During my second meeting with my primary mentor, I learned a lot. We had been communicating via email for the past two weeks, but we haven’t met in person since the winter break. We have planned to meet every other week from now on, as he lives in Vancouver so the commute isn’t easy. Below is a short summary of some of the things we covered during our meeting.
How did your mentor gain their experience/ expertise?
My mentor has been playing guitar his whole life, as his parents and siblings all played. His older brother actually taught him how to play, and he went on to start playing in high school bands. Up until three years ago, when his daughter was born, he was in a band in Vancouver.
What were those experiences like for your mentor?
Growing up, my mentors house was always full of music. His father used to tell him things like “Music is it’s own reward”. My mentor took this to mean that you need to love the music first, and anything else (success, career, etc) will come later. This has always been his approach to music, whether it’s playing for his three year old daughter or playing for a pub full of strangers.
What wisdom have you gained from your mentor so far?
I have learned so much that I don’t think it is possible to sum it all up, but I will do my best. I have learned how to play many chords, I have learned how to read tablature and sheet music, I have learned the proper posture needed to play the guitar properly, I have learned how to tilt the guitar at the best angle to play, and I have learned how to play a chord so that it doesn’t echo or buzz at all. But most of all, I have learned the attitude in which you have to approach guitar with. You always need to have an open and positive attitude, and be ready to experience and learn. If you aren’t happy, the listeners won’t be happy, which will have a huge affect on your performance.
What have you learned so far, in terms of facilitation strategies, that might contribute to your own development as a mentor?
I have learned many important qualities and teaching strategies from my mentor that I would apply to my teaching and mentor ship. For example, my mentor is very patient, open/easy to talk to, thorough, and nice. One of my favourite things about working with him is the pace he teaches at. He can easily pick up on how much I understand of what he taught me, and how fast I learn it. If I seem to be getting everything on the first try, he’ll speed up a bit without even having to ask. And when I don’t fully understand what he teaches me, he slows down so that I have a chance to catch up with him.