When I was in school during the last third of the last century (I love saying that!) I quickly realised that a lot of the time, I did not know what the teacher meant. Not alone did I not know what the teacher meant, I did not understand it either.
I used to go home and ask my mother all sorts of questions.
I would never ask the teacher.
No. That was simply not done.
The teacher was omnipotent.
We also had something called “SILENCE.”
The teacher would shout silence.
Then everyone stopped what they were doing.
You then folded your arms.
You put them on your desk.
You put your head down on top of them looking at the desk.
You pretended to be asleep.
You dare not lift your eyes.
Or, “divert thy gaze” as it was called then.
This happened randomly throughout the day.
And if you raised your hand to ask a question?
At best you would be ignored.
At worst? Admonished for interrupting the teaching…interrupting education.
How dare you!
So what did I learn?
Do NOT raise your hand to ask a question!
Lots of theories out there about the education system, including one I like from Seth Godin, American Author and dotcom executive. This is just one small quote from him.
“Before you feature a trumpet prodigy at the jazz band concert, perhaps you could feature the kid who just won’t quit. No need to tell him he’s a great trumpet player–the fact is, none of these kids are Maynard Ferguson–just tell him the truth. Tell him that every single person who has made a career of playing the trumpet (every single one of them) did it with effort and passion, not with lips that naturally vibrate.”
Seth is passionate about education.
Some of which I agree with.
Some I do not.
Some more, I question.
You can make your own mind up with his free pdf on education, lots of which you can apply to your own guitar learning.
Click on image below for more (no sign-up needed.)
Back to my experiences . . .
So when I got home every day, my head was full of questions!
One day I got home and my grandmother asked me what was wrong. That is when she uttered those famous words
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question, only a stupid answer!”
I got it straight away.
I embraced it.
All my life.
I was the one guaranteed to ask a question.
It got to a stage where I had a math’s teacher who used to furiously write complicated formulae on the blackboard and frequently say, before he turned to face the class,
“Does anyone, other than John K, have a question?”
However, never ask for the sake of it.
Just remember, as my grandmother asked “How will you ever understand what you are trying to learn, if you never ask a question?”
And as Bruce Lee once said “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.”
So, remember in your music learning just like in life the true wisdom is not knowing all the answers but knowing the right questions. And, not being afraid to ask them.
To that end, I have been busy preparing for a radical change for 2022. This will include at least 100 hours of new video for everyone – Including OVER 50 Hours Live – Together!
Even more exciting is that I am working on a new way for you to have your questions answered so that we can all gain a better understanding of this wonderful instrument that we all play. More about that shortly.