Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Being taught vs. learning


I  I mjrn

Recommended Posts

Anyone read the recent Kevin Eubanks feature in Guitar Player?

 

Other than the things that he suggests in the course of the playing examples he provides, one of the most interesting bits is the remarks at the end of the article. He states that he never teaches classes "because too may people don't want to learn; they want to be taught".

 

What's the difference?

I think an example serves best to illustrate:

Consider how often we see people looking for tab, etc., for material they have recordings of.

Sometimes this is for material [like, say, a Jeff Beck performance of a blues tune ;) ] that would require a fair degree of proficiency to duplicate.

We might presume that the person seeking this material would need a certain skill level to execute the material....so why don't they try to study it & learn it on their own?

The quick answer would be "they don't want to learn; they want to be taught".

 

I'm not suggesting we shouldn't ever study transcriptions but, to me, there's something lacking when we just want to somehow aquire the chops without the effort to study on our own.

Sometime there's even a great, new result from our mistakes in trying to learn something.

In any case, the whole basis of being a musician is better served by exploring material & learning it.

Our ears can certainly benefit from the effort & I think whether we're willing to try or whter we just want it laid out for us says something about our personalities.

 

Again, there's always something we can learn by studying the work of others & sometimes aids like transcriptions help but anyone who wants to consider themselves a musician should also be willing to try to figure it out on their own, at least as a start.

 

Could you be a master carpenter & always ask how to build a design?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 25
  • Created
  • Last Reply

i never had much desire to cop all the tabbed solos that were available. i was more interested in how and why things worked. there is more knowledge available in the actual song structure.

some people miss this. there are tons of people ripping solos and not alot of them had any imagination to make their own music or even keep a rythym.

so, what i am trying to say is some people will look deeper and some just want to mimic whats cool.

lessons are great for keeping you focused, as long as you have a teacher who isn't trying to make you what they want you to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have done it every way there is. I've had a teacher that was really really talented, a few that I was better than :( , a great two year correspondense course with a fusion guy in california, every kind of practice video. A great teacher can save you years of frustration. But I have also spent forever trying to pull licks off of a record. I think it sticks in your head alot better if you figure it out yourself. Then again a killer teacher might show you things that you would not have come across in a million years. I think everyone should have a teacher to show them the map, and then it's up to you to explore all the roads. I guess it depends on what kind of player you want to be. :):)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because Kevin Ubanks said it doesn't mean it has any meaning at all. People say a lot of shit that we tend to suck up because they are successful at what they do. They may no have a clue what's right for everyone else. I for one, do not have the ear to work things out at this point. But I can read music some and of course tabs, so a combination of sheet music and tabulature helps me learn songs. I really don't care if it means I'm being "taught" or "learning". The label is meaningless. The playing is devine.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CWFNO, you can lambaste Eubanks (or in actuality, in this case me, since what I wrote here is my opinion in my own words) if you want but just because you may (defensively?) disagree doesn't make your opinion valid, either does it? ;)

Besides, have you ever considered how many incorrect versions of things there are, especially in the realm of guitar tablature on the Net?

 

As I said, there's often much to be learned from studying transcriptions but I sincerely think people are cutting themselves a bad deal when they depend on others to lay out everything for them rather than make an effort to learn on their own.

What's the old saying? "If you give a man to fish..." ;)

 

There is a difference between learning & being taught. In being taught we depend on someone to show us what they know; learning is taking the initiative to develop our beginner's skills by exploring & experimenting for ourselves.

It is, in fact, the only way that advancements are ever made.

 

You mention that your ear may not be sharp enough to learn some things yourself; that will always be the case to some degree but the best way to sharpen your abilities, especially in the realm we discuss here, is to exercise them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin is a very successful guitarist. He wasn't born that way. He had to find a process that works. He did, and because of that his opinion matters to me. My neighbor sucks at playing the guitar. His opinion matters much less.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eubanks is AMAZING!! I would listen to anything he said and take it to heart. He is a great lead player. Personally I learn the best from watching someone play. I don't learn when someone tries to explain the theory to me and gets lost in all of the technical jargon. I am all about watching/hearing/doing. My buddy graduated from Berkely school of music in Boston. He knows more about music theory than I do but he isn't really any better than he was before. The passion and the drive to hear what you play and play what you hear is the goal.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Michael Jackson's real nose:

CWFNO, you can lambaste Eubanks (or in actuality, in this case me, since what I wrote here is my opinion in my own words) if you want but just because you may (defensively?) disagree doesn't make your opinion valid, either does it? ;)

Besides, have you ever considered how many incorrect versions of things there are, especially in the realm of guitar tablature on the Net?

 

What do you mean correct? There is no correct nor incorrect music. There is only music that sounds good and music that sounds bad and even that is subjective. Kevin Ubanks, Eric Clapton, Phyllis Diller, and whoever else can give me all the advise they want. I'm simply stating that I choose for myself what I think is good or bad and I don't think a superstar guitar player is necessarily a good judge of character nor an expert on teaching. They may be. But then again, they may not. I just don't buy into all the quotes I read from the stars in this world. I've seen nothing that tells me they are incredibly wise. In the end, outside of understanding their own abilities and methods, they may know nothing more than you. That article kind of reminded me of an instructional golf video done by Jack Nicklous. One of my golf heros, but my God, what a lousy instructor. He appeared to be so disconnected with the "average" golfer, that he had no idea how to help them learn. KU may very well be in that catagory. Maybe he hates teaching so that is why he came up with that quip. Who the heck knows. A celebrity's words don't belong in anyones bible. Keep going in the direction you want. Be "taught", or "learn", but play, by all means play.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Learning vs being taught...It's pretty simple really.

 

It's like the difference between hearing and listening.

One, in this case learning requires effort on the part of the student, and the measure is in the ability to display what one has absorbed.

 

Being taught, specifically in the terms described above, implies an expectation on behalf of the student to automatically gain the knowledge by just turning up.

 

Sadly...this seems to extend to all students these days...and their parents also.

The feeling is that 'my kids turned up...and failed, so it's your fault as a teacher!'.

 

Seems like Kevins experienced that too...

How can we fight ignorance and apathy?

Who knows! Who cares!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sent an email To Kevin U via his fan club. It will be interesting to see if he responds or has time to. I decided to get a further explanation. I for one, do not think that "all" studends fall into a lazy catagory. There are some very eager students out there seeking knowledge and know how. Don't teach if you don't want to, but don't blame in on the students.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michael Jackson's Real Nose...

 

I sort of disagree (not entirely) about the tab thing.

 

If I may beg to clarify what I believe Mr. Eubanks meant, I'd say he probably really meant "Many people don't want to learn, they want to be spoon-fed. A person taking the initiative to look up tab on the web or elswhere is at least showing some initiative.

 

I've taught guitar...private lessons and group classes...on and off for over twenty years. A good friend who teaches full time at a music store in Michigan backs me up...most people who want to take lessons don't "connect the dots"...they can't see the big picture. When I was a kid, I figured out a few I-IV-V progressions and a pentatonic scale...then dropped the needle down on "Allman Bros. at the Fillmore" to learn a bunch of tunes. I figured out that you could apply one I-IV-V and a given pentatonic to about 5,000 songs. Not so most folks. They can't put that together. They want to be spoon fed...taught. They want their hand held.

 

I use a construction analogy. I tell them..."If I gave you the ability to build a doghouse, could you build a shed? And, if I only showed you just a tiny bit more, could you build a garage? And a little more, how about a house? Then, could you figure out how to build bigger and nicer houses without me holding your hand?" That's the way it should be with guitar. Not..."I showed you how to build a doghouse, and now you want me to show you again all that same stuff, plus more so you can build a shed...and then back to square one for a garage, etc...".

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by cwfno:

I for one, do not think that "all" studends fall into a lazy catagory. There are some very eager students out there seeking knowledge and know how. Don't teach if you don't want to, but don't blame in on the students.

Point taken...normally don't post rank generalizations like that...my bad...

 

However,

There are a GREAT MANY students...in private lessons, in regular school...probably in any form you like to name really...who do expect to learn without, or at the very least a minimal, effort.

 

Learning to read music became to hard, too much of an effort...so now we have TAB. Parents pay ludicrous sums to schools, and expect results because they 'paid for them'. Essay and thesis work? No sweat...google is GOOD!

 

Sadly, many people subscribe to the theory that learning is like fast food.

You pay, you get.

Well...you don't

 

There's no denying that there are many teachers 'phoning it in'. We've all had them.

But we shouldn't assume that because a student fails, it's the fault of the teacher.

Teachers have a responsibilty to ensure their students receive quality tuition and students have a resposibilty to truly make the effort to learn the teachings offered.

How can we fight ignorance and apathy?

Who knows! Who cares!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I beleive what Eubanks meant was that to LEARN, you have to be self motivated. Being taught involves someone showing you something, learning means seeing it for yourself, in your own way.

 

There's a difference between being shown and actually doing. Think of watching someone ride a bike, and actually riding the bike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Different people learn different ways. For most things, I'm a picture guy. If I can draw a picture of how something works, I'll understand it much better than if I read a paragraph about it. When it comes to music, I prefer to hear it and then write it down. But it's going to be different for everyone. And it also depends largely on what your goals are as well. If you aspire to just play some song note-for-note, and that's it, then why not use tab? After all, you don't have to be a mechanic to know how to drive a car. If you want to learn why the notes in a song work over its harmonic structure, then you look deeper. Maybe it's just that some people haven't figured out how to learn yet. That is, they haven't found the method that works best for them.

 

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by cwfno:

Originally posted by Michael Jackson's real nose:

Besides, have you ever considered how many incorrect versions of things there are, especially in the realm of guitar tablature on the Net?

 

[To which CWFNO replied:]

What do you mean "incorrect"?

Hey, slow yer roll there, CW.

Excuse me for being imprecise but by incorrect I mean inaccurate not wrong in some moral or artistic sense.

Do you see what I mean now?

 

I agree that "music is in the ear of the beholder" but the rest of what you say seems a bit irrelevant since it seems based on attacking something I didn't mean.

 

Let's try this: If one doesn't begin to take the step of beginning to develop their ear (& that's all that will really ever let one begin to be a player interacting with other musicians or, I think, ever develop any real musical skills) how do they develop? By copying what someone else lays out for them? Where does that take them?

 

Can you see what I'm getting at?

I'm not trying to run anyone down for getting started by learning from what others do but I'm suggesting that at some point we all must begin to develop our skills or else we really aren't musicians, are we? We're more like playback machines.

Please go back & check my idea that the way to develop your ear is to work on learning things for yourself. That's also the thing that might allow you to one day be a composer.

The more we try to find what's happening in a song/recording by exploring it ourselves, the better we get at doing it & the more able to play with others we become.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Tedster:

Michael Jackson's Real Nose...

 

I sort of disagree (not entirely) about the tab thing.

 

If I may beg to clarify what I believe Mr. Eubanks meant, I'd say he probably really meant "Many people don't want to learn, they want to be spoon-fed. A person taking the initiative to look up tab on the web or elswhere is at least showing some initiative.

Well, how much initiative is that?

 

It seems to me that your interpretation of the quote from KE is only more brutal than mine rather than different in intent. ;)

 

Let me point out that I've repeatedly noted the need to be shown the way to understand music, to copy, to imitate as a beginner but that at some point we all must begin to develop our own abilities. That's really my only point.

Even at professional levels there can be the need to study transcriptions of what others do but anyone seeking to be a musician must garner some ability to find things on their own.

Otherwise you might be a musical performer (a player, solely, of what others devise).

There are many who make careers that way: playing what's on the page or perhaps becoming fantastic "note-slingers" but unable to write an interesting melody...but even those players have, generally, the ability to hear what's happening; they can learn by ear to some degree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, you and I agree. I was disagreeing, or perhaps, seeking to clarify Eubanks' use of the term "taught".

 

I'm mainly an ear player. Always have been, and, despite my thoughts that reading music is "nice to know" and fine and all...when ya gits right down to it, both standard notation and tablature are shorthand for relaying information. Kinda like the old Gregg shorthand and standard longhand. What I was getting at is that the kids who are going to the net and downloading tab are at least trying to learn something on their own...rather than waiting for someone to spoonfeed it to them. Hey, I did a buttload of "needle dropping" in the old days...and slowing the thing down to 16 rpm. All that stuff. Nowadays, it's not as simple...you can't really slow a CD down (unless you buy some special equipment). So, it's handy to have tab...now, I'm not saying it's the be-all and end-all...it's a tool. I'm 100 percent with ya on the importance of ear training. I think that the dedicated learner will use whatever means necessary (multiple means) to accomplish their goal...

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course we agree... :cool:

 

Let me further clarify one thing, while the percentage of inaccurate (& inconsistently styled) tabs available may be impossible to estimate, inaccuracies can exist in standard notation as well. I didn't mean to imply that tablature itself is bad.

It is, perhaps, a bit more likely to contain errors though due to the fact that those who devise it sometimes lack the musical skills that those capable of writing staff notation have been trained in & it requires more extraneous info to define the elements that are identified by a single note on a staff. On the other hand, it can reveal more about where a pitch is played on a guitar.

 

In fact standard music notation began as a sort of tablature & tabs for all sorts of instruments have been used throughout the past 500 years in European music & are used in other cultures, too.

 

Anyhow this isn't about tab, per se, but self-development.

 

BTW, there are devices now that don't cost that much that can alter CD speed for transcription, even leaving pitch unchanged.

Or changing pitch while leaving the speed constant. A great trick to avoid retuning!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only difference I see between learning and being taught is that when youre self-learning, you are the teacher. But not everyone is a good teacher. So being taught by someone else is perhaps the best alternative. Trying to figure out how another player thinks about harmony will probably take far longer than having it explained to you. Given the short time we have on earth, why would we want to re-invent the wheel? One little insight into someone elses approach could possibly open many doors to your musical understanding. In the end, when you hear a player that you really like, do you ever think I wonder if he learned that or was taught?? I dont. When it comes to learning, the end justifies the means. A really good teacher can help you use what you already know of theory, technique, etc., in different and possibly better ways and hopefully show you how to build on it.

 

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pauldil, the distinction I'm making is between only playing what one is shown & beginning to "fly your own plane".

As above, I'm not (nor was KE) suggesting that anyone ever escapes the possibility of benefiting from the study of others.

Many, however, as in the example of those with some skills but who always want someone else to show them how to play something, never develop their abilities exactly because they don't take the step of exercising their ear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Tedster:

Michael Jackson's Real Nose...

 

I sort of disagree (not entirely) about the tab thing.

 

If I may beg to clarify what I believe Mr. Eubanks meant, I'd say he probably really meant "Many people don't want to learn, they want to be spoon-fed. A person taking the initiative to look up tab on the web or elswhere is at least showing some initiative.

 

I've taught guitar...private lessons and group classes...on and off for over twenty years. A good friend who teaches full time at a music store in Michigan backs me up...most people who want to take lessons don't "connect the dots"...they can't see the big picture. When I was a kid, I figured out a few I-IV-V progressions and a pentatonic scale...then dropped the needle down on "Allman Bros. at the Fillmore" to learn a bunch of tunes. I figured out that you could apply one I-IV-V and a given pentatonic to about 5,000 songs. Not so most folks. They can't put that together. They want to be spoon fed...taught. They want their hand held.

 

I use a construction analogy. I tell them..."If I gave you the ability to build a doghouse, could you build a shed? And, if I only showed you just a tiny bit more, could you build a garage? And a little more, how about a house? Then, could you figure out how to build bigger and nicer houses without me holding your hand?" That's the way it should be with guitar. Not..."I showed you how to build a doghouse, and now you want me to show you again all that same stuff, plus more so you can build a shed...and then back to square one for a garage, etc...".

:thu::thu:
The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by pauldil:

The only difference I see between learning and being taught is that when youre self-learning, you are the teacher. But not everyone is a good teacher. So being taught by someone else is perhaps the best alternative. Trying to figure out how another player thinks about harmony will probably take far longer than having it explained to you. Given the short time we have on earth, why would we want to re-invent the wheel? One little insight into someone elses approach could possibly open many doors to your musical understanding. In the end, when you hear a player that you really like, do you ever think I wonder if he learned that or was taught?? I dont. When it comes to learning, the end justifies the means. A really good teacher can help you use what you already know of theory, technique, etc., in different and possibly better ways and hopefully show you how to build on it.

 

Paul

+ 1 million :D:thu:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many, however, as in the example of those with some skills but who always want someone else to show them how to play something, never develop their abilities exactly because they don't take the step of exercising their ear.
Anyone who's total extent of their abilities is to play what someone else has given them is in effect no diferent from a record player, aside from the fact that they are living, breathing beings that can use their hands to produce the playback. The people who aspire only to that are just interested being able to play on a basic level, hopefully the Billboard charts won't hail these people as icons, but if that is all they want out of it let them have at it. Some people just have a casual desire to be able to play the songs they hear on the radio... and as far as I'm concerned if it makes them happy, then good for them.

I think that there are some people who have a natural feel for it...who can compose moods in music entirely in their heads and transfer it to sound using whatever medium (guitar..etc...) Some of our heroes have had formal training some none at all... i really don't care as long as they sound good. And those are the ones who can take something someone else made and do a great cover... and there's nothing wrong with that either in my opinion... again as long as its good... ex. Jimi Hendrix VooDoo Child & SRV VooDoo Child

 

I personally try everything, tab, books, pictures, concert videos, suggestions, opinions, what do other people think, try, know... what can I figure out??? I want to know... I want to know it all.... read music, play music, theory, scales, chords, techniques, tools, tricks, every genre, every instrument... i will use everything I can get my hands on to try to understand better... including using my ears. My basic playing ability came from hours upon hours of really listening to music ever since I can remember and from really watching concert videos... i've agonized over playing the same few seconds on a cd over and over till i figured it out, i've downloaded tab, I've freeze framed my VCR....and I will continue to do everything i can watch, listen, talk, study, experiment. Some day when I can afford it I will take some lessons, to see what else I can learn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Michael Jackson's real nose:

Pauldil, the distinction I'm making is between only playing what one is shown & beginning to "fly your own plane".

As above, I'm not (nor was KE) suggesting that anyone ever escapes the possibility of benefiting from the study of others.

Many, however, as in the example of those with some skills but who always want someone else to show them how to play something, never develop their abilities exactly because they don't take the step of exercising their ear.

Yes, I agree with that. It's just that I think that there's so many levels/degrees in between those who only play what they're shown and those who break the playing boundaries, that it's hard to generalize about it.

 

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...