#1
Where to start. I'm 28 years old and have been playing for about 14 years and am looking to start doing some teaching (specifically guitar). I have experience teaching from around 10 years ago and it worked out well, but I had to put it aside for various reasons (touring, university).

I suppose I'm a little worried of what is expected of me. My playing skills and my ability to analyse the techique of others is more than capable to teach the majority of students and I know I can help a lot of people really move forward. I was playing at the grade 8 standard, theory included when I was 16-17 years old... But in that 10 years I really have not used a lot of that theory. I simply play by memory and by ear these days, I can and always have learned music by ear, If someone played me a tune I can play it without thinking about it or having to work it out and I can adjust to any key changes on the fly without really thinking about it. Theory as a method has just slipped away into the past.

I can't recite all of the scales or modes by pure memory anymore, nor can I instantly pickup a guitar and throw you every chord by name, and such is the diversity of tunings that I play in I don't "think" in a standard EADGBE pattern when I look at my guitar anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking basic standard things, I can obviously tell you a major from a minor scale and the notes I'm playing, and every major/minor/7th chord for example... But on a deeper level, on a broad range accross the fretboard that gets lost in translation.

Now I understand the importance of theory to a new student, I also understand that the vast majority of players cannot do what I can do, they do not have well trained ears. My question is how do I approach this, is it fair to say I can pick up paying students and teach them "my" way, brushing up on my own theory as I go along in order to not hinder them. Or do I need to expect myself to be a walking music theory encyclopedia before I start?


I know that on the practical side I have a lot of knowledge and experience that can help my students, but the other side of me almost stops me from trying because I'm worried about small details concerning theory. It's a big psychological barrier for me, but at the same time I need the money at the moment, and I enjoy teaching guitar.
Cornford Hellcat
Peavey 5150
1994 Ibanez Jem 7V
Last edited by Bigbazz at Jun 29, 2014,
#2
My most successful one-on-one teaching experiences have been simply evaluating students quickly and then teaching them the next step in their progression based on their goals. I have applied this to teaching guitar, skiing, sailing, performance driving, and other skills. Keep it positive and keep them moving forward.

Sometimes they need theory, chords, scales, technique, ear training, or phrasing, and each student is different with different needs and learning styles. One size does not fit all. I have also taught students where their learning style and my skill set were not a good match and I referred them to a teacher better suited for them. We were both better off by doing this.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY