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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #1 
  I have seen from the lesson's submitted by Ted's advanced students (and some Youtube videos) that he had some very skilled students.  Brilliant stuff! 
   I am curious -  did he have beginner students? I mean students who were just picking up a guitar for the first time. 
     Or did his reputation tend to bring experienced people to him.  Thanks!

Posts: 1,769
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi rmcfee,
In the Ted Greene Memorial blog there are at least a couple of comments from friends/students who mentioned that Ted gave beginner lessons on occasion. But these were often done as a courtesy to a friend or to a person that Ted came across that he wanted to help.  Most of his students were intermediate to more advanced least during the later part of his life.  Undoubtedly he taught many beginners early on in his teaching career.
Keep in mind that he had a 1- to 2-year waiting list of people who wanted to study with him.  Obviously, a beginner doesn't need such an elite musician to teach them the basics.
As for me, I had graduated from GIT a few years prior to studying with Ted.  I had played in rock/dance bands, also did a jazz duo act with a female singer.  Yet when I called Ted for lessons he asked me to first study with Chips Hoover for a few months.  After 6 months with Chips I was better prepared for the Ted experience.
Yes, everyone was different, but I think Ted preferred teaching more advanced concepts, etc.
Leon White, Nick Stasinos, and other long-time students would have some other thoughts on this subject.


Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #3 
That's fascinating. Thanks.

Posts: 333
Reply with quote  #4 
What Paul wrote is exactly right.

Ted was aware that I was a guitar teacher.  (I still am.)  I told him that most of my students are beginners.  Then he said that he taught beginners, which surprised me.  But like Paul said, I think this was the exception, not the norm.

When I teach, and I think when most guitar teachers teach, the student is playing 90% of the time or more.  Or else, the teacher and the student are playing together on the student's assignment.  Occasionally, I demonstrate for the student more advanced playing.

A Ted lesson was the complete reverse.  Sure, you played the Ted sheet you had been working on and Ted would correct you and suggest refinements or alternatives.  But 90% or more was him playing and you trying to hear/watch/take it in.  There were times when I thought that that shouldn't be the way, but for the most part that was how it was, and your job was to be inspired and absorb as much as you could.

On the other hand, I could be somewhat intimidated by how good Ted was so that I'd be afraid of playing.  One time, Ted sensed this and he started playing totally stock jazz chords, the kind we all learn first.  It was as if he were saying, "See, Jim, I play this kind of thing, too."  To get me to relax.

Another time I mumbled something about being a theory guy and Ted said, "I'm a theory guy, too."  He meant that he did a lot of thinking about music but also he obviously had a ton in his fingers, too.

Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #5 
When I watch some of his lesson videos I am amazed at how he would play and simultaneously discuss the theory.  Often I would get a couple of minutes in and then my mind would over load!
    Those are so inspiring to watch and listen to.   He was one of a kind.

Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #6 
Well Paul, as a GIT grad, I would say you were much further along than I was when I started lessons with Ted in '77.  Similar to your experience, I also started lessons with Chips Hoover, who was using Ted's sheets, which helped me know what to expect before moving onto lessons with Ted a few months later.  I really felt I wasn't good enough to be studying with Ted and Ted assumed I knew more than I really did, but eventually we found a place where it did all balance out.  I was barely an intermediate player, but I was determined to 'catch-up' and make it work.  He would give out one sheet for me to learn in two weeks!  Ha!  There was enough in that one page to keep me busy for the entire year.  It did add to my frustration and embarrassment at times when I would barely scratch the surface of what was intended.  Yes, I was overwhelmed, but there was magic in those early lessons that kept me going back for more!  Frankly, I didn't realize how much I didn't know until I met Ted.  The bottom line is that Ted respects a student with drive and promise, at any level.  It was encouraging for me to read that sheet Ted wrote for himself in '77, "Ideal Qualities in Student", that somehow he saw something in me.
STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.

Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #7 
  Ted was a rare genius and part of my enormous respect for him is because of his very humble and friendly character he had.   I spoke to him for about 10 minutes once on the phone and it was amazing how nice he was.
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