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Why do people criticize the cost of a tutor, but scoff at the legitimacy of a free tutor?

In my 15 year process of trying to not suck, I myself have spurned expensive tutors and considered them elite or only for the rich. I've also learned that I'm not alone. After 15 years, I've figured out that music isn't hard and that I was just looking at it wrong/ attacking it from the wrong angle. After a few epiphanies, I now have other musicians recommend other musicians to seek my help when they don't have the answer.

In my band, I'm the only one with formal training and am quite knowledgeable. I see and hear them suffering to understand certain concepts (epiphany buffering) and only want to help. But there's only resistance. Like, "Na brah, I got this" x200. But they don't and I know why. It's one of those "Hey, I've been where you are let me show you the way out" moments.

For example, my music director thinks keys C & Am are completely separate. He (guitar @ head) and the basist are struggling to hash out what to print (only major keys available on songselect) but he is looking for key Am, not C. Meanwhile, I'm sitting with my key C ready to go.

I want to provide free music lessons to inspiring church musicians and veterans, but I keep running into similar resistance when the knowledge is offered for free. Somehow, saying I'm $100/hr off the cuff offers some sense of legitimacy. How? Why? Solutions?

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    This is very opinion based and for that reason I'm voting to close this question.
    – user50691
    Dec 22 '20 at 11:54
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    So the problem is, other people don't notice or acknowledge your expertise. Seems like a question for interpersonal.stackexchange.com Dec 22 '20 at 11:55
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    One of the first things that was told to me when I started teaching is don't ask too little money, people will assume you are mediocre in your work if you do.
    – Neil Meyer
    Dec 22 '20 at 12:19
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    There's a big difference between {someone realising that they can't do something and then asking for help} and (you noticing that someone can't do something and telling them publicly what they're doing wrong}. I think that explains the resistance you've experienced so far. Dec 22 '20 at 12:51
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    The director is right, C and Am are different keys. Dec 22 '20 at 15:30
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Somehow, saying I'm $100/hr off the cuff offers some sense of legitimacy.

One reason why someone who does regularly charge a certain fee professionally for their services is seen as legitimate is that their regular customers/clients are finding their advice to be worth that money. In the case of a music tutor, that means that the person has not only made sense of things in a way that makes sense to them, but is also able to see what angle other people are coming at the problem from and work at things from their point of view. In a general sense, knowing something and being able to teach it are different skills.

In a lot of your post above, you are saying you have knowledge (which I don't doubt), but do you have good teaching skills? If people are rejecting your knowledge when you offer it for free, it suggests that there might be an opportunity to improve your skills in this area.

Another reason that people who charge may have less problems with 'resistance' is that people who are happy to pay for lessons presumably, along with opening their wallets, open their minds to being taught. People who aren't paying for lessons may not be looking for new ways of thinking right now!

When you're finding that your message isn't getting through, it's always worth considering logos, ethos, pathos, and kairos - the modes of persuasion.

  • Logos - does what you are saying seem correct logically? Can you 'prove it'?
  • Ethos - do you seem to be a credible and knowledgeable person?
  • Pathos - do you understand how your listener is feeling, and are you able to use that to help get your message across?
  • Kairos - are you giving your message in the right situation - at the most effective time and place?

Ultimately if people don't seem to be taking your message on board, it's likely that you're falling down on one or more of these 'modes'.

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  • This is a truly fabulous answer to what was in effect "I think I'm great, why does no-one else?"
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 22 '20 at 13:02
  • Can we re-open the question, so we can get this answer back up. And where is the +10 button when it's needed. Kairos is such an important thing - very often the situation is just completely wrong and there's no way to get a message through. And I should think more often like, am I so preoccupied with my own stuff that I'm essentially on a different planet far away from Kairos. Dec 22 '20 at 20:01
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"In my 15 year process of trying to not suck, I myself have spurned expensive tutors and considered them elite or only for the rich."

The fact that you would equate someone charging a fair price for their time with being "elite" is sad. It says you don't respect people who have put in years of effort to master something. Would you expect all goods and services to be free? Prices go up with experience and in the music biz there are standard rates, there's even a union in America AFM that tries to help musicians collect fair rates.

"After 15 years, I've figured out that music isn't hard and that I was just looking at it wrong/ attacking it from the wrong angle."

I cannot critique your claim that music "isn't that hard" but maybe you are gifted and other are not. Also, there is more to music than reading and theory, there's also mastering the instrument, ear training etc. Are you saying that's all easy? Maybe it's just easy for you and other can't see your epiphany.

"For example, my music director thinks keys C & Am are completely separate. He (guitar @ head) and the basist are struggling to hash out what to print (only major keys available on songselect) but he is looking for key Am, not C. Meanwhile, I'm sitting with my key C ready to go."

This says a lot. The key of Am does not contain the same notes as the key of C. You need a leading tone. I think we have our answer. You need to learn more.

"I want to provide free music lessons to inspiring church musicians and veterans, but I keep running into similar resistance when the knowledge is offered for free."

It is quite noble to want to offer some charitable services once in a while. Many people do this in their respective fields. Lawyers will do free work (it may be required in some placed to do X hours of free service to the community), doctors will often provide help for free to the poor. And even musicians will often do charity work with kids etc. Everyone wants to help and that's a good thing. But to say that those who charge aren't worth it (and it seems you are implying that) is off the mark. Helping your band mates or offering charity once in a while is being a good person. When you advertise "Free Lessons" that looks suspicious. It's like "Free Oil Changes". As a promotional gimmick for a day it makes sense. If you're already rich and famous it makes sense since it looks like you're giving back. But otherwise it always looks suspicious when a reputable service is "Free".

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