What role has rock and roll played in your life?
I grew up on Rock and Roll. Black Sabbath, ACDC, Guns and Roses, and Deep Purple among others were staples when my Dad was rocking around the house. I wanted to learn the guitar to be like the guys who were ripping solos and playing sold-out stadiums. Angus Young was my favourite to watch on stage.
The guitar has always been my passion. I started teaching guitar to the next generation of young guitar players when I was in grade 10. I assumed I would be teaching bands I was into as well such as Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters, and the Red-Hot Chili Peppers. In my mind, all students would be cut like from the same cloth as the ones in School of Rock with Jack Black. It might take a little work, but the love of rock and roll would be unleashed through the tutelage I provided.
Over the years, I have come to discover those kids like me aren’t as common as I thought. After 16 years of teaching, it still blows me away how many of my students don’t care what music they learn. Or are only interested in top 40 music they are hearing all the time, which is soaked in pop and more often than not doesn’t even feature the guitar. What’s left is me either attempting to cultivate that passion and fascination with rock and roll that I felt, often to no avail.
Soapbox rant aside. I will always foster a love for all music. And happily learn how to play the latest EDM or video game theme song if that is what the student is driven by. But where are the kids who want to form a rock band rather than become a DJ?
Every now and then there is a student who comes along that is destined for a lifelong love affair with the guitar like I have. I had one student a few years back who wanted to learn all the classics. We were getting some Jimi Hendrix songs up and off the ground! What a joy to participate in those kinds of learning environments.
We need more kids who want to learn rock and roll, to keep guitar culture alive!