A Bad Time...
Since Ive been up at music school I've been doing a lot of work on my playing.
My teacher has me playing my audition piece for my jury this winter (Eccles 1).
The problem is I feel like I spend all this time doing stuff right but I get no where. The other bassists in my studio practice, but I put in 5,6, sometimes 7 hours of EXCELLENT practice, and I feel good after practicing. But when playing in studio I always feel like Im not as good as any of them.
My teacher doesn't help the case either. Instead of helping me on general things, he nit picks and we get nothing done in our hour lesson, and I try to explain that Im comfortable doing certain things (playing certain fingerings for SCALES when the goal is for a jury just to play them in tune), and learn certain ways (I learn by hearing and seeing at the same time or hearing and doing, I have a good ear and learned eccles only by ear, I cant tell you the notes) that he just isnt understanding.
Personally I think Ive come a long way from where I started playing classical only a year ago, but I feel like I have so much room to improve, and NEED a teacher who can help me get there. Its been proven that you can not teach yourself anything, and be able to call it great technique and healthy technique.
It is a very conflicting situation, and really upsets me. Im putting in practice 6 days a week and he acts like I dont pick up my bass until my lessons. It actually kind of stings when hes looking at his computer instead of looking at what Im playing during lessons, and doesnt help when his fingerings are wrong on paper, and his focus is on the small tiny details rather than big pictures.
For example: I learn by listening and ask for a recording of him playing it for my personal reference on a Simandle etude, because I ask the principal and assistant principal for enough help and dont want to bother them when I am already getting a lesson a week from them anyway. I get no response from the professor and probably wont. Or on the ecceles there is a part where he wants me to go completely up the D string, and play 0 harmonics, and where I should be playing harmonics with thumb im playing with 1st finger and pressing down, but my hand is so cramped i cant vibrate anyway. But when I do it my way its totally wrong.
Im not asking to do it my way or his way or anyones way, I just want to learn why he chose this finger here, why it makes sense, show me how to do it, and help me learn how to do it. And also help me find music I like playing, I spent the prior 6 months leading up to music school playing Eccles, im sick of it and have brought in other pieces. But still on the eccles for 2 months now.
Now what Im really upset about: He doesnt go to recitals and doesnt go to concerts. I just cant understand why he wouldnt go. Isnt it the job of a teacher to support his student? What about 8 of them?
Maybe im over reacting. Only reason Im staying with him to be honest is to learn what he has to offer, get a masters, get a doctorate, and take his job. I know that sounds crazy but thats how im motivating myself to practice, because its hard to do so any other way when you're teacher says "wow, that really sucked". I know it wont happen and I'll end up somewhere else but its my motivation
Nice to atleast vent to a community who cares.
He might also be pushing me to play better, but it doesnt seem so, hes very distant and likes to pick favorites, I guess showing him you work hard doesnt get you a spot up there... Must only be if youre born good.
Well it is what it is, Im still going to walk in there and practice my ass of tomorrow, just to make him shut up, and to make myself a better bassist.
Also, just to let you know what he has me working on:
Eccles Mov I, His fingerings
G major scale 2 octaves
Simandle Etude no 10
What I'm working on:
Eccles I & II
All major and min/mel min 3 oct.
And shaping sound
(Soon to work on Storche-Harabe Etudes Vol II and some Rabbath technique)
The advice ive gotten is just to let him be the teacher, and try not to fight it. I guess thats what I have to do
1) it sounds like you're whining. No one likes whining.
2) it sounds as though you're not mastering the tasks your teacher is giving you. Master those first. Master them better than he assigned, different keys, different tempos, different octaves, then work on new material.
3) it sounds like you and your teacher don't mesh. Can you change?
4) I don't think you'll really progress until you mesh better with your teacher. Part of the fault is yours. It sounds as though part is with him. You can fix your part - be a better student. Learn what he assigns you and demonstrate that you can do that. Only then will he give you more advanced exercises. You have to demonstrate that you've mastered the current material before he'll assign you more advanced material.
It sounds like your teacher isn't particularly invested in what you're doing, and you may or may not be over-reacting to that. Obviously, it would be nice if the person you're spending a bunch of tuition money to see would be super engaged and supportive in lessons, but some teachers need to be prodded a little bit.
A number of the things which you mention as being bothersome are pretty innocuous or even normal. The fact that he's more interested in details rather than "big picture" could be a GOOD thing -- it may be that focusing on minutiae will help you understand how larger concepts affect your playing. Not attending student recitals is pretty lame, but understandable if he has a busy performance career outside of school.
Not every teacher is going to be your friend, or shrink, or surrogate father, or whatever. Plenty of teachers are used to working with apathetic students, and it can be a shock to the system when they get a super motivated young player.
I'd suggest being a little more in control of your own lessons. He may have a plan for you or a basic syllabus he expects you to follow, but you can at least hound him with questions until his answers satisfy you. If his fingerings make no sense, then demand that he explain what he's going for. If you can't make them work, ask for his help identifying the problem. Ultimately, you should theoretically be able to do any fingering you can think of no matter how impractical. If you feel like you're stuck in the mud on Eccles, ask if you can move on to a different piece for a while to get a change of pace.
It's also possible that he's a lousy teacher. I don't know who we're talking about here -- all I have to go on is what you wrote. Some of your teacher's behavior sounds fishy to me, but for the most part it sounds like a frustrated student working with a different kind of teacher than he's used to.
Oh yeah, and stop comparing yourself to your peers. It's a fool's errand.
Comparisons with other students are worthless because many students start out ahead and drop off while several students start out behind and zoon ahead after years of dedication. Really, there IS no comparison that's worthwhile in the long run. In the short-run, of course you are unlikely to be the most gifted player, but that can easily change over 4 or more years of effort.
2. Im really trying to master what hes teaching, but its either im not understanding it or he is just saying it in our lessons, because he says it to everyone.
3. Yes I can change
4.i do understand part is my "fault" but no one is at fault, were clashing with the whole student/teacher relationship. I understand we are not going tl be friends, but I give him the upmost respect.
Thank you for the reply
After this week yes, I did a lot of self study since ive been here.
Spend some time sight reading. No fixing, no going back, just see the notes and play the notes. It's a skill you NEED to have under control and you are behind the game.
As to the fingerings, your prof probably has a year or two on you in the experience department. How do you know his fingerings are wrong? Sounds a bit presumptuous.
Hours in the shed doing what you want to do are different than spending time studying your lesson - as assigned. I've been on both sides of where you are, you need to get with what your teacher is telling you to do now! After your studies with this prof are over, do whatever you want to, but you need to do it his way for now - and master his way so you are informed when you discard his technique.
He and I spoke and were on the same page now believe it or not.
NicholasF, I'm not trying to be snarky or critical, but if your posts in this thread are any indication, your communication skills are probably a big part of the problem. You might want to work on ways to succinctly communicate your thoughts, both to us, and to your instructors.
So you are saying you put 7 hours of solid practice daily? I think personally it would be mentally and physically impossible to put more then 5 hours of consistent and engaged practice 6 days a week. It's less about the amount of time you practice and more about your work ethic and how you are practicing. There was an article in isb lately about how 4 hours of consistent practice will put you father ahead then twice that of inconsistent, not fully applied practice.
The thing I don't understand is if your teacher has specific rep for you that he expects to be played at a very high level with his fingerings, why at the same time are you wanting to work on all this other music? To me, it sounds a little too ambitious. I am in a similar situation as far as a demanding teacher that is doing very detailed work and it sounds to me like as someone who is behind the game already, you should commit all of your time an energy to doing exactly what he wants you to do. Record lessons, take notes, don't do too much too soon. If you're really struggling with the eccles fingerings, slow it down with solid vibrato. Isolate shifts and make sure your playing is tension free. Spend a couple of hours with the detail work, or really slas long as it takes. If it takes a whole week and you bring it back under tempo but tension free with his fingerings and good vibrato, it will show him how serious you are about accomplishing what he wants from you.
Be open with him, but keep in mind that you're the student and you may be coming off as a little bit TOO ambitious which which would make a lot of professors less motivated to work with you.
So what he said was to practice what you can't do and not what you can do.
He was talking about wandering around practice rooms and hearing students play all the things they were good at and could do well - I think it is comforting to play well and feels like you have had a good practice.
Whereas he was saying it would be far more valuable for those students to spend that time practicing all the things they couldn't play well - even if they stumbled over them and failed mostly. That might feel like a bad practice session - but ultimately be more valuable in the long run.
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