I have been playing guitar most my life…ever since I heard Eddie Van Halen back in the early 80s.
Almost as long, since I was a teenager I have been teaching guitar too.
The first handful of years it was mostly working with adults who wanted a hobby and teens who wanted to learn the new Nirvana song(or insert latest sensation).
In the 1990s I started a new venture teaching kids as young as age 5. The first class I had was two cute little guys both 5 years old. One was a very quick study and the other had a little more trouble learning. Both really cool kids and they got along so well it was always a fun class for me each week. Although somewhat frustrating that one was having more trouble with his songs.
One day an amazing thing happened. The little struggler was struggling so we worked on it and worked on it in class and the proverbial light bulb went off. He jumped up beaming, “I GOT IT!” Lo and behold he did!
The whole room lit up…
I did, the student did, his mom did, the other family did too. It really was an AHA moment in so many ways. First for the student himself. Everything he did after that came so much easier. But, for me, as well. Not having kids yet and experiencing their joy of success, it was the first time I really thought I wanted to have kids of my own someday.
As a teacher it taught me to never give up on kids that don’t ‘get it’ as easily as others.
An understanding that kids need successes! No matter how small or large they may be! As much as we as parents want our kids to be great guitarists or ballerinas or tennis players we really want them to be successful and empowered to grow up confident! I realized that teaching kids was about their self esteem through learning the guitar as much or maybe even more than the skills they learn.
I’ve had parents tell me years later that my classes helped their shy child break out of their shell. Or that school work improved because of the encouragement and teaching stye I offered. These are as great of compliments as hearing a former student still plays and enjoys or has gone on to successes on the guitar!!!
I do still see updates from that little 5 year old now finishing up college and doing great!
I never get tired of that AHA moment!