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My teacher, trying to figure out if i should switch

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by d8g3jdh, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I've been taking lessons ever since i started (approx 7 months) and this and since about a month ago i switched from a guitarist teacher to a bassist teacher, i figure it makes sense.

    Anyways, hes taught me a few things, and hes really good at bass, im just not sure if he worth the $21 im paying him (about 16 american) as far as ability to teach goes, and also i wanna make sure hes setting me on the right track. I asked him to teach me ear training, and he said the best thing i can do is to transcribe songs (ive heard this is true) but didnt really go into how to get to a level where i can accurately transcribe a song, but instead told me how to go about transcribing (start with how many notes in the riff, figure out if its major/minor, etc). he mentioned interval recognition, but that was it.

    I asked him to get me going on theory as well, and he just said that there were so many directions to go in, and didnt really get into it past that (we didnt really have time).

    Anyways, do you think hes starting me off in the right direction, or is he just trying to make the half hour go by quick? This is probably all in my head and hes probably a great teacher comparitively, but i just wanna check with the pros of TB

  2. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    There is no harm in shopping around for teachers. This is YOUR money.


    If I were you, I'd drop him, but that's IMHO.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    He may be a good teacher, but when they answer a question like yours with that answer, they've reached the limit of what they can teach you. He was right on with the advice about transcribing, though. It really does help develop your ear. He might be able to show you how to play really well and get you through a rudimentary understanding of it, but an answer like that makes me think that theory may not be his strong suit.
  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I would rather take lessons from a great teacher who specialized in guitar than a good teacher who specialized in bass. As a matter of fact I did for a long time, I didn't study under a dedicated bass teacher until I was 25.

    If you don't feel you are getting your money's worth you should switch, but don't feel you have to limit yourself to only teachers who focus on bass. A good guitar teacher will be able to give you what you want to learn as well.
  5. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    Just to clear something up, which answer were you talking about? The ear training one or the theory one?
  6. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Do you read music yet? Perhaps he is avoiding getting into those subjects because you are not skilled enough in the basics to even understand them yet. Gotta walk before you can run.
  7. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I know everything about reading music (played sax until grade 10) except the notes on the bass clef. Also, because of my previous sax experience i have a decent understanding of theory, so although ive forgotten most of it i can pick it up quick
  8. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    If you can't read through a piece of music, you can't read the music. If you can't read music (on bass) there is little to no benefit (yet) to learning theory. If I were your teacher, I would insist on a passable ampunt of ability on the instrument, as well as the ability to read music, before I moved into theory.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    So Grug, I have to change my first post. You can read music except for the bass clef, you know theory except you forgot it all...yeah, your teacher is right. I think one of the prerequisites for learning theory is knowing how to read music written for the instrument you play.
  10. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota

    You really need to be able to read bass clef. That's what bass uses.
    I teach a couple of very good players. Lots of technique and speed, but they need some direction. I have a new student who was through Bk. 2 in the Hal Leonard series. The kid plays piano and tuba so can read and has music skills. He has played along with all his CD's. He is fast and has lots of licks. His former teacher said he had nothing left to teach him and sent him on his way.

    I put Bk. 3 in front of him, opened up to the syncopated funk and said play. He couldn't. I guess there's more for him to learn. His basics are good - nice finger and hand position, etc. - but he needs some refining and more rhythm work.

    There's almost always more to learn.
  11. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Where does the idea that you have to read in order to understand theory come from?

    I am a teacher and I have some students who refuse to read (Its thier money remember) and they understand theory well.

    As an instructor I can tell you that they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are better for beginners, advanced, etc. The last guy I took lessons from taught me an incredible amount, but I would have hated him if I were a beginner.

    Bottom line...Its your money...if you don't seem to connect with this guy then look elsewhere. You have spoken up about what you want to learn, I'd give him one more lesson. If he still doesn't want to teach you what you want to know then start looking elsewhere.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Even without seeing them in action, I would highly debate the level of understanding they actually have. I guess anyone can count up half-steps and understand what kind of scale it is, and you certainly don't have to be able to read music to play it, but I don't see how anyone can apply theory in depth to a musical situation without knowing how to read. I know of a few teachers who won't even teach students unless they agree to learn how to read. I guess if your students aren't ever expecting to play jazz or reading gigs it's fine, but I don't see how anyone can truly understand music theory fully without knowing how to read.
  13. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm not against reading at all. I think its one of the best ways to develop overall skill on an instrument. However, I also think that the idea that you have to read to understand theory is bunk...if you have a good teacher that is.

    As for demanding that student learn to read...thats good for some people but I need to make a living. And I will teach a student what they want to learn...at the same time hoping to motivate them to study at a deeper level by showing them what they can accomplish.

  14. Teaching theory via standard notation is ONE way of teaching theory. Lead sheets anyone? Notes NAMES? You need to learn bass clef sometime, but you can learn theory first. You already know the note names and what they mean, so learning from there is perfect.
  15. This is maybe a side note, but your teacher doesn't charge very much. Teachers here charge US$50 an hour. You just switched teachers. I would continue with this teacher for another month and see what I could learn.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this point - half an hour is a very short time to deal with stuff like this!!

    I woudl have thought an hour was a minimum or you are just going to be exchanging pleasantaries, tackle one area and then ...oh what about next time what shall we organise.....:meh:
  17. Yes I agree. An hour goes by fast too.
  18. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    That's pretty rough. I have two excellent teachers -- I pay one $25/hr (DB) and one $28/hr (BG.) That's Canadian, no less.

    Yeah, half an hour's a REALLY short time to tackle all of this stuff, Grug. Even hour-long lessons can go right by, but you can definitely get more done each week. I'd stick with him for a little while. You'll find out pretty soon that the half-hour WILL go pretty quick when you're workin'!
  19. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    I suppose i shouldve mentioned this earlier, but this isnt one guy, he's a teacher for a music store. i keep forgetting to ask them what their credentials are for hiring teachers

    a half-hour goes by very quick, this is true, but that is the standard for the store. for me to get hour longs id have to find a new place entirely.

    While im here, anyone teach/know of any good teachers/places to get taught in the Aurora area (about 45 minutes north of toronto)?
  20. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    Yeah, I pay $50 USD an hour for my private instructor. Well worth it imho. :cool: