Thursday, July 23, 2009

Finding a teacher who can teach

Music lessons can really suck.

It's not always the question of students being lazy - sometimes it's the issue of teachers who don't know how to work with the student they have in front of them.

I had four music teachers in my life; three of them never got it. They spent all their time trying to force me and my sisters into music theory, scales, and Grade 2 piano books.

It worked for sister number 2, but not so well for sister number 1, and not at all for sister number 3.

But now it's the family baby (no. 3) who can improvise so readily. She can hear a tune, and have it to keys in no time. As for me, it wasn't till I got to my second guitar teacher that I found someone who quickly worked out that I wasn't going to play hours of chord progressions or scales: he celebrated my improvisation, and sought to work backwards from it, recording and writing it down as I experimented and settled on things.

He was the smart teacher. Twelve years with the piano expert has left me with little more than some recollection of where I might find middle C. But my guitar teacher knew how to work with kids who didn't follow the pattern of the curriculum.

Wherever you are, Lars, I love you, man.

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