods of time. I find that almost impossible to ever conceive of, but after all, I did do that with the violin, when at the age of ten, I discovered my real love was going to be the guitar, and I threw myself fully into it!
Still, there are those who somehow end up giving it up, but who then come back to it as well! I have noticed that when players do this, it’s with a newly refreshed and invigorated approach, which will actually make them better than they ever thought they would be in their “earlier” days of playing!
Today I had such a student, a new player to me who got an initial 5 lessons to start with. He is really perfect for me, and me for him in the sense that he had played very un-interestingly for many years, and now after some 18 years or so of “laying off” the guitar, he has come to me to really get into the right way of playing! Well, let’s face it I’ll make sure he does, regardless! But seriously, that “lay-off” he had from the guitar, and now his meeting me for lessons may end up being the best thing he ever could’ve done. He immediately saw where I was coming from regarding new approaches to the guitar. He was someone for example who always only strummed, without any “discrimination” of notes, and who never tried finger-style. Well, right away I got him into dedicated flat-picking which used melodies, and also introduced him to the right way to finger-pick.
He took to it right away, and as is the case with many players who have gotten away from their guitars for a long time, he really knows more than he gives himself credit for. This proved as a real help to his renewed interest in the guitar, and as we went along in the lesson I could see his abilities literally “opening up” again, as we made more and more “new” inroads into uncharted territory together!
So, it certainly is a great feeling making a difference when it comes to bringing someone “back” to the guitar, and if you’re one of “those” people, please know that your interest, abilities and talent can always be renewed and refreshed as you come back to the instrument. If you’re a teacher who is also seeing this, please know that it can be so rewarding being a part of this kind of “comeback”, and it’s bound to make someone truly thankful for your efforts!
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.