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Uninformed music teacher

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by ThatBassBoy, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. ThatBassBoy


    Nov 22, 2012
    So I happen to be in jazz band for my high school. I'm in a class where there are actually 2 combos at the same time. So, I play every other day, and when I'm not in the jazz room, I'm in the main room with our director. So at the beginning of the year he told us he wouldn't get in the way, since he doesn't know much about jazz, and he would have a senior in the top combo help us instead. But the senior is in the jazz room daily and not with us when we aren't in the jazz room. Our school also just so happens to be crack poor (since our freaking director bought an ipad with band money) so we only have 1 amp for bass (and its a keyboard amp). I live far away from my school, so I can't just bring my amp, ((it will get stolen) and its not convienent) so whenever I'm in the main room, I have no amp. He wants me to practice walking basslines, but I can't really do squat, (btw, all the horns are in this room, so I can barely hear myself think). he basicly took over, even though he knows nothing, and is dictating what we practice. The only thing I can (and actually need to) practice is slap, since we play some funk too. But no, he wants me to practice major scales and minor scales and walking the bass (I knew these things for years). what should I do?
  2. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Not much you can do really. Everyone in this situation outranks you. Maybe try to have a fund raiser for the band program to get you an amp to use?
  3. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Just guessing on his management style, and his patience level, here...

    Schedule, or request a short meeting-out of the earshot of others. You can do that in a corner-away from others ears if necessary. Ask him for his help in those words. That will likely get his attention for your question. Let him know that you've reached a level of playing where those scales (and walking) on a daily basis is something that you can teach, and find no benefit in practicing daily, as a student. And, you'd like his help in avoiding all of those basics on a daily level-given your experience. If he will listen, and work with you on that point, you'll have a better time-given the other constraints.
  4. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    As long as you're practicing by yourself, how about a headphone amp? Something like this:


    From: http://www.americanmusical.com/Item...2G00SRCHCAPN&gclid=CIL6gOPNn7oCFcZAMgodYxQAcw

    Or: http://www.americanmusical.com/Item...2G00SRCHCAPN&gclid=COfFgfXOn7oCFYpDMgodgHEAPg

    You can plug in your mp3 player and jam along to your music. I think there are even units with a built-in mp3 player or effects, metronome, rhythm patterns, tuner, etc.

    You can put it in your pocket and not worry about it getting stolen. ;)

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  5. +1 to bassclif. I have this unit--would highly recommend for self-practice.
  6. Milk


    Sep 16, 2013
    Montreal, Canada

    Wow, didn't know that existed. Think i might get one when i have a 50$ to spare.
  7. ThatBassBoy


    Nov 22, 2012
    I just bought a new bass, so I'm fresh out of money, and I'm saving for pedals, so maybe, but I'm afraid if I get one, he will never get an amp.
  8. ThatBassBoy


    Nov 22, 2012
    This would work with any of my old teachers, but this guy is stubborn, he is "always right" and won't listen to people, even seniors.
  9. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    You need to hear yourself with the band.
    Ask a local music store if they can donate a used amp or loan it to the school.
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Back in my day, we didn't learn how to play rock and roll in school. We played dumb pop songs, and stuff we absolutely hated in school, and learned rock and roll where it was supposed to be learned:

    In basements and garages!
  11. Garyth

    Garyth Now What ..?

    Sep 9, 2013
    Punta Gorda Florida
    Sorry, I don't quite see the problem.

    * You are in a room where others are practicing something different then what you are doing
    * The 'teacher' knows nothing about jazz so wants you to sit in a corner and practice runs.

    That sounds typical of a teacher simply asking you do be productive but not dictate to you how to practice something he doesn't know. There is nothing wrong with practicing scales and walks no matter how good you are. imo, it can only help and reinforce for when you are back in the jazz room

    If the others are practicing too loud for you (your horn comment) and you are basically practicing alone, the headset amp is the best compromise. You have no need of an amp in that room just to add to the noise level. The cheap way is acoustic channeling. If you can 'hear' the bass through the noise when you set your chin on the horn then find a way to channel it when sitting normal (wouldn't want to practice with your chin stuck there :p )

    If I am off-base then you have three options as I see it
    1) talk to the teacher and find a compromise
    2) deal with it, as above find a way to do some productive practice in a poor environment.
    3) quit

    I do not recommend #3, despite the downsides you are in a very good position to learn more. I would love the opportunity to have daily sessions.

    You will always find things you have to tolerate in life ..bad jobs, bad bosses, bad relationships, bad friends .. what you can't change you make the best of.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I may have identified the problem. :D
  13. brownie_bass

    brownie_bass [this space for sale, cheap]

    Oct 3, 2013
    New York, NY
  14. Students who always know more than their teachers really do my head in. It could be, of course that you are disrupting everything that goes on in the room. If the school really don't have the money to buy a bass amp, then you are stuck.Asking you to practice scales with no amp is perhaps a measurement of what he thinks of you? If you want to make a noise, then bring your amp in, and get the teacher to lock it away somewhere secure.

    So how good are your scales and walking bass then?
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Where are you located? Where is your school? I recently traded for a bass and the guy threw in a small bass amp that I have absolutely no use for. I left it with my brother because he has a son in college and I told him to see if he could find a good home for it. If he's still got it and it's not already promised out, I'd be happy to give it to your school's music department.
    I'll be seeing him tonight so I can find out what's up with the amp and let you know.
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    1) Practice is what you do at home on your time. You don't need anything other than your bass and your fingers.

    2) Rehearsal is what you do in the jazz room with the rest of the combo.

    Sounds like you're trying to practice in the main band room while others are playing. I can't see how that would work.
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I was thinking the same thing.

    Walking bass lines is not an item you can "check off" a list. Ok, got that, next! They are a life long practice. One that will make you a better musician in any genre. Listen to your teacher.
  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I've been playing for over 40 years. I still practice scales, arpeggios, walking bass lines, meter, and sight reading, although not every day anymore. I think I'm still making progress. :D
  19. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I'm glad to hear this.

    I have not been able to check that one off.
  20. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    I am a music teacher (although I teach elementary). I'm not going to talk down to you as it's impossible for me to really know your situation, but there is likely no money for a bass amp. Running a band program is extremely costly...my school isn't "crack poor" by any means, but I guarantee that the music budget will be blown by June. I get $2000 per year to make purchases and repair instruments. If your director spent all the band money on an Ipad (which costs about $500) then there was basically none to begin with. Furthermore, you can't know that an Ipad isn't useful or doesn't help the teacher do his job. My school provides me with a laptop for work use - teachers have a lot of behind the scenes paperwork to get done that you don't see as a student.

    I understand the issue, but you have to be mature about this rather than "my teacher doesn't know anything". Your teacher is trying to meet the individual needs of many students with limited resources and is trying to work against many different pressures. Here are some positive things you can do:

    -Speak reasonably with your teacher and explain the volume situation. Ask if you can go practice in the hallway or some other quiet space in the school. If you have demonstrated that you're trustworthy and hard-working, your teacher will likely be OK with this.

    -Ask if you can learn a horn as a second instrument.

    -Organize a music department fundraiser to help pay for a new bass amp.

    One time in high school I flipped out on my music teacher. I was a total jazz head and he didn't really know the genre, and I called him out on it and tried to embarrass him because I was frustrated with how crappy the band sounded. I was being a brat. Don't do this, take the high road and solve this issue in a mature way.

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