How can you tell if your teacher is any good?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Mar 18, 2002.

  1. Curious. What qualities would you look for in a bass guitar teacher? How can you verify that your teacher is what he says?

    ...BTW, if you live in Vancouver, BC, feel free to recommend some instructors. I need one (but I live in Maple Ridge!!!).
  2. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Hi rabid_granny,

    I think highly of my bass teacher. I remember back when I first started taking lessons. The first thing he asked was what I already knew. I told him about the few books I had that I was going through (mostly on scales and site reading) and I played him an easy song on the bass (to which he corrected me on some fingering). We are working out of Mel Bay's Deluze Jazz & Rock Bass Method. This book starts out with pretty simple stuff that I already knew so we really started with scale exercises in it and proceeded on.

    That's the first thing that made me know I had a good teacher. He asked me what I knew and made sure I knew it right.

    Now, I read on this forum alot about teachers right away showing off with slap or showy songs and such. I don't think that's good for the beginner student as much as the student wants to come right out and learn it. I think a good teacher would show them theory before showy stuff. Ok, I admit my teacher likes to show off. He's a real good bass player. And one time when I first started taking lessons he was slapping and I asked how to do it and, well, he showed me. But it's not like he sat right down and said "ok, today you are gonna learn how to slap, forget your chords and scales..blah blah..".

    Another thing is a good teacher will take time to make sure you know what you're doing and won't proceed on until you're content with an exercise. You play a part in this progress. So always ask questions! A good teacher will be patient with you and answer what you don't know and help you with what you are having trouble on.

    Hope this helps! :)
  3. If you have a good teacher, you ought to be learning something. :)
  4. i live in the U.K unfortunately and most people go by the rules of what equipment the teacher has and what grades he has in music. grades go from 1 to 9 and you can get a regular pass or pass with merit, distinction or another one but i can't remember , it all depends on how good you performed in the exam. my teacher has grade 9 distinction which he has had for over 10 years and he used to have a band which didn't quite make it in the 80's. i get my lessons through a shop called electro music ( so he has all the equipment to hand, my lessons cost £16 for an hour ($21) which is pretty expensive but he can charge that because of how qualified he is and because he has all equipment.
    anyway i didn't really help you so i'll skidadle off.
  5. My bass teacher has been playing for 35 years and is a bass god. He played with one of Jaco's drummers (I forget who) and the drummer compared him to Jaco.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I'll address the second question first, about checking credentials. The first thing I would say about this is to remember that skill and technical prowess should be very low on your list of identifying a great teacher. While it's true that a teacher should possess some skills, a teacher is more about being a communicator. The skills necessary to be a good teacher are different from the skills necessary to be a good bass player. I never bothered with checking credentials with my teacher, I went on feel. If after 2 lessons, I felt that he could help guide me to the next level, I knew he was the teacher to be with. (Interestingly, he helped take me to the next level, and then another, and now another).

    What I look for is someone that understands how to break down concepts, someone who is patient and someone who listens to me. I also want someone adaptable. We've had phases in our time together where he has a specific goal in mind, and will take 6 lessons or more to build up the foundation of those skills, and then piece them all together at the end. We've had other times where I come in with something in mind to learn and he's able to quickly, (on the spot), device a way to teach me the concept I want to learn in a structured and practical way.