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#2952093 - 10/09/18 07:44 AM Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons
chigson Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/08/18
Posts: 65
Loc: Ukraine
I found a guy who is more or less known in the jazz circles of my city, and other guy who's opinion I trust told me that he should be a good teacher for me (as he knows him, probably played with him, and heard me playing).
I contacted the guy and we agreed to have a first lesson on this week!

Unfortunately, it's pricey (half my day's salary for an hour lesson) - so I'm thinking if there are some things I should put more attention into / ask him to tell me more about, as I will probably only take a few lessons and continue to study on my own.
Also, I didn't have lessons with music teachers since I was in music school around 10 years ago, so I don't really know how it should even work now.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
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#2952109 - 10/09/18 09:12 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: chigson]
MuzikTeechur Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 1608
Loc: Kittery, Maine
Ask if he minds if you record the lessons. This will be of GREAT value and in re-visiting the recordings you'll pick up stuff you missed previously.

In college, I studied with a man by the name of Darryl Rhodes - monster player - and he was the one who insisted I record the lessons. 30 years later I still pull out the recordings and listen to them. A hugely valuable resource.
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#2952111 - 10/09/18 09:21 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: MuzikTeechur]
Krakked Knuckles Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 07/24/13
Posts: 1745
Loc: United Kingdom
You beat me to it Muzikteechur! Definitely record the lessons. And, needless to say, put in loads of practice after each one. If he is good, it will be well worth it. You will gain in knowledge and inspiration and many other things which you might not expect. Good luck. smile
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#2952145 - 10/09/18 11:22 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Krakked Knuckles]
Bone Muskeleton Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 19905
Loc: Heaven, Hell, or Houston
Sorry for going a bit OT but I have a question about recording lessons.

I had a teacher once who, when I started, said it was okay for me to record the lessons. After a few months or more of doing so, the teacher suddenly decided I shouldn't record them any more. The teacher seemed to feel that I wasn't paying attention during the lessons and that I was using the recordings to catch up or something. (Not to mention the teacher was totally passive-aggressive about it. Instead of simply discussing and/or asking me to stop recording for this reason, the teacher instead said they were going to beat me up about it during the lesson and continued to make comments like, "well, you'll get that when you listen to the recording." mad )

Does that make any sense to anyone? I felt like what I got from the lessons dropped off significantly after that. Many little gems were lost. Lots of the little phrasings, rhythms, workouts, drills, were lost to the ether because maybe I'd work on one that I remembered and then forget the others by a few days later when I was ready to work on the next one.

I wish I could say that everything that happened in an hour-long lesson stuck with me after I left, but it simply doesn't. When I was recording the lessons, the first thing I'd do would be to listen back and write notes from them that I kept in a notebook app. I had volumes of info, and listening back reinforced what I did remember and helped me to remember the other info as well.

Crazy, right?



chigson - What I would do if I were you would be to see if the teacher is amenable to doing the lessons at a frequency you can afford, like once a month or something. Or maybe just once in a while, not a set schedule but where you could go back and have him help you with whatever you've been working on. Lots of more experienced players do it this way. I know a guy who studies with Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets) and between Will's schedule and his, they see each other every few months or so. They're probably more like master classes than lessons if you know what I mean.
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#2952151 - 10/09/18 11:31 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Bone Muskeleton]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6254
Loc: Rochester, NY
People learn better in smaller amounts. Bruce Lee of all people taught me that. I mean it's very hard after even a half hour to retain a lot of information so you get only pieces of it.
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#2952188 - 10/09/18 02:37 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Outkaster]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 7027
Loc: S. Ca. USA
Yes I , as usual, see at least two sides to this - to record or not to record, that is the question, question.
I think subconsciously the recording can cause a slackening of attention.

Maybe take notes, and only record a minute here and there of those things that really hit you between the numbers ( NFL jargon, for the sedentary ) .

Also, I am haunted by my increasing appreciation of Bill the genius Evans and his video with his brother. He hints that much of the discoveries are best made on our own.
Lessons ought to peak interest only. No one can hand you INTEREST on a silver platter.
Interest is in born, btw.
What we are interested in ( and I mean in more specific sense, not merely " i am interested in music, or in piano" duh, no) is a very significant marker of what we do at the keyboard. it is inborn.
One may be drawn to recording multiple sounds, instruments. Another in voicings , or a certain style personified by a maestro level player.
Interest is a gift to each of us. Learn to recognize your own interest, and pursue it aggressively. The teacher is a mere catalyst.
make sense?

Hey OP, if I ever meet you, I am going to kick your ass. lol
I hope you are progressing ... the fire of interest can be squandered, So seize the day with your desire.


Edited by I-missRichardTee (10/09/18 02:40 PM)
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#2952197 - 10/09/18 03:05 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Outkaster]
Bone Muskeleton Offline
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Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee
Yes I , as usual, see at least two sides to this - to record or not to record, that is the question, question.
I think subconsciously the recording can cause a slackening of attention.
I think this is what my teacher was thinking. While I understand it, *I* never felt like the recording hurt my attention span nor did I feel like it improved without it. If all else stayed the same, I got more out of having it, IMNSHO.

I know for a fact that sometimes under those pressure kinds of situations where someone shows me something and I try to play it back, I struggle for a few passes at least to get it right. On that day, "No. Try again. No. No. Almost. Try again. Almost. Yes! No" became all that plus, "well, you'll hear it on the recording."
Originally Posted By: Outkaster
People learn better in smaller amounts. Bruce Lee of all people taught me that. I mean it's very hard after even a half hour to retain a lot of information so you get only pieces of it.
I totally agree. I often described these lessons as a fire hose. The recording let me get most of the content eventually.

Sorry, chigson about the OT, but maybe it will help?
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#2952208 - 10/09/18 03:42 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Bone Muskeleton]
Krakked Knuckles Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 07/24/13
Posts: 1745
Loc: United Kingdom
Your teacher's attitude was utterly weird, Joe. I know from when I took lessons how invaluable the recordings were. It is impossible to remember even most - let alone everything taught during a lesson. The recording clarifies everything and cements it. I would just turn it on at the start of the lesson then forget all about it. I didn't always need to listen back to it, but whenI did, I was so grateful to have it.

As a teacher, I am more than happy for my students to record their lessons with me. In fact, I am delighted when they do so as it demonstrates how very interested they are, and that they are prepared to spend time revisiting the material in the week. This can only speed up their progress. smile

I cannot begin to understand your teacher's motivation, Joe, but it doesn't seem to have sprung from a concern for what might help you the most....
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"Turn your fingers into a dust rag and keep them keys clean!" wink Bluzeyone

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#2952213 - 10/09/18 03:56 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: I-missRichardTee]
chigson Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/08/18
Posts: 65
Loc: Ukraine
Originally Posted By: I-missRichardTee

Hey OP, if I ever meet you, I am going to kick your ass. lol
I hope you are progressing ... the fire of interest can be squandered, So seize the day with your desire.

Hehe, thanks man
Yes I am! smile

Haven't noticed it at first, but after a couple of months I can see that I'm moving in the right direction. Talking to other people connected to music really helps to keep myself on track.
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#2952214 - 10/09/18 03:57 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Krakked Knuckles]
MaskOfInsects Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/04/15
Posts: 3555
Loc: California
Joe, my guess is that the teacher never actually wanted you to record the lessons and spent a couple of months engaging in confirmation bias about why that resistance was correct. This would square with the pass-aggro approach after the fact.

I do think of instruction as something dynamic and in-the-moment, and it's possible the teacher felt he or she wasn't experiencing the same give-and-take with you as he or she would have if you didn't have the safety net of the recording in the back of your mind. In that case, teacher's observation about you not getting quite as much out of the lesson was really about teacher's ability to GIVE as much, given the wonder about whether you were fully engaged. (Regardless of whether you were.) I don't find it weird necessarily, just an indication and that teaching and learning styles didn't line up well in this case.

At the college level, some profs post slides and some don't. Those who don't absolutely do feel that the safety net dampens in-class engagement and substantive give-and-take. I was instructed directly by a mentor not to post mine. I take a middle ground and post "Master Slides" right before tests. That way they serve as study guides, but not a mechanism for disengagement in lecture.
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#2952216 - 10/09/18 03:59 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Bone Muskeleton]
chigson Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/08/18
Posts: 65
Loc: Ukraine
Originally Posted By: Bone Muskeleton

Sorry, chigson about the OT, but maybe it will help?


Hey no problem, that kind of OT is greeted in my threads
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if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?

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#2952217 - 10/09/18 04:04 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: chigson]
timwat Offline
Quite wealthy...spiritually
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Registered: 11/21/01
Posts: 5704
Loc: Concord,CA,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: chigson
so I'm thinking if there are some things I should put more attention into / ask him to tell me more about, as I will probably only take a few lessons and continue to study on my own.


In no particular order, some suggestions:


1) Make sure you understand where he has assessed you are weak - in other words, what you need work on and why. Knowing the intent behind any exercises / homework / assignments will increase your focus and perseverance.

2) If he can, ask him to articulate how the assigned work will address your weak areas. Reason is same as above.

3) Ask him to identify what you are doing well. Everyone needs honest, truthful encouragement.

4) There is no substitute for putting in the hard work. Working through everything in 12 keys (either chromatically or circle of fifths) is laborious, time-intensive, mentally exhausting. And yields dividends in all your playing, no matter the genre.

5) Your ears are two of your most important tools. Every single recording he mentions, write it down and track it down during the week and soak your ears in the music.
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#2952228 - 10/09/18 04:43 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: timwat]
JoJoB3 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/04/13
Posts: 303
Practice SLOWLY, DELIBERATELY, and CORRECTLY each day.

Only question is: can you do that?


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#2952235 - 10/09/18 05:23 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: JoJoB3]
Mogut Offline
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Registered: 03/18/05
Posts: 2006
Loc: Michigan
be practiced before every lesson so he can move on to the next thing. Hopefully youll get more out of him
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#2952259 - 10/09/18 07:06 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Mogut]
Rusty Mike Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 860
Loc: Central NJ
I got permission from my teacher to record the lessons. In fact, she was very encouraging about it. Prior to bringing the recorder, I was actually too distracted taking notes during the lesson that it was cutting into learning time. I simply can't retain everything we talked about.

A few days after the lesson, I'll review the recording and write down the important points.

One point I'd like to make regards the frequency of the lessons. I see my teacher once every 4-6 weeks or so. This gives me time to work on things and make progress. I'm an adult; I don't need her guidance every week, and certainly don't need to feel the pressure of making progress every week. I'll send an email to her if I have a question, but it usually can wait until I see her.

When I started taking lessons again, I had to get myself into the groove of taking lessons. I wasn't sure how to capture the important things she was saying, particular songs or recordings she would reference, etc. Bringing the recorder is just one of the thing that enhance the lesson time. It also allows me to capture her playing and technique. We don't have the same playing style, but hearing Tomoko's interpretation on certain things is a huge help.
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Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
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#2952289 - 10/10/18 01:04 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Rusty Mike]
chigson Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/08/18
Posts: 65
Loc: Ukraine
I guess I'll record it and see how it goes. Hopefully teacher won't mind
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#2952301 - 10/10/18 04:25 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: chigson]
Rusty Mike Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 860
Loc: Central NJ
As a courtesy you should ask first, and offer to share the recordings.

I use a Zoom H2; set it up on the piano to the left of the music desk and let it run.
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Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living

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#2952308 - 10/10/18 05:17 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Rusty Mike]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6254
Loc: Rochester, NY
My teacher is a little different, more of a coach. We work on various things and since I am back to every other week it's a little less pressure. If he noticed something in my technique he would tell me and we would address it. I just think it's easier in some respects to take lessons as an older person and so much harder in others.
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#2952313 - 10/10/18 05:45 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Outkaster]
Rusty Mike Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 860
Loc: Central NJ
It takes me so long to get stuff under my fingers and into my brain. I would not do well with a lesson every other week.

The rest of my life is so stressful right now. I can't let the music be part of that stress. I need it to be my sanctuary, so it's better to work at my own pace. I'm looking forward to retirement (whenever that is) so I can spend more time on being a better piano player.

Back on topic, I think one of the most important things is to have a teacher that you can connect with. You need to have a mutual understanding about the objectives, approach and tactics. As adults, we have more preconceptions than children do, and we often have tangible goals we want to reach. As Outkaster says, this is a benefit and a hindrance.

In listening back to my lesson recordings, the first, most important thing I noticed was how much I talk. I just won't shut up! Since making that observation, I've tried to focus on just being the student for that 90 minutes and let Tomoko speak. I'm not paying her to be my therapist.
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Mike from Central NJ
Tools: Ten fingers, two feet, middle-age brain, questionable judgement and taste
Toys: More gear than I could afford when I had talent and did this for a living

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#2952387 - 10/10/18 12:01 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Rusty Mike]
Bone Muskeleton Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
Posts: 19905
Loc: Heaven, Hell, or Houston
Thanks for the comments about my experiences with recording that teacher, everyone.

I get it. The original "jazz tradition" was that it was passed down aurally from old guy to younger guy or such, and I think this teacher was trying to make me capable of that. While I get it, I wasn't there (I don't think I am now, either).

It's kind of sad. There were things about this teacher that I really liked, but some things like this really turned me off and eventually lead to me ending the lessons.
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We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams Willy Wonka

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M0eMkcc91E

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#2952440 - 10/10/18 07:00 PM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: JoJoB3]
Donsta Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/16/16
Posts: 167
Originally Posted By: JoJoB3
Practice SLOWLY, DELIBERATELY, and CORRECTLY each day.

Only question is: can you do that?



This! The only thing I'd like to add is to review the lesson within 24 hours. Memory is very fleeting with new material.
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#2952506 - 10/11/18 07:50 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Donsta]
Al Quinn Offline
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Registered: 08/13/14
Posts: 1160
Loc: Center Moriches, NY
Yes, I think it's a good idea to record lessons. I've done it and have benefited. Also, I've had students record lessons I've given. I respect their initiative for doing so.
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#2952521 - 10/11/18 08:47 AM Re: Tips about how to get maximum results from lessons [Re: Al Quinn]
Legatoboy Online   content
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Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 3907
Loc: Huntington Sta., New York (LI)
I record many of my lessons with a Zoom H2. . .try to be open, like a wide-eyed kid about learning. Because adults loose that ability along with their muscle tone most often than not. . . and you need to be like that . . . I still study and for more years than I'd like to admit and love it...but it's more like having a music coach at this point and has been like that for awhile after years of later beginner and intermediate study (with a day gig)...thankfully at this ripe old age I feel I have reached the Pearly Gates of advanced modern piano study . . . he's very ill now and praying he survives but he's still teaching and I'm still going! Became part of my life and it was wonderful, not one regret!

I'm preparing to teach again myself in retirement..as I did through the recessions where I gigged and played for a living...he learned how to teach in the process as part of the lessons.


Edited by Legatoboy (10/11/18 09:10 AM)
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