Just Listen

music-to-the-people-1494335-640x480In Will Hodgkinson’s excellent and entertaining book “Guitar Man” he relates a story of having a guitar lesson with acoustic legend Davey Graham which consisted of Mr Graham putting on a record, telling Will to listen to it and then going to the pub for an hour from which when he returned he then charged £20 for his trouble.

It’s a funny story and i think that though most pupils would be pretty much annoyed at this teaching method it is not without it’s merits.

In the grim and distant past ( no internet, only 3 channels on the T.V !]  i started to learn some chords from a guy who was advertising guitar lessons in the local paper.

He wasn’t a proper teacher and was only doing it to get money to start another business.But in retrospect he was a great natural musician with a brilliant ear and because he didn’t plan the lessons he would often put on one of his records and get me to listen to them to see if that was the kind of thing i wanted to play.

Through him i heard for the first time John Martyn and John Renbourn as well as Leo Kottke. Wonders of the acoustic guitar!  So far beyond my skill level at the time and yet i was fascinated by this complex and serene music. It opened up an entirely new avenue for me in two synth chord 1980’s Britain.An avenue that i didn’t even know existed.

So am i advocating teachers doing the same?

No, not quite. But i have taught pupils who havent heard of Jimi Hendrix let alone heard him play.

Yes that’s an age thing and it works the other way.I’ve often said “Who” to my younger pupils.

But i think a few recommendations from a wise old teacher could  go a long way in helping to inspire those we teach.

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