MattB Interview – Getting Into Teaching Guitar
Neil: So, about 5 years ago you gave me a call it kind out of blue and I’m partly talking about then. So it’s pretty surprising here from you but I was thrilled to because and it seemed you’re asking for a little bit of advice about teaching and some other thing. And I was thrilled here that you were you know I guess you’ve been asked a bit about teaching
Neil: It’s something like that so tell me a little bit about the thing you remember about that?
MattB: Well there so many questions I had about teaching. I mean I was so, I’ve remember one of the things now we’ve talked earlier and I forgotten part of that, but one of the things I never thought something from the ground up
MattB: And I didn’t know where to start and how to you know, to get feet work and really workin’ especially when their young kids like there was 10 or… And you know I had turned away from a couple of music schools because there were supervisors in these didn’t think a blind person can teach.
MattB: And, which is amazing and it’s obvious that those people aren’t actually weren’t musicians themselves.
Neil: And well you know a slight sideline on that note, there are a lot of people that think that there’s a million things that blind people can’t do
Tommy: Oh Yeah!
Neil: And there are only, there’s probably like weigh less than that (laughing)
Tommy: Yeah…and there’s something that you should be hard press; well most of us would be hard press to do some of the things. Some of my blind friends actually do…
Neil: Yeah, you know one of the might one of my favorite styles in music is a Country Blues that it’s style in hard tune and people like that were doing finger picking blues basically. And aside from a lot of those great players being blind Reverend Gary Davis well known as a great teacher he died in 1971, but he was giving lessons up until the year he died in New York in Harlem to students who had. You had almost auditioned to become one of the students, you know what I mean having a good enough reputation. And I remember talking to Stef once when he was taking lessons from him. Who had when he was younger and went to Reverend one time in a lesson and said he was really excited because he had a gig ‘Oh I’m playing tonight with some coffee houses something like that. And Reverend Davis said to him; ‘No your not’ and he said: What? He says; ‘you’re not ready to play out there’ and he said ” You’re going out there represent me? You’re not doing that yet…
Neil: He kind of uses those terms, but it was clear that’s what his saying, is that you don’t know enough yet to take it public
Neil: And that’s what’s his…
Neil: You know what I mean I couldn’t imagine telling a student…
MattB: I told! Yeah man
Neil: So, but again if you wants to go as his students and you came out with the same thing and you said you gotta recital and thought you’d hear the same thing and ‘No you don’t excuse me’ I will tell you when you gonna have you’re recital… or something
MattB: Yeah exactly
Neil: You know, but aside from the difficult well I wanna go about that separately about learning you know how you learn about some of the stuff that you did. But the whole idea of teaching, teaching without you being able to see what somebody’s or learn what they’re doing How did that work out? Well you ask me some of the ideas just about teaching, I can only give you general ideas and something things like that
MattB: Right! But still you know very, very helpful I remember and kind of some referring to my ideas I had as well about I had to teach beginners and stuff. But I think that people don’t realize that its how much subtlety in each sounding guitar can make. And you can play the same note in six different places or more sometimes on a guitar neck. And yet it can sound completely different to the way you played it and if you are in to a lot of different sounds of guitar you know where all those notes are, what they sound like and what the notes and the relationship are. And then from your on mistakes you know what bad fretting sounds like, you can tell what some of the problems are in terms of positions stuff like that. Because you know a lot of times kids will just try to play flat o there lap and then try to pull it over on me sometimes and I tell them not play next on their lap again. And I’ll have to check that out and make sure they’re really focusing and not doing that.
MattB: But you can tell especially a little bit of experience with stuff like that what’s going on and with people trying to do it the right way you still know what the pitfalls are. And so, as long as you check in with your own paths and you know if somebody’s making a bar chord it’s not coming out clear. Well there’s only a set number of possibilities that it can be…
MattB: And you just go down the checklist and it’s very easy to isolate it ultimately and it didn’t have that skill right away. I think it came, it strengthens you know…
MattB: You know everytime I teach
MattB: But yeah and I think that everything can be heard can be heard. And so, a lot of times students were like; how did you know I was doing that? And I was like; common you know…
Neil: It’s obvious
MattB: Yeah it sounds I know exactly, you know ‘my fingers bending that way how did you know?’ Well you know it’s a common problem. I had the same sort of thing happened…
MattB: You know like with D, the D chord I used to be my, I hated that chord when I first wondered co’z my 3rd finger would always bend and touch each string…
MattB: And so, I end up with a high E and so, a lot of my students have the same problem and once you get it right away and well just sound like ‘yeah you guys suck’ you better than me…
Neil: It got easy way, yeah
MattB: But yeah so since I know that you know when I hear a dead note, and you can hear it when somebody strums a chord for sure. It’s either gonna be that or their finger positionings on the individual strings isn’t happening