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Self Taught: Yea or Nay

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rhaco, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Can't Wait!

    115 vote(s)
  2. I'll Pass

    43 vote(s)
  1. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    There are amazing players who are self taught, and there are awful ones. There are amazing players who are classically trained and there are awful ones. This is NOT the way to judge a musician! But before hearing a player, if you hear the words "self taught," in that instinctual gut-check part of yourself, do your expectations go up or down.

    Definitely explain your choice if you want, but lets avoid the lists of names if at all possible. I doubt there is a player alive who would say "all self taught players are good/bad" or "all trained players are good/bad." The examples either way sort of prove jack, and I'm wondering what your gut tells you.
  2. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Self taught works brilliantly if you have an inherent musical gift. Everyone else needs more traditional teaching. However, even the most brilliant self-taught players will benefit from some study of music fundamentals and basic theory and notation, even if it's study they do on their own.
  3. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    All true, but I think we all know that. This is a poll of what your gut says. If you just hear the words self taught, do you expect the player to be better of worse?
  4. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    My gut answer is my expectation would go up.
    As a general rule, someone self-taught has to work harder at stuff, therefore wants it more, and so is more passionate.
    I'll take passion over technical ability any day.
  5. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    THANK YOU! haha, I knew this was one of those topics people would want to dissect, when what I was after was that visceral first second reaction, not "what do you think of self teaching as a system overall."
    Sergius Durante likes this.
  6. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    All likely true, but not what I'm after. What does your gut say when it hears the words "self taught?"
  7. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    It's really hard to answer that. I'm self-taught but I come from a musical family. I've known other self-taught players who were absolutely brilliant, but I have known many, many musicians with all sorts of backgrounds who were unable to rise above mediocrity. So I just don't categorize in those ways. I need to hear what they do; self taught or Master's level degreed don't really make the difference because I've known good and bad players in both camps.
  8. ak56

    ak56 Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2015
    Carnation, Wa
  9. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured

    Are you talking about the method of learning musical concepts?

    Or do you mean the method of learning the mechanics of playing an instrument?

    For instance, I’m a self-taught bassist, but a classically trained musician.

    Regardless, my expectations don’t go up either way, and they don’t go down either way. They change, but it’s a lateral change.

    I couldn’t vote, since there is no option for this perspective.
    slapshot, Bass1218, davkane and 3 others like this.
  10. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    WOOT! Someone else willing to answer the question!
    james condino likes this.
  11. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    If the point you're trying to get to is finding out whether I'm willing to pass on Pino Palladino or Danny Elfman, the answer is no.
  12. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    No, I wasn't asking anything even sort of like that. In fact there was no "point," I was asking what your gut says at the words self taught. Obviously logically it's not a distinction that matters once you hear the musician, which is why I was avoiding the lists of names. Pino Palladino and Danny Elfman aren't related at all to what I was asking, unless they inform that .1 second instinctual feeling you get when you hear the phrase. Just like the gut feeling humans get with every phrase. We process faster than we think.
  13. Rhaco


    May 22, 2019
    I'm asking for that tenth of a second instinctual response, not anyone's actual thoughts on it. By the time you've had time to have any of those thoughts you're past the part I'm asking about.
  14. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    OK, I didn't vote then, because I don't get a gut reaction based on that. The only gut reaction I ever get (which is lame, but I'm being honest) is that when someone tells me they play music, regardless of what else they might say about their background, I assume they probably don't play very well. This just comes from too many years working in a music store and being around lots of people who play poorly, and a few too many auditions and open mic nights. The good players are always a pleasant surprise.
    Element Zero likes this.
  15. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    Personally it makes no difference to me with respect to my expectations or whatever. I care for what they can deliver when I'm listening to them. How they got there is completely irrelevant to me.
  16. Dynomuttasaurus


    Jul 23, 2016
    When I hear someone describe themselves as self-taught, I think they 1) have a chip on their shoulder otherwise why even make the distinction and, 2) might be good, but probably a one-trick-pony. Self-taught sometimes get too stuck on one style, technique, etc. because they are not intentionally broadening their horizons.

    That said, next to no one is self-taught -- especially in today's day and age with the Internet.

    The question may be what is considered classically trained. Can they take lessons from Scott online and be "trained?" How many years of 30-minute lessons once a week at the local music store are required to count as "traditionally trained?" Does one need to major in a degree program to be "classically trained?"
    Huw Phillips, lfmn16 and DuluthDank like this.
  17. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I'm answering the question: My gut says nothing to me one way or the other when I hear "self-taught." If you can make good music, how you got there doesn't mean a thing to me.
  18. Wissen

    Wissen Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2007
    Central PA
    It depends entirely on what our roles will be in the project. I am not self-taught, but all of my bandmates are. This sometimes makes communication difficult. I have written an instrumental tune for our band, and I have been banging my head against the wall trying to find a way to effectively communicate it to them since I can't just hand. them. the. sheet. music.

    I've worked with both. And will continue to do so. I consider them equal, so the decision comes down to other factors.
    Huw Phillips and LBS-bass like this.
  19. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Gotcha. Pre-cognitive perception is a fascinating thing.

    But I still can’t vote, because my pre-cognitive reaction is just “different”.
    jdh3000 likes this.
  20. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    means about as much to me as knowing how tall they are.

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