1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

Should I stop taking guitar lessons and learn myself?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Jamerman, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Jamerman


    Apr 8, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I've been taking guitar lessons off my same teacher for nearly 2 years now and have progressed from hardly being able to play "Smells like teen spirit" to looking at playing Buckethead, Satriani, writing my own weird stuff, playing claypool/wooten-style-bass and studying baroque music.

    He really has been a great help, but in recent lessons he's been getting me to do really easy stuff like learn this easy song, or sight read this simple piece. I just don't feel I'm learning that much anymore and I wouldn't miss anything by not going.

    I did however get a keyboard for christmas and I would like to get good at that too, and I can only do guitar lessons OR keyboard.

    Does anyone have any experience from leaving their teachers and would give any advice on what to do?
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Personally, once I got the mechanics and technique down, I ceased taking lessons. Since I already had years of music theory and had been playing multiple instruments for years, I opted to take piano lessons instead. The piano lessons helped me approach my bass/guitar playing a different way. Music is music, the lessons are interchangeable between instruments for the most part.

    Explain to your teacher that you feel you would benefit from learning a second instrument, to expand your experience, and can't afford to take both. You won't be lying to him and you can avoid telling him that you're not getting anything out of him.

    Every once in a while, I took lessons from random teachers... to pick up a thing or two from different people. But with a single teacher, eventually you'll plateau.
  3. electracoyote


    Jan 2, 2009
    Likes Received:
    As a bass/guitar/mandolin/ukulele teacher with 20 students on my roster, here's my .02 cents:

    When you feel you can work your way through a method book alone, internalize what's being taught, and use it to make good/better music, you are definitely a candidate to at least curtail your professional instruction sessions to "only when you think you need it."

    I also play piano. I had been fooling around for decades, and in my 30's decided I should "take lessons." Three months in, I realized I could do this on my own without a teacher. So I used the method books and learned formal piano on my own.

    It also depends on your personality and character, whether or not you are a true DIY type, or if you are more comfortable with the (oftentimes valuable) support a professional teacher has to offer. Some students need the routine and the encouragement.

    Hope this helps. Wishing you only the best.
  4. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    You stated that you're not learning much anymore. There's a lot of weight in that statement.

    My best friend in high school was a drummer that progressed very rapidly with a very good teacher. At one point his teacher said that there was nothing else significant that he felt he could teach my friend. He referred my friend to a more advanced drum teacher.

    You will continue to develop with formal study. I would guess by your statements that you're ready to graduate to a more advanced teacher.
  5. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I'm no scholar of music education, but my philosophy is that a music teacher should be "teaching you music," not just teaching you how to play songs. Of course, you are going to be learning songs as part of your music education, but IME, many guitar instructors do nothing but teach their students songs without instilling any deeper musical vocabulary or knowledge that can be applied to later situations in the students' musical lives.
  6. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Music teachers are like boxing coaches.......there's mediocre ones......there's good ones......and then there's some that are miracle workers.......

    I haven't took lessons and I've done pretty good so far in musical endeavors..

    But I may just do that anyway if I can find a good one.

    There's absolutely no question in my mind that, given the right teacher I would progress further.

    After awhile on your own, if you are truthful, you know where your weaknesses are. And if you don't, a good instructor worth his or her salt will quickly identify them for you.

    An even better teacher will show you how to take yourself to the next level.

    Just a matter of finding the right one IMO......
  7. bassteban


    Aug 12, 2004
    Likes Received:
    We should all make an effort to *learn ourselves*
    What this has to do w/music, I do not know
  8. spade2you


    Jan 11, 2007
    Likes Received:

    Try out one or two of the bass lessons.

    I'm currently working on the Bass Grooves Survival Guide. Some of the parts are on the simple side, but playing a simple part perfectly still takes practice and patience. There is plenty to be learned in this course.

    Whenever you think you're not learning, you might simply be burnt out. I've always tried to balance having fun/messing around with working on the fundamentals.
  9. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Likes Received:
    If you want to teach yourself, it can certainly be done. Get yourself some books from which you can study and learn your theory and sight reading. Divide your practice time up between studying from those books and transcribing songs that you want to learn how to play.

    Either way you'll get out what you put in, but the teacher may be a bit faster way to learn and self teaching would be less expensive. It's a trade off, as I see it.

Share This Page