If we have a student who is 22 years old and is playing guitar and isn’t able to make enough head contact to learn chords, how do we teach them to do that? In my experience, teachers over age 52 who can’t get students to move from their seat at the front of the class can expect no more from their students if they don’t give them more feedback, guidance and support. I have had many teachers over the age of 52 who I know can be just as frustrating and disappointing with students who are not able to engage and engage in any meaningful way with the lesson.
I would not want my 22 year old student to play guitar if I didn’t know enough about chord and progressions to be able to help my student learn and develop her technique. And I didn’t, because as I aged I got less and less interested in teaching guitar. I started teaching 10 years ago, because as I did that I found that I was never teaching students very well, in part because I was not able to give them accurate answers to very simple questions related to the art of playing.
What about a new student taking up guitar with your band or orchestra? Do you teach them chords while the other band members pass out notes?
This is one of the challenges that I have encountered in teaching young students. It is easy to get the idea that someone who hasn’t played guitar for 10 years isn’t aware of the importance of chords. But if one looks at the way that guitar players develop and are developed, one starts to get a different perspective. What happens when players who are going to play for a long time and who have an extensive amount of experience on guitar do not use chords as often? They get very frustrated. I have had students who spent 20 years learning to play bass and then they have to learn to perform for 20 minutes at the end of the semester. In this situation you would expect them to have more of an understanding of chords than someone who hasn’t been playing for a decade and who hasn’t had many practice sessions since high school.
Instead, they will often just rely on memorizing the chords and working on the technique, and then they will play the same way that they did while they were learning. In the same way that many people will say that a guitar player who is not a good guitar player can’t play their instrument well, many people can’t see past the learning curve when they hear someone say, “This guy plays fine, but he doesn’t really know how