What Guitar Class Taught Me About Teaching

Posted by on Jun 25 2011

I just got back from my very first guitar lesson – FUN! And here’s what I learned for all of you who are teachers out there.

I have a renewed commitment to my students to help make my business and marketing strategy classes simple to understand. I’ve been a marketing teacher for 15 years and I’d forgotten what it’s like to be a student to a brand-new topic or set of ideas: it’s a little confusing and overwhelming at first.

I know that I’ll understand this finger position, fret and string combo thingie eventually, but after my first lesson I’m feeling like I have a TON of practicing to do. Even doing scales will be a challenge. She also taught me 4 simple chords and I’m figuring if I don’t practice them right away, I’ll forget how to do them. But over time, I’m convinced this will become second-nature to me and I’ll absorb this new material into the muscle-memory of my fingers.

I can tell you this: the next time I’m teaching one of my marketing teleclasses, or any topic that’s really new to my students, I’m going to have complete empathy with them. Things that come easily to me because I’ve been doing them since the early 1980s will not come easily to my students the first time they hear about it, or the first few times they practice it.

But like my guitar teacher, I’m going to (strongly) encourage my students to practice, practice, practice between class sessions. It’s not enough for me to just go to my weekly lesson, learn my chords, and not pick up the guitar until the next lesson. So I’ll be adding MORE exercises and action items into my classes for my students, and encouraging MORE in-class discussion, to help solidify new topics into their everyday business lives.

Plus I’ll tell them, “I’m a student, too. I know it can be overwhelming. I’ll try to give it to you in simple, bit-sized chunks of practical topics. And I’m asking you to tell me if you don’t understand something, or if you don’t know how to apply it to your real-world business.”

In this way, we can all be students together, joyfully exploring new terrain, and having fun while taking the journey. 🙂


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Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes