What I am about to tell you is something most teachers in the world will hate me saying. You see, a good teachers job is to make them selves useless to their student. The early days are the most important , where the teacher can be extremely important, as that is where we lay the foundations. But the best teachers and coaches I’ve had over the years only gave me short lessons of powerful information that I could use on my own, and lead me to develop my self on my own.
Too many teachers rely on you as an income, and the longer you stay a student of theirs, the longer they make money out of you. I am not blaming them, in fact most teachers are not even aware of this. They might run a program designed by some one else, and not even be aware of this.
Figure it out your self. This is something that has served me well over the years. I know it is not for everybody. Some of you need one on one instruction, and that is fine. The most important thing is to figure out what works for you. But for me, I want results, and I want them fast! So I go after the information I need and implement it as fast and efficiently as possible.
The major benefit of this to me is that if I figure anything out by myself, I understand it, and this helps me master it faster. I was never good at doing things just because I was told to do something, I needed to understand the process and reasoning behind what I do. This got me into trouble a lot in school 😀
I give you two real life examples. I had a singing teacher about fifteen years a go. What very few people know about me is that even though I am a baritone, I have crazy high head voice. I hardly use it at all, except when I am playing with kids or fooling around. My voice to me is very much like my guitar, it is a vehicle to deliver my songs with. The songs always come first. I am passionate about guitar and singing and I still practice both every day. But the songs are the rout of it all. So my head voice is not that useful for delivering those songs, I would sound like someone who inhaled helium 😀 But my singing teacher was very exited about the vocal range, and made me work a lot on the higher end of my vocal range. But these days, I work a lot on the lower end, as that is where I sing most of my songs. And to be honest with you, most of the voice positioning the teacher was trying to teach me, I only figured out my self later.
The second story is to do with my guitar playing. I had few teachers over the years, who always gave me “a Program” to work on. This usually was a book, mainly aimed at learning to read music. Don’t get me wrong, being able to read music is a useful skill to have in your bag, but at the time I wanted practical skills I could put to practise straight away. But one day I got to take part in a workshop, where the teacher gave us a 30 minute daily routine we could take home and work on it on our own. This was the most valuable lesson I ever had on guitar.
Often I am asked if I teach guitar. My answer is “no, but I coach.” And what I do is sit down with someone for an hour, and teach them this same routine, or my version of it. You take it and make it your own. The rest? Well you’ll be able to figure it out by yourself 🙂
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE