For me mentoring is one of the most effective ways of creating a change in a pupil particularly when they have got to the point of having some grasp of the scales and chords and basic theory: maybe at around grade four.

I have always started from the premise that you need to find out from the pupil what their dreams are and where they currently are in their ability to play. That journey always has to be taken from where they are and not from where you are. I find a lot of teachers spend a lot of time trying to make pupils do what they can do, I personally find this inefficient and the best results from my experience comes from igniting the pupils imagination. This can be rather troublesome and challenging for you as a teacher because there are things that you are less than adequate in, which you have to really brush up on in order to help but I found in the past it enables a pupil to develop very quickly  on their chosen path.

I’ve had great successes with bass players, song writers, singers, virtuoso rock players, classical players, jazz musicians and what we could loosely term as musical artists. This stuff isn’t really coming from me it’s coming from them and for me the thing that tips the balance is their personal motivation to achieve what it is that they really like.

Many of my pupils do gradings and the grades are only a target and an objective on the path to their personal aspirations. Once you have them motivated and they have a goal to work towards then you have to let them get on with it. It is them who climb the mountain, not you. You may have the map but they have got to do the hard work and therefore if they do not achieve what they set out to achieve that is down to them.

One last thing to consider is that your aim is to make them better than you, do not get into the old British management style of employing somebody is not as good as you. You really want them to be the thing that you aspire to.

Most often the pupils will have enough skills of their own that will develop over time, occasionally you will need to instil some new tools to assist them. Apart from musical skills these may be personal skills such as goalsetting time management etc. This is where I use NLP as I find this to be the most effective way of achieving change.

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