I've known Larry for many years. He was a specific student, he did not want to learn how to read music. He had a great ear, I could play and show him material and he could master it. While I believe if he learned to read he would have been much more successful, I never push anything on a student, I meet the student where they are. Larry loves to play his songs for many years and was a pleasure to work with.
Dave was a working professional. He was interesting, in that he was also a percussionist, and he had a unique approach, doing a lot of percussion on guitar. What he did not know was how to work his way around the fingerboard, so I gave him the science and forms to easily play in any key or any song. I also introduced him to reading music, this is a lifetime joy.
Dave was a fellow co-worker at HP with me. He heard my Swingtime CD and asked if he could learn to play bass. He was a pro, and wanted a real quality instrument to start with. He also as a ham radio expert and a tube expert I think his real love was driving huge tube amplifiers. Of course, that demanded he learn to play. His opportunity to play was in Church so we focused on what he needed to do to play with them. He had a great time. I taught him remotely using network tools and that old tool, the phone. With skype we could do more! He also got intrigued with string bass and learned to play in tune and enjoy it. Still his love for powerful tube heads took him over and that was traded for a tube amp. Dave can build Tube Amps, as well as state of the art computers. But he loves playing the bass best of all, always through a tube amp. I did talk him into getting a SWR Working Man's 12 which is not a tube amp so he could easily go to practices. It's the best of the combo amps, not the lightest and far from the most expensive but has a rich full tone and I didn't want Dave not playing because he had to transport very heavy equipment. All bass or guitar players should have a great sounding, small combo amp if they play electric. Of course, I prefer that guitarists start with acoustic instruments, and most electric guitarists practice most of thier lives on acoustic, including the most ardent rocker. Of course while I usually teach classical and jazz guitar as well as songs, most students quickly learn how to improvise and play blues including lead guitar. I'm so happy I was able to give Dave the gift of music, and now he can drive those huge tube amps he loves.
Peter was another student that was not interested in learning to read music. I taught Peter how to play the songs he wanted to learn. All the while I "sneaked" music lessons into his playing so he was able to expand into all sorts of music. I never force students into anything.