Lesson break. But here's why.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by jazzbo, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I've posted this here at DB because, well, I think everyone here knows why. But, I'm still on the plank, so my little "story" is talking about plank playing.

    In an ambitious effort last night to get organized, I put my materials from my lessons together into a coherent binder of knowledge. As many teachers, if not all, do do, my teacher is always writing out methodology, charts, rhythm practice concepts, etc etc blah blah blah. I realized the wealth of material I had, but I also noticed redundancy. Faulty teacher? No. Faulty student. Disproving the myth that teachers do all the work for you, I became painfully aware of the fact that I truthfully haven't put in the time I need to. Yes, I practice. Yes, I go over concepts. But, why is my teacher still going over tritone substitutions in ii/V7/I turnarounds? Why is he still reiterating polyrhythms? Why is he elaborating on scalar ideas during soloing?

    I realized it's time for me to put in the time to really get these concepts, all these things he's taught me, all this information he's given me in the last 2 1/2 years, to really get all this under my fingers, in my ears. Do I need to master them? Not necessarily. I recognize that. But, I see that he's given me enough information to, "reach that next level", if you will. If I spend a solid amount of time and focus on the information, methodology, theory, practice patterns or routines, that he's given me in the last couple of years, then I can get to that next level in my work. Until then, I think I'm wasting my money on continuing lessons. Because, there's nothing more he can give me, until I get myself to concretely grasp and thoroughly understand what he has already given me. And I don't yet. There's still apprehension on my part. These concepts have not become second nature yet.

    I adore my teacher, he's a friend as much as someone I pay for a service. In many ways, I feel bad from taking valuable income from him for a period. My idea is to take things one day at a time, and just to work on them as they come. I believe in time, (maybe two months, maybe three, maybe more, who knows), that these concepts will become more and more advanced, more thoroughly understood and ingrained into my vocabulary, and Bill, (my teacher), will be able to help me go from there.

    It's time for me to do the work I need to do.

    What do you guys think?

    Edit: I do want to say that I recognize and acknowledge the fact that regular lessons do help keep you on track and focused. This has been considered.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    My suggestion is to continue lessons and use your Binder'O Stuff as a practice guide.

    If he showed you things more than once, then you weren't getting or using the message. This can mean that the idea doesn't grab you or that the way the message was presented didn't sink it in. When teaching, we teachers spend a lot of time throwing <glop> at the wall. Some <glop> sticks on the first toss, other <glop> takes a little more persistence. Therefore this example, to me, is likely just documentation of this effort.

    Or, perhaps, you're just a rotten student :)
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    A whole week break (I mean no theory, no reading, not even touching the instrument) usually is very useful to help your knowledge "packing" in a coherent ensemble.
    It works for me and a lot of others.
  4. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Jazzbo, how much playing out are you doing, or better yet how much are you playing with other people? I use group playing situations to apply what I've learned in the "real world", which gives me a practical application and that helps me absorb it better, it's less abstract.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    What PHARAOHSMITH said. If you think your head is ahead of your ears and your hands, then use your lessons to prepare you for the playing situations you'll be in. Right now I'm studying Thumb-Position ****, something that is going to take me forever to really get decent at...but in the meantime, I'm learning how to work it into solos on gigs a little at a time. In the lessons, I work on playing melodies up there. It all works out so that the lessons and gigs complement each other. Maybe just narrow the focus a bit and concentrate on just one aspect in your lessons and see what happens?
  6. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Agreed 100%. When you're playing out with others, you'll find out for sure whether or not you really do know these concepts. I've found, several times, that in a jam or gig situation I'd be integrating things that I'd learned in previous lessons, without even thinking about it. To me, that's the sign that I "got it" (provided it sounds good, of course!)

    Why not also ask your teacher what he thinks about it? Perhaps he has been through the same sort of thing, and can give some pointers on how to get through it.
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Learning, practicing, and playing are all seperate things.
    • You learn what a concept or tool is, where you might use it, etc.
    • You practice applying this new thing.
    • You go to the gig or session and forget about what you were doing in the practice room.
    • Repeat the second and third steps forever and occasionally go back to step one.

    As you continue this cycle, the third step will reflect the first two steps when your mind and ear have assimilated the new tool. It could be days, weeks, or months, but you can't push it or expect timely results.

    In light of this, hold that your lessons are in a big way two things: First, an activity that isn't going to instantly reflect on your current playing ability, and second: an investment in the future.

    To share my own experience with this just lately, I've been shedding the Stick'O Pain feverishly for about a year and a half now. Small gains have been noticeable, but nothing that would seem to be enough reward for the time put in. Occasionally something will break loose and I'll make a huge gain, sometimes when I haven't had a good week time-wise with the Stick. Just last week I made a leap to where I'm really starting to get a particular sound and can get it (or some version of it) no matter the bass. A small gain, granted, but a enough of a peek into the future to keep me going. And -- how many times have I had to look into the practice mirror and re-tell myself to do all of the basic things that I've learned about brandishing the stick? And at the same time working constantly on new things to keep my interest up?

    Staying with your teacher will keep your momentum up and keep new ideas coming in. If you're keeping good notes on your lessons, then little or none of your incoming information will be lost if you want to refer back sometime to remind yourself of something to work on.
  8. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    With out the feed back from a teacher you don't know how you are playing for sure. Or where you are making errors. Keep the teacher and talk with him or her about you thoughts on the subject you know the master just might show you a new path now that you are ready to study for real.
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I'm getting the feeling that everyone wants me to stay with the lessons. Hmmmmm......

    I do want to stress that the situation isn't necessarily that I'm not understanding the information that Bill's given me. If that were the case than I definitely would keep at the lessons. I understand the concepts, I just haven't necessarily dedicated the required amount of time to fully integrate them. I guess what I'm saying is, I have all this great practice material, things that I know if I work on will really help me, but it's getting a little overwhelming with all the info now. I wonder, that the information I have right now, that I can build on and work on, that if I dedicate myself to it and really focus on it, personally, that then I can actually get to a "next level" in the playing.

    Interestingly enough, the whole point may have become moot. Because of current economic situations and my desire to get back to SF, I may not have the money to continue.