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How to Teach > Teaching Skills Series > Space to Learn

Summary: The secret of being a great teacher - the most important thing I have learnt about teaching guitar

Space to learn

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The single most important thing I have learned from 35 years of teaching the guitar is about the space in which learning actually occurs.

It occurs in the space between the STUDENT and the INSTRUMENT. Or between the STUDENT and the SUBJECT OF MUSIC.

New guitar tutors often suffer from the delusion that learning happens in the space between the TUTOR and the STUDENT.

If they operate on this basis they will run into three problems:

  • their students will not learn particularly quickly
  • they will not find the process much fun
  • the tutor will find the job of teaching quite exhausting!

The trick to good tutoring is to harness the students' own energy and enthusiasm as much as possible.

Letting them do all the hard work not only makes the job easier for you - it actually means they learn faster and learn in a way that allows them independent ownership of the subject.

The key to operating in the correct space is simply one of maintaining an appreciation of the students' view of the subject.

Never forget how much harder it is to play guitar in the first few months. Never forget how complex many of the elements of music theory appear to be when you first encounter them.

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