Monday, October 26, 2015

Wasting my time

Recently over the last few years I've felt that I am wasting my time teaching, that there are few, if any of the kids I teach who truly respect what I do.

Sure, I have the ones who take lessons from me for years, making a certain amount of limited progress.

I have those who stop for no reason when they have such great potential. There's the students who disappear with no explanation (with unpaid fees as well) and there are those who cancel class without 24-hours notice (my only rule regarding lessons).

Then there was the little boy at one the two schools I teach who called me a 'witch' two weeks ago because my finger nails are long (I play classical guitar you see) for we classical men need long nails for this type of music. The little child is too young to know or understand that, I'm fully aware of his age, but still, his words only make me feel more certain that I am wasting my time.

It's like a gourmet chef who can only get a job flipping burgers at McDonald's where's he's told that's what the customers want.

No saying I'm a gourmet chef, or that I'm the greatest guitarist and teacher ever.

You see, the problem is this -

Most of my students only want to learn songs, no theory, no technique.

When I ask them what they would like to learn they mostly reply "I dunno, can't you recommend something?"

When I reply "classical guitar and theory", I get a confused look staring back at me.

I don't know if it's a Trinidadian thing, I don't know if it's an age thing, I have no clue if it's just the era we live in where everything must be attained 'now, now, now'. I don't know, but it's like a general malaise in the education field, especially with music.

Without a testing system students have no zeal to learn just for the sake of further the mind.

No, that seems pointless to them.

I only have one student who is my saving grace. And he's a 62-year-old retiree, he's picking his own pieces in addition to studying from a book, he wants lessons twice a week. He says he's making up for lost time when he first stopped playing.

He motivates me to keep going.

But honestly, if I could be unashamedly true with myself and the rest of my students, both privately and at both schools that I teach at right now, I would only have one thing to say to them all and that's this -


Sunday, October 11, 2015


This month feels like four months jammed into one. Many things are happening, too many at the same time.

I took on the gargantuan task of organizing my very first guitar concert with four other guitarists, and a young tenor. This will take place on Sunday, October 18th at Church of the Assumption. It was a monumental challenge, having to arrange so many aspects of the show, coordinate all the different people involved - lights, sound, bar, musicians. Then there was trying to get sponsorship which did not work out so well. Add to that trying to push ticket sales and I can honestly say that booking a gig is a piece of cake as compared to organizing a concert of your very own. It's going to be a good show, we've been rehearsing since August, but has it been a tiring and challenging experience.

Right after that, we move house, October 28th which also happens to the be the anniversary of my Dad's death. What a weird thing to say, what a strange thing to have to live with - someone's death. And packing up after living an entire life in this house is no easy task. But I am looking forward to building new memories in a new neighbourhood. There's some things you can't change, and the fact is that St. James has become a dump, a mechanics' haven and not a single government authority cares about the residents who are still living here enough to enforce the law or proper zoning. Welcome to Trinidad I guess.

Packing up, throwing out and unpacking is very time consuming, it's refreshing and sad at the same time. I'll be glad when November arrives.

I do have a little ray of sunshine, well, it's a big one actually. For the first time in five years, I've found someone. I'm in-love again and it's a great feeling, and she has come into my life at the right time, when all around me is change and chaos. She is my little piece of serenity and joy.

Peace and happiness in the midst of all these life changes is a good thing to have.

This story is unfolding as we all go along our merry little way.