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Why I Created ArtistWorks

About five minutes later, a woman called my name and told me to see Duane in the lesson room area.  My heart began to race.  It hadn't occurred to me to request a specific teacher, so I had been assigned one, Duane, a gaunt man in his early-thirties.  He wore a too-large, stained bowling shirt and had a lit cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth.  He led me into one of the little rooms in the back of the store, a room just big enough for two chairs and a music stand.

"Sit down," he said with the lit cigarette flipping up and down in his mouth.  I sat down with my guitar on my knee, and Duane sat down in his chair and looked at me, obviously bored.  To him, I was another kid at the end of a long day, another three dollar lesson.

"Let me have your guitar" he finally said.  I handed it to him and he reached down to a guitar in an open case on the floor behind us, and plucked its high 'E' string.  "Got to tune you up, kid" he told me.
 
He proceeded to tune my Silvertone as best he could, fighting its cheap tuning pegs and dead strings.  "Get your mom to buy you new strings before you come back," he mumbled as he handed my guitar back to me.
 
He slowly pulled the guitar behind us out of its case, and I immediately noticed a price tag hanging from one of its tuning pegs. "It's not mine," he said, "I just grab any old guitar to teach with."  It was a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar, the most beautiful guitar I had ever seen up close.  The price tag said "$425".
 
gibson hummingbird
 

I quickly computed that his guitar was worth over four hundred dollars more than mine.  Wow.  Duane reached over to the Alfred's Basic Guitar Method Book on the music stand, and opened it to page one.

"Kid, first thing you have to do is learn to read music."  He played the first exercise from method book, a line of single notes all within the first 3 frets, played on the 'E' and 'B' strings.  He never asked me to show him what I already knew.  He never asked me want I wanted to learn.  And he never called me anything except "kid".

He taught from the method book, that's just what you got for $3.00, like it or not.  And the line he played from exercise one had nothing to do with anything. My heart sank.  

guitar method book
 
Next:  A Fierce Cycle of Music Education Mediocrity
 
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