How do I pick a Teacher?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by rabid666, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. rabid666


    Sep 30, 2006
    I'm having troubles going back to my old teacher. I practiced with him for maybe two or three months, and in the beginning I was moving right along, but I'm nervous around him (but I'm just quiet) and I don't feel like he really had any idea of what direction to go, which is really what I need. I know he's pretty good, he plays in Grasshopper Takeover, and he taught me some really pretty tapping things. I'm just not sure he's the right stlye for me. He plays in an alternative rock band, and I like more fuzion and jazz. We used to just do alot of print offs from books he had.

    I took a break for about a month and a half, and I'm thinking about going back, is 3 months enough time to really teach someone something? Or am I judging him too soon.

    Plus it was fairly cheap as far as I know and close to home. Is 60 dollars a month for four half hour sessions, well and some.. normal price for lessons, or will I end up paying alot more somewhere else?

    I'd like to have some sense of loyalty, but I don't know if this is going to pay off like I'd like it to.
  2. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Inactive

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    Get a teacher that will teach you what you want. If you want to play jazz and he says "lol just play pop" then leave.

    I learned a lot from my teacher in 3 months. My playing ability hadn't increased much, but I was understanding music more.

    I pay $66/month for 4 lessons, but I used to pay $100/month for guitar lessons when I took them from a music store. I guess it just depends. I think I am paying real cheap for these lessons.

    Don't think too much about loyalty, especially at 3 months. I mean, it's business, right? You are paying him money to teach you something. If he doesn't do it, then why should you be loyal? Now, if it were something like a new teacher popping up, who is either better or charges less (but not much), but you've been with your teacher for a while, then you could apply loyalty.

    3 months at 4 times a week for half an hour = he's seen you for 6 hours total.
  3. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    James and I were both freshman music majors at the same time (in Omaha). He was the only guy in our jazz improv class who had a six string. Great guy.

    But if he's not doing it for you, switch to someone else.
  4. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Trouble is at your stage you don't know what you need, that's why you're at a teacher in the first place. The hard thing about teaching is balancing what a student needs with what they want. Cater too much to the students requests they don't progress as a player overall. Push the fundamentals too much and they are frustrated they can't show off the latest hot lick to friends and quit.

    So yes your musical style needs to be factored into your lessons, but if not ready to play in that style the teacher needs to show what they are giving you is the path to that goal. The student has to learn all that you give them the fun stuff with the fundamentals. Its at two-way contract. Teacher teaches but student needs to practice.
  5. rabid666


    Sep 30, 2006
    I don't know if I'll really get any useful answer out of this forum. I don't really know what question to ask. But I think I'll just go back to lessons with him and decide after a few more if I should move to someone else. I liked him though, so after take one more act this weekend I'll go back to the lessons.

    I think more than anything I just don't know which direction to progress.

    Bye like
  6. 64jazzbass


    Sep 5, 2002
    Chicago, Il
    If you are into jazz and fusion, you need to focus on scales, modes, harmony, theory, sightreading, arpeggios, eartraining, transcriptions, walking bass lines, and improv, not tapping!!! Your teacher may be in a great band, but that doesn't mean he's a great teacher ( no offense ). He needs to focus on improving your musicianship in order to be able to play any style of music, with the focus being on jazz. This will not happen overnight. It takes years!
  7. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    ditto that!

    i am now in lessons with a guy who plays & teaches jazz
    (Steve Kim -- Seattle area). we work on scales, chords,
    etc. I play along with jazz tunes, work on intonation
    (i play on a fretless mostly), and struggle to translate
    learning notes into making my fingers move where they

    I had a chance at nother teacher who was a rocker, and
    quite good. but i knew that was not what i really wanted
    to play, so learning rock without all the theory behind it
    would have left me lacking.

    Go for what you (want to) know!
  8. u2Fletch


    Oct 17, 2006
    Yuba City, CA
    I experienced the exact same thing with my first teacher. He seemed not to know what to do with me since I was not a complete novice and not a kid. He helped me with my biggest concern, which was basic finger technique. I decided to check out some other instructional "media". I looked at money spent on him ($15/half hr), and decided to spend it on other stuff and see where I ended up. I took some courses on, and bought Norm Stockton's "Grooving" DVD series. I liked the format of the Musicdojo classes where you get something every day to work on. Plus, the material never goes away, I can go back and look at whenever. Also, you still have access to the instructor via e-mail to ask questions about stuff. I found that I was able to learn so much more by "self study" in a faster period of time. Overall I was very pleased with what I got for my money.

    However, I also know that the majority of the material out there is geared towards the novice bassist, so it will get harder to find fresh stuff to keep motivated. Once I "hit the wall", I will probably go find an instructor again and see where I need to work to keep progressing.
  9. bobalu


    Oct 1, 2004
    above the 49th
    "...but I'm nervous around him (but I'm just quiet) and I don't feel like he really had any idea of what direction to go."

    rabid, just tell him how you're feeling. Don't be "quiet". He must think that everything is fine because he hasn't heard anything from you to the contrary. You obviously like him as a teacher, and I'm sure he would appreciate the feedback. If, after you've had some discussion with him and things still aren't working out for you, then by all means move on to another instructor.

    I went through the same thing last year. I ended up moving on, but only because we didn't "mesh" as student/instructor. He is a great guy, a great bass player, and I enjoy his company. My learning curve/needs just didn't match with his style of teaching. More common than you'd think, really.
  10. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    As an instructor myself, I constantly ask my students how their lessons are going for them. If they, or their parents, don't tell me, I have no way of knowing. I could lose the student. It sounds like your instructor is a pretty cool guy. I think if you "speak-up" you will get what you want...or if you dont' then you'll know.
  11. Useful comments from you guys which I'M using as a new student. Thanks.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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