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« on: April 07, 2016, 04:17:26 AM »

   Here is another lengthy  story from a former GC employee.

 3 years ago the Tucson GC advertised that it was looking for music teachers for it's new GC lesson studios here in town. At first I was very excited. This would surely mean that I would finally have a consistent flow of music students and a store front to help boost my student body.
 I immediately put in my application. Now....thinking that this was a national company and that I probably would have to have my ducks in order. I brushed up on my sight reading, practiced my chops, and went over all my theory again and again. When the interview day came, I was ready! I sat down with the interviewer. I believe his name was Mark -------. He is the guy who was doing it for all of the GC studios nation wide. So anyway, he asked me a few questions: Play this mode, that mode, minor harmonic scale. All very basic stuff for a person who would be basically qualified for any teaching position. He asked me what mode I should pay over an Em, F#m progression. I confused him a bit there because I know what he was looking for but I also know about tension and release in music so I threw Phrygian, and Aolean in there and told them they would both work but would create the tension that you could relieve by going back to the E Dorian.  Anyway......As the interview went on, I was getting kind of curious as to why I wasn't being asked to sight read. So eventually I asked him, "Do I not have to read for you?" I was absolutely floored!!!!!! I mean FLOORED!!!! at his response. Oh....we don't teach that here. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He then told me about the GC Studios curriculum and how it worked. The whole thing distressed me a little but I figured what the heck, it can't be half as bad as I'm making it seem. At the end of the interview, the guy asked me if I would be interested in the lead teaching position. I of course said yes. He told me that I was almost overqualified for the job and that pending my background check, I was hired. Keep in mind that my background check was only a misdemeanor theft check. Otherwise, no child molestation or other crime check.
 When I showed up for orientation, I knew several of the people there and I must say, I was a bit surprised. I am not a snob by any means but I thought that GC would have had higher standards (I promise, I'll redeem this statement later with a mind blowing story). Many of the people there were just not really musicians.
 Including myself, there were 23 people total. Of those 23, 6 of us had graduated college. Of those 6, 3 had graduated with music degrees. Many of the others were people that were local blues guys who knew nothing outside of 1,4,5 blues and only minor pentatonic scales (and yes, I know that minor and major pentatonics are the same scale shapes, but many people don't), piano, guitar, bass, whatever. There were a couple of drummers there that I knew weren't even capable of playing syncopated 8ths on the hats while keeping rhythm because they were turned down by bands I had been in. It was looking very grim. I went home that night and just couldn't sleep.
 I will not go into all of the insanity of the GC curriculum (I will answer any question if you ask) because it would make this post into an epic tale of ineptitude so I'll skip it for now. But....I will go into a few little things: The GC curriculum was designed specifically to sell units of instruction. The units are not well thought out, they are aimed at 30-40 year old men and no one else. As a teacher, you had to follow the units (no matter how nonsensical, and they were very nonsensical) and you had to keep a quota of unit sales. If you did were reprimanded. You were NOT allowed to view the curriculum anywhere outside of the studio. You were not allowed to buy or even posses any unit of curriculum, and you were not allowed to write anything in your student's curriculum that did not pertain to that curriculum. When teachers complained, they were dismissed.
 After a year of this ridiculous bull$hit, I had reached my limit. I just could not take it any more. And my reasons for quitting are as follows: 1. I had to sit in the studio day after day and listen to the kids at the sales counter (we were not permitted to talk to perspective students) out and out lie to customers about the GC program. They would tell them that all of the teachers were degreed musicians. They told them that all had been fingerprinted by the FBI (no one ever took one print from me, nor did they ever ask me for one. GC was very concerned about sticky fingers on their inventory but not on children, and they lied to anyone and everyone about it. They told people that all teachers were certified teachers and that GC was an accredited school. Some days I would go home feeling sick about it. 2. GC studios had a policy that if your student didn't show, you would get minimum wage for that time period. But GC would keep the remainder? about pi$$ed off teachers! There were times when a teacher would come across town for one lesson, and if the kid didn't show, the teacher would have to sit in the studio for the allotted time and get $4.25 to do it. Since most lessons are 1/2 hour, the teacher wouldn't even get $5 for showing up. But guitar center was happy to keep the remainder. 3. The GC staff was so terribly underqualified that they were just stealing money from people who only wanted to give them money for an honest job. As a teacher I was not allowed to do anything to any of my student's instruments. If they needed a string....send em to the GC "guitar tech." And for an extra $25...they got their string. So one day I had decided that I was going to put a set of strings on a student's guitar as an instructional thing. I took the guitar to the repair station (with the "tech's" permission) and started working on the guitar. After the strings were off, I put lemon oil on the neck. The "tech" friggin flipped out. He yelled...."You can't put that in a guitar neck!!". Confused, I asked him why not. He said (and I quote) "It's lemon oil! it has acid in it and it will damage the guitar!" I was absolutely floored! This guy was suppose to be a certified Fender guitar tech. I turned the bottle to it's back, showed him that Lemmon oil is only the scent, not the oil. And that mineral oil (the only ingredient other than lemon scent that's in lemon oil) is very, very healthy for wood. 4. GC would not accept students unless they had a credit card so that they could prorate their account. If anyone came in with a prepaid card or cash, the Studio would turn them down.
  The day I walked, I went into the lobby of GC Studios and very loudly said: "People, Guitar Center is stealing your money. They are lying to you, and none of what they have told you is true. You need to go find a good place to take lessons because you have already wasted too much of your time and money here." The Studio manager told me I was going to be fired for this. I told him to shove a bar of soap in his filthy mouth because I had already told the general manager that I quit. I never felt so good in my life as I did that day.
 I have many other horror stories about this terrible store. And of course will be glad to share if asked. But I will leave you with this last story (Redemption for my snobbish statement earlier). A year or so after leaving GC Studios, I was enlightened to a plot of sorts that was going to take place at the Tucson GC studio. There was going to be a full teacher walk out. Not a strike, but all were going to just quit. And indeed, it did happen. But before it was much more than an idea, I and a few others came up with a plan to show the inept approach to lessons that GC really had. We saw the all too common "GC looking for teachers" ad on Craigslist. So I took a bass student of mine and sent her into GC Studios to apply. Keep in mind that this person was a student of bass for only around 6 months. This person was not a guitar player by any stretch, nor piano, drums, nothing. We sent her in, letting her pick the instrument she wanted to try out for. She chose guitar. She went into the audition knowing only a few chords, no scales, and no music theory at all. She could barely play the bass. A day after her audition, she called and said that she got the gig teaching at GC. All of us were floored. Several of the teachers there knew this person, and knew that she could never teach any instrument. 2 weeks later.....all but one teacher there walked out. They started a new studio down the street and took many of their students with them. The person in question taught there (as a joke in her mind) until too many students complained that she just didn't know how to play and they walked out. In Tucson, the new studio that the teachers started is called "Lessons and More". Any of you may call them and confirm my story. They will not hesitate to tell you.
 GC is a black hole of hell. Do not ever go there. They will be bankrupt by 2017 anyway when the 1.7 billion they owe at 10% interest comes due. No more bailouts. They have exhausted their resources. Bain is going to pick GC apart for profit. I only wish I could be there to see it burn!  
« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 04:43:24 AM by Zimmerdylan » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 04:38:20 AM »

Thanks for sharing dude...     

I've known some very qualified instructors... and one of them isn't me.   I've taken on a few friend's kids... showed them a few chords, and a few easy tunes.......and I honestly tell them I'm a hack who can hold my own in a garage band.

If one wants to be a musician,  Guitar Center is never the place to start. 

Rule #1   Don't buy crap instruments.    If you really want to play,  get a something decent.
Rule #2   Find a real instructor if you're serious.  If you want to be a hack,  YouTube is a fun resource.
Rule #3   Learn how to take care of your instrument...or sell it to the pawn shop when it's "broken"  so I can fix it and make a profit.
Rule #4   Find a REAL guitar technician...  consult your guitar maker and use your best judgement.  If you followed rule #3,  you'll know if you're being  BS'ed in this category.

Guitar Center Sucks...  It has for a long time, and keeps sucking more day after day.
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