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break from lessons?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dennison, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. Hello I bought an upright and have been taking lessons learning the simandl. Every time I go to a lesson I bassicly just move to the next position (half, first, second, third) I just play for my teacher out of simandl and he has been telling me the same thing every time "keep it up and learn to love the bow". I am a poor college student who is barely squeaking by, and $40 a week really adds up on my miniscule budget. Does everyone think that my lack of teacher will hurt me in the long run? or has not having a teacher held you back? At what point do you say okay I have had enough lessons i know the basics, I have the motivation, simandl and a pile off jazz cd's, and I think I can continue without lessons?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Man, rather than think "when can I quit my teacher" I would think "when can I find a new teacher".

    The other thing, though, you may not be in a position to evaluate whether or not you HAVE a good teacher or not. Positional playing (and getting a good foundation in it) is not to be taken lightly. I didn't do it and here I am, some 15 years later, working my ass off to break bad habits and make good ones. Why not save the time and do it right the first time?

    There is absolutley no reason that you can't do both, study with your teacher AND take **** off all your jazz records. As Don Higdon says, every classical lesson makes him a better jazz player.

    In answer to question "At what point do you say okay I have had enough lessons i know the basics, I have the motivation, simandl and a pile off jazz cd's, and I think I can continue without lessons?", please consider Rufus Reid. He is on many hundreds of recordings, has published two well thought of instructional books, a DVD based on the books and was the Director of Jazz Studies at William Patterson University (which, if you don't know, is a very highly regarded jazz program). He quit his job in order to devote more time to study with his teacher.

    Personally, I have been playing bass for around 30 years, upright for around 20 and exclusively for 11. I started studying with my current teacher, Joe Solomon, about 7 years ago and it has opened infinite paths for me.
    You NEVER get to a point where learning stops. And, for the vast majority of humanity, it is easier to learn things from people who know them than it is to discover them for yourself.
  3. A teacher is a very important resource, but as a student, it's your responsibility to make sure you're getting what you need from your teacher. Talk to your teacher about what you'd like to work on. What you are doing is important, but I don't think it would affect you adversely to add some work in other areas as well. If you're not happy with the terse feedback you're getting, ask your teacher for more detailed evaluations. It's possible that your teacher just doesn't know quite what you want. You need to recognize your teacher's expertise and accept that he (or she) knows what you need to do to become a better player, while identifying your needs on your own as well, since no teacher can sense everything. If you just can't reconcile yourself to this teacher's method, look for a new teacher, but don't attempt to go off on your own without guidance.
  4. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    As all above posters have said, stay with a teacher.
    It will really speed up your learning process, even if it doesn't seem that way at the time. Make sure you have the right attitude going in, this isn't anything like "instant gratification", which a lot of people expect these days.

    My first lesson with my teacher was "Here is the bass, here is the bow, here is the open D string". Well, it amounted to more than that, but you get my point. It is really good to take it very slow, and lower your expectations of the first year. I teach Simandl, but I know lots of others who hate it! You will probably have lots of teachers, getting different things from them all. Remember there are lots of ways up the mountain, just take one and stick with it for a while and you'll get there.
  5. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Stay with your teacher.

    I have a student grumbling about Simandl at the moment and I too have been stressing the importance of position. He calculated that It will cost him about 500k in lesson to get through the whole of the book.
  6. I think you need to ask yourself if you have the disipline to practice enough to prepare the same amount of material each week that you do for your teacher.

    I'm not sure that I have the disipline.

    Fear of being embaressed is highly motivational.
  7. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I remember reading an interview with Ray Brown (in frets magazine about a dozen years ago) where he said he still would take lessons with classical players in different cities if he had some time during the day or if he was in town for more than one day. This is after all the Norman Granz JATP tours and all of his 60s studio work, and all his seventies albums. His studies with them he said was primarily arco.