The act and art of teaching the guitar has always been a very important thing in my life, and certain relationships with my private students have not only turned into great and long-term friendships, but many times, I have actually mentored some of these players, and helped them with their careers, their songs, and even recruited them to play second guitar with me in my bands!
The two most notable players who have played long-term with me are Joe Dalton and then Matt Rae. In the case of Joe Dalton, here was already a fine player with a lot of knowledge, who wanted a lot more of what I was about. As time when on, and we had maybe 3 years of lessons under our belts, Joe eventually became a member of my band for many years, and he was a truly accomplished guitarist to have around. We used to play many harmony parts, and I always like to defer to another player and let him solo, as well as doing nice trade-offs between each other during our soloing.
Then, enter Matt Rae, another young and upcoming player. He first heard me on a radio broadcast about 12 years ago where I was doing an interview and they were playing my music on a station in the NY area. He then wrote me a letter asking if I would ever be into doing private teaching, but he had no idea where I lived……when I looked at the return address of the letter he wrote to me via the radio station, I realized he was only 3 miles from my home!
Needless to say, the lessons began, and after about another 2 years, it was apparent that he would be the perfect next “fit” as second guitarist in my band, because he can handle literally any role or idea I throw at him with total professionalism. There are many times we even just do double guitar acoustic gigs together as well, with fantastic results! Of course, the more I think about this “mentoring” thing, I realize that I’m still continuing the teaching process, and passing on even more valuable “life” lessons that arise as the result of becoming a full-fledged professional player! So, always stay open to “mentoring’ and to someone who really wants to help you “move forward” in your career. It’s a help and a lesson that goes way beyond what any money can buy!