10 Things I learned from teaching dobro and Weissenborn guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music for over 10 years by Rob Anderlik

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1. It’s true that some people are naturally gifted musicians with a strong aptitude for learning to play an instrument. It’s also true that some people fall on the opposite side of that bell curve, but the great majority of us are somewhere in the middle.
2. In the long run the most important factor in reaching our full potential is our own determination to succeed.
3. Very often it’s the case that new students, especially older students, are not aware of their own self-limiting beliefs – “I’ll never be able to play like that.” etc.
4. Managing your emotions is an important part of learning to play an instrument. Most musicians feel a deep fear in the pit of their stomach at some point in the learning process. The payoff for overcoming those fears are called breakthrough experiences.
5. The best students do not rely on a single teacher for their musical education. They are self-motivated and find ways to educate themselves beyond the classroom.
6. A student’s own exploration of the instrument is just as important as anything that a teacher can offer. There’s something to be said for attempting to express the music you hear in your head vs. focusing solely on what a teacher might present to you.
7. Tablature is a great way to present information to students, but it can also become a crutch. Students who become dependent on tablature usually don’t progress beyond playing in a classroom or at home.
8. Practice without performance really slows down the learning process. At some point you need to put the tabs/sheet music away and play in front of an audience or go to jam session and play with other musicians.
9. One of the most gratifying experiences a teacher has is when a student suddenly gets it and is able to play something effortlessly that they had been working on for months and months.
10. The vast majority of students overestimate what they can accomplish in a short period of time and underestimate what they can accomplish over the long haul.

What’s your perspective?

Rob Anderlik is a professional musician specializing in dobro and Weissenborn guitar. He is an active member of the music scene in Chicago and a frequent collaborator with players in a variety of musical genres and maintains an active schedule of gigs and studio projects. He can be found on the web at http://www.robanderlik.com

2 thoughts on “10 Things I learned from teaching dobro and Weissenborn guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music for over 10 years by Rob Anderlik

  1. Rick D. says:

    Just a question regarding point #7: So, if I don’t rely on tab, are you suggesting learning to read music or something more along the lines of playing music by ear? Can you expound on this a little? Thanks.

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