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By Rhys Lett

Why I Teach Music

I am a self-taught guitarist. I never had an interest in lessons. Other guitarists at school that took lessons never seemed to learn what they wanted. They hated the books they were taught from and only learning what the teacher gave them. I thought there has to be someone to teach music the way I wanted……..

Where It Begins – Why I Teach Music

My music journey starts back at infancy. Apparently I could use our family stereo from the age of 18 months. I could set up the vinyl and drop the needle on my dad’s collection of 33s and 45s. My favourite band was The Beatles (with plenty of Cold Chisel, Eagles, Beach Boys and Split Enz as well). Anywhere we would visit I would head straight to the household record collection. I kept my aunty Joyce up to all hours of the night to “pway weckords Joycie”. Growing up every birthday and Christmas was about getting that new record or cassette and eventually CD. Music was my passion. I teach music with this passion I found for it early in life.

My dad was a guitar player. I wanted to be able to do what he could. He could play the lead guitar intro to Drive My Car and the chords to You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. So cool!! I wanted to do that. He showed me a few chords to get started. The A, D and E open chords as they made up the song Gloria. As an experienced teacher now I know that is not the easiest thing for a beginner to start playing. It probably took me 6 months but one day it just clicked and from that moment on I felt like a guitar player. I bought a book of Beatles songs that taught me more chord shapes but many of the songs didn’t sound right. They were written in the wrong key most of the time. I figured out how to change them around to the right chords and I was hooked forever. I look back now on this long process of getting to where I wanted to be as a guitar player and realise so much time would have been saved with the right teacher.  Maybe I could teach music one day?

School Days – Why I Teach Music

While I never took formal guitar lessons I was lucky to get some great mentorship from my high school music class. The music program was amazing. Students were immersed in a rock band setting giving me exactly what I was after, the perfect training ground. I learned songs that I still play and get requested for at gigs to this day. I always had to learn a song by the next pub gig or performance night. This is where the idea of band workshops that we hold at the Eastern Suburbs School of Music . I feel it is important teach music in a practical manner. Students in workshops are experiencing the joys I have in rehearsing and performing. This is evident in the amazing performances we see each year at our concert nights. Passing on this experience gives me a greater pleasure than any highs in my career as a musician.

In becoming a guitar teacher I wanted to be the ONE that was never around when I wanted to learn guitar. I started to teach music and guitar to friends at age 15. I understood what they wanted to play. I understood because I listened. From this age on I have been very lucky to make my passion what I do for a living. I wake up every day wanting to share that passion for music and putting smiles on student’s faces though connecting them with that same feeling. I have furthered this by having a teaching staff that shares this bond, the love of music.

The Music School – Why I Teach Music

So I sit here about to start my 20th year of teaching writing this blog post with The Beatles on shuffle on my iPhone. It is a pleasure to walk through the door of the Eastern Suburbs School of Music every day. I get to hear music bursting from every room and can’t wait for every week to begin. I am lucky I get to teach music to others and share my passion.