Mudcat Café message #581249 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40538   Message #581249
Posted By: Ebbie
28-Oct-01 - 01:29 AM
Thread Name: Dave Van Ronk seriously ill
Subject: RE: Dave Van Ronk seriously ill
Found on the internet: Throughout his 40+ year career as a performing artist, Dave has continued to offer guitar lessons. Bob Dylan is his best-known student. We asked him the importance of teaching to his development as a performer.

"You can't teach without learning. The first thing you have to do when you start teaching is to organize what you know. In the course of organizing what you know into a cohesive body, you discover that you know alot more than you thought you thought you did.

"Also, you discover gaps and holes which you can set about filling. So, in systematizing what you've picked up here and there and in fragmented ways - incorporating it into a coherent whole - you learn a great deal.

"And students are a stimulus. I've had students sort of gang up on me, and get me to work out this or that or the other piece, pieces I wouldn't have done. And in one or two cases, things have subsequently become mainstays of my repertoire.

For example, the Entertainer - the classic rag, which I was just reviewing with a student this week. Much more than just a useful performance piece, as it turned out, it became a seminal piece in learning more and more about how to play guitar in drop-D-tuning.

"In terms of spinoffs, that led to possibly ten or fifteen different arrangements. And that was because 2 or 3 students wanted to learn how to play the piece. Initially, I didn't want to work that out - it seemed to me like a great deal of work for a very, very small gain. I was wrong. Things like that are constantly happening."

Sounds like quite a guy. My best to you, Dave. Have you ever toured Alaska? (Incidentally, you know who else this sounds like? Rick F.)