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pbellora

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Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello!
I always wanted to know a few details about those small things that make a great teacher. Ted is such a huge inspiration for me that I would love to be able to ask a few questions about how he handled relationships with students and general things about lessons. I hope none of these question are "too private" and, if so, please accept my sincere apologies and please just ignore this post...
- What were his "minimum requirements" for new students? I mean that he probably wanted students to have certain skill and ability to focus, in order to make the most of each lesson. Having read the "Chord Chemist" book I remember that it's mentioned that he "very kindly refused a beginning player".
- How did he evaluate a student for these minimum requirements? Phone interview, first lesson?
- I read that if a student had to cancel he would ask him or her to send a "sub". How did this work? I guess this is because he didn't reschedule lessons?
- Did he charge in advance a whole month or did he charge lesson per lesson?
- How did he decided if a student should have weekly, biweekly or monthly lessons?
- About the grids that he gave to students and that are now oh-so-kindly posted on this great site... did he fill the grids during the lessons? Students have "originals" or copies of previously written charts? Maybe he had a collection of grid-charts and he made a photocopy of a given sheet for a student? I'm amazed about how tidy these sheets look; there is never a sign of a correction and everything seems to be written using ink.
- Did he ever advised a student to quit lessons or, for example, go from weekly to monthly lessons?
- Regarding his waiting-list... when he had available space, did he just go "in the order" of the waiting list or did he somehow gave priority to some students?

I consider Ted not only as a fantastic musician but also as a deeply ethical person and I would love to also know and learn from these aspects of him as a teacher. I guess that answers to these questions can be helpful to a lot of people, as most guitar players have students!

Thank you so much in advance to anyone who takes his/her time in aswering some of these questions. Again, please accept my apologies if any of these questions are considered to be "too private". I hope I'm not, literally, "asking too much"!

Kind regards,


Pedro
wolflen

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Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Pedro....you asked  " About the grids that he gave to students and that are now oh-so-kindly posted on this great site... did he fill the grids during the lessons? Students have "originals" or copies of previously written charts? Maybe he had a collection of grid-charts and he made a photocopy of a given sheet for a student? I'm amazed about how tidy these sheets look; there is never a sign of a correction and everything seems to be written using ink."
ted would use the back of his tele as a "desk" to stamp out grids and fill them in on the spot...i studied with ted for a year and i don't recall any pre-made grid sheets...and yes...there were corrections...of course i was amazed that even ted greene made errors...

i remember well...i brought ted a three note chord melody of a blues in G that howard roberts did in an instruction book...and--on the spot--ted stamped out and transposed the lesson into 3 additional keys with the exact voicings of the lesson...on different sets of strings..with notes on the dropped voices in the chords and the suggestion to convert them into four note chords and practice in all keys...

it was a very valuable lesson...as i use it as a template to approach chord melodies today...

play well

wolf

 



pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #3 
Wolf,
thanks for your quick reply!

It's great to have this level of insight. Also, it's incredible to hear that he could fill the grids so quickly... his "mental practice" certainly works really good to be able to make an arrangement on-the-fly without having the guitar at hand.

Again, thank very much.
Kind regards,


Pedro


barbarafranklin

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Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #4 
Pedro,  I have a feeling the answer to your inquiry will be quite lengthy,  I don't have time at the moment but please be patient, I will respond.  Barbara

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Barbara Franklin
pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #5 
Barbara,
I truly appreciate the effort you put into every answer; please take all the time you need!

Kind regards and, as always, thanks,


Pedro

barbarafranklin

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Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #6 

Pedro, it was too hot today to continue the work I was doing outside so.....

Pedro- What were his "minimum requirements" for new students? I mean that he probably wanted students to have certain skill and ability to focus, in order to make the most of each lesson. Having read the "Chord Chemist" book I remember that it's mentioned that he "very kindly refused a beginning player".

Barbara - When I met Ted in July 1992 his requirements were a sincere love of guitar and total dedication to practicing. He told me he would consider a total beginner if he felt the person fit that criteria.

Pedro - How did he evaluate a student for these minimum requirements? Phone interview, first lesson?

Barbara - Again, in 1992 – mostly over the telephone – as that is how potential students made their first contact with Ted.   In some cases if a new student came as a sub for an existing student and the lesson worked out well, that person would gain a spot on Ted’s teaching roster. 

 

Pedro -  I read that if a student had to cancel he would ask him or her to send a "sub". How did this work? I guess this is because he didn't reschedule lessons?

Barbara – All students were informed during their first lesson that if for any reason they had to cancel they were to send someone else in their place to take the lesson.  Ted chose this method for several reasons: Ted was very difficult to reach on the telephone, therefore it would almost impossible to cancel. The sub method was a common policy for musicians (in L.A., at least) when they could not fulfill a commitment for a gig, the rule was send a sub.  Ted did not want to charge students for missing a lesson, nor did he want to be out the money for his time.

Pedro -  Did he charge in advance a whole month or did he charge lesson per lesson?

Barbara -  Per lesson.

Pedro -  How did he decided if a student should have weekly, biweekly or monthly lessons?

Barbara -   Many factors went into this decision.  When Ted had a full roster there was no other alternative but to have a monthly or bi-monthly lesson. This was contingent upon the number of students he had at various times during his teaching career.  In many cases Ted would give so much information in that one-hour session, even a month wasn’t long enough to absorb it all.   Ted also made decisions on an individual basis, allowing some students to come weekly. 

Pedro  - About the grids that he gave to students and that are now oh-so-kindly posted on this great site... did he fill the grids during the lessons? Students have "originals" or copies of previously written charts? Maybe he had a collection of grid-charts and he made a photocopy of a given sheet for a student? I'm amazed about how tidy these sheets look; there is never a sign of a correction and everything seems to be written using ink.

Barbara -  You already have one answer.  Ted also used previously written lesson sheets, he had thousands! (as you know).  It all depended on what was applicable, again, a lesson was highly individualized and tailored to each student.

Ted used to hand stamp the grids.  Then he found the “blanks”.   When Ted wrote out a specialized lesson for a student, he generally asked the student to please photocopy the lesson so he (Ted) could have a copy.

Pedro - Did he ever advise a student to quit lessons or, for example, go from weekly to monthly lessons?

Barbara – Yes!

 Pedro -  Regarding his waiting-list... when he had available space, did he just go "in the order" of the waiting list or did he somehow gave priority to some students? 

Barbara – Initially Ted tried to take students in order on the list, as it was the fair thing to do.  If someone came as a sub they could usually continue lessons after that if they wanted.  

Whew! Pedro – that was a lot! and I probably left out some things.   One important thing to note is that Ted’s teaching agenda, requirements, flexibility, etc. changed considerably over the course of his teaching career.

uh…. Pedro,  I did cover a fair portion of this in my book.  Barbara


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Barbara Franklin
PaulV

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Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #7 
In my case I called Ted and inquired about lessons.  I knew he had a waiting list, but I wanted to get on it as soon as possible.  He advised me to take lessons from Chips Hoover in the meantime.  Chips was (and still is...Chips, are you out there?) an excellent player and teacher, and he had a lot of Ted's material to get me going.

After about 6 months with Chips, I again called Ted and asked if he had an opening in his schedule anywhere.  I told him that Chips had been giving me so much of Ted's material and was constantly saying, "Ted said this" or "Ted does it this way..." that I wanted it direct from the source! (I actually said, "Direct from the horse's mouth" and Ted chuckled at this.)  It so happened that he had a one-time-only opening and he invited me to come for a lesson and "we'll see how it goes." 

We hit it off well, and he was especially pleased that I wanted to dive deep into chord-melody playing.  Also, during the lesson our conversation swung around to philosophy and I mentioned that I had been studying the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and Self-Realization Fellowship.  This perked his enthusiasm because he also had studied the SRF Lessons for a time and was very curious to hear about my progress.  To a certain degree I think he took me on as a regular student so he could chat about Yogananda's teachings with someone. 

I took bi-weekly lessons for a few months and he seemed pleased that I was putting in the time and doing the assignments.  Then I asked Ted if I could come every week.  He warned me that the amount of material and practice might get overwhelming, but agreed to allow me to do so.  I never had to cancel a lesson with him, and I didn't even know anyone who wanted to be a "sub" if I did. Weekly lessons lasted about two months, then I went back to bi-weekly, then monthly.  Finally I moved away from California and Ted gave me some lessons via mail.

Most of the sheets Ted gave me were from his "stock" lesson sheets.  Often he asked me about certain subjects that I wanted to cover, or pages that he had that I liked a lot.  He would then create more "official" lesson sheets for his teaching library based on my interests. That was pretty awesome for him to take the time to address my specific needs in a way that he could use for others.

During our lessons we always sat in chairs, contrary to his later practice of sitting on the floor.  And the room of the apartment at that time was not cluttered.

One of the main characteristics about Ted's teaching was that he made me feel good about the playing level at which I was - nothing to be shy or timid about.  He made you feel like an equal on a musical journey together.  Perhaps I didn't feel worthy of even being there with him.  Thinking back on it, I'm amazed that I was even able to plunk away on my guitar in the presence of such an accomplished player!  He made me feel comfortable, but at the same time pushed me out of my comfort zone to higher places....and he gave lots of support and encouragement all along the way.

__________________
--Paul
pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #8 
Barbara, what a great reply!
I know a lot of this is covered in your book, which of course I read carefully, but I still wanted to have some more information about this and, also, get some input from students and friends.

This is truly helpful and food for thought in order to humbly apply some of these things into my teaching.

Again, thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed answer.
Kind regards,


Pedro

pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #9 
Paul,
thank you for your answer. It's truly helpful to know about these things.

If you don't mind me asking yet another question, how were the mail lessons done? Did you send charts/tapes based on assignments?

Thanks!
Kind regards,


Pedro

PaulV

Moderator
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Posts: 1,773
Reply with quote  #10 
Pedro,
Warm greetings to Argentina!
For my mail lessons with Ted, I wrote out chord-melody arrangements in his grid diagrams style and then sent them to him for his "analysis" or critique.  He would then mark up my page and send back to me with a page of comments.  After doing this a few times, he determined that it was taking him too much time, and asked if I would be fine with him just sending some of his "stock" lesson pages.  So that's what happened.
You can fine my "notes" taken from my lessons in these Forums here:  http://forums.tedgreene.com/post?id=2286922
--Paul


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--Paul
pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #11 
Paul,
warm greetings from Argentina!

I hadn't seen the fantastic post about your notes, so thank you very much for providing the link. There is a lot of amazing information in there and it's great that you have put the time and effort to make this pages available.

Thanks again!
Kind regards,


Pedro


WilliamPerry

Registered:
Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #12 
Pedro.  I agree with Barbara and Paul's story about Ted is common.  Sometimes Ted had a list, sometimes he taught a lot of students other times less.  Most often - I heard this on many occasions - he would ask  the student on the phone, where they lived, what they wanted to study.  He would then recommend a teacher that he believed was better suited to the student.  He probably did this because he sincerely believed it.  It also helped him.  Can you imagine how many students called him if on almost every time I saw him he had one or two of these calls.  You had to be persistent, AND it was always based on a love thing....he loved his students.  For me, and I'm sure others, it was life changing.  He helped me so much in my spiritual growth, appreciation of beauty, and love.  He is in my heart and mind every day.     
pbellora

Registered:
Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #13 
William,
thanks for sharing your experience!

Reading all this has been truly helpful and thought provoking...
Kind regards,


Pedro

markjens

Registered:
Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #14 
William,
Not having been one of the fortunate students of Ted's 'in the flesh' so to speak, I have always considered him as teaching in my heart.  Music for me has always been in my life, and it has always been so much more a heart thing than a skill thing for me.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that I think it is all about what I feel, just that my connection with the things that I play occur first in my heart before wanting to play them.  Ted was so wise in considering for his students' welfare what it was they LOVED to play, and that love really does motivate something much more real in us.  It is what has pushed me to play the standards - I love them so much more than I wish to write music right now.  I have so much to say within the framework of the standards, and Ted Greene gave me permission to think it and to say it.  By the way, I suspect he'd consider it the ultimate compliment to hear you say some years later that he is in your heart and mind every day.  That is true for me as well, and I sadly never got the opportunity to tell him that.

Mark
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