I remember my first guitar teacher in a unique way. I learned a valuable lesson from my experience with him even though I only had a couple months worth of lessons with him.
I started playing guitar mostly because I loved Van Halen and wanted to play their songs. I went to my guitar lessons and asked my teacher if he could teach me some Van Halen songs. He would give me “that” look and say, “Well, maybe later. After you learn your scales.” Had I practiced my scales that week? No. So I would spend most of my 1/2-hour lesson time re-learning the scales that I was supposed to learn the previous week. My teacher got used to the fact that when I came in for my lesson, he could take it easy and “zone out”. He counted on the fact that I wouldn’t know my scales, and figured on an easy 1/2-hour since he wouldn’t have to think of something new to teach me. (By the way, that is NOT how I teach! Just ask any of my private students).
One day I got fed up. I decided to do nothing else during my practice time except work on my scales. This way he would have no choice but to show me some “Eddie licks”. When my lesson came around that week I was ready. I walked into my lesson with a smirk on my face and a little chip on my shoulder. All I could think of was “Go ahead, ask me to play ANY scale ‘cause I know ‘em all!” He had that look on his face as if to say, “This will be an easy 1/2-hour”, and then asked me to play the first scale. I played all of them! I was done in 30 seconds not 30 minutes. He was shocked! Did we do some Van Halen songs that day? You bet.
The point is this: When you play in your lesson, in rehearsal with your band or on stage, be prepared and play with confidence. Be ready to “show ‘em what you got”. Play it like you mean it. I tell my students to play every note like they are playing in front of a sold out arena. (Why not?) So, whether it’s a scale or a whole song, in your bedroom or on stage at the Staples Center – Play with confidence, play it like you mean it, and show ‘em what you got!