The Setlist

Why I Don’t Take Requests

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Nov 13th, 2011
This post was originally written on the blog.

Lately, I’ve received more “please teach me ______” emails than usual. That’s not a bad problem to have, but I should tell you how I feel about lesson requests.

The simple answer is that I don’t take requests, it’s not possible. Suggestions are different.


About 4,000 individual people watch my videos on YouTube every day. About 500 people visit StevieSnacks every day. In total, about 250,000 people watch one of my videos every month.

Only a fraction email me, and of that fraction, only a fraction ask for anything. However, a fraction of a fraction of a quarter of a million adds up.

If every request turned into a promise, I’d have a list of obligations too long to ever fulfill. I would burn out quickly.

What Free Lessons Mean To Me

My business is creating and selling premium lessons. That’s what I do. Most people who watch everything, don’t buy anything. Thankfully, enough people do, and I happily continue making lessons.

Making premium lessons is hard, mentally taxing, complicated work. Free Lesson Friday is like a vacation every week.

If I’m not traveling or wrapped up in other work, Free Lesson Friday allows me to get an idea, shoot a video, edit, publish, and promote a lesson, all in just a few hours. It’s a refreshing break from the tedious work of making premium lessons.

A backlog of requests would make this ‘refreshing break’ into a ‘crushing weight’. Each week I’d be paying off a debt of promised lessons instead of teaching whatever idea I get on that day.

This list of ‘promises’ would weigh on my mind, every day, leading to certain burn-out.

Suggestions Only

So….I appreciate all of you, I hope that’s obvious. But asking me for a specific lesson will become a suggestion only. It will not affect my plans any more than the other suggestions I get.

I may remember your suggestion on some Friday morning in the future, but I’ll probably forget about it. That’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I’m just one person who wishes to remain free from the crushing weight of obligation.

When you ask for a lesson, please remember I am not a vending machine, but a person with a family and a life. Making free lessons isn’t free. It costs me time, and energy. If that became an exercise of obligation I’d have to stop doing it.

My approach to guitar has always been to play exactly what I wanted. My approach to lessons is the same way.  If I can keep that approach, I’ll be teaching lessons for a long time :-)

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