I just got back to NYC a few days ago from a short trip to Germany. I was a guest artist at the Remschied Guitar Festival in Germany – and it was a lovely scene and experience. The students were mainly classical and rock guitar players – and they were excellent.
With each student I see and teach, I see a little part of my past and history, and to be honest – I almost get “tear jerked” as I remember how much my beloved teachers helped, taught and mentored me.
During one masterclass, I got to pass on a lesson I learned from mentor – Mike Longo.
There was a young student there who was playing Andy McKee’s “Drifting”. In case you are unfamiliar with this tune, it’s a guitar / percussion tour de force in which the left hand frets notes upside down, and the right hand frets notes as well. This is one of Andy’s YouTube Hits – with over 30 million views. It is an awesome piece of music.
My 15 year old student learned this neat piece of music from watching on YouTube. Yes he did a great job technically, but as the teacher I needed to help him take this piece to “world class level” rather than just “very good for a student”.
I remembered all the musical “ass whoopings” I got and realized this was the medicine required. 🙂
First off, I told him to play “Drifting” with me as I played the djembe drum. I had to take him to “my” zone, have him hear and feel the relentless smack of the drum, and deal with me grunting and egging him on. No escaping the Raf Groove.
Then, I had the entire class clap quarter notes, stomp feet and get in on it – to push him even harder as he played.
Do you see the shift? He went from a student “I’m gonna perform for you, and I hope you approve” attitude to US all being a tribe, thumping and ALL being in on it together. Just think of the different energy and non verbal communication that was set into motion for all of us there!
The “roar” that came out of his guitar by the end of this process was strong, confident and authoritative. It was a total “vibe change” and everyone’s energy was raised – but most importantly, his.
YouTube makes imitation easy – but as far as a world class VIBE goes, “apprenticeship” with a mentor who has gone the mile is a musical requirement.
I heard him playing and i know that you mean it was amazing how he improved with your help
Yes, he was great and got even better after the class process.
Be well my friend!
Dennis Kettner says
Thanks again for helping us with our tune and giving us advice on how to add an additional guitar-part to it!
It was an honor to meet you and listen to your music and I really hope that I will get to do so again someday:)
Awesome story! Got the chills.
” … to US all being a tribe, thumping and ALL being in on it together.”… Yes! exactly! what music is all about! Thanks Adam!
Single Malt Monkey says
I agree entirely. Sometimes it’s as if teachers are becoming a thing of the past due to the Web but you can’t beat that personal interaction.
ruud jonckman says
i am a guitar builder for about 35 years now i Always on you tube ,i lurn from it bud not much,begores i no the guitar by bulding them.thats my mane teacher i think bud the theory on the internet are very interesting
Adam , when are performing in NYC tri-state….whats your NYC east coast schedule….
When are you performing in the NYC Tri-state area..?
Stay tuned, not sure.
Well said Adam. I’ve begun “busking” to recoup from injury…it’s great practice too.
Mark, sounds good! Thanks for your comment and sorry for the late response! – AR
Philip Pegg says
Very interesting story ,After reading I found the link to Andy McKee’s “Drifting ‘ that you were referring too.What an experience! That is some classy performance.Thanks for sharing that.
So, so true.
I have NEVER had an instructor and I know that my playing has suffered tremendously as a result. I am likely more accomplished than most, but that is simply due to four decades of playing, and most people don’t continue that long.
At the same time, many of those 40 years were completely wasted; having zero encouragement or guidance, my progress could probably be equalled in 5 years with a good instructor.
I’ve heard many top musicians interviewed and they all tell of having a top notch musician that helped them on their way. Even though there is literally a thousand times more material available than when I started, one still needs feedback. As Adam is pointing out, it is the difference between playing notes and playing music.
In summary, unless you have four decades to waste or just feel like reinventing the wheel, FIND AN ACCOMPLISHED INSTRUCTOR.