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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    So I've been playing a couple three years and know a few things. I like to take a lesson or two every once in a while from various people I respect to get inspiration as a rut buster. Our own Eric Hochberg has been great as well as some others but I feel like I'm not very good at articulating to them WHAT exactly I want to work on. Part of the problem is I get bogged down in the volume of material I already have to practice and lose focus.

    So the question is, I guess particularly for pros, what do you like to get out of lessons?
  2. Marc, if you knew what you needed to work on you wouldn't need the lesson.
  3. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    What I came into the lesson to learn.
  4. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    this right here.

    i'm still a fairly new player (less than 5 years) and it's tough just to set up and maintain a practice routine. after i play though my band's original material, and then the covers we do, i've been learning Beatles bass lines and trying to play through the woodshed sections of various bass and guitar mags.

    i would like to take lessons as well, just havn't got the cash or extra time right now. i would imagine when i do get to taking some lessons, i'll let whomever know my regular routine and listen to suggestions from them on what i may want to work on before the next lesson.
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The rut/plateau experience is something I've just come to accept as part of the deal. The only thing that gets me out is to keep plugging away even if I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere. It either passes because I've kept my hand on the instrument long enough that something migrates from the shed to the stand or because something on the stand didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to so I have some specifics about how I need to approach it in the shed. Then there's ear training, that ALWAYS kicks my ass. The thing about a teacher is consistency and maintenance of forward momentum, I'm not really much for "one off" type lessons. Sure, when I lived in podunk that's what I had to do, grab anybody that came through and try to glean something from what little time they could give me. But thing about long term study with Joe is a lot of forward motion on routine stuff rather than scattered bits of inspiration.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't do one-offs that often, but when I do, it usually goes one of several ways:

    1) The person I'm having the lesson with is someone I'm very familiar with, and there's something they're great at that I want to hear their thoughts on. A good example of this was GOLDSBY WAN KENOBI and thumb position.

    2) I don't really have something specific that I want o get from them, so play for them and let them find things to improve on. An example of this was Sigi Busch, where he listened to me playing and told me my time felt great on the part of the beat that I normally play on, but that I should work on playing on other parts of the beat for different situations or when paired with different musicians. We worked on "microtiming" for an hour.

    3) Sometimes it's all about just getting back to basics of technique. I've had a couple of lessons with Rufus Reid, and he always goes back to physical relation to the instrument and sound production. That's always useful.
  7. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Marc, just wondering out of curiousity where you're coming from...

    And what is the pile of material that you're overwhelmed with now?

    I have a "regular" teacher that I go to but haven't had a lesson with him in 3 years because I'm still digesting his last assignment. I guess he's not so "regular" anymore. Still I see him for ensemble classes, but not for privates.

    I recently took a private with someone else for the first time just for arco (a guy also plays jazz and backs a kind-of big name). I told the new guy that I like to do one-offs and take lots of time to digest the material. To my surprise, he concurred and said he goes through the same thing and that's just how it is - that it takes a looong time.
  8. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    His last assignment was, "Work on space . . .

    I'll see you in a few years, man."

    + + +

    Marc, I can't believe you've only been playing for a few years. You sound sharp, man.

    It's been a pretty long time since I last had a lesson. I took a few with a legendary jazz player who has a summer place up here. Much of it was just a desire to have an excuse to practice. Aside from that I was just open to his thoughts. He told me I needed to be more consistent (a man with a keen grasp of the obvious, there) and we worked on The Longest Walking Note. I still work on it, I still dig him and it's cool to be separated by one degree from Michael Brecker, Keith Jarrett and Charles Lloyd even though that's just ego bullsnit.

    About 20 years ago I got a phone number for The Hero Of My Youth, the guitarist John Abercrombie. I called him up and he agreed to give me a lesson. Mainly, I just wanted to see what it was like to play with John Abercrombie (who was a very gracious person). I learned that I was no-where near ready to go everywhere he could travel musically, so one point of the lesson was how cool it was to experience that. Another point of the lesson was learning that "your heroes sometimes answer the telephone" which is a lesson I had to learn several times in this life. And yeah, it was cool to be separated by one degree from the Breckers, Billy Cobham etc. even though that's just ego bullsnit.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Heh, the lesson from 3 years ago was pretty simple: I had to get my diatonic **** together and learn my blues scales and put that into my playing. I took it to being more than just being able to regurgitate scales. It meant being able to have full command over diatonic playing. Still need to work on the blues tho.

    More recently, his little tidbit/assignment from class was to put more roundness, more air, more body into my notes and solos. Everything needed to sound more round and elastic - from the sound I pulled to my time. Everything, round. That's all he really said, no specifics!

    I expect to take a few years on just that subject alone. It's like a zen koan.
  10. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    Hi Marc,

    Some good responses here already. I am going to come at this from the angle of a teacher. If you came to me for a lesson, especially a one-off, I would want you to have something very specific in mind to direct my focus. Do you want to work on the bow hand, left hand, rhythm, phrasing, time, soloing, etc...

    I find that having the teacher try to decide how to spend your money is generally time wasted. If you have enough of a clue to not need regular lessons, then you must be self-evaluating your playing and deciding what priority to place on certain skills. You also must know your musical "kryptonite" and want certain strategies, drills, etc... to address this situation. If you can't figure this out, then you need regular lessons. (I am not talking directly to you Marc, in generalities)

    To me, building a relationship with a teacher is almost as important as the information that one would receive in a lesson. If I know you and your playing I can do much more for you as a teacher. If you are a complete stranger, then we are going to spend a lot of time in that lesson "feeling things out" and you are not getting the full benefit. I am not saying that you must have weekly lessons, but there is something to be said for sticking with a teacher and developing consistency. It is easy in a one-off situation to say, "my teacher and I have been working on this skill for a while and I want to get your opinion". This will be much more productive and a better use of your money.

    Hope this helps,
  11. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks for the responses cats. Good stuff.

    Just so there is no confusion I was being 'Chicago Italian Sarcastic' when I said 'couple three'. I have been playing for 20+ years, 15 of those professionally, went to college, teach privately, been playing 'couple three' gigs a week most of my pro life, blah, blah blah.

    When I talk about my piles of material I mean I have plenty of stuff to work on. I'm pretty secure in what I know and what I don't and am always pushing to improve.

    I know for myself I've had some really great one-offs and some kinda stinky ones. Eric was great because he was pretty blunt with me which is what I like. One of the best 'lessons' I had was just having lunch with Ben Allison and chatting for a couple hours. Often just hearing a different perspective refocuses me. For that matter when I first started getting into yoga it helped my playing mind.

    I think Heifetzbass hit it on the head though. I don't really like it when guys to come me for a limited number of lessons with no real plan for what they want to focus on. I too feel like it is a waste of money. I also don't like being put in the position of some cat looking at me and being like "ok, I'm here. Teach me something."

    So what I really need to do is decide on one thing and find an expert at that. I think I'll take composition lesson. ****. Focus Piane.

    Mostly just needing a new little kick in the pants. Also TBDB had been a little boring.
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