• Charles Pennefather

“You’re my teacher now”

I seem to hear these words quite a bit these days. From people who like the way I play guitar, from people who have watched me ride a motorcycle. I’m not very good at these things; my skill levels are intermediate level at best. However, I am a very good teacher. And it puzzles me no end when someone gets starstruck by what they perceive as extremely good levels of skill, say “You’re my teacher now,” and then ignore every bit of advice I give them.

A conversation I had recently put forth the point to me that if I teach merely for the joy of teaching, with no financial goal in mind, then I am doing it as a friend. That means the relationship isn’t a teacher-student one. I need to charge an amount appropriate to my expertise for the student to take it seriously.

Another thing that doesn’t make it simple is the fact that I tend to tell people things that they don’t want to hear. The fact is that talent alone has never been enough; it is hard work that has taken the best to the top. Doing the boring, little things, every day, irrespective of mood or conditions, is what has made them the best. Almost everyone today wants a 90-second, 180-character lecture that will get them to do whatever they want to in just 15 minutes.

I wish at least one or two people would recognise the value they get from certain things like free lessons from their friend, and do the hard work. But that would happen only in a perfect world – which this isn’t. Oh, well.

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