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Lessons vs. Self-Taught

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ishmael_the_god, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. kenlacam


    Nov 8, 2005
    akron, ohio
    I think that it's a matter of preference. I am self-taught on bass/keys, been playing for over 20 years. There are obvious cons, like not knowing how to read music, but for me the payoff is that I've developed really keen hearing and am able to fully play by ear, which helps out in learning new material.
  2. jsbass


    Sep 3, 2006
    I choose to learn at my own pace in which paying for lessons would be a waste of money therefore I am self-taught.
  3. GrooveBass


    Oct 10, 2004
    First off, I am self-taught totally. My Dad told me the major scale once, and that was it. I believe that you can do just as well if not better self-taught if you have the modivation for it. The trouble is that if you are teaching yourself it is really easy to say "Bah, this is too much work" whereas if you've put 50 bucks into it, that's a bit tougher to say. So if they are really sure they want to play, or at least have a reason to practice no less than weekly, I'd go self-taught.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I have two degrees in music and I'm classically trained on trumpet and french horn. However I taught myself bass.

    Self education is totally possible for just about anyone who is at least a little motivated to learn. Bass is pretty easy to figure out... the musical aspects, OTOH will take a lifetime (style, time, groove, taste etc etc).

    To those players who don't have much money or prefer to work by themselves I say, go for it. You might consider taking a lesson every 6-8 months, have someone who really knows check out your technique, make some suggestions and answer some questions.
  5. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    ...I completely agree, (how boring) ;)
  6. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    It depend on who you keep company with. If you are around real good musicians willing to mentor you then lessons are note that important. The problem is hanging with the right group of musicians. First a musician needs to learn how to play by ear AND learn basic theory either one alone is not good. Too many times players start hanging with others who hide behind things like "real musicians don't need to <fill in the blank>. They fall into that trap not realizing those are just feeble excuses for laziness, fear, and lack of commitment.

    Playing only by ear severely limits your career. Yes, there are exceptions but so few make it try to doing it with less skills just makes it harder. Other side of coin those that get brought up in strict schooling and lessons and can't play if you don't tell them what to play. Many classical player are like that. They have amazing chops, sightread anything, explain in painful detail a piece of music, but put them in a jam and they are lost. Many have metronome perfect time, but can't play a groove. IMO you need to experince a little of each world. Need a balance of ear player and schooled player. Those are the musicians who work as much and for as long as they want. They can handle any type of work.

    So if around the right people lessons aren't as important as music is one of those things that gets passed master to apprentice. If not around knowledgable musicians then lessons are a way to get some mentoring. The best teacher is lots of playing both with others and in the woodshed.
  7. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    As much as being around musicias who can mentor and teach you certain things you is, going to a teacher is a different thing and remains a useful thing to get, I think.
    I had both and am glad I did. They complemented each other but none would have served well as the others substitute.
    -my two pence ;)
  8. Reading through the whole barrage of posts...

    I'm a real beginner at bass, and I am contemplating on getting a teacher. The local rates are high for electric bass: $180++ for 12 sessions. I'm not even sure of the quality of the teacher, but most probably a studio musician. Nor they are giving me the curriculum for me to check.

    I'm not rich to just throw away that amount of money and later be disappointed if the quality of teaching sucked. As you guys said, getting a teacher early on is very practical and could be the best track for every beginner, but it rests on the quality of teaching/teacher.

    Since I'm not sure of the latter, I'm putting off the lessons for now.

    I think I'll give myself another 6 months (been playing for that same amount of time) before I get the lessons. This will not get me into the absolute beginner category, and hopefully accurately skip over the very basic stuff (Accurately means I don't want to just skip lessons just because of the one year experience).

    I'm going to content myself over decent beginner books for now coupled with lengthy and structured (planned) practice everyday. If after a year I'm still into bass guitar, then and only then will I get the lessons. For now I'll be investing financially on material I can teach myself with.

    I'm not sure if there are competent Filipino local private teachers around, and that might change my perspective. The rates I mentioned above came from music learning centers with a course on electric bass.

    My goals right now is to have a balanced diet on all bass perspectives I know: ear training, chops, theory, sight reading, timing and a little of wannabe jamming. Hopefully, by the end of my trial period, I'll have a basis on all of that and my teacher will be able to get things to me easier. I am comfortable with classroom as well as self-paced learning on other aspects in life. Wish me luck :-D
  9. \m/cliffB\m/


    Jun 23, 2009
    dirty jearsy
    i have been playing for a year now and i want a teacher for the grounds of learning to read music and make me a better bassest and musican someone to teach me scales theroy all the stuff needed to be go pro in music
  10. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    when i first started playing in 84-85, i took lessons from a teacher that all of the guitar players at school were using. he was really knowledgeable, but after five or six lessons, a strange thing happened; he told me that i absorbed theory so quickly, that he actually told me not to bother with anymore lessons- his words were "you will be able to teach yourself everything you need to know" he was right.
  11. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    self taught is the only way
  12. Jayhawk


    Sep 6, 2006
    Kansas City
    I'd learned more after a few months of lessons than I had after 2 1/2 years of being self-taught ... but that was my experience. For me, lessons have been invaluable.
  13. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Fixed it for ya. ;)
  14. Deathwatch


    Jul 29, 2009
    Owensboro, KY
    I wouldn't think so, I'm self taught and have been playing for 3 years. What I do is watch other bassist (especially my favorite ones) play, and I study there style of playing, then I will try to mock them, and whatever feels comfortable I will use more often. For instance if I'm going to be playing some slap I will usually use Flee's style or Ryan Martinie (depends), if I'm going to be fingerplucking I usually play like Rob Trujillo or John Campbell (also depends). Yes I do want to make a living out of my playing, I love playing scales once in awhile but what I love most is playing covers of songs that I enjoy listening to. I believe if your motivated enough you can go on without a teacher, and besides I used to take Piano lessons and I hated it, I rarely ever played the piano I just kinda memorized the music in my head and next lesson I could pretty much play it (not perfectly though) that how I got through lessons. When I stopped taking lessons I found I actually enjoyed playing the piano, and many other instruments, so in my case I hated being taught by someone else.
  15. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    Like anything else, it all depends and what you want to get out of music and whether or not you need someone to push you to learn new things.

    I'd prefer to have a good teacher, if only because this teacher can talk to other people he/she knows and suggest me to them if they need a bassist and the teacher's not available.
  16. Minotauros


    Nov 23, 2009
    A good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. Unfortunately I've been through three guitar teachers and have been unhappy. So I'm going it alone with guitar (2 years) and bass (5 weeks... I'm a newborn :D).

    I'm learning a lot on my own (I think) with the help of the guys here and internet lessons and video sites. I might make better progress with a teacher, but you know how it goes, "three strikes, you're out".

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