Saturday, 15 August 2009

Guitar Teaching (part 5) “What qualifies someone to teach?”

The topic of “What qualifies someone to teach?” permeates many conversations amongst guitar players and goes around in circles, particularly players who reach a certain standard and consider themselves to be in a new position where they are capable of offering ‘guitar lessons’.

I’m of the strong opinion that what qualifies someone to teach is not on paper, it is in their knowledge, and attitude to the job. Experience helps but at one time, everyone who has ever taught was inexperienced so I wouldn't suggest that this is always essential (contentious as this may sound). However, I will go so far as to suggest that there is no such thing as ‘amateur’ teaching. Where students are paying for lessons, whoever is giving those lessons should know their stuff, and be 100% committed for the duration of their lesson to giving them their best. If it's guitar, where the notes are on the fingerboard is part of a basic, fundamental body of knowledge that I strongly believe anyone who wants to teach guitar needs to know, as is a strong sense that they are taking on a role of a ‘teacher’ in order that they may assist in the development of a students playing. Paper qualifications are not completely irrelevant, and have a value, (although speaking of paperwork, I would suggest that if people are teaching young children, an enhanced CRB check, and sufficient public liability insurance are essential). If you're not ‘qualified’ (on paper), don’t think in terms of ‘teaching’. In my honest opinion, I don’t believe that to be the best approach unless you really know what you're doing. I would consider that taking an approach of ‘sharing’ what you know would be a better suggestion. ‘Sharing’ means that you will only ever be passing on the knowledge you have, and be able to relate it to the experience you had learning it yourself. If you're student asks you a question and you don't know the answer, "I don't know" will earn you more respect than anything you could make up on the spot to maintain the ‘teacher’ role (and it’s alarming how many people who offer guitar lessons seem to think that misdirecting a question or making something up as an answer is a good idea!) If you go into the situation confident that you are ‘sharing’ what you know, (remembering that can't share anything you don't know!) you will always be qualified to do what you do when it comes to ‘teaching’.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. It made me stop and ponder over some good things: What really make me decide to hire a guitar or music teacher? Well, I manage my own music studio and I must say that more than his or her qualifications, skills, interests and techniques, I also take good note of their experiences as well as their attitude over a lot of things - confidence, patience, dedication, discipline and even their passion for teaching and motivating the our dear students. To get some tips and resources in studio management, you may want to land on my page and check it out. Thanks again and more power. See you around.