Today I want to talk about two things…
“Natural talent” and something else.
The something else is far more important than “natural talent” in my opinion.
This thing is how “teachable” a student is.
It all started the other day when I got a comment on my Facebook page.
This is what a chap said below.
Have a read and then I’ll explain the error I believe he’s making with his assumptions…
“I have been playing guitar for 45 years, I come from a family of musicians, and I have had many students ask me to teach them. I know from personal experience, that they have to be teachable. I have encountered many, who are not teachable.
No sense or comprehension of timing, coordination, or theory. The ones I have successfully taught, were very teachable, and child prodigies in a brief time.
You either have it, or you don’t! Natural talent is absolutely a major factor, and that’s a fact!
It’s not even debatable. I don’t have weeks to give you all the undeniable details of what I have personally experienced, but I can teach anyone that’s teachable, and I know immediately if they are, or not.”
Okay, this is weird.
Firstly, I’m not a fan of when someone says “it’s a fact” when in fact the thing they’re talking about is not a fact at all.
The main point, though, is being “teachable” is essential.
Yet this fella mentions the word “teachable” alongside “natural talent”…
…BUT they are two totally different things.
Being teachable is far more important than talent.
But what is being “teachable” for a student of guitar…
It’s being receptive to ideas, willing to practise the details as instructed, being focused when practising, having resilience when things are a challenge, having belief in the tutor, methods, and themselves, and more.
Absolutely none of those things require any so-called natural talent at all.
They all require a good mindset, which anyone can have.
I’ve taught many students who were teachable and made superb progress despite struggling at first.
The key point here is that this guy reminded me to highlight something very important.
…When learning guitar, it’s so important to be as teachable as you can.
My best students have all been the ones who were most receptive to my ideas.
My guess is that the fella who left the comment struggled with some students…
…Not because the student lacked talent or wasn’t teachable, but possibly because his methods weren’t all that great.
That’s something he didn’t even consider in his message.
I’ve found in my life when learning any new skill, be it Jiu Jitsu, surfing, rock climbing…
Being a teachable student got me much further than any so-called “natural talent”.
I mean, you should have seen me at Jiu Jitsu at first!
It’s not only because I have a good instructor that I made good progress, but also because I am very open to his ideas!
It’s the same with the guitar.
Good instructor + being teachable = real progress.
When both of these things are at play, natural talent barely even factors.
I hope that was useful.
For more help with your guitar playing, you may want to check this out.
The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy
Have a great day of practice!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.
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