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When is it time to move on? (teacher question)


dohhhhh6

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Hello, I've been being taught by the same bass teacher for the last almost 2 years, and I'm wondering if it's time to move on.

 

Right now, all I'm learning are new songs. I mean, it's partly my fault that we're not moving on, but I think I need a more driving type of teacher to help with self motivation.

 

My old piano teachers taught out of an old, boring excercise book. Piano already was boring to me, so that didn't help. When I came to this guy, I liked that he wanted me to play things that I wanted to play. He threw some lessons into it as well.

 

He's taught me the 5 degrees of pentatonics, how to read charts, a ton of chordal theory, how to tap, slap, and fingerstyle, and many upon many tunes. Do you think I should keep on tapping him for more knowledge? He's read several books and always gives me his own, down-to-earth take on the things he teaches me. In the way he connects, he's a wonderful teacher.

 

But again, I always have to come to him to teach me something, a lot of times I need to be specific. I think possibly that a more driving teacher would exclude that and making things a bit more teaching and learning and less doodling.

 

So what's your take? Should I try to curb things or take the route out?

 

Thanks for the help guys.

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Originally posted by Da LadY In Tha Pink Dress:

I think I need a more driving type of teacher to help with self motivation.

 

Interesting position with regard to self-motivation. :confused:;)

My old piano teachers taught out of an old, boring excercise book. Piano already was boring to me, so that didn't help. When I came to this guy, I liked that he wanted me to play things that I wanted to play. He threw some lessons into it as well.

 

He's taught me the 5 degrees of pentatonics, how to read charts, a ton of chordal theory, how to tap, slap, and fingerstyle, and many upon many tunes. Do you think I should keep on tapping him for more knowledge? He's read several books and always gives me his own, down-to-earth take on the things he teaches me. In the way he connects, he's a wonderful teacher.

 

Sounds like you've got a pretty good teacher to me.

 

Have you expressed these concerns to your teacher? If you haven't really discussed short- and long-term goals, you can't really blame him for not pushing you in any direction.

 

The hard fact of private lessons is from the teacher's perspective it's largely about student retention. Real progress takes some work, but most students glaze over if they're not having "fun," so teachers have to walk a fine line between pedantry and poverty. If you're teacher doesn't know you actually want more demanding and challenging material, he's probably gonna keep doing what worked for both of you for two years.

 

So express your concerns and give him a chance.

 

Of course, this presupposes that you have actually thought about and can articulate your goals. So it's kinda incumbent on you to bring that to your next lesson, or whenever you decide to broach the subject.

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I agree with Dennyf.

It sounds like you have a good teacher. Is it possible that he is not sure where to take you? Try bringing it up to him and see what he says. Challenge him to challenge you and see what happens.

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I've had a couple of great teachers over the years. One of whom I considered a friend as well as an instructor. I'll definitely agree, it sounds like you've got a good teacher. However, it also sounds like you've reached a point where you may want to redefine your personal goals.

 

From my own experience, I found that I was able to tailor where I was going with my teacher by giving him feedback about how I thought things were going, where I thought I wanted to go, etc. It was very much a relationship of give and take. See, it got to the point where I started to get a feel for where I was going as a musician. I grew to recognize some of my strengths and weakneses, and expressed my concerns with my teacher. He was totally cool about it, and we moved our lessons in those directions. He still continued to challenge me, but I think he also wanted me to take a look at myself and come up with some of my own challenges as well. He would help along the way, but he let me feel things out. Basically, even though this guy was a Berklee grad, he wanted me to be me as a musician. That means that the teacher has to "let go" to a degree and let their student grow.

 

I know this all may sound a little vague, but I think a great teacher not only passes along knowledge, but also learns from their students. A good teacher is also going to inspire a good measure of curiosity and the ability to criticize yourself. Being able to recognize how you need to grow and what you need to learn as a musician is a sign of musical maturity. It sounds like that might be a place where you're headed. It took me a little time to understand that kind of deal, but it made the student-teacher relationship all the more important to me. I could go to my teacher and say "look, I'm really having a hard time with such and such" and we would work on that. That is never a bad thing in my book. If you can be that self-aware and honestly criticize yourself, I think it makes you a much better musician.

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Brief take...just my opinion.

 

Get out and do some stuff away from the teacher. Good that you're taking lessons, but, you need to expand your performance boundaries to apply the knowledge that you've gained so far. Time for a little self-teaching, IMO...and, if that goes well, you know what? You'll find yourself asking questions. Questions that hadn't occurred to you before. Then...time to go back to the teacher.

 

And, don't forget, in some cases, there's more than one way to skin an oyster...in other words...sometimes it's good to consider others' take on an issue.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I am very thankful if my students speak up with any discontent or evaluation with the lessons we have. Usually (luckily) nothing too bad. Now, it does sound like you have a good teacher. Sometimes, you need to move on to a different teacher just to get a different attitude or vibe. I just started vocal lessons a while back, and I can't tell you how nice it is just to be around a different personality as an instructor than what I've surrounded myself with in the past. I have had some players where I feel like I've given them all I can give and do suggest they find a different teacher. It's not a bad thing. It's like growing out of a relationship. It's great to take lessons from different people after you get to a certain point. Sometimes, if things get stagnant with students, I'll suggest focusing on styles. But, in actuality, if the student is a decent enough player, they should be able to get some great books and be able to practice and absorb. Unless they are looking to learn from a master at a style. Otherwise, it's a few different approaches, thoughts and physical techniques.

 

Hope any of this helps. Let us know how it goes.

Mike Bear

 

Artisan-Vocals/Bass

Instructor

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I also agree with dennyf. It sounds like like you have a pretty good teacher so...

 

What is it that you want to achieve? And if you say, "I just want to get better" that's no answer. You need to determine your own interests. Reading literature and philosophy gets my mind motion. If books piss you off try some classic movies like "Gone With the Wind" "Les Miserables" "Schindler's List". Something to force yourself to decide between right and wrong and get passionate about.

 

If your playing has become stagnant my guess is your mind is a bit, well, stagnant these days. Find some stimulation. Stir up your mind.

 

Good luck! :thu:

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Sounds to me like your teacher is doing all the right things but that you aren't really into studying with him. For whatever reason that is I think the crux of it lies with you and not the teacher. It's not a bad thing to want to get a different opinion or even to not study for a while and digest the material you've been given, but from your post I really don't think the problem lies with him.
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