There is much I have said in the past about the importance, and the joy of mentoring others, but I feel there can never be enough said on the subject. Suppose this is because I am always mentoring new players all the time, and it seems that the more I become well-known, the more students and other players want and expect this of me!
I certainly love the role of mentor, as I am always encouraging players to get better and better all over the world, and it really doesn’t matter to me whether they are old, young or middle-aged; it’s always just as rewarding, every time! It’s also important to realize that when you are a mentor, you also are somewhat of a “role model” to your students and others, and it’s a role not to be taken too lightly. I find that I must be very cautious and tread lightly when making constructive criticisms, because these kinds of things can make a lasting impression, either positive or negative, and of course, you always want a positive impression to be left.
For example, there is a new friend I have just met who is only 19, and who has a band that he wants me to meet and hear. But most of all, he has asked me to give his band real, and to the point constructive criticism. I know I have no problem doing this, and that I am good at being critical without hurting anyone, but I know that his band looks at me with wide-eyed idealism, and I never want to burst any bubbles, for sure.
I have far too often seen other guitarists and teachers criticize in the wrong way, almost as if they intend to hurt who they are critiquing. I can only think that these are weak individuals who somehow “get off” on hurting others, while feeling like it makes them feel somehow bigger, more important and more talented than they really are! The act of real mentoring in one of total selflessness, and should reflect a true desire in you to help others. This will only help your own esteem, and will continue to always build the good parts of your reputation. This reputation building will only serve to help you in your career, and in how folks think of you. There can never be enough good things said about you, and in the music industry as in many other walks of life, you can see that one negative can sometimes wipe out 100 positives! Personally, I love the positives in a big way, and have always loved mentoring others, encouraging them, and even hiring some students of mine into my bands to play alongside their favorite teacher! Hope you get to experience this incredibly rewarding, enriching process for yourselves one day. If you do, I’d sure love to hear about it! Best of luck!