Bass teacher, what should I look for?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Albini_Fan, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    I recently signed up for bass lessons at a music store in walking distance, which is nice. The guy has a degree in something (I forgot haha), and they said he was a "Jazzer" so I'm sure that means he's good.

    What are some things that will tell me he's a good teacher?

    What are some things that will tell me he's a bad teacher?

    What should I expect?
  2. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    If he asks you what you want to learn, I would stay away from him.A qualified teacher will know what you need to learn,assess your abilities and organize a methodology suited to your learning curve.Take lessons in generic music:harmony,ear-training,counterpoint,rhythm....etc.:these are the tools that help you progress in the fastest way possible to become a competent bassist...don't go there looking to learn licks and tricks(there are'nt any).
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    A good teacher is more interested in hearing you play, then themsleves. They're more interested in listening to your needs, then enforcing 100% their own agenda. They're stern, yet fair. They push and challenge you, stretching your limitations, while making you comfortable and feel at ease. They offer a well-rounded curriculum, and can vary things on the fly depending upon what you need. A great teacher is not always the greatest player.

    You have a responsibility as well.

    Show up on time. Respect your teacher's time and life. Don't show up 10 minutes late and expect a full hour (or whatever) lesson. Don't cancel without 48 hours notice, and rescheduling, and don't make a habit out of it.

    Do your homework. You'll get out of lessons exactly what you put in. Don't expect to become much better simply by going to an hour lesson each week, and never studying the lessons your teacher gives you.

  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA

    I've fortunately been blessed with good teachers. When I first began lessons, I was asked what I knew, which was very little because I started lessons just a few months after I bought my bass. So anyway, we dug right into theory, got over a few technique problems...and so on...

    A good teacher will take his time to make sure you understand what he is trying to teach you, or whatever questions/problems present themselves and not move on until they are understood.

    A bad teacher dives right into the tricks. Most beginners want to learn their favorite songs and slap and pop. Teachers can fall for that and will start their new student with slapping before the kid even knows how to play a C Major skill or even knows the name of the string he's slapping. And, personally, I also wouldn't think a teacher is good if he uses tablature. I wouldn't want a teacher that doesn't know how to read music. If a teacher is limiting himself as a musician I'd be afraid of how that would effect me IMO.
  5. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    A good teacher will point out where you have problems in a pedogogical manner and show you how you can do that better. (S)he will also give you exercices and stuff for you to work on to build up those weak spots in the woodshed. Ultimately a good teacher will also motivate his students to play more.

  6. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Mmmmnnnn.... I think a good teacher will ask you what you want to learn - or certainly try to find out what you want to achieve. That doesn't mean they will promise to take you there straight away, and they may well introduce ideas you'd never heard of that change your goals but I'd say that a good teacher is someone who meets you where you're at and helps you move on.

    I'd also agree with Lovebown:
  7. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    They HAVE to introduce ideas you've never heard of and change your take lessons so ultimately you can teach yourself...a beginner telling a teacher what he needs/wants to learn?It's education,you start with the basics,and you move on,if you move on first towards the popular style that turns your crank,it does'nt work, don't take lessons,buy cd's...and learn the tunes by ear,alot cheaper.
  8. stephen87


    Nov 23, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Make sure he/she actually owns a bass, will actually show up, and doesn't call you the night before your lesson at 1 am, to say that he is going on tour for 3 months.(A pretty accurate description of my bass teacher)
  9. I've only had one teacher, and he's been great. I get on with him very well, and because hes only a couple of years older than me I think I can consider him a friend. I think this is important, you need to share more than a love of music to enjoy being taught by him or her.

    As said before, they should have an idea of what you need to learn, but should also ask you for some input, like if there is any specific weakness you feel you need to work on.

    Overall though, make sure you have fun and that he or she motivates you to become a better player
  10. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    The guy seems really nice, the first lesson he just explained to me where to put my hands and took me through some basic stuff like e 00 a 00 e 00 a 00, e 1 2 3 4 3 2 1, etc etc.

    I think he's going to be great, but I like playing with a pick and I'm afraid to tell him because he's all telling me about using and alternating my right hand fingers :/
  11. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I'm a little confused what you mean by "e 00 a 00 e 00 a 00.......etc..."? Do you mean the strings and frets? If he is showing you "where to put your hands", like 1st fret on the E string, etc, I would also make sure that you are learning the note names. Don't just take it as "1st fret on the E string", make sure you know the note name is F, etc.

    Seems to me you enjoyed your lesson. Don't be afraid to tell your teacher things, i.e. that you like to use a pick. He is starting you with Right-Hand Technique - Fingerstyle. It's the standard way of playing.
  12. where do you live???? i could try to get you hooked up with a bass teacher that could teach you well beyond the abilities of most....

    my suggestion for you is to make sure you teacher teaches you better techniques for string crossings and such... but if the guy you are taking lessons from now only shows you what to do instead of making you understand what to do then id say take lessons from someone else... some bass players might have good chops but without an understanding of everything related to the bass then they are limited in how far they can cause you to progress.... id suggest taking lessons from a double bass player... especially one that plays in a symphony orchestra or something... you'll find that a double bass player as a teacher on either electric or double can teach you more than you ever thought possible... hope everything works out... if you want i can try to get you set up with a double bass player from an orchestra to teach you.... good luck and have fun

    practice practice practice

    P.S. learn you modes and everything, especially your pentatonic scales... youll find those to be helpfull in jazz.... hope i helped a little bit...
  13. Albini_Fan

    Albini_Fan Banned

    Jan 26, 2003
    Beneath Below
    I don't think he was bothering with note names this lesson, just a couple of excersizes to get my fretting hand strength up until next lesson. But I already know the fretboard, I just think it's easier to write it down in tab :p
  14. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    I just got done with a lesson, and can say he is a great teacher. we work on a lot of scales and do a lot of fretting excercises and timing and combinations of those, and it has helped a lot. He also plays upright, so he has many more techniques that are interesting.

    My former teacher was a good example of a not so good one. She plays guitar, and we worked off CDs and stuff....we did a few scales, but ya, not so good. I just took lessons from her because she lives nearby and is a good family friend.

    Its kinda funny how both of them are in the same jazz quartet, and thats how I met the good teacher.
  15. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    What seems easiest may not always be the best IMO. If you know the fretboard then use that knowledge, don't suppress it. Practice chromatic runs up and down the fretboard, practice 2 octave skills, etc. If you relate things in the form of tablature there's always the chance of forgetting what will be valuable in the long run and things will only be seen as "this note goes here, this note goes there". And that won't help when it comes time to learn how to read music.

    I am hoping that your teacher, himself, knows all the notes on the fretboard? I am just wondering this b/c this can pose a problem early in your lessons if he doesn't...and you say you do.
  16. true, just dont forget the fact that there are notes and not just frets... id also look into expanding your knowledge of the fretboard by get some sheet music of double bass etudes by Bille or a simandl technique book... and something that ive come to realize is helpfull is remembering that g# an Ab are the same notes and so on... there are some really weird jazz pieces written like that...
    but most of all dont do what i did and not take it seriously until a while after you start, theres no telling how good you can become if you start out with a solid foundation.... and have fun with it too....
  17. what my teacher does is he always has something planned for me to learn. But if i come in with a cd to work on, or i have a song id like to work on, he will do that along with his stuff, incorporate it with the stuff, or just take that lesson just for what i wanted. It works nice, a good balance.
  18. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I think a good teacher should indeed keep a lesson plan.

    Bringing a CD into a lesson is a fun thing and it is a good balance IMO. I do this at my lesson every so often. In fact, I just brought in a CD to learn a song 2 weeks ago. My teacher and I listened to a song together, gave me a hint that there will be a key change in the song, then told me to go home and figure it out myself LOL (see...he didn't give me the easy way out by transcribing it for me). So then I brought the transcription into my lesson the other day. And what we did was go over my transcription, analyzing the song. Then he went on to tell me things about transposing. What if I was in a band and the singer wanted to do the song a Major 3rd lower? So it's very important to know intervals.
  19. stephanie.... by any chance is/was you teacher a buitar player???? most bass players dont tell there students to play stuff by ear... the reasoning behind that is that when you hear something you like you will most likeley end up playing it unconciosly and decide that you came up with it and it also tends to get people stuck in a particular key.... maybe its just me, but you teacher sounds like he is good and helps you out.... so in the words of an old teacher of mine, "whatever floats your boat" but then again she also called my friend "boot straps" so maybe shes not the best to take advice from