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Lesson Depression

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bruce Sproston, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. As a beginner, I've been taking weekly 1/2 hour lessons for over 4 months and feel that my instructor's heart just isn't into teaching. He's been playing for 30+ years but just started teaching last fall. Each week he shows up with a new piece of music that he copied out of someone's music book (he never remembers where he got it) and I spend 15-20 minutes trying to play it. One week it was violin music! If I ask, he will get me a photo copy so I can practice it for the next lesson. Today, the copy machine had been removed from the store so no homework for me! I am just learning to read music and the material he brings to the lessons is way beyond my ever depleting brain cells to absorb. Should I ditch this guy or ask him to take lessons on how to be a good instructor? I feel I'm wasting my time and money and at 62 years of age, my time is rapidly running out.
  2. Jason Carota

    Jason Carota Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Lowell, MA
    A good instructor should should encourage gowth, but never go above-and-beyond your current level. If I were you, I would start looking for a new instructor.
  3. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    +1 Teaching is an art, it takes more than just knowing how to play. If your doing your part, you should feel good about your lessons.
    If he's a good teacher and presenting material, and you don't pick up your bass between lessons, that's your fault.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    You need to sit down and have a good ole heart to heart with your teacher. He needs to understand your needs, and you need to articulate your goals and what you want to get from these lessons.

    It's possible that he's not a good instructor. Also possible is, given your age, he may not be taking you seriously. If you intend to get yourself ready to gig publicly, he needs to know that so you can plot a course. If you are just interested in exploring the instrument and playing a few songs, he needs to help you get that together.

    Good luck and enjoy.
  5. ajb


    Mar 20, 2005
    I recommend getting a new teacher. The guy you're with sucks and sounds like an unmotivated idiot to me. A new song a wek: What a moronic lesson plan.
  6. Thanks for the imput. I'll leave a message for my instructor (he's away on another tour) asking that after each lesson he please provide me with a copy of the material we've covered so I can practice it in time for the next lesson. I try to practice 1-2 hours daily so it would be nice to have the material. I'll also try to find another instructor with some teaching experience as it appears that my present instructor is more interested in his band and touring. It is especially obvious the week of a tour when he just doesn't seem to be interested in my lesson.
  7. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
  8. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    And another thing, even when you have a teacher, you should work on your own stuff, too. There's a Ton of great material out there, and you should use some of it independently - in Addition to seeking instruction from a good teacher.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Sight reading is one of the few things you can work on without an instructor, so if that's the main focus of each lesson, this guy is definitely a flake. A teahcer should be giving you a firm foundation in the fundamentals of music:
    PHYSICAL APPROACH - which is really technique. How to finger scales, arpeggios, smooth position shifts, use the fingers on your picking ahnd and fingerboard hand so that you can start any idea on any finger anywhere on the fingerboard.

    UNDERSTANDING AND CONCEPT - which is really theory. Understanding why certain sounds behave they way they do, how notes relate to chords, how chords relate to chords, how to impose what you are hearing internally over what'shappening externally.

    EAR TRAINING - probably the most important skill for a musician. this is really about hearing with enough CLARITY that you can identify WHAT you are hearing (especially if you are just hearing it in your imagination) and make it come out on your instrument. Identifying intervals and chords, being able to SING the intervals and chords, transcribing lines and solos. All of this is what being a musician is about.

    And a teacher is the person who is going to tie all of these disparate skills together; who will put together a program that will work on ALL of these areas in a progressive and consistent way; who will give you the tools to have focused, progressive and consistent practice periods.

    THAT'S the teacher you need to find. How close are you to Charleston? I'd highly recommend looking up a pianist/bassist named Frank Duvall there.

    EDIT - oo, sorry. I thought I read SC in your profile, but it's BC. My bad. There's a great bassist, Laurence Mollerup, who lives in the part of Canada that's closer to NY ( :) ), he may have some suggestions for good teachers in your neck of teh woods. he posts here as LMBASS.
  10. trenken


    Apr 24, 2005
    New Jersey
    Bruce, I would stop giving that loser your money immediately. Go find someone that has a passion for teaching and helping others. That guy sounds like a washed up musician that isn't good enough to make it for real, so he has resorted to teaching to get the bills paid. You don't want to be around people like that.

  11. I would get rid of the instructor. Since your in the beginning stage, it is important for you to learn the basics first. Not all instructors can teach beginners. You could check your local college to see if they offer night or weekend adult classes on music theory, ear training. If bass is not available, you can benefit from a piano class. These classes are usually in a group setting, inexpensive which can yield good results. Once you got the basics down, you could start with a good beginner bass book while looking for an instructor.
  12. prblack

    prblack Guest

    Apr 12, 2004
    Toronto, Canada

    If you're looking for some great instructional material,Check out Carol Kaye's website : www.carolkaye.com. I having been using her materials for 2 yrs and even though it's Jazz oriented, she has ear training, sight reading, and lots of books with great bass lines. Carol is always willing to answer any questions you have.It has helped my bass playing tremendously.:)
  13. +1 Carol has jammed and recorded with hundreds of Top Studio Musicians. She always finds the time to answer questions on her forum and will open you up to ideas and get you thinking. I own a few of her tutors and the Bass Dvd which are very good.
  14. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Is her Bass DVD and book in tab or standard notation?
  15. prblack

    prblack Guest

    Apr 12, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    :) Definitely notation. But she teaches how to read music thru her Music Reading DVD.
  16. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I will have to second this idea. This teacher you have sounds absolutely awful and it sounds like his heart is not in it at all. I do some teaching and I give thought to the lesson, make sure I am prepared, and I don't teach just songs. If you are learning bass you need the ear training, sight reading, and good bass lines to play, just as mentioned above. Also, it is imperative that you learn proper playing technique. I started as an older player and I don't think I would still be playing it I didn't learn from her methods that teach proper physical techniques. You can learn so much from her videos, CD's, books, and DVDs. Years later, I always find something new to learn from her teaching materials.

    And, most of all, you ideally should walk away from a lesson feeling inspired and like you can't wait to get home to start working on the material. That, to me, is what a good teacher and good teaching is all about. I think you will find yourself inspired by this material.

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