The Old Guitar Ensemble School

Guitar Ensemble Anecdotes - Where the B Flat Sucks

Welcome to one of several popup windows with true-life stories from my teaching career (such as it is!)

Where the B Flat sucks, there suck I

CONFIDENTIAL - for your eyes only
Venue A pupil's lounge in Clanfield, Southern England
Agenda Teacher required to call in to coach Ensemble Trio for forthcoming Concert
  This report was previously circulated to agents in other countries via a Guitar List mailing service.

A little while ago I'd seen a report that was concise in its deductions.

  1. Sucking sweets (candies) generates saliva
  2. Saliva is absent when nervous
  3. Ergo eating sweets cures nerves - voila!

It was a line of argument which needed putting to the test.

I turned up at the end of the Trio's session, where after a long evening and a couple of glasses of wine, they smiled at me with one of those brash and confident smiles, due, I now understand, entirely to the wine, and owing nothing at all to their guitar playing. They announced that they would "play for me".

At this point, Elaine leapt from her seat and reappeared with a pack of Polo mints - small hard mint sweets with a hole in the middle. These were duly handed round and sucked on frantically.

Did it work?

Michael was so nervous that the air resonated with a cracking noise like thunder.
The sweet was gone with one of those "GULPS" you see on a Tom and Jerry cartoon when something is swallowed whole.

Jean discovered that the mint does not go with wine. A slurp of wine to remove the taste of the mint compounded her discomfort, as the taste of wine after mint is, it seems, worse than mint after wine.

And I discovered that it didn't help the nerves at all, though the sight of three people looking like they were sucking lemons while plucking furiously will be with me till I die.

 Memo Mints with holes are no good. Bring humbugs next time. If all else fails, they can be crammed into the ears so the mistakes don't notice....