THE THING ABOUT having more than 30 guitar students is the wide range of musical tastes, abilities and desires. Some just want to strum and hum. Some are stuck and want to get better. Then there are the young ones who are just learning and getting all fired up when they realize one of their favorite songs is easy to play.
I have a student, let's call him EJ, who is about 8 years old and loves to sing country songs. Yesterday he wanted to learn the hideous Billy Ray Cyrus song, "Achy Breaky Heart." It gave me flashbacks to the early 1990s and why I hated country music for so long, but when EJ figured out all he had to do was play an A and an E, he was in heaven. The look on his face was pure joy as he belted it out.
Who am I to say a song is bad? I am nobody, that's who.
Then I had the fabulous Liz Bentley for a lesson, and we learned the Beatles song "Come Together." Liz is already a good guitar player but is always looking for more songs and to get better. Not to get too complicated here, but when we figured out the riff in an easy chord arrangement, she got all fired up and declared it to be "very cool."
And that made my day.
Yesterday I also had an older guy who just retired and now has time. He bought a nice guitar and is starting from the very beginning. A person who is motivated and realizes it will take a little effort and time is a great thing.
I capped the day with Joe Soucy coming in for a lesson. Joe likes to play at our Thursday One Restaurant Open Mic nights and has come a long way in a short time, but he's looking to take the next step. He realized finding notes and learning bar chord positions isn't really that hard, and I could tell he's even more fired up.
I'm an average guitar player who likes to teach. I have great students, a supportive wife who makes it all possible and the tools of the trade all around me.
Appreciation, like realizing a song isn't that hard to play, is a great thing.