California based guitar wizard Kris Kelly shares some secrets on being a great student.
How long have you been teaching guitar?
For the last fifteen years.
Why do you teach guitar?
I find great satisfaction helping others in their quest to better understand and connect with their instrument. I had some great teachers along my life path and I want to pay it forward, so to speak.
Where is your teaching practice based?
I teach primarily out of my home studio in Redding, California. I also travel to students homes in the area, especially if they are too young to drive.
As far as teaching goes, what is your specialty?
My passion is teaching improvisation and expressive soloing.
What level of player do you prefer to teach?
The student that has already learned the rudiments and wants to learn how to improvise effectively, as well as emotionally.
What makes a player a virtuoso?
A virtuoso, to me, is someone who can express themselves through their instrument so well that people respond to what they hear, on a gut level. I believe a virtuoso can easily be identified within hearing their first few notes. A virtuoso also commands a wide array of chops and techniques, but more importantly, they stamp a number of those chops with their own recognizable signature. Players that come to mind as virtuosos are; Jeff Beck, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Andy Timmons, George Lynch, Nuno Bettencourt, Robben Ford, Steve Vai, Marc Bonilla, Reb Beach, and Joe Satriani. It is quite subjective really, and depends on your tastes.
How fast is too fast, if such a concept exists?
I don’t think a guitar player can ever play too fast. That being said, I do believe some fast players can play fast too much of the time. I love listening to guitarists that shred technically, but if that is all they do, I get bored pretty quick.
From a Teacher’s point of view, what is the number one roadblock to becoming a better player?
Believing in your own mind that you are not good enough, or that you could never be that good.
What makes a good student? Describe the student who progresses really quickly.
One that is committed to the learning process and one that opens himself/herself up to the overall experience. They need to have an open mind and be willing to explore themselves along with their instrument.
Do you find that older or younger students progress faster/learn quicker?
Generally speaking the younger students progress faster, so long as they are fully committed.
What is your teaching format?
There are certain forms that are used with most of my students depending on their level of experience (i.e. chord forms, ear training, scales, modes, improved tuning techniques) but I design each lesson plan for the individual student. Overall, I see my role as a facilitator to help them achieve their musical vision. And if they do not have a vision, I try and help them form one.
What models of learning benefit the student the most?
I think, initially, it is giving them what they want in the short term be it learning a specific song or lick. Then I start to weave lessons into that effort that will take them to the next level. I also form a clear vision with the student of where they want to go with our time together. Aiming high is a good way to define a direction and give them the most rewards in the process.
Is there one piece of advice that you can give the readers to improve their playing right now?
It is very valuable to play with other musicians of any style, as often as possible. This will cause you to grow by leaps and bounds.
How can prospective students contact you for lessons?
Via my new MySpace music page: http://www.myspace.com/kriskellyguitar
Also, I can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com