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Finally taking lessons!

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BMGecko, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Just had to post that at darned near 43 years of age, I'm jumping into lessons. I realized I could only be so good on my own, and felt it best to find someone who can help me get where I want to go (musically speaking).

    The guy plays upright, has a Bachelors degree in music performance and has played with a lot of people in different styles. I play electric, but want to learn to read on a good level, transcribe, analyze/play through changes and get into jazz theory.

    I'm not, and will never be a professional musician. However, I plan on taking the skills I have and learning add much as I can with someone who has a level of knowledge I can't presently comprehend on a level I someday hope to.

    Just had to post this!
  2. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Good idea if you have the means to do it.

    Listen, enjoy, relax, have fun, practice, learn.

    Not necessarily in that order.
  3. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Good move playah!
  4. KB4178


    Oct 7, 2012
    Boone, NC
    Pretty much the same situation for me. I played a lot in high school, a little in college, and not much since. Decided to start taking lessons last year when I was 43. Been doing lessons for a little over a year and have enjoyed it immensely, and I'm really proud of how I've improved in that time. I've always wanted to play fretless, and I got a Squire Vintage Modified Precision fretless for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. That's opening a whole new world of playing.

    One piece of advice: practice consistently. Play _something_ every day, even if it's only for 5 or 10 minutes. I, and my teacher, can really tell a difference when I miss a day or two of practice.

    Congrats! It's never too late for us old guys! :) Have fun!
  5. bherman

    bherman Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Good move - I'm 58, havent taken lessons for 30 years but am thinking about jumping back in for the same reasons.
  6. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Good to hear! I'm in the same boat.
  7. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    BM, how did you find your instructor? Yellow pages/web advert., or did someone recommend him to you? I'm really having a problem finding a good bass teacher, as I'm "older" myself (over 40).
  8. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jump back in yo!
  9. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    I lucked out. Pain and simple. I used Craigslist for the city I live in and found an ad that seemed intelligently written and followed up with that. Talked shop with the guy for a bit, checked our his resume (YouTube) of live performances and decided to jump right in!

    Knowing that I have a lot to learn and the desire to improve myself are paramount to my decision to have someone tell me what to do. I'm thinking this will work better that that whole military thing I did for six years. :D

  10. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    The fellow I'm taking lessons with started out having me share my goals (learning theory, reading/transcribing) and then had me play. I improvised a bit (simple groove, a little syncopation and moved around a little chord progression), did a funky line I'd worked on to show him a bit of the direction I'm playing in. He happily hopped up, grabbed his upright and showed me a cool muted/rake thing he called the "Jazz Ghost Triplet"! It took a little doing, but I got it under my fingers.

    He then told me of a book which he found that assisted him with a theory of practicing, and described four basic groups which he'd gleaned from "Effortless Mastery" by Kenny Werner", and demonstrated the concepts on his bass.

    The next concept we moved to was of melody, and the importance of it. He spoke of learning melodies, starting with something simple, he mentioned tunes we all know (and mentioned a couple classic bands we all know) and I put forth, "Happy Birthday to You". He laughed and remarked that it was the example he always used for the next lesson...
  11. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    The next lesson being to have me play the melody, just out and out wing it! Needless to say, I didn't pull it off... Not too far off, but obviously far enough for my ears (and anyone elses, for that matter!) to have him comment on how it's not as simple as one might think and why. I'm sure I've forgotten most of it, but got the gist of it and that's what counts, right? The next homework consists of learning it on my bass, writing out the scale degrees of the melody and transposing it to two other keys.

    He lent me a method book which he showed me what he wanted in regards to scales and positions and reading through them not just playing them. After working through those, I'm to pick another major scale, and work up a fingerboard chart for that one along with notating it. He gave me a stack of notation paper (28 sheets, I just counted them!). He said for notation, it's easier to use a Sharpie for the dots and pen for the staves. Cool tip!

    It was getting later in the lesson, and he shared that he felt that part of what we're doing was the actual music and thought that a little playing was in order. He asked if I knew the classic tune, "So What". I said I knew the song, but couldn't play it and he took out some notation paper and wrote it out and described the minor sixth chord, the scale it comes from, song form, etc... He hopped on his bass, we briefly blabbed about me starting a groove, then he'd kick in with the head, play through, eventually he would solo, go back through
  12. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    the head, then I'd solo. We did, and it was fun! Some errors on my part were kindly addressed, things I did better than that were praised and I even managed to bust out the "Jazz Ghost Triplet", of which I can only say my performance thereof could best be described as having, "screwed the pooch"! He dug that I tried to bust out the Jazz Ghost Triplet (I don't know if he expected me to try it out, as I hadn't done so up to that point) and actually managed to say that it sounded great, even though I basically mangled where I actually placed it in the line. Those are my words, not his, but he said it in such a way that made me feel good about my error, I even laughed about it!

    The lesson was 90 minutes, and I had enough of a good time that I didn't even think to see if we even did 90 minutes, I know I got my moneys worth. In a lot of this lesson, we talked a fair bit about "getting to know you" stuff and managed to talk about everything from dogs to Indian classical music. After the lesson, we spoke about if I wanted to continue and he put it in my court. I'm guessing some folks drop out, don't show up, etc... I can say that I plan on doing this regularly and set an appoinment next week. I didn't actually practice any of what we went over after getting home, but in doing a bit of playing, just coming up with new stuff I actually started thinking in terms of his four concepts gleaned from "Effortless Mastery".

    Before next Wednesdays session I've got a bit of work to do, a...
  13. BMGecko


    Sep 5, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    book to buy and i've got to ask if I can record these lessons. I recorded the Jazz Ghost Triplet on my phone, but I want to see if I can record the whole lesson to reference back to as needed as I'm sure that I missed plenty as well as lost some to natural forgetfulness from having a blast!

    And this guy only lives three blocks from me!
  14. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    FANTASTIC STORY! Sounds like you've hit pay dirt in your own back yard. CONGRATS!