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Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #1 
In the "Spotlight" article which Barbara just posted it mentioned that Ted had between 70 to 100 students at a time.  At my best I had 42 students and that was a full time job.  I was trying to get to 60 students but the biggest problem is that everyone wants to schedule their lessons between 4 pm and 8pm after work or school.  It's always amazed me that some teachers can get students to come in during the day.

But think about the work required to teach 100 students a week.  With half hour lessons that's a 50 hour work week before you start to write up lesson plans or build up your reservoir of lesson sheets and chord charts.  That's an amazing amount of work.

I also noticed a strange effect while teaching. On one hand, you tend to play at your student's level, not your level.  So it's possible to start losing your chops even though you have a guitar in your hands 40 hours a week.  On the other hand, because you're constantly playing, there's a certainly base level of facility and flexibility that's always there.  I guess I'm saying that while it's frustrating to be spending so much time on the instrument explaining (yet again) how to change from a G chord to a C chord you also find that you're always "loose", you're in a constant state of being warmed up. 

But still, trying to fit 10 hours a week of my own practice time into a schedule that also had over 20 hours of lessons a week is really tough. I no longer teach any more.  I'm a full time software engineer with a 100 mile round trip commute every day.  I use to teach up to a dozen students in the evenings after my regular job but that was just getting to be too much. (Try fitting 10 hours of practice into THAT schedule)   I was getting burned out so I ended my teaching job and gave my last lesson a couple months ago.

So where am I going with this?  I guess I'm just amazed that with that many students Ted had any time to practice on his own (and he obviously practiced a lot).  Or, perhaps I'm just jealous that Ted was able to spend his entire day doing what he loved.  

Still, that's an intense schedule.


Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #2 
My guess is that many of Ted's students were not weekly.  I used to go every two weeks.  When I asked Ted if I could up it to weekly he wondered if I would be able to keep up with the work it would require.  A lot of  his lesson material was enough to keep you busy for weeks or months!  I think he tried not to overwhelm the student with too much stuff, but that seemed inherent in so many of his pages anyway (..."now transpose to all 12 keys"....).  I did take weekly lessons for a short time, and then much later I did some lessons with him via mail. (Sure would be cool if Ted would have gotten into email lessons or Internet website...but that's a whole different subject!)
Some of Ted's students came once a month; others just periodically - whenever Ted had a open slot in his schedule.  So perhaps this might explain why he had so many students at any one time. Still, Ted was a workhorse and certainly could handle a LOT of students and all the material for them all.  Yes, Ted was a guitar teachers' teacher and in a category by himself.


Posts: 337
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, what Paul said. He taught some people weekly, some bi-weekly, some monthly, some occasionally. I think he taught hourly lessons four days a week from noon to midnight, or three and half days like that. He didn't have gaps and would just eat during the lessons as necessary. He might also smoke during a lesson if you didn't mind. (I did.)

If you were going to be absent, you were supposed to get a sub, that is, have another student of his take your place. That way he had almost no gaps and solid income. This was also a way in. Often there was a waiting list to become a student of his. But if you had a friend who was a student, you could sub for your friend and take a lesson. Once in, as a sub, you were in, as a student, and could schedule lessons from there.

When I took my last lesson with him, I hadn't seen him for years. I went in as a sub when one of my friends couldn't make it. He looked at his schedule and didn't see my friend's name. Instead it said he was supposed to be meeting with Steve Vai. I explained that I was much more important than Steve Vai. We laughed. Luckily, Steve Vai never showed and I got a lesson.

(Note: I'm not saying Steve Vai took lessons with Ted. He may or he may not have. I'm just saying that they knew each other and had tentatively planned to meet then.)

Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #4 
Yes, yes, to Paul and James!
 Over the years Ted's teaching schedule did change, and his student roster fluctuated considerably, Ted would make adjustments accordingly.  Ted almost always gave himself two to three non-teaching days a week.  Thus accounting for hours of personal practice and study, and other personal necessities.
(I do believe I discussed this in My Life w/t C.C.) but....

James, The day you refer to, Ted did have a meeting scheduled with Steve Vai.  Steve's company was going to produce Ted's Solo Guitar album on CD and they were to have a discussion about that.  I don't know why Steve didn't show up or if mis-communication  played a factor that day, but for reasons unclear, it never worked out.
Steve and Ted were acquaintances, Steve did not study with Ted but found Chord Chemistry to be one of the most incredibly useful learning tools ever,  and had the utmost admiration for Ted as a musician, and musical thinker.  Ted equally admired Steve as a musician and Steve's personal values also resonated well with Ted.
It was most fortunate indeed you were able to have that lesson!   Barbara

Barbara Franklin

Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #5 
It's interesting to see how Ted got past the frustrating part of teaching.  Requiring subs if you miss a lesson?  I had trouble getting people to pay for the lessons they showed up for.

I definitely wouldn't eat or smoke during a lesson.  Actually, I only smoke the occasional pipe or cigar so that would REALLY be inappropriate.  I had no idea that Ted smoked.

Noon to midnight!  Wow, that's a schedule.  My teaching mentor teaches 6 am to 8pm 3 days a week and he was booked solid.  It's always amazed me how teachers can get students to come in during the day.  It all comes down to your reputation and Ted certainly had a good one.

And yes, I really need to go get "My Life" to add to my Ted Collection.

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