Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Erupting in awe
THE BEST THING about teaching guitar is when a student gets it. The light literally goes off and the reactions are priceless.
I have an awesome student, Anna, who is 17 and a high school senior. She started on the guitar, switched to ukulele, and now is back on guitar. Her biggest challenge right now is prom - she got her nails done and she has to contort her fingers to press on the strings. "Another two weeks!" she said last night. "Look! I'm getting better."
Senior prom happens once in a lifetime. Anna can play the guitar for the rest of her life, I suppose.
Anyway, we were talking about alternate tunings and I let her strum my Fender Strat. "My brother has an electric guitar and I play it once in a while," Anna said. We plugged the Strat into the amp. "I never plug it in. Wow!" she said.
Soon all these amazing noises were coming out of the amp and she was over the moon. I used it as a teachable moment - "Practice your scales on the electric guitar because it's way cool," I said.
She was enthralled with the sounds. So I used it as another teachable moment. "In 1978, music sucked," I said. "Then along came this guy. He was from another planet. Nobody had ever heard these sounds coming from an electric guitar."
We listened to "Eruption" by Van Halen. Her jaw literally dropped and she stared in amazement at the iPod. "THAT is coming from a GUITAR?" she said.
With the caveat that Eddie Van Halen is from another planet and nobody plays like him, she vowed to go home and practice her tapping techniques. With her long nails, there are endless possibilities and noises to make.
Rock on, Anna. I get way more than I give when a student like you discovers new and exciting music!