Hi, forum. My first post. Happy to be here.

I posted to Craigs List not long ago looking for an intermediate teacher. here is a copy of my post:

I am ready to take guitar lessons again. Here is a run-down of who I am, where I am in my playing, what I want to accomplish, etc.

Mature adult- over 50.
Guitarist for 40 years, but have not progressed during all that time- somewhat sporatic advancement.
Not a music major/graduate, but do know music theory, read music.
Play other instruments- electric bass, harmonica, voice. Have dabbled on things like tin whistle (irish flute) and keyboards, but no real proficiency.
Want to develop lead "chops" (not just the ability to play someone else's riffs- I also want to be able to play electric and/or acoustic lead on ANYTHING.
Have an immediate need to perfect guitar part of "House At Pooh Corner," but have several weeks to get there. This sort of finger-picking is a goal, too.
Can meet once a week, for 1/2 to 1 hour. Flexible schedule. lessons need not be same day/time each week.
Know the difference between someone who can PLAY, and someone who can TEACH. Need a measure of both.
Need to keep lesson cost reasonable. If your rates are above the norm, no amount of persuasion, short of a money-back guarantee, will carry the day.
Fairly close to me, in East Cobb, near Highway 92 and I-575.

If you think we can work together on this, from that information, please email me, thru CL, your qualifications, experience, and contact info.

Seems understandable enough, right? Well, I had this exchange with some who responded:

HIM i graduated from A.I.M in o1 with honors and have been teaching and recording since then. send me a text if ya wanna talk. thanks! I'm totally reasonable, by the way. i do the hour though. i never agreed with the 20 min lesson joke. my instructors in my private theory coaching and guitar would all do the same. except they charged 50, i charge 25 with a first free lesson on basics of twenty minutes. if you go to jennings and add up 4- 20 minute lessons for 80-100 bucks you'll find not that much time on your instrument. just enough time to warm up with the teacher and get out.

ME: I would like to talk with you to see if this may be a good fit, although it is looking promising. I fully agree with you on the 20-min. lesson thing- I teach beginners and although I offer a 20 or 30-min option, I discourage almost everyone from going that route. I feel it may be appropriate down the road, but to begin, I prefer 1 hour lessons, both as a teacher and a student.

I am not clear on your " first free lesson on basics of twenty minutes." I am guessing that you include a intro lesson, 20 minutes long, for free? That's fine, although I would hope you could set aside 30 minutes or more for that lesson, in case we need more time to "get aquainted." Your rates are acceptable to me; would that be "here" or "there?" If "there," where are you located?

I just listened to the songs on your MySpace page- good playing, nice songs. I am hearing mostly arpeggios, which may not be the direction I most want to go, but I don't necessarily see that as a problem, just want to communicate clearly to you what I want to acheive.

Except for location of my lessons, most of what we still need to talk about is probably best done with more give-and-take than email affords, so please call me, perhaps we could meet for either a cup of coffee or that 20-min. lesson.


HIM: (This is where it starts to get weird) Sorry just moved. Good luck. Just a tip. If you wanna learn stop teaching for a moment! Gooduck with that. No respnse needed. I won't see it. And don't waste peoples time.

ME (totally perplexed as to what bee got into his bonnett; I honestly have no idea why you have suddenly gotten your knickers in such a twist. I took the time to listen to the music you posted on MySpace, gave serious consideration to your qualifications, and responded to your previous email in a positive manner. What more could you ask?

Are you somehow offended that I, too, am a guitar teacher? How could any reasonable man possibly be thus offended? When I encounter someone else who does the same thing as I, I prefer to view it as an opportunity for growth, rather than an encounter with a potential rival. I can only surmise that you are insecure in your abilites, and view someone who teaches as a threat- either you fear that person would take students from you, or you fear that you have nothing to share with someone who already knows something of what they are doing. I assure you, neither is the case, here.

There is no way that I have "wasted your time:" time spent qualifying someone's suitability to a task is always time well spent, for both parties. Odd that you would blast the concept of a 20-minute lesson, then offer one and apprently be offended I agree with you that 20 minutes might not be enough time to get much accomplished. "If you wanna learn stop teaching..."?? What's THAT supposed to mean? Professional teachers at every level learn while they teach, often at the very same moment. Universities employ grad students as instrucors, musicians take lessons from others who have a greater mastery of their instrument while sharing what they have learned with others, etc.

If you re-read my post, you will see that I was quite encouraged by the possibility of taking lessons from you. I would like to continue to feel that way. If my email somehow caught you at a bad moment, well, that can happen, but to blast a potential student and source of income the way you did is both unprofessional and totally uncalled-for. Again, I would like to move forward in a positive direction, but an apology from you is certiainly necessary, in order for that to happen. If you are able to move ahead, that is great. If, however, you feel a need to continue to lambast me for imagined slights, I am afraid we will be unable to work together.

What do you make of that? Thanks.
Last edited by stevie_b at Oct 29, 2009,
It may be an unfair reaction, but I would guess that he believes he sucks as a teacher, and therefore doesn't want to teach someone who may understand how to teach lol

To be honest his first message would have put me off anyway - if I'm looking for a teacher my first criteria is that they can communicate effectively - otherwise how can they teach?

Don't worry about it, just keep looking til you find the right teacher. And don't stop teaching - in my experience you can learn as much from teaching as you can from being a student, as well as the reward you get from passing something on and helping someone else reach their goals
It seems to me you have a tendency to prate and/or be pragmatic. You lay out incredibly specific wants and needs...almost setting yourself and your potential teacher up for failure. Furthermore, you then proceed to insinuate that you won't pay anything more than commodity-type prices. My first inclination, upon reading your CL ad, as well as your response...would be that you are the type of customer who would never be satisfied and that you are very high-maintenance. These may be unfair observations...but I'm just laying out my initial reaction.

BTW, my initial thoughts on the kid who responded pretty much mirror zhilla's thoughts too. He probably saw the ad, though "I could do that" and without giving it too much forethought, fired off a response. I don't think you could reasonably expect to get what you want from this person. I wouldn't waste any more time or energy pursuing it.
Last edited by Commodor 64 at Oct 29, 2009,
sounds to me like you wanted to learn how to teach guitar but are not that far accomplished, and teaching requires alot of flexiability in both who you teach and what you are able to teach aswell as targetting the students ability and willingness to learn.
Bear in mind that there's a business element to guitar teaching and that he has basically just told you everything about how he runs his lessons and charges for them. I think you should have told him that you were teaching from the start, and perhaps it would have been less of a shock - although he did flip his lid a bit. He may have had some prior experience with people nastily undercutting him or poaching pupils and is trying to protect himself from it happening again.