What scares you the most? For me, it’s the ‘unknown’. Any new situation that I find myself in, I get the jitters bigtime. The more warning I have about the impending experience, the more nervous I get. Some people relish the unknown – ‘Bring it on!’ they say. These people are very lucky and blessed. Many others like me, hide our fears from the world and from ourselves; the same is true for how we view our musicianship.
To illustrate this point, here are some real guitar teacher/student interactions that I’ve experienced over the years:
Student: Hi. I want to learn to play like Kirk Hammer, in Metalicca. Can you teach me that stuff?
Teacher: Oh, you mean Kirk Hammett. Yeah, he’s a good player. Are you a beginner or have you been playing a while?
Student: Yeah man, I’ve been playing for two years now! I know all the chords and scales and stuff!
Teacher: Great! So you know, like, C and Am, and some bar chords, and a major scale?
Student: Ohh man (shaking of head). I don’t want to know the names or any of that theory stuff. I just wanna play. I know that scale, you know, the penta-thing.
Teacher: That’s fine, but you will have to eventually learn some names and some technical stuff. Kirk Hammett is a really schooled player. And learning how to do something you can’t do already is actually what ‘learning’ means, don’t you think?
Student: Cool, yeah! (silence) Hey, I just remembered – there’s a guy down the road who can play ‘One’ by Metalicca. Sounds just like ’em! I might go and see him and get back to you man!
(Student never heard of again!)
Student: Hi. I’d like to learn more about what those modern Jazz / Blues players are doing. You know, guys like Carlton, Robben Ford, Pat Metheny, Steve Morse, and John McLaughlin.
Teacher: Hah! (snicker) Come on! What do you want to look at that out-to-lunch sh** for?
Student: Hi. I want to get better at playing the guitar. I’m in a bit of a rut.
Teacher: Hey, we’ve all been there. What sort of stuff are you into?
Student: Oh, bits of everything. I like Pop and Bluesy stuff. I hate Jazz and Classical.
Teacher: Why do you hate Jazz and Classical?
Student: Because I can’t play ’em!
Scenario 1 – I’m the guitar teacher. Scenario 2 – yep I’m the guitar student. Scenario 3 – hey, don’t we all say we hate what we secretly wish we could do, but can’t.