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Regarding Lessons

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Joe Hakim, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Joe Hakim

    Joe Hakim Guest

    Nov 29, 2005
    Hi Folks-
    Here's a general question aimed mainly at bassists who are beginner or intermediate players looking for a teacher:
    If you are looking for a teacher in a certain geographic area, what would be some of your deciding factors as to who to try?
    -word of mouth referral
    -craigslist ad or some other advertising presence
    And if a craigslist ad, would you expect a website, audio samples, youtube videos, etc. to demonstrate a potential teacher's playing etc.?
    -If so, what would you look for? Even if you are primarily interested in learning, let's say, classic rock styles, would it matter to you if the samples were jazz? Or, if you were looking for a jazz bass teacher, would you be turned off by samples of electric bass playing rock and funk tunes?
    any and all feedback would be appreciated by all ages/levels/styles of players.
  2. i'd be looking for the best player i can find that knows jazz.
  3. I'd never take lessons from someone I haven't heard play. Advertising doesn't mean much to me. Word of mouth may point me in a certain direction, but I would have to hear them play. And I wouldn't be turned off to hear other styles being performed, so long as I know I will learn the style I need/want to learn.
    That's just my perspective. :D
  4. I had a hard time finding a good teacher. Most of the people I tried taking lessons from either insisted that I learn to read music, or they wanted to teach me to play parts of songs.

    I struggled trying to learn to read music, and it made the lessons so slow that I was bored out of my mind. The other method you only learn to play bits and pieces, but it's real hard to advance.

    The guy I'm taking lessons from now focuses on music theory and technique. Never a dull moment, and I make measurable progress.

    I'd say that you should ask what the focus of the lessons are going to be.
  5. Joe Hakim

    Joe Hakim Guest

    Nov 29, 2005
    Well, learning to read music is a valuable skill to have, and opens up a whole world for you in the future regarding what kinds of gigs you can do. It also helps if you'd like to teach someday...
    However, I wouldn't insist that a student learn to read music, if I already explained the benefits of it to them, had them try it, and they still were just not digging it at all. Everyone is different. Maybe the way it was presented to you was the problem....

    As far as learning other people's songs, that is a real essential part of the music learning process. It's how most musicians, from Bach to the Beatles to Victor Wooten, learned musical vocabulary. However, again I wouldn't personally insist that this was the only way to learn.

    I think there should be a good balance between learning other peoples tunes (basslines, chords, etc.) and learning theory/technique, as well as being creative and doing your own thing.
  6. The only question you have to ask yourself first is:

    What do you want to learn from a teacher?

    Some people only want to learn songs, don't give a damn about theory adn technique.
    Some people only want to learn about a style.
    Some people want to get into music school.

    Personnaly, when I got a teacher, I told him I want to learn about music first, then the bass.
    so we foccused on getting my technique started so I can work this up, then music theory,
    mostly bass oriented (walking bass, rythm, etc.). I can learn song by myself and always ask
    him for help for any problems.

    The next thing you have to do is to sit down with the teacher and see if he knows what he is talking
    about and if he can understand what you want. You pay, you should have your money's worth.

    BTW, I know a lot of persons that can play like Wooten or Jaco, but can't teach squat.
    This is definitely the worst idea to think that a great player will be able to teach.
  7. +1 to all of this. IME the key is matching the teacher to your goals and this happens before you even bring an instrument into the room. I can't say enough that if your goals are clear and specific, a good teacher will create a lesson plan that will get you there (however incrementally), and give you the sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to take it to the next level.

    One final thing, since I'm here: You can have the greatest teacher in history, but it's for shinola if you don't practice.

    Very best of luck!
  8. Joe Hakim

    Joe Hakim Guest

    Nov 29, 2005
  9. Joe Hakim

    Joe Hakim Guest

    Nov 29, 2005
    Double Absolutely.
  10. I agree too, practice is the key, for anything we do.

    If I might add, if you take the time to get a teacher you connect with musically speaking, then you can have a lot of fun because you might challenge your teacher and try stuff to expand both the teaching and the learning.

    For example, my teacher specialize on double hand tapping on guitar (Stanley Jordan style), so we decided to try that on the bass with some jazz standards. Now I get to work on positioning technique, jazz theory and arrangements. Lot of fun but f'in complicated still...
  11. Oh yeah. This is supposed to be fun, and if you have that connection, then so much the better.
  12. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    At my advanced age and experience I believe you should have that one major teacher who is also a current working/gigging player. At the same time you should also try to get lessons from specialists as well. That is a teacher who specializes in a certain genre of playing. For example while your current teacher can get you through theory, a real jazz player who plays upright could be consulted to perfect your walk through changes. If you want to slap, get a teacher who is really into to slap where that's his or her forte. For funky fingerstyle find an electric bass player who knows how to cut notes. That would be someone into Jaco or a Funk and R&B player. If I wanted to play rock or heavy metal I wouldn't be asking my fusion or jazz instructor for lessons. If I want to be more proficient in blues, I'm consulting a guy who just plays blues. A jack of all trades can get you there but if you really want to go to a higher level in any style, consult a stylist. That is someone who eats, sleeps, breaths that kind on music.
  13. Joe Hakim

    Joe Hakim Guest

    Nov 29, 2005
    Certainly nothing wrong with that approach, however in my experience most students I've dealt with don't want to go to several different teachers at once, especially just for a different playing technique (i.e. one teacher for slapping, one for fingerstyle?) Also, they are usually interested in more than just one style of music at a time; for a typical intermediate student we might work on some jazz walking lines, and do some Motown covers, and maybe some classical studies....in addition to theory and technique.....
    But yeah, I had a guy who was super serious about learning various latin playing styles, and that is not my forte, so I recommended a killin latin bassist I know for him.
  14. True, but the first test, for me at least, has always been to hear the person play. If they can't play, then there's no way they'll be able to teach me how to do what they can't do themselves. Teaching ability is necessary, don't get me wrong, but Craigslist ads where the person tells me that they've been to this school of music and played with that band for some random amount of time don't matter to me.

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