Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - Omakase and Guitar Lessons

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Omakase and Guitar Lessons

 Often people have predetermined ideas of what a "guitar lesson" is or should be.  For good or bad, right or wrong, that's just how it is.  Which is fine, because in reality there isn't a set way, and I think that's a good thing.  You should try different guitar teachers until you find one that makes sense to you, or seems helpful.

Stairway to Heaven?

 In the world of sushi, there is a concept known as "omakase".  Simplified it means "entrust the chef's choice". 

 I don't teach from a book, or even a particular plan or angle after the initial 4-6 week "basic training" period.  Everyone has different objectives, different expectations, different goals - or lack thereof.
  I've been teaching guitar all my life.  Early in my life I tinkered with programming, got as far as Assembly language and conceded my mathematical acumen wasn't adequate without a lot of updating.  My artistic skill was always sky high, but my drawing skills petered out around age 12 and again, needed updating I wasn't willing to bother with.  I last thought I would do photography - but like programming (and now recording music), "everybody does that". 

 My path was an individual one.  I quit college ( a foregone inevitability since age 15), haven't looked back.  Music is what I do, and have done for decades. The way to learning effectively isn't the lowest common denominator, procedurally obvious "book learning", quizzes-based semester school system method.  Private lessons affords you the opportunity to streamline the process in many different, and better ways. 

 I have a friend that is a sushi chef (Ito san, are you out there...?) that introduced me to sushi based not on my ignorance of the subject, but his experience.  I don't particularly recall what he made for me, but here I am many years later a sushi fiend; I've even read books about it, and of course the movie _Jiro Dreams of Sushi_ should be on everyone's bucket list IMO.

 The concept of omakase is that you sit there, and the chef decides what he prepares for you.  Perhaps with a little inquiry as to your tastes; but also there is the aspect of what fish and ingredients are available, their quality and freshness.  Maybe you think you want one thing; but maybe he knows there is something you might like better because of the aforementioned reasons.  Or maybe he specializes in a particular thing, or maybe there is a specialty you're unaware of. 

 Personally I'm not into that, I'm too much of a control freak and OCD - I know exactly what I want and don't like gambling.  But for some, it's a very worthy idea, and educational. There is a side benefit, in that often it means you're going to get more for your money.

 See where I'm going with this....?

 There are things that are fun to play on guitar because of the kinesthetic experience. There are things that are educational in subtle ways, that are not evident until you're into the process.  There are connections to different types and genres of music that are not immediately apparent.  There are things to be learned from just about anything; and I also claim that you don't even have to like "guitar music" to like playing guitar.  I like bowling, but I don't want to watch someone bowl.

 So if you're not sure, you may want to ask me or your guitar teacher for suggestions.  It may not seem appealing at first, and it may lead to a dead end, BUT - I've been doing this for a lonnnnng time and really, that's what you're paying me for!  Playing music is always, always a deeper thing than most people imagine, there are many paths.

 If you're a beginner, I do believe there is what I call a "basic training" period of things everyone simply has to know in order to make the process go smoothly, and to snowball into a steady learning curve.  But after that, maybe try "omakase".