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Teacher or no Teacher?


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Lately I've come to the conclusion that teachers are essential. I've always felt like this to some extent but the more I play with musicians who were entirely self-taught the more I feel you can't get by just teaching yourself. I've taught myself a lot of things and when I started when I was really young the first music I was making was all based on experimentation by myself. BUT...when I really look back and analyze my development as a musician I keep seeing the influence of my teachers as being primary. I'm not very eloquent today...sorry...but in other words, all the major steps forward in my musical ability were a result, directly or indirectly, of the training and discipline from my teachers. So...what do you guys think? How important is it for an aspiring musician to get a good teacher? There's lots of books and videos out there but most of them are either total crap or they only focus on basic stuff (or just the wrong stuff). I fear with the advent of RocknRoll that has made guys like the Rolling Stones multi-millionaires (ok that was a joke)...it's become a popular trend to just learn chords from a book...y'know enough to play "Classic Rock Hits" and figure that's all you need. Well I'm not explaining myself too well here...help me out?
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The only thing I ever learned to play without a teacher is drums. Ironic that drums are the instrument I am most comfortable. The learning process is greatly accelerated with a good teacher. It is also essential to have someone to help you avoid bad technique. I'm grateful for an excellent piano teacher. What I learned from her has been the basis for learning all other instruments I have played, including drums. Robert
This post edited for speling.
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I can't think of anyone saying otherwise. I'm self taught and even at my age, I'm thinking of starting lessons. You can teach yourself a lot of stuff, that's well known. But what you can learn from proper instruction takes you so much farther. Whitefang
I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Well there actually are some pretty decent arguments for not having a teacher...I don't think I accept them anymore but if there is someone here who does I'd like to read their opinion. This thread is partly inspired by the fact that lately I've really been wishing my nephew had taken my advice and either went to music school or found a really good private teacher. He's a punk, plays drums in a working Punk band but he also plays and enjoys other styles of music. IMO he'll never have the confidence/skills in those other styles that he wants/needs. Aw well...I can't make him see things my way so I'll just have to trust that he'll find the best way for himself in the long run. It just makes me kinda sad knowing that he had the perfect opportunity to really excel at a ripe age and instead he just kinda hung around and partied from age 18-20. Now he's on the road almost full-time...no doubt becoming a better drummer but well...y'know. Kids. :)
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Hey Steve, How Ya? Lessons are probably good in a lot of ways. Let me throw this up & see what it catches, OK? What lessons in that steel did your dad have? Damn man, he was one of the leaders in progressive steel guitar playing. Lessons don't teach that. You have those genes man. Lessons can help you in some ways but, maybe not the way you're looking. It sounds to me like you already have the capability to play guitar very well. As much as I don't favor the Rhoades, you play the damned thing very well. That brings to mind. What are you really looking for in this search? You talked about elequence. Well I'm probably missing my meaning here so I hope you don't get offended. I'm thinking that with your ability, background and desire the teachers may help with the technique but not the product. Make sense at all? Dak

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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heh...well no I'm not talking about me really...I've had teachers since I was 5 years old...I was lucky to have really good ones too. When I talked about not being eloquent (how the hell is that word spelled?), I was referring to my writing on this messageboard...I wasn't sure I was getting my point across. [quote]What lessons in that steel did your dad have? Damn man, he was one of the leaders in progressive steel guitar playing. Lessons don't teach that.[/quote]My Dad didn't have any private teachers on the Pedal Steel...it was a new instrument when he started...he's one of the pioneers...but he did seek out and respect education. He studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston for more than a year taking Music Theory and Jazz courses. So yeah, he was [b]mostly[/b] self-taught but I think he's an extreme example and not the norm, even still he greatly benefited from teachers. Also, he didn't just listen to Buddy Emmons, Ralph Mooney, etc...he really studied them, bought whatever books he could find about guys developing Steel tunings, etc....he was very active about learning music. I'm not searching for answers on what to do in this thread as much as just approaching the subject. FWIW...I am going to take up Pedal Steel lessons this year, I already have a teacher in mind...I think I could learn what I need on my own but I don't really have time for that. I need someone to help me focus so that with a bit of disciplined practice it won't take so long to get what I need.
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Ah, Here's the line I missed; [b]So...what do you guys think? How important is it for an aspiring musician to get a good teacher?[/b] That's what I get for reading too fast & now it's making more sense to me. duh :idea: Maybe I'll still do it. I ain't all that old, am I? :eek:

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Before I found a teacher, I was lucky to be able to be in several bands with people who knew more than me and were willing to pass along some knowledge. I can`t think of any argument[i]against[/i]having a teacher, but there are a couple things to keep in mind: 1. good teachers aren`t cheap. Mine certainly wasn`t 2. teachers have their own musical biases. Good ones keep open minds about whatever their students are interested in 3. teachers have their own approaches. If you can`t stay with one person on a fairly steady basis you`re likely to run into the `everything you know is wrong` syndrome
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I am almost completely self taught. I came from a very poor backround and paying for lessons was not an option. I have made a living as a musician, singer, entertainer for 25 years. I have worked with, and have employed, some legendary musicians and singers. That being said; I wish I could have taken lessons when I was younger because I would probably have evolved much faster and had a better grasp of the fundamentals at an earlier age. I always studied though. I always asked alot of questions. I had a very prominent trumpet player room with me on the road for a couple of years. I was the music director for a couple of well know R&B singers at the time, so I would give him a summer job, and he would tutor me in theory, arranging, or what ever else I wanted to work on. It wasn't formal study, but he is the only real teacher I every had. I think a good teacher is very important, but desire to play is the only essential ingredient in being a good/great musician. All things being equal, if you truly are destined to play, nothing and no one will stop you. There are so many more learning resources these days that were nonexistent when I was a kid. Give me two kids with equal talent; one with lessons and no passion, and one with no lessons but a burning desire to be a musician, I will take that passionate one every time. Just my opinion.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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If you compare music to almost anything ... If you compare it to a language, well most kids learn languages by being taught it. If you say it is a life skill, children have parents who teach them. If you say it is a profession then more formal credentialling and teaching come into play. I think the only reason that the question arises is because there has been such bad music teaching in the past, and some of us have been hurt by it. That's what prevents me from signing up for composition classes at the local university. I am afraid of the horseshit factor. Finding a good teacher you can trust.... well that seems to be the issue for me. Jerry
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Do you need a teacher? I say that depends on the student and the instrument. There's plenty of material available to teach one's self guitar, for example. How important are lessons for guitar? I couldn't say, considering that guitar is one of those instruments I don't play, but I'd go out on a limb and say no. How about violin? That answer seems almost definately yes, no matter how gifted a student might be. Other instruments lie somewhere in between and in tose cases, I think that it depends on the student. I also don't think that lessons are a good idea for the ultra-beginner student. This student should learn what he can so that when he takes lessons, he spends his time and money learning those things that cannot easily be self taught. The true advantage of lessons is that they (under a good teacher, that is) will teach those things that a student needs, but might not want, to learn. The well-educated teacher can see how somethng as basic and mind-numbingly boring as major scales are of the utmost importance, and will not only teach those scales but also teach the student how they are incorporated into every facet of the instrument. Even if the student taught himself those scales, chances are likely that he wouldn't know their benefit. I am very much for lessons, and as soon as I pay off the bank loan for my URB, I plan to take lessons on said URB, piano, and for voice.
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Maybe I'm weird but I really don't play nice with too many teachers. Never really have. I am blessed (or cursed) with the ability to learn just about anything very quickly. I am one of those photographic memory guys. This has always been problematic because I have had a ton of issues with teachers who just can't keep up. I do much better on my own because i think i am the only one who has a clue of how my mind works. :D The funny thing is no matter what the subject is I usually make a terrible teacher. I have no patience and honestly have no understanding why some people just do not grasp certain things. I have also seen too many people who are clones of their teacher. That really bugs the shit outta me. Teachers are not always evil but i personally have not had rewarding experiences with them.

Reach out and grab a clue.

 

Something Vicious

My solo crap

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[quote]I am almost completely self taught. I came from a very poor backround and paying for lessons was not an option.[/quote]I don't doubt lessons were out of the question for you...I don't know enough about your situation to assume otherwise. However, I do want to add the fact that there often are options even for the poorest families. FWIW...my family was dirt poor...6 kids on a musician's salary, add to that some rocky times where my Dad couldn't get work...my parents struggled bigtime financially, if it weren't for the help of our Church at the time we wouldn't have made it. My mom searched and searched for a good teacher for me that would work for next to nothing...she had to convince the teacher I was worth his time. I ended up getting lessons for $5 an hour from one of the best piano instructors in Memphis, TN. Later scholarships/grants helped me to study at Blair Music school, New England Conservatory and Dick Grove. My parents did make some sacrifices...it wasn't always easy but I knew this so it inspired me to practice even more and I think I learned an appreciation for that. I only bring this up because a lot of people give up on trying to get a teacher or go to music school before really seeking out all the possibilities.
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Well, I still say the best music teacher is a tape recorder. I went through the regular channels in school playing clarinet and then sax in band. Also learned music in church choir. My main instrument is guitar and bass. I took around 12 weeks or so of lessons on guitar and got completely sick of it. I quit and learned to play by jamming with a record player. Later I got a bass and just happened to be one of the only bass players in town. I learned a lot by watching older guitarists when we jammed, me on bass. Piano and drums I would love to have lessons. My chops are so limited but really I think I just need to put in more time messing with them. I've got an old, little drum kit in pretty good shape and have been practicing, but I'd really love to be able to come up with a weighted keyboard to practice on. I don't know... Really I don't want or think I need lessons on guitar, bass, mando or whatever. Writing is what I mostly love and I just can't see taking song writing lessons. If someone wanted to learn a new style that they're not familiar with, maybe it would be good for you but honestly, I get the most from learning to play stuff I like by ear and springboarding from there into my own thing.
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[quote]Originally posted by Uncle Milty: [b]Hey Steve, How Ya? Lessons are probably good in a lot of ways. Let me throw this up & see what it catches, OK? What lessons in that steel did your dad have? Damn man, he was one of the leaders in progressive steel guitar playing. Lessons don't teach that. You have those genes man. Lessons can help you in some ways but, maybe not the way you're looking. It sounds to me like you already have the capability to play guitar very well. As much as I don't favor the Rhoades, you play the damned thing very well. That brings to mind. What are you really looking for in this search? You talked about elequence. Well I'm probably missing my meaning here so I hope you don't get offended. I'm thinking that with your ability, background and desire the teachers may help with the technique but not the product. Make sense at all? Dak[/b][/quote]I agree with Dak. It's in the genes, sorta...but also the will. You don't use your fingers to play the guitar, you use your ears...if you can't hear it, you can't play it, and no matter how good a teacher you have, you won't get it. That said... It depends on what you want to do with the instrument. If you want to be Steve(s) Vai or Lukather, then by all means, get lessons. If you want to be Tom Petty, you may not need them. Finding a good teacher can also be problematic...one who'll take you where you want to go. I wouldn't go to a Segovia clone for lessons if I wanted to be Barney Kessel. Ultimately, I think that lessons speed up the process of self teaching, and introduce new ideas where none might have otherwise existed.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Number me in the "wish I had better teaching camp," but also with Hank in that I'm just not good student material. It has taken me years to recognize that I don't learn in a linear, progressive fashion. I flounder in chaos and then, bing, somehow, underground, I have learned something. There's a sort of a global shift and what was previoulsy a lot of greek suddenly becomes sensible and applicable. I've experienced several of these shifts recently in the area of synth programming, and that world has swung open for me. I go back and look at the introductory tutorials that had seemed impenetrable to me at first, and now they make perfect sense--but they didn't when I came at them cold, before hours and hours of undirected and often frustrating exploration. So in this way, standard, progressive instruction is only useful as a means of verifying and completing what I've already discovered for myself. In much the same way, I'm a professional writer who never uses an outline until *after* I am more or less done composing. Were I 20 years younger, I am quite confident I would have been diagnosed with all manner of learning disability (as my son is being right now :( ). It takes a teacher who is more than a good musician and a good soul to deal with us alternative learners. On some levels, I'm resigned to doing it myself, and accept that no matter how hard I work, I will always be a tad idiosyncratic. But on another level, I'm serioulsy considering a piano teacher. I just need to find one who understands my objectives, even as he/she strives to make me understand his/hers.
Check out the Sweet Clementines CD at bandcamp
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Stephen LeBlanc: [quote]I don't doubt lessons were out of the question for you...I don't know enough about your situation to assume otherwise. [/quote]Ok. :confused: [quote]My mom searched and searched for a good teacher for me that would work for next to nothing...she had to convince the teacher I was worth his time. I ended up getting lessons for $5 an hour from one of the best piano instructors in Memphis, TN. My parents did make some sacrifices...it wasn't always easy but I knew this so it inspired me to practice even more and I think I learned an appreciation for that. [/quote]I am glad to hear that your parents found a way to get you private instruction. You should be forever grateful to them. Not all parents are as Conscious, or ambitious as yours. They sound like real salt of the earth folks.Your post tells me more about your parents than it does about you. In the end, if your soul is here to express itself through music, you will find a way, irregardless of your financial or home situation.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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Teachers can be helpful or hindering. I think the best thing is a combination of self-education (all the better to select a good teacher, my dear) & studying with several teachers to garner the best from their different outlooks. The only problem is that the most effective educational period is when we are too young to select for ourselves what or how we study.
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[quote]Stephen LeBlanc: quote: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't doubt lessons were out of the question for you...I don't know enough about your situation to assume otherwise. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ok. :confused: [/quote]Last time I try to qualify my next paragraph :) Basically I was just saying...yeah I believe you when you say there was no viable options for you to get a [b]good[/b] private teacher when you were young. :) No hidden meaning in my post...just bad (or at least rushed) communication on my part. I was trying too hard not to offend you...silly me :) ...but I definitly wanted to say loud and clear that IMO/FWIW/etc. there are always options.
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[quote]I was trying too hard not to offend you...silly me ...but I definitly wanted to say loud and clear that IMO/FWIW/etc. there are always options. [/quote]No offense taken. And my option was getting myself a guitar and educating myself. And then continuing my pursuit of music and education throughout my life. There is a huge difference between the options [b]parents[/b] have in getting their children educated. And options that [b]children[/b] have in getting themselves an education. Especially when you add in factors like poverty, enviroment, substance abuse and mental illness. I think you may be missing this distinction between a parent and a childs options. I was way too passionate about music to let my dire childhood circumstances, or my parents personal problems stop me from becoming a professional musician. Again, kudo's to your parents. Those were my options. So in a backhanded way, I guess you are right. :)

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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I was fortunate to grow up in a musical family. I was performing from a rather young age, and my folks played sophisticated stuff. So I kinda skipped the I - IV - V songs, and started learning jazz changes. When I was younger, I always was playing with musicians' older than myself, and I would ask questions. What's that chord? I was in band in intermediate school so I learned to read treble clef while playing the trumpet. But I have never paid for lessons. My son is also growing up in a musical family, and I am his teacher. He is a bright kid, and at 13 is waaay beyond where I was at his age. He has the drive and discipline, so I just try to show him what I know, like my "teachers" did for me.
I'm trying to think but nuthin' happens....
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