Craig Einhorn, Classical Guitarist
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Military Man and Mr. Perfect

I was teaching in the back room of a music store for several years. It was a typical set up in which the rooms are so small you cannot even turn too far because your guitar neck will hit the wall.

Teaching guitar lessons is kind of like giving therapy.  Once I had a very nice young woman with a one month old baby. Her husband ran off with a nineteen year old woman and she cried to me during her lesson.  Lots of times parents drop off kids who have emotional or psychological problems and are probably in special classes in school. It usually doesn't take me long to figure it out but it would be nice if they would ask me if I am willing to teach a hyper-active or learning disabled child.

Worse than that though was the military man. He was a retired marine and somewhere along the line he discovered the classical guitar. He could hardly play but he liked it. I wish he had never walked into the music store to ask for lessons.

About his third lesson he was working on a piece by Giulliani. As the lesson started he said, "This is a nice baroque piece". I said, "That piece is a classical piece not a baroque piece". He looked at me sternly and with a semi militaristic tone said, "Baroque".

I explained that the Baroque Period was from 1600 to 1750 and that the piece he was playing was written in about 1850; this makes it a classical piece. Once again he looked at me sternly and said, "Baroque".

I guess we'll have to change all the music history books in the world because this former marine likes to say "Baroque". Needless to say I didn't teach him much longer.

Another adult student ticked me off even more than the former marine. I taught him twice and every time I corrected him he would say, "I've been doing it this way for years, it works just fine". I explained that if he took my advice he wouldn't have to work very hard. Using good technique makes guitar playing easier and therefore more fun.

After a few lessons he brought his ten year old son with him. With his son in the small room his back was really up. He was afraid to be humble in front of his son. Every little thing I said was countered with an repugnant reaction.

I didn't feel bad for the man but I really did feel for the son. It was a great opportunity to teach his son that in order to learn anything you need some humility.

You have to adopt the premise that there are folks in the world that know more than you do in many facets of life. Maybe the son was old enough to know his father was acting like a fool. While trying to maintain the glorious father image to his son he actually tarnished his fatherly image.

Perhaps the son learned humility anyhow.

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