A question to teachers..

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LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 734
I've been playing for many years, self taught, mainly a rhythm player but have also do a bit of lead etc. 

I decided to get some lessons a while ago because i was aware that a lot of my technique was sloppy and in an effort to get back into regular practice (effectively a 2 year child related break), as well as improve my improvisation (my weakest bit) and get some theory/scales etc. i.e.. the boring bits :)
The teachers is a really nice chap, has been successful teaching for a long time, and really knows his stuff.

I've had three lessons so far, and I've come out of the last one quite un-enthused. So i've wondering if it's me just being a dick about the "boring" bits or maybe teaching style just not for me, so i'd just like your take on things..

Lessons are blues based even though i'm mainly a rock guitarist but always had a soft spot for blues, i figured that blues would be a good starting point and i would be able to apply to most aspects of my playing. As i said, it's technique, theory and direction i'm after...


First lesson, introductions, seeing where we are, 12 bar in G, Blues scale in Gm, arpeggios in G/C/D..  that was good, got straight in with theory, scales and everything i've avoided in life.

2nd lesson, carrying on here, shapes on the neck, finding roots, not much me playing, mainly him showing concepts. Given a backing track to play over.

3rd lesson, fixed my vibrato, Me playing for a minute over track, then him playing for a while. Lets Jam! 2 minutes of me playing one note while he plays over it. Let in on a secret that most teachers don't teach..
Music swings, when bands play scales they don't do it as robots playing the scale to a metronome, its got feels.. 

To be fair, of bits of my technique have been improved. I think i came into it thinking it would be something different, i.e, Lets go through these exercises, play this, you're playing this bit wrong, do it like this, now try it again.

Am i being a dick and doing my usual trick of wanting to go faster than i'm capable of? I'm planning on keeping going at least for now, as some of his students are fantastic so he must be doing something right.. am i overthinking this and should just shut up and learn the damn shapes?

Bleaurgh. 
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    1. Program his shapes into your muscle memory.
    2. Listen carefully as you do it not only for bum notes (don't let yourself program those in) but also asking if you like the tone of what you're playing.
    3. Your short term memory is like a tube that can hold 9 marbles - push in a tenth and the first one in pops out at the other end.
    4. Programming shapes in takes a minimum of one month.
    5. Don't try to go too quick.
    6. Don't be surprised if at some stage you plateau for a while seeing no apparent progress. STick with it and one day you'll notice you've gone another step upwards.
    7. Enjoy the journey.

    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • merlinmerlin Frets: 1223
    It's always possible to retrain neural pathways, but we do get rusty and often the bits of the mind that we don't like discourage the bits that we do to stick with what we know rather than make changes. 

    "Old dog, new tricks" is the phrase that springs to mind but it's always possible. Quite often if you can practise in your mind, imagining what you're going to do, which notes you're going to play and hearing them in your mind's ear, that's a good way forwards. May sound a little wanky but many of the greatest performers, martial arts experts, engineers, drivers etc use inner practise to learn faster. 




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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 388
    What @Phil_aka_Pip says.    I would add one thing, if the teacher says to use a metronome, and walks you through how to practice with one, do it.      Even if he/she hasn't I would  download a free one,  I've sorted out many a problem for players in your place along the guitar journey with one.

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 734
    edited July 4
    Thanks for replies, tbh, it's not content that's the problem, i think its more that i'm sat there for an hour watching someone else play guitar (Not really exaggerating here..).
    I then go home and practice what I've been told, fine, but then barely playing during the lesson means that i don't know that what I've been practising is correct?
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 388
    I've got about 15 years experience teaching and came to the conclusion a few years in that one hour is too long for a lesson.  A half hour works much better and I avoid playing during lessons unless it's needed to demonstrate a technique or to show fingering tips etc....,  I'm not sure how you would approach a situation like yours other than changing teachers.

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    What @Phil_aka_Pip says.    I would add one thing, if the teacher says to use a metronome, and walks you through how to practice with one, do it.      Even if he/she hasn't I would  download a free one,  I've sorted out many a problem for players in your place along the guitar journey with one.
    Quite right Sir. That was a fairly off-the-cuff post, and if I'd thought just a little more I'd have mentioned the metronome. Go for it.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 756
    A bit like being parked up on a driving lesson. Maybe ask the tutor to put his guitar down while you pick yours up for a bit. See what he thinks about that . if all your doing is watching then i would recommend lick library dvds.



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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    LuttiS said:
    Thanks for replies, tbh, it's not content that's the problem, i think its more that i'm sat there for an hour watching someone else play guitar (Not really exaggerating here..).
    I then go home and practice what I've been told, fine, but then barely playing during the lesson means that i don't know that what I've been practising is correct?
    Hmmmm .... much as I say I can't teach without a guitar in my hand, I used it only to point to with a finger, or to demonstrate how something is done. I think that a teacher needs to see and hear the student doing what he's trying to get them to do BEFORE they go away and practice for a week, to save them from practicing the wrong thing.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1287
    My first guitar teaching was excellent. Prepared, focused, skilled, meticulous, and resourced.  I've tried other teachers over the years, but they don't cut it.  Most just seem to be winging it, a lot is scribbled on the back of a fag packet, I've often felt that they were not skilled enough to be teaching, and zero knowledge retention from session to session.

    I'm sure this is not representative of teachers today, just the ones I've come across in the last 20 years.  I progressed more with the first teacher than I have with the others combined.

    Teaching isn't just about burning in the patterns and shapes, it also about the personal connection you have with the teacher, and how they push you forward.  A mutual respect.

    If it's not working for you, try a different teacher.

    I keep looking for one to match the first, still looking.

    Marlin



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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3555
    I've just finished a lesson with someone who's been playing a while but wants to learn more theory and better technique. 
    I tend to show something in context by playing it but then it's back to the student playing constantly with me guiding them through verbally. If they make a mistake I stop them and make them start again. I do constantly have the guitar on my lap but mainly for practical examples. 
    Rather than backing tracks I tend to play something under the student because then I can switch keys instantly and tempos. 

    When it comes to theory you can waste a lot of money having a teacher teach it ........ I tend to explain the theory in skeleton outline but the application to other keys and positions on the fretboard should be done as homework unless you like wasting money. 
    Learning basic keys, modes and the fretboard is probably easier than learning something like Excel in all honestly and it's something you can practice without a guitar in your hand. 
    The measure of any teacher is whether they can move a student along and improve them. If you don't notice quite an improvement after 6 lessons or so then maybe his style is not for you. Certainly my style of teaching doesn't work for everyone as I'm still learning to teach, it's a real art form !
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    Been in the teaching game for 10 years and I keep all my lessons practical and the talking to a minimum. Obviously I will have to explain theory and techniques but won't show off or shred to intimidate the learner. I only use my guitar to demonstrate and play along with them so I know they're doing it right and they can see how its meant to sound.

    Also you've only had 3 lessons, so its not a fair assessment on progress, you need to give it at least 6 months to a year to really see any progress (depending how often you're doing the lessons). If its a good tutor just be patient and trust them to do their job. What pisses me off is some learners don't trust me and go off doing their own thing instead of what I advise them to do, in turn this leads to them going round in circles and not getting the basics right (rhythm reading, knowledge of chords and the notes, etc). Eventually they quit as they're overwhelmed on what they've gotta learn and are no further than where they were before.

    Learning the guitar is a bastard and is a marathon, not a sprint. Its the same as going to the gym. Can you really expect to gain muscle after just 3 sessions? You need to be going 2-3 times a week for 8-12 weeks to actually see any progress.

    Keep working hard and listen to the tutor, if he knows his shit then follow his advice. It'll pay off in the long run. Part of my feat is taking a lot of learners who have already started learning and not progressed as much as they would have liked. They know a handful of chords, 2 strumming patterns (1 is always the swing bluesy one) and maybe 1 position of the minor pentatonic. They can play some tunes but not in time and it doesn't sound very good. Rhythm reading knowledge is poor and they're never sure how long chords are meant to last (1 bar, half a bar, 2 bars, etc). 

    Fast forward a few months - 1 year and they're a bit more competent with their playing as I've helped iron out bad habits/technique and get the basics right. All these foundations are vital to progress to more advanced playing.
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 734
    @Danny1969 ... i dunno.. Excel makes a logical argument :)  Maybe its just getting used to teaching style, i'm practically minded so theory has always been a but of a mystery to me.. but to be fair, he has caught some of my sloppy technique and corrected it so there is progress.

    Thanks @Lestratcaster - You're right and i appreciate that it's only been three lessons, and i do plan on sticking with it at least for a while. It's just the nagging at the back of my head wondering if this is the best way of learning and am i really getting value for money. Maybe he is still assessing where i am, (i don't even know tbh) as i have been playing for a long time and i think i'm a competent guitarist and my rhythm is generally very good. At the moment lessons are every 2 weeks as i just can't commit to more due to life getting in the way, so i suppose he might be trying to get as much into my head in the lesson so i can break it down with playing at home. 

    Guess we will see :)
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    I never do fortnightly lessons, the gap is just way too long between lessons and actually encourages them to practice less, contrary to what they may think. The second "no-lesson" week is their chances to be lazy and not do anything, by the time of the next lesson they've forgotten everything/haven't practiced at all. At least with weekly you get that hour with me where I can see what you're doing.

    All learners that took fortnightly lessons have quit as well, unsurprisingly so I don't do it anymore.

    Any time I take on a new learner it takes me a few weeks/months to figure them out as well. I always have this bet in my head as to when they'll quit, then if they've surpassed 6 months to a year I tell them I thought they'd quit within 3 months! 
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  • vizviz Frets: 4727
    Sometimes my guitar teacher doesn’t play a single note for like half an hour at a time. We discuss things and I work things out and play them, and only when I’m stuck will he show me a way out. 
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    viz said:
    Sometimes my guitar teacher doesn’t play a single note for like half an hour at a time. We discuss things and I work things out and play them, and only when I’m stuck will he show me a way out. 
    Usually I demonstrate, then they do it, then we do it together.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4727
    viz said:
    Sometimes my guitar teacher doesn’t play a single note for like half an hour at a time. We discuss things and I work things out and play them, and only when I’m stuck will he show me a way out. 
    Usually I demonstrate, then they do it, then we do it together.
    Sounds good. 
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  • JackGrantJackGrant Frets: 9
    Hmmm - the relationship with a teacher is really important. Good teachers listen and respond a lot and tend to have a whole raft of ways of helping learners to get what they want. He might not be the right teacher for you, but I’d encourage you to chat to him about it. Good teachers should be leaving you excited. 
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  • His teaching style may not fit with your learning style, e.g. the students who are succeeding may have a visual learning style and so are fine watching him then absorbing what he does. If you are a kinaesthetic learner (touch/practical based) then it won't be working for you. A good teacher will recognise this and adapt his teaching style to your learning style but if this doesn't happen you may not get the results you want. 
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 734
    viz said:
    Sometimes my guitar teacher doesn’t play a single note for like half an hour at a time. We discuss things and I work things out and play them, and only when I’m stuck will he show me a way out. 
    Usually I demonstrate, then they do it, then we do it together.
    That's kind of what i expected, but having never had lessons it did leave me wondering...
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    LuttiS said:
    viz said:
    Sometimes my guitar teacher doesn’t play a single note for like half an hour at a time. We discuss things and I work things out and play them, and only when I’m stuck will he show me a way out. 
    Usually I demonstrate, then they do it, then we do it together.
    That's kind of what i expected, but having never had lessons it did leave me wondering...
    Not everyone reacts well as mentioned above. Numerous times when I've been demonstrating they try to play along without listening first, and 10/10 the rhythm is wrong anyway so they should listen and get the pattern right first. But then when they try to do it whilst I'm still talking their head goes down to look at the guitar and they miss what I'm doing, and if we are using a backing track they miss the count in. So we end up going back and forth.
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  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 388
    A recent development that started happening last year for me, an adult student who was struggling with a basic strumming pattern asked if she could video my hands with her phone playing the pattern slowly for a few bars.  I agreed and she came back the following week playing it perfectly.  She has since done this with several technique issues and is excelling.  I've started suggesting this to some of my other students and have made some real improvements happen.  Some of them now bring an iPad to video my hands on.  My hands are video stars now....., but seriously, this works. 

    Whoever called it "rush hour" should not be allowed to name anything else.

    Dulcet Jones Creepy Music Blog http://dulcetjones.blogspot.com/

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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    Yep, I always encourage learners to film on their phones but very few take the chance to do it, citing "they'll remember it..." only to come back the next week and its not right or they've forgotten it. Use technology when you can, as an aid not a replacement for playing well!
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  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 254
    I'd probably give it a few more lessons and see how it goes; it may be just that stuff needs to sink in a bit more, or his teaching style really isn't for you. Personally, if he's playing most of the time, I'd have some doubts about that, but it may work for some people. I try and only play to demonstrate something, and prefer the student to do most of the playing as I'm just there to help and that's what I'm being paid for; so it's more talking than playing on my part, generally. Do you get notes/handouts to take home and work on, or is he relying on you remembering everything? If it's the latter, you could just be blunt and ask for him to write stuff down so you have something tangible to work on, rather than you relying on your memory (and remember you're paying him for this - I make sure I'm well prepared and have handouts ready for every lesson, otherwise it'd be like studying for an A-Level in something without any textbooks or reference material!).
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  • LuttiSLuttiS Frets: 734
    Yeah i get handouts, scale diagrams and such, as well as being told to email any time with questions etc..  I'm going to stick with it for now, as to be fair i did ask for theory and improvisation, and he is showing that. Not a huge choice of teachers in the area either.
    Just think i'm going to have to be a little more blunt in the lessons, perhaps at the start discuss the lesson plan and what we want to achieve by the end or something. 

     
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 665
    I only took a few lessons, maybe 3 or 4, when I first started playing.  I was busking pentatonics, learning basic chord shapes, trying to cop licks from John Mayall albums and making what felt like decent progress and I thought a teacher might speed things up.

    So I went along and basically he  started teaching me how to read notation in the first position.  And I thought, this isn't taking me where I want to go and quit.  My teacher wanted me to be a good all round guitarist in 5 years.  I wanted to be in a Rolling Stones cover band in six months.

    While I can totally understand why young me made that decision and can't really criticise myself for it, it was a big mistake.  I've absolutely no doubt I'd have ended up a far better player if I'd stuck with the lessons.  But it's easy to be in a hurry.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    I have never taught any of my learners to read notation, not even for grades as its all in diagrams/guitar tab format. Unless they want to be a professional session musician I can't see much benefit from it, as 90% of my learners play for their own enjoyment. My first steps are get them playing something asap, and strengthen their rhythm skills as that's what makes up 95% of guitar. Drummers who want to learn guitar are good to teach as they already have a good a understanding of rhythm and timing.

    If I was that tutor I probably would have got you playing some tunes using scales and enhancing the theory.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    I have never taught any of my learners to read notation, not even for grades as its all in diagrams/guitar tab format. Unless they want to be a professional session musician I can't see much benefit from it, as 90% of my learners play for their own enjoyment. My first steps are get them playing something asap, and strengthen their rhythm skills as that's what makes up 95% of guitar. Drummers who want to learn guitar are good to teach as they already have a good a understanding of rhythm and timing.

    If I was that tutor I probably would have got you playing some tunes using scales and enhancing the theory.
    You serious ??!?? You're failing to develop the capability to read music for other instruments, or for them to communicate with non-guitarists! Why is it always guitarists who think that reading music isn't necessary? Everyone else learns it, why shouldn't we?
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 333
    I have never taught any of my learners to read notation, not even for grades as its all in diagrams/guitar tab format. Unless they want to be a professional session musician I can't see much benefit from it, as 90% of my learners play for their own enjoyment. My first steps are get them playing something asap, and strengthen their rhythm skills as that's what makes up 95% of guitar. Drummers who want to learn guitar are good to teach as they already have a good a understanding of rhythm and timing.

    If I was that tutor I probably would have got you playing some tunes using scales and enhancing the theory.
    You serious ??!?? You're failing to develop the capability to read music for other instruments, or for them to communicate with non-guitarists! Why is it always guitarists who think that reading music isn't necessary? Everyone else learns it, why shouldn't we?
    Yes I am. Unless you class rhythm reading as notation then yes its important but not the notes on the lines and stuff. I reckon if I did that from the first day many learners would quit!! I'm saying there's not just benefit TO THEM if they're only playing rock tunes for fun.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 8618
    That's a bit like teaching your kids to boil eggs and do beans-on-toast and then letting them leave home knowing only a fraction of what they could do in the big bad world outside. Once upon a time all I wanted was rock riffs, but now I also want jazz standards and those nice classical tunes. I would have no access to them if I hadn't been taught to read, and wouldn't be able to communicate with real musicians who don't use tab.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 665
    I have never taught any of my learners to read notation, not even for grades as its all in diagrams/guitar tab format. Unless they want to be a professional session musician I can't see much benefit from it, as 90% of my learners play for their own enjoyment. My first steps are get them playing something asap, and strengthen their rhythm skills as that's what makes up 95% of guitar. Drummers who want to learn guitar are good to teach as they already have a good a understanding of rhythm and timing.

    If I was that tutor I probably would have got you playing some tunes using scales and enhancing the theory.
    It was a different era.  In a medium sized city I knew of no-one teaching electric guitar.  The teacher I went to was a good electric player (jazz) and all round musician who went on to head up the jazz faculty at a university, but he wouldn't teach electric (once you'd established a relationship with him he'd pass on useful advice on electric, but the core lessons would have been classical).

    Having said that, I disagree about reading: I taught myself to read (much later) and even though I'm not a great reader I think it's been hugely valuable.  I play in a swing band which is a reading gig for most of the other players and a jazz/fusion quintet where keys bass and sax are all reading at least some of the material.  My reading skills are good enough to be a big help in learning the material, but nowhere near good enough to sight-read anything I haven't already learned at my own pace.  I dearly wish I'd learned to read properly as a kid, when it would have come a lot easier.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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