Before Shubb Capos was a fulltime job for me I made my living playing and teaching the 5-string banjo. One of my students in those days — one of my best students, I should add — was a teenager named Tony Furtado.
Still too young to drive, his father drove him to his first lessson. He had already been learning from tablature, and played a few tunes for me. I predicted that he would become (as he recalls) "one of the hottest banjo players in the bay area." A bold prediction at the time, it now seems modest in retrospect.
But in order to achieve this goal, I ruthlessly dictated that he lock all his tablatures in a drawer, and we began a program of ear training and improvising. Sometimes we would trade breaks on a single tune, nonstop, for half an hour and I'd insist that he play it differently each time.
While I can't take credit for the musician he would become, I'd like to think I played a key role in laying the groundwork.