So here’s my first blog……
It will be fun trying to keep this up! I hope it doesn’t end up like most of my other ideas – barely started and never finished. Speaking of which: teaching is one of the ideas that has stuck, this is probably not so much because of my dedication – but the dedication of my students, thanks guys! I’ve been teaching a lot (as opposed to a bit) for about 3 years; I initially advertised on some music tutor websites, and before I knew it I was teaching 20 hours a week, having a great time meeting all kinds of fantastic people. These peoples arrive aged 7 – 70 and came from all walks of life. Now I’ve started taking it more seriously! Which is quite an effort for me because I struggle with seriousness, but even so I’ve found myself doing all kinds of serious things like organising student concerts. Which, by a massive coincidence is what I decided to blog about. Why? Because I asked the amazing mum of an amazing young student, to write a few lines about my teaching (see below). She did this, and also sent me a pic of myself and her son playing at said student concert.
I came up with the idea of a student concert, because there’s nothing like the prospect of playing in front of people, to make you practise! Ha – joking aside, there’s some truth to this, I’ve found actually performing (as opposed to just practising) is a fantastic way to learn. And stage experience is really valuable – like I said the idea of playing in front of people really kick starts your subconscious into remembering those chord progressions and song arrangements. I had been getting the students together for informal jam sessions, and then after some great jams and due to the obvious talent of my students, I decided a concert was the way to go. I got a list of interested students, booked a date at the The Henry Tudor House, took a deep breath and started preparations!
It was a great night; the students performed everything from self penned songs and instrumentals (one from Christopher, the guy in the picture, who had written a really good composition) to Jazz standards. I’d hired the fantastic jazz soloist Casey Greene, Chris Quinn was on sound, and the owner Grayham Jenkins was our witty compere. I got up and played on almost all of the songs and instrumentals – providing back-up mostly. We topped the night off with the wonderful Louisa – who at 15 has a voice and a talent way beyond her years.
I’m planning on this becoming an annual event for my students, as it’s something to work towards and really encourages everyone involved! It’s not something all my students take part in – performing is not for everyone, and there’s no pressure from me to do so.
Here’s what Patricia wrote about Christopher’s lessons with me.
“In the past two and half years that my ten year old son Christopher has been having guitar lessons with James his ability has grown from strength to strength. James knows exactly how to pitch the lessons in order to keep him motivated and his enthusiasm going. He listens to Christopher’s likes and dislikes. He also allows Christopher’s creative side to grow but still teaches him all the basics all guitar players need to know. Christopher in particular loves the frequent fun and informal student jams that James organises for his students of all ages and abilities. James has also started organising more formal student gigs. At the last one at the beautiful Henry Tudor House in Shrewsbury, Christopher had the opportunity to play and perform in front of a paying crowd. This was a wonderful experience of a lifetime he will never forget and he thoroughly enjoyed it and rose to the occasion. James as a professional performing singer- songwriter himself was able to share invaluable tips and advice on live music playing. We look forward to see Christopher’s guitar playing expand and grow in the years to come with James by his side as his teacher.”