Q: What is the strangest lesson request you have ever been given by a student?

A: I had one student years ago who wanted to learn to play guitar and when I asked what style of music he wanted to play, he said “Hip Hop.” The problem with that is pretty obvious in that there is very little guitar, if any in Hip Hop, but this kid just never put it together that he would have to play music meant to be played on guitar. He lasted a month, if that.

Which brings me back to something I wrote in an earlier post.With kids, the IDEA of playing guitar is a lot more attractive than the thought of actually learning HOW to play guitar. Learning any musical instrument is a great opportunity for kids to begin the process of getting out of fantasy land and taking the first steps into the real world. I have very clear expectations of my students, especially those who are of school age. If I give an assignment, we can’t move forward until it has been done to my satisfaction, or should I say until he or she understands and can play the assignment comfortably. Home practice schedules should run from a minimum of 20 minutes every day (for the littler ones) to an hour a day for the rest. Adults get a lot of leeway with me in terms of how much work they must complete from lesson to lesson for the obvious reason that most adults have families, careers and other grown-up responsibilities. Music instruction is usually a way for them to relax and I’m not going to interfere with that!

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