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Rant about instructional DVD's and online lessons.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matty Koff, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    As someone who's not got much in the way of options with bass instruction in my area as far as I can tell.. I've used online lessons, books, and DVD's for a lot of my learning and well.. here's how it typically goes.

    First few lessons are monotonously easy.. like you can't help but roll your eyes if you're advanced beyond the lesson. But they give you the bit with one tempo, show you what notes to play, how to hit the strings etc etc.

    Then they show off a bit at speed or you come to a lesson where the backing track is set to one speed and the exercise is too fast for you to really pick up on or execute, and you're expected to figure out how to slow it down and build yourself up to it on your own. So okay.. I'm going to spend the next week learning this line I'm probably never actually going to use, and figure out how to play it to a metronome click instead of your provided backing track.

    Am I wrong in thinking that people who pursue musical education in grade school get a bit more detailed instruction with instructors that run through their practice routines with them, and will slow down to the student's pace to show them how to build the ability up to tempo? I.E. Assisted guidance an hour a day 5 days a week, vs "Hey here's this bass line/technique at speed.. here's my 5-15 minute video talking more than I'm providing examples.. if you can't do it figure out the drills to do so on your own. Please subscribe, see you next week."

    I'd love to have an instructor who would run practice drills with me at my pace and give me a routine to run until the following week in order to build up speed in whatever technique or passage I'm trying to learn.

    At least certain online lessons offer guitar pro documents that let you slow down or speed up at will.. but even then you're lacking immediate criticism and help correcting bad habits.
    Guild B301 likes this.
  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Lessons in school, like for young students do go slow. But they are learning to read music, play in an ensemble, and learn the techniques of their instrument all at the same time.
    Good teaching will mostly center around good information, including how to practice on your own.
    I haven't spent much time with on line or DVD material, but what little I've seen has to do with self promoting the teacher rather than helping the student. But then, one DVD for everyone is not the best private instruction.
    Look for an instructor you can travel to once a month. Lessons don't have to be every week, if you're beyond beginning stage.
  3. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    I understand this is a rant, and I agree with you. One on one will always be better than instruction books or videos / DVD, etc. Why? Instant feed back to what just happened and the ability to focus on what is needed and what can be left alone.

    Right now with everything in the state we find ourselves in that may be hard to pull off. And we may need to go with books, etc.

    Good luck, hang in and this too shall pass. 2022 for those of us still around will be better.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  4. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    Even before the pandemic finding an actual bass instructor local to me was an impossibility. And the instruction studios I did go to didn't really offer much to a non-beginner. The guy they put me with was a guitar major and only knew how to play bass with one finger. It was a basically a refresher course on the major scale, with some sheet music/tab to Pink Floyd's Money >.< I have had to teach myself technique with the help of online resources.

    So I use what resources I can.. but it gets frustrating. If I had known as a kid what I know now.. my academic studies would've been much different.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    There is no substitute to repetition early on. When I learned to play low brass in grade school, I spent HOURS practicing at home. I was in a band class of almost 100 kids. So, no, I didn't get individual attention or instant critique.

    Pick a good online teacher. If that teacher plays something you can't at speed, stop. Work that exercise until you CAN play it at speed.

    The effort and repetition will be worth it later on.
  6. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    So if a member of your class was demonstrating poor technique or dragging/rushing.. what would happen? Would they get booted from the classroom? Would the problem go ignored? For instance, watching videos of drum teams.. they sit in one room and practice together for a period of time every day for weeks/months before they perform in front of anyone. Sure if someone fails repeatedly they're removed from the team, but during those daily practice sessions they have a coach telling them what they're doing wrong and are offered a chance to correct it.

    Was the class not given exercises and drills to utilize at home, or did they just play you a drill at speed and send you home to figure out how to get there yourself? Or, as a class, were you offered some guidance on how to best practice?

    I remember in the 1st grade our class being given recorders, taught how to play a Mary Had a Little Lamb and spending the rest of the class practicing with the teacher going around giving pointers to students.

    Kind of find it hard to believe that the warmups I've heard from trained violinists that display her perfect triplets and 16th notes through various scales/arpeggios were developed solely on her own time with no criticism or guidance.

    Like.. i can't help but imagine that practice assignments were a form of homework.

    At some point you would've been taught how to effectively practice, and likely how to avoid developing bad habits/flaws. And there's a pretty big difference in facing an academic program dedicated to the cause 5 days a week vs trying decide how to best practice for a week after a 15 minute video where it's 13 minutes of various repetitious analogies that all have the same meaning, and 2 minutes of actual demonstration, often interrupted and broken up into little 15-30 second sections by said analogies throughout a 15 minute video. Like seriously.. how bout a video of "This is how I practice" "this is how I used to practice, before I had my chops."
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    Sands likes this.
  7. The worst I have ever seen was a John Patitucci Instructional Video were he was using a Bass with no markers on the fretboard! Why would you do this and how could nobody notice? It was nigh impossible to tell where the hell he was on the fretboard without the markers!

    Don't believe me? Here ya go!

    As long as they are showing the headstock you can count the frets. When they zoom in all point of reference was lost!

    I ended up throwing the video away in disgust!
    Sands and Matty Koff like this.
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    First off, relax. You're getting pretty belligerent. Nobody is arguing with you. (It appears a total lack of patience may be part of your problem to begin with.)

    What I'm saying is this. There was VERY LITTLE individual instruction in my band classes. I made All-District and State Honors bands because of MY HOURS of practice at home.

    We would have rare "sectionals" where the trumpets would all meet in a corner and get instruction from the 1st chair player. But, no, the band director didn't walk the room critiquing individual players on a daily (or even weekly) basis. We learned as a group what was expected of us individually. In tue beginning we would have exercises in a technique book. We would run through a few in class. And then we were expected to go home and practice them. We did. Those who practiced stayed in band. Those who didn't would eventually leave. Not many left.

    To learn a new skill without a personal instructor, you have to have drive. You have to practice the boring, mundane exercises over and over again.

    By the way, I also used to teach private bass lessons. I had as many as 32 students at a time. I could put their fingers in the right places. I could slow things down. I could run through them over and over. But if they didn't go home and practice, they got nowhere. I wasn't there with them for the hours they spent practicing each week. They just had to do it.

    You're an adult (I assume). You don't need the kind of attention. You should be able to pick up skills through streaming lessons and practice. It's that simple. But it's going to take repetition.

    Your notion regarding spending time with a run or lick you'll probably never use is ridiculous in my view. You're not learning the lick to incorporate it into your music. You're learning it to either teach your fingers something or to incorporate a chord or scale im a way that it will stock with you. Practice those early exercises over and over.

    In this scene from Karate Kid (be advised.... colorful language) Daniel is PISSED because Mr.Miagi was supposed to be teaching him karate. Instead all he had done was manual labor around the guy's house. Turns out he had learned plenty. It's the same for a musical instrument. You have no idea how the basic skills you are learning right now will serve your playing later on. Stick with it. It will become clear later.
    Sands, 12BitSlab, rjake007 and 11 others like this.
  9. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    The section where he's just playing songs with the drummer... like.. cool bro. That helps a lot.
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    With all of the great players teaching via Skype during the pandemic, there is no excuse for not being able to find a quality instructor. I've taken some lessons with world class players because they are trying to supplement their lost income and taking on many more students.

    Just my opinion, but watching a video is not a lesson. To me, a lesson entails some kind of feedback.
  11. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    IMO, the key word in the above statement is developed. Some people have an ear but can't play. Others can play an instrument very well but are not musical. For quite a few, it will never happen and is an art best appreciated from a distance. Not everyone is cut out to be a pro. With the first Mel Bay book I had, some imagination and vision had to be used to get past the dryness, lack of tempo or other instruments to accompany it. I developed what I could from any source and left the rest to the talented, moved forward with what I could pull off and forgot about the rest. I still found it to be fun. Well rounded? Nope. That was the late 70's to the early 80's. Today with Videos, drum tracks and other instruments to accompany an individual, it's much easier to move forward.
  12. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    If you're interpreting my response to you as belligerence, that's on you. I'm asking you questions from a state of not having had a musical education, and explaining my position. You can put whatever perceived tone of font you'd like to on it.

    In the beginning you would have excercises in a technique book, and you were expected to take them home as homework. You met with 1st chair musicians and learned from them directly, on a regular basis.

    That's a far more structured and guided instruction than half of the stuff I see online. How many adults do you see learning to write in the 21st century? In kindergarten we're handed sheets of paper that we write letters on over and over until it becomes muscle memory. You're fed information and instruction on a daily basis.

    My notion about running a lick I'll never use, is that I'm running it without any kind of supervision, with only myself to determine whether I'm off the meter or what is happening that's causing me to struggle with a particular line.

    My point is merely that I wouldn't personally just wave a hand in the air at the effect of being in a class 5 days a week with other musicians and daily interaction with your teacher whether it's individual or as a class. The environment alone contributes to one's ability to progress. To say 'nah it didn't help me at all', 'books and short demos with a bunch of hot air between actual demonstration is all anyone should ever need'.. yeah, I'm scoffing at that. #1 we don't all work/learn the same way. But thanks for that.

    You can have all the desire in the world, spend 8 hours a day running lines but if you're doing it wrong and nobody's ever pointing it out to you that you are, you're going to keep doing it wrong.

    Perhaps as someone who's not so much a beginner, but would like some more effective resources for learning where there are not any local to me for a person my age, my rant is a plea to content creators and "online music instructors" to improve what they're charging for. I'd like to get over this plateau I've run into. My callouses have holes on them lol. Music isn't the only thing where there's room for improvement, teaching and study environments allow for it too.

    The link above to Pattituci's "lessons".. most of that video is useless to someone observing who isn't already some kind of virtuoso. "Here watch me play this".. how about, why don't you play it correctly at various tempos so I can hear what it sounds like slower at a speed I can actually see/hear what you're doing and even attempt to play it? Oh, you're sitting there having a jam session with your drummer. Cool bro I learned alot.

    Nah. I am envious that you grew up in a musical enviroment. I unfortunately didn't find my passion for it until much later on in life, and self learning is not some easy task. I happen to think there are probably more effective ways than some of what we see. Like, I'll give props to Ari Capp.. she says "practice with me" in some of her course videos. Again, faster than someone new to a concept might be able to keep up with.. but she gives you a glimpse at her practice routine rather than just saying "Here's a quick demo, and a bunch of words that interrupt the actual playing and demonstration, go have fun." Yet still.. following her courses for her book on theory for the bass player, sometimes she's showing off in ways that I can't translate from the work material I've been given with no direct guidance on how to best utilize it in a daily practice routine.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  13. GastonD


    Nov 18, 2013
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Matty Koff likes this.
  14. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    I like this one. If you know of good resources link away. I do not have teachers/people in my life guiding me towards such things and it's appreciated.
  15. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    PVG Membership
    As a few people have said - Real teachers are inherently better (provided you have a good teacher) online videos are pretty much designed to keep you going back to online videos and you have zero feedback so you have to make judgement calls on information you are not yet qualified to make judgement calls on. A real one on one lesson you get a wealth of information and feedback that you just won't get from any video. Then you've also got to consider the overwhelming majority of lessons people up to youtube just suck.

    Good news is, a whole load of teachers are available via skype/zoom etc so you have a wealth of teachers available if you want them, myself included. Message them and ask for lessons or have a chat about what you want and if they can help you. This is actually the best time ever to do that.

    With all due respect to the JP video, what's the issue with using a bass with no fret markers? Do people need fretboard markers to use your ears? Not having them is probably one of the best things he could do to get you to develop them. He's got the same notes on his bass as you have on yours so you might have to spend a bit longer finding the note but that process is going to do wonders for you so it's a good opportunity. But I agree for the most part that video is a bit dull, there are a few good nuggets in it but I kind of feel it's one of the classic bad instructional videos that a lot of big names put out without realising what they were doing. I'm sure if JP put one out now though it would be so much more informed.
    Matty Koff likes this.
  16. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    The best things any teacher has ever done for me: 1) motivate/guilt me into practicing more/better and 2) give critical feedback on my progress 3) hook me up with jam/gig opportunities. I don't think online/books/DVDs can do any of that.
  17. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    I think I am going to look into some online 1 on 1 lessons. And since you mentioned yourself as an instructor, I'll send you a pm and see what's up.

    You can find guitar, drums, and piano around here.. wind instruments, vocal lessons.. but I've spent more time searching for local bass instructors than actually learning anything that I didn't already have somewhat of a grasp on.

    Skype/zoom lessons aren't without their flaws, but it's probably better than what I've got available as it stands.
    Sands likes this.
  18. My .02 FWIW. Everybody learns and takes in new information differently. Some people prefer to read things on their own, some prefer to be told by someone else how to do something, some people have to be shown etc. We all prefer to take in information in different ways. For me once an instructor showed me how to hold the instrument, pluck the instrument, and fret the notes properly, there was very little they could show me I couldn't learn from reading a book or watching a video. Others may feel differently about this.
    bbh, Splash7 and Matty Koff like this.
  19. Splash7

    Splash7 The Determined Bass Player Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2019
    Matty, first of all, I love ya, buddy. However, I am a bit curious. You have been on TB since 2014. What have you been doing all that time (besides reading and posting?) Six years is an awfully long time to be posting your questions and rant about bass instruction after this much time. How long have you actually been trying to learn the bass?

    As far as having instruction in a school band environment when you are young, well that may or not make a difference. I played the bass/tuba in junior high and high school. I graduated in '72. Didn't play another musical instrument since. In early 2019 I decided I wanted to play the bass guitar. Plenty of bass guitar instructors around me (Houston). I have ADHD so working with an instructor is not for me, it would frustrate me.

    I bought instructional books, bass song books and a metronome. Started slow and worked my speed up. Even the most basic lessons helps you to learn the fret board and enhances muscle memory.

    Then I signed up for Josh's lessons over on BASSBUZZ and Mark over at TALKINGBASS. Great instructors and great lessons.

    If I can do it, so can you.
    Sands and Strung_Low like this.
  20. muggsy


    Dec 14, 2000
    Alexandria, VA
    One on one with an instructor is obviously best. Zoom or Skype works fine, not quite the same as being in the same room, but if that's your best option, take it. I didn't start playing until I was in my mid-30s, and I took weekly lessons with a local instructor for maybe two years when I was starting out. The feedback is the most important thing I got out of those lessons, fixing my hand position or suggesting different fingering patterns to play a particular line. It also helped keep me focused when my attention wandered, because I had homework every week and I was paying for the lessons. I've been on my own since then, using online instruction and books. Both have their place but as others have said, you still have to put in the time. It's a lot of repetition, so I try to mix learning actual bass parts from songs I like with fingering exercises, ear training (which I really suck at), and just learning how music works. I'm still not nearly as good as I'd likely be if I started young, but I do this for fun and I enjoy it.
    Matty Koff likes this.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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