Q: HOW OLD WAS YOUR OLDEST STUDENT?
A: He had to be in his 80s, though I didn’t ask! It’s a great story. He was a long retired "snowbird" who spent his winters at a seniors only trailer camp in Florida.
He came to me for a few months one summer because he wanted to surprise his buddies in Florida by arriving with a guitar and playing a few songs. And that’s just what he did. Once he got past the basics of developing chord knowledge, he was amazed at how easy it was to learn songs on his own. I not only taught him some of the old time country music he loved, but all the basics so he could essentially play whatever he wanted. He called me that winter to report that he was a big hit! I’m just as proud of him as my younger students who went on to study music in college.
On a related note, I did have a pretty funny series of telephone conversations with an elderly man who said he wanted to take up guitar, but would only make the commitment when I could tell him precisely how long it would take until he “was done.” He couldn’t or wouldn’t accept my explanation that we’re never really done learning. There is always something new to learn. I did suggest I could limit what I teach him to basic chords so he could play simple songs in no time at all. But no matter how hard I tried, he just didn’t believe me and suggested that I was going to somehow withhold information from him to keep him in my clutches. Then again, it could have been a prank. It was THAT surreal and frankly, funny!