Even though many of you who are reading this may still be on the “beginner” side of things, it’s never too early to think about teaching in your present or your future. After all, with me being a largely self-taught player, the art or teaching as well as writing books about the guitar really helped me to not only learn more, but als0o to understand what made me a good player to begin with. As you go on learning, which by the way, never really ends, you will find it a very fulfilling exercise to “pass on” any kind of knowledge you may have to others. I can recall that my earliest days of teaching were when I was just starting out as a player. I mean, what better way to “crystallize” what it is you know then by showing it to others? After all, there is always someone who knows less than you do, who is just dying for some information they can run with!
I can recall that my first guitar “hero” was just a young guy across the street from me in upstate NY who had a really cool guitar, and who could play well. I was just in awe of him, and used to absorb every little nuance of what he used to do on the guitar. One year later, I was already able to keep up with him, and had actually surpassed him as a player, even though I was just a kid! I had to get the same kind of guitar he had, and try to play the same tunes he knew. He never taught me formally, but I was able to observe him, and pick up tips just by watching him play.
Even when I had just started out, and knew 4 chords, I was already teaching them to other kids who thought I was so cool. This meant a lot to me, and as a teacher, I of course, when on to greater and greater things. The feeling of the “reward” has always stayed with me though, as it’s always been my playing that came first, with the art of “passing it on” always there waiting in the wings! I suppose the finest thing about teaching is simply how grateful everyone is to me for what I show them, and this has, and always will, make tons of fans in the process. The appreciation is very important to me, and even back in the days of my Hot Licks business, the letters of thanks I would get would sometimes be literally overwhelming! It’s clear that I have no intention of ever stopping this rewarding process, and I certainly hope that if you haven’t already, you also experience this tremendous “gift of giving!”