Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How Many Instructors? (Part 2)

This is part two of a three part series on finding instructors. Please check out Part one if you haven't already. It provides context for this article.
How Many Instructors At a Time?
Maybe you can juggle multiple relationships at once, but when it comes to instructors and privates, you want to go steady for a while with one, generally following the serial monogamy concept. There are exceptions to that, but if you are seeing two instructors at once, you have to juggle things and it can get interesting at points. If you can handle it that's fine, but most people are better off with one at a time.

On the other hand, I don't recommend you take privates or classes exclusively with one instructor for more than a year or two, but that timing depends on the actual instructor. After a period of time, you'll be amazed how a new set of eyes provide a fresh, inspiring perspective, and you'll grow more. Occasionally they will even conflict, but that goes with the territory. Learn both techniques when they conflict and you'll have two approaches to the same issue.

While you are working with your one primary mentor, be on the lookout for the next one, until you have your three over a few years or more. Once you get to three mentors or so, the next ones you find will simply be icing on the cake.

Finding New Instructors
I've found most of my private instructors by starting with their group classes. Take a month or two of classes before considering private lessons. It's interesting to see how an instructor handles different situations over time. Some great instructors will NOT be right for you. There are different learning styles and teaching personalities, and you want someone who fits your style.

Once you're taking privates with an instructor, also take as many of their group classes as possible at the same time. Maybe you do a private lesson once a week or two, and then attend their group classes twice a week (or more). The more exposure to their concepts, the more you are practicing with them watching, the better.

Sometimes your instructor sees an area ripe for improvement in the group situation. Later you address specific issues in private, then practice and refined it in the class again. In other words, the instructor knew exactly what you needed to work on because she saw something in class that you hadn't mentioned in private.

After You Find Your Three

You may flirt with other instructors for specific techniques or variations and have some flings along the way, but when you find the right three, they will provide 95% of the input you need to become excellent. The rest you'll pick up from direct experience and the temporary flings.

When your three are truly right for you, you'll go back occasionally for fine-tuning as you continue to mature.

In part three of this article, I’ll outline how sex fits into the instructor picture. You won’t want to miss that discussion.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
-Mark Twain
Related Articles:
How Many Instructors (Part 1)
How Many Instructors (Part 3)

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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero