How I Learned to Teach

When I first started to teach blues harmonica lessons and classes back in San Francisco, I had one big advantage over most other harmonica teachers.
It wasn't that I was the best blues harp player in the Bay Area — I was not. (Norton Buffalo, may he be peaceful and happy wherever he is, was.)
It wasn't that I was well-trained musically — I wasn't. Back then, I didn't know a half-step from a hole in the ground.
It wasn't that I was patient — I wasn't.

So what was my big advantage?
Well, in college I had studied experimental psychology, and then conducted or created a number of psych experiments of my own.
Since I had very little idea of how best to teach prospective students how to play the blues, I experiment!

I would try different teaching methods and strategies with each private student, and compare my results.
This quickly gave me some general ideas about what worked, and what didn't.
And about what my students liked, or not.

Within a year, I was ready to begin teaching group classes, and I ran those as experiments also.
Soon I was writing instruction books, and recording taped lessons.

Over the years, I've tried to continue with my experimentation, to give my students the fastest and best results.
As I continue to learn myself, my teaching improves.

And that's how I learned to teach...

NCSS DH w blk & wh guys stage