When Pros Take Lessons
Here’s a video about my attitude about taking advantage of pros to do my own personal advertising. When pros come to me for private lessons, I do NOT use it as an opportunity to brag, show off or “advertise” how good I must be as a teacher.
I began teaching other pros many, many years ago. I was barely a pro myself before other pros began taking lessons with me.
While I know that it’s common practice among other trumpet teachers, I believe it is wrong to take advantage of someone else’s problems to promote myself or promote my products. The more famous the pro, the better, right? I believe it is unethical.
When a pro comes to me for lessons, it’s typically not for fun. It’s not entertainment. It’s not an effort to broaden their minds.
Pros come to me for lessons because they are in trouble. They make a living playing trumpet, but for whatever reason, they are having serious problems right now. They come to me for help.
The last thing I want to do is capitalize on a fellow professional trumpet player’s adversity in order to advertise my own business.
My First Pro Student
My opinion about this might have originated with my very first pro student. He was in absolute turmoil over his chop problems. He felt that he was at the end of his trumpet playing career. He told me outright in his very first lesson that he expected me to never tell anyone he was taking lessons.
I could understand his concern immediately. The last thing you want, as a professional trumpet player, is word to get out that you might not be able to do your job anymore.
That said, my opinion about this could also be rooted in the fact that this sort of thing has happened to me, too. I’ve been fired from a band (back in the late 80’s) for not having the chops for the gig. This was before I got my chops, so I’ve never had anything like that happen since. But I know precisely what it feels like to be fired for not having chops.
You know, it’s not just the teaching stuff that people will USE to further themselves if you give them the chance. I had someone take one of my vulnerabilities that I entrusted with him only to later use it as a way to advertise on Facebook. He even tagged me and a bunch of his friends, sharing something that really should have been very private.
It’s unethical. But lot’s of people do it.
It’s Their Choice
There are some pros that have volunteered to spread the word about my teaching and my books. I never asked them to do this, but it was something they wanted to do. In a way, it’s a way for them to express their gratitude.
And in fact, a lot of my new students end up being referred to me by those previous pro level students. And I appreciate that. But it’s not something I would ever ask them to do. It’s also not something I would just TAKE from them by using their problems to advertise my lessons.