I had a band teacher in grade 12. A lot of the other students really liked him. For me he wasn’t a good teacher. At 17, I didn’t really know what a good teacher was. All I knew was that although I was crazy about playing guitar and making music, but I couldn’t perform for this man. I would come away from a band class feeling like giving up. One day he signaled me to take a solo. Being new to the guitar and wanting to do well so bad, I choked. The pick was playing a different string than the fingers were fretting. The sound was bad. Then in front of the whole class he proceeded to show how I was like a character out of a comic who played air guitar. Everyone laughed and I pretended to.
In the spring things changed. Some students from university were doing their practicums at my high school. And at some point in March our class was introduced to two future music teachers, Matt and Chris.
Matt and Chris would occasionally lead a class but other than that I didn’t really observe them doing much else. I didn’t take much note of them.
Until one day.
I was jamming in the band room with a couple other guys, not aware that we were being heard. In walks Chris and he listens for a few minutes. When we stop he says to me. “Do you like Santana”?
I said “I’ve only heard of him.”
“Well you sound just like him. If you haven’t heard him play you really ought to. There’s something in your playing that reminds me of him”
I don’t know if it showed in my face but my whole being was filled with hope and light. I thought, “I could actually be good at this!”
The next day in the band room, Chris came up to me where I was at the amps and handed me two Santana albums. I took them home and recorded them onto cassette tape, and gave the albums back.
I wore the cassettes out listening to them.
After that experience I played with confidence and practised with focus. I actually saw myself improving.
Although I never received any formal training from Chris, I learned so much from him. Yes I had confidence after that experience and, as a teacher looking back, I’d say that encouragement is something a person needs if they’re attempting to teach anyone anything.
Encouragement lights up the mind and tells someone they can do the thing they’re trying to do.
What’s the opposite?
Some would say “Don’t tell them that, it will go to their head”.
Whose head? I’ve taught cocky students. They’re usually overcompensating for feeling inferior and all they need is a little encouragement.
Encouragement is spoken at SameSunStudios.com . I don’t leave my students without it.
If this story of my journey has ignited a desire to learn guitar, bass or another instrument, or if you want to take your playing further, I would encourage you to sign up for:
- lessons via skype [click here]
- in studio [click here ]
- You can also purchase a video on demand [click here]
- have me come and give a master class/clinic. [click here]
This September I’m going to see Santana live for the first time. I missed getting to see some of my other big heros like BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, but this concert will be sort of a full circle kind of thing. I may have gotten off my musical journey if it hadn’t have been for the real heros in my life who said things to encourage me.