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UPDATE: Private lesson with personal hero. Freaking out and might cancel.

BedroomRockStar01

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,631
As a thank you for helping him out, a friend of mine purchased me a private lesson with a personal hero of mine. This guy is a master player in terms of theory, technique, etc. Grammy awards, etc., you name it. He's the real deal. I going to feel like a total imposter even sitting in a room with this guy and it's freaking me out. I've played for 20 years and never taken a lesson. I know jack about music theory. I feel like I'm going to embarrass myself and waste this guy's time, and that's assuming I can get past the surrealness of just sitting and having a conversation with him. The lesson is a couple weeks away. The email I got said to come up with a couple of songs or skills I wanted to work on and let him know beforehand.

Part of me wants to cancel just because of my nerves. At the same time, this is easily the most thoughtful and amazing gift anyone has ever given me, and while my friend would understand, I'll feel like a jerk rejecting the gift.

So help me out TGP. Lets say I'm going through with this. Better yet, lets say you had the same opportunity. You've got an hour with your favorite guitar player. What do you work on?

UPDATE:

I'm so sorry to everyone for failing to give the update! I'm a bum. :confused:
In all seriousness, work has just been extremely hectic for the last several weeks, and I've barely been on TGP.

First off, thank you to everyone who responded. I really appreciated everyone's opinions on this thing. Some of these posts were super encouraging, and definitely helped me shake a bit of my nerves. Also, I had no idea so many people would be interested in this, so that was a surprise.

Second, yes I did go to the lesson, and it was fantastic. One hour is not a ton of time to really dig into specifics, but it was a great chance for me to ask some broader questions. We discussed a lot of right-hand technique / rhythm stuff, a little bit of theory, and a few other things. It was a fun experience, and while I don't think I walked away with any big secrets or fundamental changes, it did give me some perspective on how to think about constructing chords and approaching melodies.

Also, I'm sorry for not posting mysterious hero's name. I know that it's lame, but that's just how I want to leave it.
 
Last edited:

Kurt Butler

Member
Messages
122
Dude, come on!!! Just enjoy the time. Ask about favorite gear or favorite gigs. If you work on some guitar stuff cool if not that's cool too. Take two shots of your favorite liquor and a Xanax. It'll be great. Also, you kinda HAVE TO tell me who youre talking about!
 

Killed_by_Death

Senior Member
Messages
16,247
Learn what you can about Music Theory in the coming weeks, know your fretboard.
If you cancel you'll regret it every day of the rest of your life.

Maybe even ASK the instructor how much Music Theory will be needed.
Remember, he's being paid to do this, so he's not a friend to be embarrassed around.
 

makeitstop

Old dude with guitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,703
Dude, come on!!! Just enjoy the time. Ask about favorite gear or favorite gigs. If you work on some guitar stuff cool if not that's cool too. Take two shots of your favorite liquor and a Xanax. It'll be great. Also, you kinda HAVE TO tell me who youre talking about!
This.

Even if you don't play a note with him, pick his brain about his practice regimen and find out how he got to the point of being your hero. You have a chance to learn a lot in an hour, take it.
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,230
Don’t drink. Don’t take drugs. Set expectations, both his and yours, properly. Don’t waste your time talking about gear. Maybe ask him about your favorite song of the artist. Ask him to explain his inspiration, the chord structure, how he built the solo, whatever. Enjoy it. Take some notes and a photo.
 

Tommy Biggs

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,406
Come clean up front.
“Hey I’m self taught, don’t know theory, don’t know names... but I love to play. Can you share some guidance and help me be just as good as you in a 30 minute lesson and no work?”

maybe leave out that last bit! But just hearing his approach to thinking about playing, how he got where he is, what is in his mind when writing practicing or playing live would be invaluable.

one of the best tips I got was when I was young, and playing with a player who was much better than me. In trading solos he said “don’t step on my line” when I ran over a little. Simple, he was nice about it, but it wasn’t something I thought of ‘before’. I was about 20 at the time I’d guess.
So don’t freak out, be nice be cool hang out and talk guitars.
Think ahead of time about 1 thing he does that you’d like to learn, and then ask him what he thinks you need to focus on to develop as a player.
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
1,161
First and foremost, no matter how skilled a musician is, he's still a human being, just like you. Next, nobody agrees to give lessons with the expectation that their student is already an expert. And finally, it's been my experience that the most talented people out there are usually the nicest, and most down to earth. As for what to ask him to teach you, no one can answer that without knowing where you are as a player. I assume in 20 years you've been self taught and have some experience. Maybe it's time you delve into some basic theory. Most of us know a little, few of us know a lot. A little theory can help you learn material on your own and communicate musical ideas to others. Most of us never need a ton of theory unless we're getting into jazz or classical. Technical exercises are a good place to go too. Just enjoy the experience.
 

John H

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,505
I'd ask about his/her approach to something that I found lacking in my own playing. If you feel that theory is a weakness, you could ask about what part of "theory" he finds most useful and ask for help with a fast track to "mastering" it.

I took lessons from a Berklee grad, several years ago. I was, basically, self-taught, at that point. While I had some ability (I'd been in a couple of bands), I really didn't know what I was doing. I asked him to analyze my playing. He put on a Band in a Box track and had me improvise over it. I received some really helpful information - long on analysis and encouragement; short on critique - and it helped direct subsequent lessons.
 

Coopster

Member
Messages
1,526
The answer is right there in your post, come up with a couple of songs or skills you want to work on and let him know beforehand... He's not going to care about your theory experience or skill level, it's a lesson. You might even let him know that you're self taught and theory isn't your strength, but tell him what YOU want to work on and learn from him. It's one lesson and an experience that will be a lifetime memory. Enjoy it.
 
Messages
2,143
As a thank you for helping him out, a friend of my purchased me a private lesson with a personal hero of mine. This guy is a master player in terms of theory, technique, etc. Grammy awards, etc., you name it. He's the real d

So help me out TGP. Lets say I'm going through with this. Better yet, lets say you had the same opportunity. You've got an hour with your favorite guitar player. What do you work on?
I would ask him about his approaches to two things:

> Practicing
> Improvisation

One short lesson isn't going to accomplish much in terms of basic technique or knowledge, but getting a handle on the way he (she?) thinks might be invaluable.
 

WordMan

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,165
As a thank you for helping him out, a friend of my purchased me a private lesson with a personal hero of mine. This guy is a master player in terms of theory, technique, etc. Grammy awards, etc., you name it. He's the real deal. I going to feel like a total imposter even sitting in a room with this guy and it's freaking me out. I've played for 20 years and never taken a lesson. I know jack about music theory. I feel like I'm going to embarrass myself and waste this guy's time, and that's assuming I can get past the surrealness of just sitting and having a conversation with him. The lesson is a couple weeks away. The email I got said to come up with a couple of songs or skills I wanted to work on and let him know beforehand.

Part of me wants to cancel just because of my nerves. At the same time, this is easily the most thoughtful and amazing gift anyone has ever given me, and while my friend would understand, I'll feel like a jerk rejecting the gift.

So help me out TGP. Lets say I'm going through with this. Better yet, lets say you had the same opportunity. You've got an hour with your favorite guitar player. What do you work on?
After playing for ~20 years, I was on a consulting project for a known term, so I decided to try out lessons for the first time. A small shop in SF, long gone, offered lessons by their roster of great players across genres. The guy I picked was Danny Caron because he said he knew Jump Blues.

It turned out Danny was your kinda guy - he’s the guy who rediscovered and rehabilitated the career of legendary Blues pianist Charles Brown, whose hit Driftin’ Blues was huge and influential the way Ray Charles’ hits are. Danny was his musical director and so opened for Bonnie Raitt as featured on her live album. And he played with Clinton when they were the house band for Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen’s wedding.

I was at the same place you were - no theory, limited gig experience, but a good solid groove player with knowledge of the influences in the type of playing he and I were focused on.

Bottom line? I was really up front, in a *non-apologetic way*. Something along the lines of “Danny - I don’t know theory and am not going to learn much during this time. I am not a “scales” guy - I learn by being shown a lick, working it into a groove and then making sure I can groove it. And I know <this type of stuff - a combo of telling him, and playing a couple of chord progressions>. Within that context, is there stuff you’d recommend we focus on?”

He had me play a couple of other things, then quickly focused on showing me how to correctly play the Pride and Joy Texas Shuffle with a circular raking upstroke on the off beats - he picked it up from Jimmy Vaughn while gigging regularly in Austin in the 70’s. And he showed me a couple of T-Bone Walker chord progressions and how to get that Jump Blues groove vs. rock n’ roll. He also let me play his ‘65 Strat which he bought off Jimmy, and a 50’s ES-5 Switchmaster, just like T-Bone’s.

Now, please note that the *entire* time this was happening over the few lessons I got from him, he was poking me and noodging me about theory, chord construction, how scales fit in, etc. He got his message in, even while working with what I had, you know? And I remember some of it, too!!

TL;DR - show him you are respectful of his time, know some stuff but not other stuff, and would appreciate what he would have you focus on given that context.

Hope that helps, do your best to breathe and relax and appreciate the time you have!!
 
Messages
1,225
I would feel the same way if I was in your shoes. I would still go. Maybe just ask questions, watch and listen and absorb what you can. You'll gain something from it even if you don't realize it for months
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,930
Man this gives me PTSD about my classic guitar lessons at a Conservatory. This freaking Professor Of Classic Guitar had to try and teach me, and I barely even know the names of the chords I play! At some point he got tired of seeing me stumble through whatever I was trying to sheet read and said "why don't you show me what you usually play?" So I just fingerpicked some noodle or whatever and he told me classical guitar wasn't for me, but I should keep doing what I was doing because it was working for me better than some classical guitar students who never had the music "click" for them. He said "you realize you're playing three countermelodies at the same time, right? some players can't see one line clearly even after memorizing a piece for weeks." I really appreciated that, so since then I didn't sweat the fact that I wasn't Segovia - instead, I do me, and stay in the pocket!

Of course I still pick up new stuff here and there, but the point is "lessons" don't have to be soul killing- but they may not be quite the right fit either, haha.
 




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