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Self-Taught Players

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ezmar, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    This is something I've thought about recently. Simply put, what do you think about people who have taught themselves, not necessarily bass, but anything. I feel like there's the idea that a self taught player can never ever be as good as someone with an instructor.

    What do y'all think?
  2. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    There is no such thing as 'self taught'. You learn from everything. Or you should. Often, it might be what not to do. But it's still learning. The mistake is limiting where you learn. You'll miss out on a lot.
  3. Do the names John Lennon and Paul McCartney mean anything to you?
  4. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm talking more about people who took lessons from an instructor versus people who didn't. I'm not implying that "self-taught" players somehow learn the instrument completely from within themselves.

    While your comment is valid, it's not really what I was talking about.
  5. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    It depends on how good of a teacher they are.
  6. Some can do it just fine, some can't. Probably has a lot to do with your learning style.
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Many world class blues, rock and R&B musicians are self taught.
  8. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I find that musicians who have had formal instruction tend to take criticism and direction more positively than someone who is self taught.
  9. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
  10. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Do Youtube lessons count as a formal education?
  11. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    In this case, I'd say no, because it's a passive rather than active instructor. You are still the one responsible for teaching yourself the material.
  12. Self taught but have a bass tutor now. Wish I would have taken lessons at a younger age. It would have cut down on the learning curve and eliminated a lot of bad habits that I had to unlearn.
    A creative genius, self taught or classically trained, is still a creative genius.
    I ain't one but I know what one looks and sounds like.
  13. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    I kinda envy people with proper formal music school education because they have to learn sight-singing and playing piano at a basic level and other stuff. Seems like those miscellaneous skills come in real handy sometimes. But as far as just learning how to play notes on an instrument, I seem to do OK with just teaching myself from Simandl and playing random stuff from classical and jazz fake books.
  14. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    I've seen people carry the "self-taught" badge as if it somehow makes them superior to someone who has paid for instruction. I've also seen people use it as an excuse for mediocre musicianship.

    Personally, nothing improved my musical knowledge and skill faster than working with a good teacher. After working with a few different teachers, it was quickly apparent how much better a GOOD teacher is than a mediocre one.
  15. qervo


    May 18, 2011
    I am "self taught" . Never took a lesson on any of the instruments I play, and I have done good (playing for over 20+ years) in many , many bands , I even played in a college jazz band without being able to read a single notation. All that being said, I have once or twice been in a gig situation where I felt I wasn't as "prepared" as the other schooled musicians, and in some ways I feel I haven't reached my full potential . While I still try to teach myself through books and video, I sometimes wonder if I could be much better if I had been taught at an early age.
  16. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    I started electric bass when I was 12 and I was self-taught until I was 18, but I had formal classical double bass lessons from about the age of 15. I'm 26 this year. Funnily enough, I got in to a music degree on jazz electric bass - although I eventually changed my chief prac study to classical double bass after a few more years of lessons. So, I've had a mixed experience.

    Overall, I'd say I enjoyed formal training more. I liked the sense of mostly constant, measurable progression, and I enjoyed being challenged and critiqued by my teachers.

    I always felt that when I was 'teaching' myself electric bass, I was really just developing an ability to mimic other players (e.g. how many of us 'strived' to learn some Wooten, or measured each other's progress by asking "Can you play Portrait Of Tracy?").

    On the other hand, my formal training seemed more 'holistic' - I learnt to read, theory, piano, history, the physical and mental aspects of performance, practice techniques, and, more generally, felt that it provided more of an apprenticeship for the world of music than being self-taught did.

    In the end, I applied what I learnt in double bass lessons to my own self-guided learning with the electric bass. I think that was probably the greatest gift of having lessons; self-discipline and the ability to direct your own learning in an efficient and effective way.

    So, lessons FTW!
  17. qervo


    May 18, 2011
    Don't let the "badge of honor self-taught" players fool you. Learning is great. Do as much of it as you can. I wish I had.
  18. blastoff99

    blastoff99 Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 17, 2011
    SW WA, USA
    I'm a self-taught electric bass player, but have an extensive musical background. I took bass lessons for the first time last fall for a few weeks, and couldn't believe what I'd been missing. I wish I had done it much earlier; I apparently do 10 zillion things wrong and this at least partly accounts for why I don't play very well.

    Just my experience, but a few lessons up front would have saved years of suckiness.
  19. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Self-taught is a waste of one's precious time on this earth. A good teacher can help you achieve your musical goals years earlier. The hardest part of learning music is having the discipline to practice the things you're bad at rather than the things you're already good at. A teacher can critique your progress and identify the areas of your playing that need improvement, also how to avoid common traps/pitfalls.
  20. Ragoo


    Oct 14, 2011
    Richardson, Texas
    I think that the concept of "Self-taught vs. Teacher" is much too general to have a definitive answer.

    For 2 and a half years, I taught myself how to play bass. I learned how well I could use my ear to nail a song down, as well as both good and bad habits with playing.. By the time I had started lessons, I knew about 200-300 songs, without a single piece of sheet music. But when I finally started taking lessons, I learned a massive amount of theory that helped me advance as a player and a musician. So as far as I can tell, there are advantages to both, although I see more benefits of having a teacher than not.

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