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How Were Musicians Taught For Decades?

Discussion in 'Ask Jeff Berlin [Closed]' started by JeffBerlin, Jan 5, 2018.

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  1. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    This is a new thread where it is my wish to share that the only apparent way that people were taught how to play was by being assigned musical content by qualified teachers to practice. Musical content in this instance is music based in harmony, melody and rhythm to practice. This method worked so well that nearly everybody that played an instrument and who were not self taught (or in charge of what they decided to learn and play by) were taught musical content for literally centuries.

    If practically everyone was taught how to play by reading and practicing written musical content based in the factual definition of musical principles, it seems that bass lessons should be centered around teaching the same principles. There isn't any other approach in the academic world that has shown success in teaching people. This is easy to check. Choose ten musicians from all kinds of different styles of music and see if you can determine how they learned how to play. You will notice that they learned how to play via two ways only:

    1. They were taught musical content based in written out or concrete harmonic principles.

    2. They were self taught, or, if you like, in charge of everything that they considered beneficial to work on to benefit their musical improvement.

    Paying a check to a teacher or a school is viewed by me as paying for a service equal to getting your car repaired or having your tooth filled. The service that bass teacher should provide is to teach you how to play better by using reliable and proven methods to do so as auto mechanics and dentists have been taught to use. In music, the only method proven to give everyone an equal chance at being taught how to improve their play is being taught harmonically solid musical principles, couple with the teaching of melody, rhythm, and also reading etudes written in harmonic and rhythmical perfection. Because the teaching and practicing of musical content is the only method shown to produce the highest number of capable players, then it is my opinion that all bass lessons should follow the same path of teaching.

    I know that one's goals and wishes in learning how to play motivate students to find the right teacher to learn from. But, the right teacher is a term that I don't believe applies to anyone that still hasn't learned the fundamentals of music. Most bass players haven't and therefore don't need a unique, or right teacher. This is usually best for players whose skills make it possible for them to seek a unique approach to continue their education, sort of like going into a special area of medicine such as neurology or obstetrics. I see that every teacher should be right for everyone if they know how to teach music. Or, one can rely on a self taught regiment, an immersion into the more performance-type elements as practically 100% of all bass players since the electric bass came into use have done.

    It doesn't matter if one is a slapper, rocker, or whatever your style of music or your personal goals are. No matter what style of bass playing one endeavors to pursue, no matter if one wishes to learn a few songs or enter into a full blown career in music, always remember that every style of music that bass players play contains a major chord in there somewhere. This means that no matter your style or goals, there is a common need among all bass players to learn what the right notes are in any given musical situation and to know where to play those notes on your bass neck. If you are self taught, you are beholden to nothing and no one for the outcome of your efforts to learn and play. But, if you pay a check, thereby seeking a service for pay, then for me, the rules completely change. Now, it is important that you receive a guarantee that you are getting instruction using the only method of learning that give you the only guarantee that you are being taught correctly.

    This is the reason for the title of this thread. Practically everyone in Western society who were ever taught were taught the language of music based in harmony for centuries. One's style preference was never an issue because style wasn't important in the learning of music, only in the artistic playing or writing of it. If you aren't taught how to play the right note on the right fret at the right time, then you might be paying to be a part of an experiment where teachers have decided to fix a system of teaching the bass when it was never broken to begin with.

    Your comments are welcome! Cheers from Jeff
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  2. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    Well the internet--and before that videos, tapes & earlier recorded music certainly were part of the impetus for those changes.
    So I would be interested to know your thoughts on how recorded music and the current easy access to music & videos has affected how people learn (or attempt too learn as the case may be)
  3. This is a very clear and well written statement! I'll share this in the last thread to draw some hopeful attention to it.

    To quote the ending:

    This is a more than interesting view point, one I feel could even apply to education as a whole and not just bass education.
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I think a lot of 'instruction', on any instrument, happened during school years. After that, it was the self taught method. At least in my neighborhood. I grew up in a 4 square mile city and we all kinda learned from each other. Of course some were better but everyone was willing to teach. I never had a 'bass' teacher. I learned by ear and later bought a learning book. Learned slap by accident as I hit the string in anger when I had a hard time learning something. An a ha moment. Another thing to consider.......my family was low income so couldn't afford private lessons. Later in life, other things took priority. However, I was pretty good at learning songs almost note for note so my own methods served my needs. Wasn't until I got into contemporary jazz and going to concerts and actually "listening" to music did I decide to delve deeper into my playing. I learned a lot by watching and listening to pro jazz players. I feel my ear and meter are excellent. I am severely lacking in the solo department but it's ok. Just because I've never had formal bass instruction, I'm not against it. I believe if one wants to learn how to do something that eludes them, take advantage of what instructors have to offer.
    Jhengsman and Quinn Roberts like this.

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