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So I told my guitar group I quit this week,and now I'm getting flak for it...


PhilGould

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Urgh, yet another chapter in the great big pain that is my guitar group...

 

 

I called a meeting this Tuesday of the managers of my guitar group and told them of my intention not to return to the group or participate in any more teaching within the group. I kept my explanations for doing so down to the bare minimum, and kept it to factual statements and not emotional reasoning.

 

Problem is that this seems to have created a certain amount of bad feeling in the group, and even outward hostility. So far accusations have included:

 

- How I've 'let people down' by promising them that I'd teach them, only to abandon them. This was despite them being fully aware that I was there purely voluntarily and that classes were arranged on my say-so.

 

- That my teaching method has been far too advanced and that I failed to understand that some in the class weren't following my method. It must be said that their idea of 'advanced' theory was the notes on the fretboard and basic time signatures. I made it clear right at the start of the class that I was going to teach this theory (it was in the lesson plan I gave everyone) and there were no objections raised then.

 

- How I tried to monopolize the class for my own ends. This seems to have been an issue raised by the fact that I tended towards methods and materials used for jazz, but my defence on this point (which was raised in the meeting I had) was that I had both made it clear to my students that I was primarily a jazz musician, but also that I had carefully selected the material I had presented to make sure it was actually suitable for that specific group. It taught the students what they needed to know and the fact of it being sourced from a jazz exercise book is, to my mind, irrelevant, because my students learned something.

 

I am being made to feel like the bad guy here and it's really beginning to get on my nerves. What should I do? Simply ignore it and forget it? Confront someone? Arrange another meeting and discuss this? Scream and shout at someone?

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People need to realize how hard it is to teach others. You not only have to teach methods that you learned differently (Because not everyone learns the same), but have to rely on a student to practice and do so correctly. If a student comes in for more than one lesson not having improved on a method you previously showed them, it's frustrating and disheartening. You have to get a little angry now and then, and say "Do you actually want to learn guitar?"

 

Oh, and another thing: I hate it when students call a lesson "practice." I'm not your teacher to help you practice during my time.

 

If you quit, that's understandable. If they're giving you hell about it, tell them to take a look in the mirror and that they are the reason why you quit. Some teachers actually learn new things from their students, and it's enjoyable. I have never, ever had that experience, and I rarely teach anyone anymore.

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This is why god gave you a middle finger.

 

During my four years playing in a local bar every weekend I was asked innumerable times if I gave lessons. The answer was always "No, I don't really have the time." That was a polite brush off on my part. I just don't want to teach one-on-one or in a group because I don't want to waste my time on people looking for the "secret" to "Guitar God in 3 days". I've tried to teach a few people in the past and when they see the actual time and effort involved, they lose interest. My 16-year-old soon-to-be step daughter has asked me to teach her so I'll do that but for everyone else, I'm writing a book.

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If a student comes in for more than one lesson not having improved on a method you previously showed them, it's frustrating and disheartening. You have to get a little angry now and then, and say "Do you actually want to learn guitar?"

 

THIS ^ Is why I quit teaching! Most people just want the end result and aren't willing to put in the work, and although I always made a great effort to explain that up-front, Nearly all of my students just didn't have enough initiative or desire to make progress. I had one guy in particular who just wanted to be able to play van halen to impress his friends.. but wouldn't even practice playing a power chord, and after 8 weeks, his fingers still couldn't muster the strength to hold the strings down well. :facepalm:

 

Not once did I ever see anyone with the same initiative and desire I had when I started. Guess that's why some of us excel and others flounder.

 

It's worth saying- when I started, we didn't have the interwebz.. chord charts, how-to's etc. we're slim and unavailable, all we had was our friends to show us what they learned (who were often more competitive than not), and our ears.. Youtube was 20 years later for me lol. Learned the hard way. With the internet today and all the free how-to's on youtube, people have it easier than ever, and the only reason beginners need lessons is simply because they are too lazy to do it themselves.

 

Yeah, I got frustrated lol.

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I usually don't make responses like this, but it sounds like your group "is butthurt." :)

 

"You're letting people down?" That's BS Pyshc 101 attempts at getting you to stay, and then they start in with telling you what you did wrong? Yeah, that's juvenile and basic break-up stuff. Just leave, man - you gave notice.

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I usually don't make responses like this, but it sounds like your group "is butthurt."
:)

"You're letting people down?" That's BS Pyshc 101 attempts at getting you to stay, and then they start in with telling you what you did wrong? Yeah, that's juvenile and basic break-up stuff. Just leave, man - you gave notice.

 

I'd also add this is the second group I've ran, and it just seems like I'm putting $10 into this for a $1 product. As someone else has said in an earlier post here, I can teach them but I can't make them practice at home or do the work of learning for them.

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I'm sorely tempted to keep any tuition to the minimum of teaching friends/family, or within my jazz group where I know I'm dealing with committed musicians who are actually going to turn up and learn something.

 

Or you could raise your price until you hit that point on the curves where slackers drop out and what you're left doing is worth it to you. Economics as applied to life. :)

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This is why god gave you a middle finger.

 

That's good. ^

 

Because, really... what do you hope to achieve by further explaining yourself? To make yourself feel better once they see the error of their ways? In your explanation of the course of events, assuming you're painting the picture true, you've done nothing wrong. You are allowed to make choices that benefit you. If that choice helps others as well, fantastic. But bottom line goes to you. That is simple survival. You can't live for other's needs first. You must live for yours first. That way there will be a you of which you can give.

 

You're getting "flak" for it? Oh no!!! :) So what? Right? Jesus, if I made my choices based on whether or not I will be receiving flak for it... I'd be pretty boring and unhappy.

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If they didn't like your methods, why keep coming? Not every teacher is for everyone, and they can go with anyone they want. Don't sweat the butthurt.

 

To be fair, they may have a point in that I do tend to come across as being quite 'lofty' as a musician (how many musicians do you know who started playing jazz-funk when they began music?) and my theory knowledge on bass in particular goes to extremes too, as I've got some quite advanced theory under my belt.

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So far accusations have included:


- How I've 'let people down' by promising them that I'd teach them, only to abandon them. This was despite them being fully aware that I was there purely voluntarily and that classes were arranged on my say-so.


- That my teaching method has been far too advanced and that I failed to understand that some in the class weren't following my method. It must be said that their idea of 'advanced' theory was the notes on the fretboard and basic time signatures. I made it clear right at the start of the class that I was going to teach this theory (it was in the lesson plan I gave everyone) and there were no objections raised then.


- How I tried to monopolize the class for my own ends. This seems to have been an issue raised by the fact that I tended towards methods and materials used for jazz, but my defence on this point (which was raised in the meeting I had) was that I had both made it clear to my students that I was primarily a jazz musician, but also that I had carefully selected the material I had presented to make sure it was actually suitable for that specific group. It taught the students what they needed to know and the fact of it being sourced from a jazz exercise book is, to my mind, irrelevant, because my students learned something.


I am being made to feel like the bad guy here...

 

You mean you (1) volunteered your time, to (2) teach stupid people music theory, instead of (3) showing them how to be a rock star without expending any effort on their parts? Oh! How could you?!

 

Next time, charge them for your time. Nobody values anything they get for free, and the fee will ensure you only get serious students.

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Or you could raise your price until you hit that point on the curves where slackers drop out and what you're left doing is worth it to you. Economics as applied to life.
:)

 

Bingo, start charging for you time and charge enough that only the serious are left.

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You mean you (1) volunteered your time, to (2) teach stupid people music theory, instead of (3) showing them how to be a rock star without expending any effort on their parts? Oh! How could you?!


Next time, charge them for your time. Nobody values anything they get for free, and the fee will ensure you only get serious students.

 

 

I like this new guy.

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OP, you have your reasons to quit, you explained them and gave enough warning. You can walk away with a clean conscious.

 

But, I would offer a different view on their responses: they really liked you.

 

If someone leaves a company and are really loved, people moan and complain about having to pick up their work, give them a party, etc. If someone leaves that no one liked, the grave goes cold REALLY fast and you never hear their name ever again. So right now, they speaking out of hurt feelings that you are leaving, and then trying to create a reason why they should emotionally let you go, ie, you were too advanced. Anything to compensate for the hurt feelings.

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OP, you have your reasons to quit, you explained them and gave enough warning. You can walk away with a clean conscious.


But, I would offer a different view on their responses: they really liked you.


If someone leaves a company and are really loved, people moan and complain about having to pick up their work, give them a party, etc. If someone leaves that no one liked, the grave goes cold REALLY fast and you never hear their name ever again. So right now, they speaking out of hurt feelings that you are leaving, and then trying to create a reason why they should emotionally let you go, ie, you were too advanced. Anything to compensate for the hurt feelings.

 

 

That is a very good and completely logical explanation.

 

I'm now of the conclusion that whilst the guitar group was a great idea on paper, it didn't work in that particular set of circumstances and group of people. I may speak with the manager to see if there is some other activity I can volunteer for. It's not like guitar is the sole thing I could do. That way I get to keep on doing something I genuinely enjoy doing and benefit others.

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