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How do I know if my instructor is good?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Phish Bassist, May 13, 2004.

  1. I haven't started lessons yet, but I probably will(havent got my bass yet). He charges 55$ a month for 4 weekly half hour lessons. How do I know if it is worth it or if he is a bad instructor? We only have on music shop in town. :bawl:
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    First, remember that you don't have to get lessons from a music shop. There are probably at least a couple of private teachers within your general area.

    The most important goal is that this person communicates music in a way that makes sense to you. He doesn't have to be the best player out there. He doesn't have to have amazing chops or anything of the like. What he (or she) must do, is make you understand what s/he is wishing to convey. This person should be a good listener, in that s/he understands what you want to accomplish, what your goals are. This person should be able to challenge you, never letting you settle into one thing that you're comfortable with and then do the exclusively. S/he should challenge you, and yet only prod when the time is right, sometimes pulling back to help you gain confidence.

    This is a lot to ask, I know, but remember, you're the boss of the lessons. These lessons are for you, not for the teacher. Be critical, and yet respectful. While the teacher should listen to you and react to you, remember that this is a two way street. You should be on time for lessons, and don't cancel without adequate notice, (probably 48 hours), because after all, this is his/her business/job. You will only get better on your own. If he gives you drills or assignments that you don't do or never practice, you're not going to get better.

    Consider this:

    When I was looking for a new instructor, (this was in Sept. 99). I narrowed it down to two people. I talked on the phone with each, and after feeling each person out, I decided to have one lesson with each, and then see what I felt.

    I went to Teacher #1, first. He talked to me for a little while and then he started playing so really cool basslines. He played What is Hip?, portrait of Tracy, and some other lines. It was really good. He was obviously a very talented bassist. He asked me what gear I have and I told him. He then told me what gear he had.

    I went to Teacher #2. We talked for a little while. He found out that I wanted to play jazz. (The first teacher had never asked). He put Autumn Leaves smack down in front of me, and 3 minutes into the lesson I was off and playing. We talked about the things I did well and the things that needed development. He gave me ideas on how to open up the instrument.

    Obviously, I went with #2. I think that this example is pretty typical of bass experiences. By the way, Teacher #2, I'm still with him, after 4+ years. It was the best thing I've ever done musically.
  3. Thanks for the input Jazzbo, but I have one question. Since I live in a relatively small town(dont know if that matters or not) how would I find who is a private teacher? I really want to make sure I find one who understands what I want and is a good teacher.