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lessons advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by spector_red, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. Hello,

    I'd like to get bass lessons - after about two years of teaching myself. What do you all think is important to look for when finding a teacher? - and equally what to avoid in a teacher. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. I don't know how much you know currently(theory) but I would find a true bass player, not a guitar player teaching bass. I would also try to find someone who digs the same kind of music, so they can answer all your questions with seasoned answers. I would try to stay away from someone who just wants to teach songs, and find someone who teaches theory in conjuction with teaching you songs and trademarks. It will make you a better "MUSICIAN" instead of a riff playing shredder.

    My 2 cents.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I agree with all the above points but one. It might be beneficial if you studied with someone who didn't play the same style. Anyway whatever happens you are the customer. If you are not happy with your teacher, move on.
  4. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    A good teacher is a rewarding experience.

    A good teacher will know a variety of different styles of music and will be able to teach you different styles yourself and not limit you to just learning, say, rock. He will teach you theory and how to read music. A good teacher will not pretend to know everything. Remember: learning is a life-long experience and more then likely your teacher will have a teacher himself. A good teacher is one you can come to with questions and help you until you understand. He will not make fun if you do not know something. A good teacher will further your growth as a musician and a person.

    What to avoid: teachers who show off continuosly. I think you've got a bad teacher, IMHO, if, at your first lesson, he sits down and starts slapping the life out of his bass. All beginners want to slap and get right to showing off. But a good teacher should know better. Teachers who think they know everything...usually don't. Avoid a teacher who uses tabs. He should be teaching you site reading and ear-training. If you want to learn a favorite song of yours ask the teacher. Bring the CD in. Learn the song together.
  5. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire

    The most challenging thing about education is that we don't know what we don't know until after we have learned it.

    Plainly, you are the student, and do not know, so it is hard to evaluate a good teacher. All of the above posts have good advice. I would only like to add that you can "check the fruit on the tree" by going to hear your (potential) teacher play a gig. If he/she is not playing gigs then they are obviously not a professional bassists.

    I recommend a professional bassist who is doing what you want to do. This is not to say that all good teachers have to be playing gigs every night. But, you the "student" can hear when someone is playing with a band whether you like what they are doing. Also some good players are not real good teachers but you will figure this out and it will not hurt to be around a good player.
  6. This is the point I was trying to make when I said get someone that plays the same style. They can teach you the necessary things immediately, along with teaching you the theory behind it. I totally agree about not knowing what you don't need until you have learned it. I had a teacher (guitar) who taught me every scale & chord in the book, and I have yet to apply a fraction of that knowledge. Of course I am glad I studied it, but I think that I could have learned certain things more in depth and never learned certain other things.:rolleyes: Of course I play Country & Blues, and it is nice to play simple because I choose to not because I have a limited knowledge. One great thing about learning tons of theory is that you can pick up another instrument (like I did with Upright/Electric bass) and you are not starting over from square 1.

    I know this is a mixed message, but it really depends on what you want to do. If you want to be a virtuoso which may include taking lessons for years, go for the in depth theory. If you want to be able to handle a band situation SOON, find someone who plays the same style and get them to show you the tricks of the trade.

    I hope this helps.
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Speaking as someone who recently started having lessons after about 12 years of playing (with Steve Lawson - from TB ask a pro forum). I can safely say getting the right teacher is paramount, anyone will just not do!!!

    Things I think are important are:

    *Everything Stephanie says above!
    *Finding someone who you like and respect as a person/musician/bassplayer - in that order.
    *Someone who has a wide knowledge of different styles.
    *A teacher should impress and inspire you a as musician and player (but they shouldnt try to!)
    *A teacher should enjoy teaching you.
    *A teacher should adapt to how you learn best and work at your pace.

    You should think about what you want from the lessons? - Even tho as James S says above you dont know what you want to learn until you've learnt it, you probably have an idea about where you want to go as a musician/bassist, you probably have ideas and dreams and they are important.

    I dont neccessarily agree with the fact that they should neccessarily be a working bassist. I think someone who enjoys teaching and loves music is infinitley more important.

  8. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    For the record Steve Lawson is a fantastic teacher and I feel lucky to have found him. I was very wary about having lessons as I've known people who've given lessons when they probably didnt know much more than me, I really didnt want to pay someone for that 1st lesson after finding out they knew little more than I did at the time!

    I also was worried about finding someone who taught me a load of crap! Learning something badly is worse than not learning it at all.
  9. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    Dear Howard,

    I do not mean to contradict you but I never suggested that " Even tho as James S says above you dont know what you want to learn until you've learnt it,".

    Not knowing what you know and not knowing what you want to learn are entirely two different things.

    The first case is just plain old common ignorance. The second is lack of commitment.

  10. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    OK, I see where you're coming from, but I tend to disagree. Both cases given above are very bold and a bit too black & white in my mind.

    When I had my first lesson, I knew the major scale, I knew there were modes and I knew about the relative minor. I was well aware that I didn't know 'all about the major scale'.
    I also knew the sounds of many of the major intervals because I'd been playing for years. I knew the sound of a minor 7th, but I didnt know what it was called.

    In fact I didn't even know I wanted to learn the chords within the major scale until I had, and then I realised how incredibley vital it was as a tool for making music and a starting block for learning.

    Now I've had a few lessons I have more idea where I want to go, but I still do not know precisely what I want to learn and I assure you it's not through a lack of commitment ;)

    I apologies for misquoting you - I'm good at that ;) - but I think there's generally much more of a grey area around learning and developing through lessons.. or there is for me at least!

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