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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Chasarms, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Dear Abby,

    First of all, I don't want to present this as a "what should I do?" thread. I will decide that. I am basically just seeking a little perspective and a big dose of empathy from those who understand. So, here goes:

    When I began my DB love affair a couple of years ago, I spoke to as many folks I could about finding a teacher. A particular person popped up a few times as a highly respected teacher, but upon inquiring, his dance card was full at the time.

    So, after a few trial lessons with different folks, I have spent a little more than the last year or so working with a very nice lady teacher. I would be the last to discount what she has taught me, but she really isn't a DB teacher. She teaches it mostly as an aside. Her real instrument of interest is the cello.

    In addition, she works mostly with children and teens. I am her only adult student. But, she is reasonably priced, close to the house and doesn't mind coping with the fact that I have the life of an adult and sometimes demand flexibility. And, her knowledge of general theory and her ability to communicate it to me is outstanding. She also has an appreciation for genres outside the classical and it perfectly willing to talk about jazz or bluegrass if I wish to. She even uses reference to the EBG without apology if the teaching moment calls for it. :)

    All this being said, at some point, if I am serious about being decent at playing this rather nice home furnishing I own, I think I will need to move along.

    So, yesterday I got a call from the gentleman who I originally was interested in. He has an opening.

    He is a member of the Symphony. Teaches DB exclusively and nearly all of his students are adults.

    If resumes are worth anything, I believe that this guy has way more to offer, but I am wondering if the timing is right. I was absolutely straight up with him about my own experience and perceived current level of ability. he didn't seem put off by that, but from our conversation, I seems pretty obvious that he is currently working with players far more advanced than myself.

    I guess I am just wondering if the timing is right. I don't want to lose my spot with my current teacher or even tick her off only to find out a few months down the road that this guy isn't going to work out.

    I did agree to take a trial lesson from him next week. Maybe I will feel better about it after hanging out with him for an hour.


    Clueless in St. Louis
  2. I am in the same situation. i am taking bass lessons from an instructor who has their MA in cello performance. I still have a lot to learn, but I have fealt the same way as you do.

    I think if you explained your dilemna to your current instructor without making her feel like she was a last resort, or a 'substitute teacher,' she could only encourage you to move on. The goal of any instructor/teacher should be for their students to succeed, and learn, etc. As adults, you should be able to discuss this, and remain friends even if you stop taking lessons from her.

    I've definitely fealt after some lessons with my instructor that i had just waisted an hour, but at the same time, he has given me names of other bass instructors, and has encouraged me to take lessons from them too. I guess the main thing should be that professional and casual relations should be seperated. When they are mixed together, normally nothing good comes out of it. Also, both sides need to realize this, and act accordingly
  3. FidgetStone


    Jun 30, 2002
    Allen, TX
    I recommend taking the lesson that you signed up for and reserving your judgment until then. You may hit it off very well or not so well the pedigreed guy.

    It is natural for different people to learn more readily from one personality type vs. another. Let the natural fit win. In any case, both instructors are adults themselves and will respect and understand your decision.

    My two cents . . . Good Luck and let us know what happens.

    Signed: Dear Abby
  4. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    If you move and loose your spot to another student then find out it doesn't work out with the new guy - oh, well it was your decision. You'll think of something or something else will come along. If you loose your spot because of pettiness - you probably couldn't learn much from someone like that anyway and you'll move on and something else will come along. At any rate keep up with your own practice that is never a bad thing. Your trial lesson should help you make your decision easier. You're all adults and as such there shouldn't be a problem. Just my .02
  5. I would imagine that if the lady is any kind of player or teacher (and it sounds like she is), she would completely understand this. If she is so petty as to get upset over your moving to a true UB instructor, I don't see how she could have a lot to offer.
  6. SleeperMan2000


    Jul 31, 2002
    Cary NC

    The teacher/student relationship can be a deep one. I think you are correct in making your decision after your trial lesson. You owe it to yourself to have the best teacher possible for you. And who says you can't have two teachers! (if you can afford it).
  7. Norre


    Jan 5, 2001
    Antwerp, Belgium
    My first teacher was also a cello instructor.
    He was a great player and teacher and I learned a lot from him. A year later I moved to a "real" DB teacher and to be honest, I'm glad I did. Some people may disagree, but there IS a difference between the 2 instruments. Not only in playing technique but also the function of the instrument in a band/orchestra is different. You can compare it to a guitarist who's playing bassguitar. He can probably function as a bassist in a band, but most of us will here it. He will sound like a guitarist who's playing the bass. I don't know if this makes any sense to you.
    However, I understand your dilemma.
  8. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Well, I had my first lesson the other night. It was obvious in about 10 minutes that this is the guy I am going to study with for quite a while.

    I was most impressed with how well grounded he was in his musicianship. His priority and perspective seems to align well with what my instincts tell me.

    While he is a firm believer in classical method (he teaches from Simandl) his overall measure of success is based simply on "what do listeners hear with their eyes closed." Making music is paramount. Mastry of method should be viewed as a means, not an end.

    I also really liked being exposed to the lifestyle of a symphony player. Just reviewing his marked up sheet music was interesting to me.

    Perhaps the best piece of advice I have gotten on this subject is to seek out the teacher that inspires me. I certainly have found that. This guy can play!!!!

    Using my craptastic bow and my bass, he played so beautifully. It was very nice to know that my bass can sound that good. (BTW, when he put his stick on my bass, it was very impressive. Another high mark for the Shen I guess)

    If nothing else, I have a sound in my head now that should be coming out of my bass. I don't think I will be satisfied until I get there.

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