Great teachers who are also poor musicians...

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Yngtchie Blacksteen, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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    What are your thoughts on this? Say you come across a guy who writes great lessons, with all the theory correct, and he also appears to know how to do everything the 'right' way, so to speak...

    But then you hear his music, and it's the most tasteless, boring drivel you've ever encountered.

    It happened, and I'm torn about how to view it. The lessons are still great, but I now hear how he applies his knowledge musically, and it's anything but impressive. Is he still a great teacher?
     
  2. GuiltySpark

    GuiltySpark Member

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    I would say....

    If you are getting what you need to grow and not receiving any bad habits or incorrect information..... then he is a good teacher for you.

    For now.

    Later on, if you want lessons in the area of application, you can find another person. You can teach music, you can teach theory, you can teach technique.... you can't teach taste. Some people have it, and some don't.
     
  3. Gene

    Gene Member

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    Great players are a dime a dozen in this day and age. But teachers who are passionate and teach well are very few.
     
  4. GregoryL

    GregoryL Member

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    The old distinction between craft and art ... very few people have their craft down and are artistic in its application, but it's ideally what we should strive for.

    I had a great teacher years ago who said something like guitarists practise their craft, but musicians practise their art.

    I don't see an issue with continuing to learn from a 'craft' guitar player.
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    Sounds like the old book smart versus street smart argument.
     
  6. EJW

    EJW Member

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    I think it's pretty rare to find someone who is both an excellent performer and an excellent teacher, just like it is pretty rare to find someone who is both an excellent scientist and an excellent science teacher. This is because the skill set required to "do" something is very different from the skill set needed to teach that same thing. One needs to be methodical about each in order to do both, and I think most performers are more concerned with honing their performance abilities than honing their teaching skills. A person who is strictly a performer can only teach from personal experience rather than being able to step outside of that experience, analyze a student, and figure out a new approach what will best work for that student. A person who trains his/her teaching skills can be flexible and knows how to try different approaches that may be more effective for a particular student.

    I think it is fine to learn from a non-master performer for a while, just like it is fine to learn basic chemistry from your high school science teacher. But when you are ready, you need to seek out a master who you either "click" with (i.e. naturally teaches in a way that is complimentary to your learning style) or who has given serious thought to his/her own teaching skills (and is therefore more likely to be a flexible and effective teacher).
     
  7. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I think about sports. There are plenty of wonderful coaches out there who either a) never played the sport they coach above a HS level, or b) were a lousy player above HS level.

    However, you hear the players they coach talk about being able to respect a coach who has been where they are more, because they feel they understand more.

    I think a guitar teacher should have a certain amount of chops and performance experience, but how much, I am not sure. I am someone who's teachning and knowledge chops outpaces my performance/playing chops. I work equally at both.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  8. Gigbag

    Gigbag Member

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    I agree with EJW.

    As an example, a good friend is a math genius. I recall being in advanced calculus classes in high School and he would complete the exam flawlessly in less than 20 minutes while the rest of us struggled to complete it within the hour allowed. And we didn't get 100% correct like he did.

    However, he had a much harder time helping us learn. He often just saw the solutions in his head. Most of the 20 minutes he used was spent writing out the text book method of showing the work (which was required by the teacher to get credit for the answer) -- which to him was just a confirmation of what he already concluded.

    I am a better teacher than performer because although I have played 30 years, very little of that involved live performance, and live performance was all more than 25 years ago. Guitar is just a serious hobby for me at this time.
     
  9. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    He's not teaching you taste, so don't worry about it.

    -Austin
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    Yngwie, that REH video sucked.
     
  11. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    I had a composition teacher kind of like this. Very smart and knowledgeable person. Could sightread the difficult works we'd bring in and make excellent suggestions. Changing one of my notes in a phrase and making a vast improvement, for example.

    My fellow students and I wondered why he couldn't do this in his own works, which were good, but not terribly interesting.

    We've all had teachers who were great players and never communicated anything brilliant or useful, at least over the long term.


    If the lessons are going well and you notice a regular improvement in your playing, stick with it. I left teachers when I felt they were no longer making "corrections" in my work.
     
  12. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    This why I chuckle every time some wanker trots out the old "Those who can't, teach" line.

    Teaching is a skill-set unto itself, and a good guitar teacher is much more rare than a good guitar player.

    I've watched plenty of DVD's and been to PLENTY of workshops where great players demonstrated exactly zero skill as an instructor.

    ac
     
  13. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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    He's not my teacher, but I've read many of his articles. He teaches a lot of people, and looking at his video lessons online, he seems to do a great job.

    I guess I'm just more comfortable with a teacher who also writes and plays musically creative tunes.
     
  14. angus99

    angus99 Member

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    Amen, brother. While it doesn't have to be either or, give me a solid, committed teacher who's a moderately talented player over a prodigy who's just teaching to fill out the time between gigs.
     
  15. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Absolutely. Teaching is about verbal communication. Many good players communicate extremely well in their music but can't tell why they do what they do.

    Curiously I have found the same thing in aviation. There are many pilots I've known who could do almost anything with an airplane, but didn't have a clue about why it flew so couldn't pass the information on.

    Good teaching is an art unto itself.
     
  16. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    As has been said, teaching and playing are different skills.

    At my stage of development, a great player is more important than a great teacher. I've learned (though not necessarily mastered) most of the easily teachable stuff like scales, chords, theory. And much of that type of info is available via books/internet.

    At this point, I get more mileage seeing how a more skilled guy uses this stuff and how he conceptualizes what he is doing. Even if the guy is not a skilled a teacher, I'd rather tease info out of him through specific questions. I do not need an explainer as much as I need a modeler. I don't need a teacher as much as a I need someone to critique my playing and make suggestions.

    But that is me, now. Earlier in my career, I got a lot of valuable lessons from guys who are not as skilled at playing as I am now. At that, they didn't need to be great to help me.
     
  17. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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    This guy I'm talking about is a very good guitarist, at least technically.
     
  18. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    If your a dealing with a brilliant player who can't teach, revel in the close proximity to study and observe what you can, whatever that might be. Ask questions. Ask for demonstrations.
     
  19. robelinda2

    robelinda2 Member

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    Ive had many lessons with local pro players, amazing some of them. Very little has been learned from them though, apart from seeing them play up close, they had zero idea on how to structure a lesson, and the lessons took almost 45 mins to get going. Ive had a few lessons with a local jazz teacher who ive never seen live, and he was in the zone as a teacher, zero talk about himself, he wanted to hear me play straight away over a variety of chord changes, grooves, and the whole lesson was a thrill. He was confident and wanted to hear enough of me play to offer his advice, instead of yet another teacher giving endless modal licks or sweep picking licks.
     
  20. willhutch

    willhutch Supporting Member

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    Bingo!! I know something is wrong if a teacher doesn't even ask to hear me play before launching into lesson 1.
     

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