I have no clue what to do at lessons.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by roflingsam123, Apr 20, 2005.


  1. I been taking guitar lessons for over an year now and im not sure what to ask the teacher. He sometimes ask me if there is something I want to work not but I am not sure. I never played any instrument before and I seriously don't jam with anyone. No one I really know plays an instruemnt like drums, bass, or guitar. So when I see my guitar teacher I ask all the questions I thought about in the weekend. Im just trying to have fun but I want to be good. I practice/play about 30 min a day. Not a lot. I like to play christian songs but a lot of the times it is the same thing and soft rock. I like pretty much anything that sounds good though. My teacher is more of a soft rock/funk type. I wish he would teach me at a faster though. I feel that the 1 years that I have learned.. I could of learn in 4 months.

    How much do lessons cost usally? How long does it take to seriously improve? I know obviously you will learn faster if you practice more but on the avg? What are songs that are good to practice on?

    Gear is what keeps me mostly intrested in guitar though. I would probably careless about playing violin, trumpet, and other 'school' instruments. Guitar is too cool.
     
  2. glynn

    glynn Member

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    How much do lessons cost usally?

    Depends on the teacher, but I would expect to shell out $50 - $80 a month.

    How long does it take to seriously improve?

    You get out what you put in. Everyone learns differently, there is no formula for success. Some people progress slow, and some are plowing thru really difficult stuff in a year.

    What are songs that are good to practice on?

    Well, the ones that help the weak parts in your playing. If you want to improve chord vocabulary, then it would be a good idea to learn some jazz standards.

    If you want to learn some pentatonics, then some blues tunes would work.

    When I took lessons, I never did pop songs. I did that stuff at home. I worked on stuff that I sucked at, like playing thru changes.

    YMMV
     
  3. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    If you like Christian rock, check out some Phil Keaggy. He has some challenging material.

    You may also want to try a couple of tunes from his first band Glass Harp for a more rock flavor, if you can find it.

    This guy had tone like no other and was an expert at doing violin swells with his pinky and volume knob.
     
  4. ^ thanks.. i'll check it out

    oh yeah btw... sometimes I pick out songs that I want to learn, but the teacher doesn't sound close to what I want to play. His style is totally diffrent. Should I be looking for a diffrent guitar teacher?
     
  5. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean. If he is teaching you the songs you want to learn and getting the parts correct then I'd keep him.

    It really doesn't matter his style or even how well he plays, what matters is how well he teaches and if you are getting anything out of it. It sounds like you already know the answer to you question anyway.
     
  6. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    And how....

    One of my consistent frustrations with being a guitar teacher is the following scenario: student comes to me, tells me that they want to get better at X. I give them all kinds of ways to improve X. They come back next week & say they didn't have time to work on it, could we go over it one more time. I go over X again. They come back the following week and say they didn't have time to work on it, but, let's not bother with that because they can practice that on their own, can I give them the next step after X. I tell them that's pretty difficult if you haven't put the time in on X yet. Student then drops me because they're "just not improving the way they'd hoped"

    Argggg.....
     
  7. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    We all want to get to the end without having to do what's required in the middle. Funny how students often forget what they had to go through for years to learn math and how to read and write. I tell them mastering an instrument is no different and some still don't get it.
     
  8. EricT

    EricT Member

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    Guilty:p
     

  9. He doesnt really teach me the song because he himself doesnt know it.

    KRosser do you play your guitar a lot at lessons? my guitar teacher probably plays more than me.

    Can you give me an example of what the student wanted to work on? So you basically go over the same skill untill the student gets better at it?


    Is music theory that important if you are trying to get good?
     
  10. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Depends on what I'm teaching...I taught a lesson today where I never even touched the instrument. Sometimes it's necessary to play quite a bit.

    "The student" implies this has only happened once! I wish!!

    As a teacher, I don't really want to keep going over the same thing, but I'm willing to if the student's not getting something. But, I've found that's usually not the problem, the problem is that they don't want to have to work on their own. I always make a point of having the student leave with clearly defined work to do. Just taking the lesson alone is not enough for improvement. They have to work and apply it.

    Basically, I've found there's a lot of student players that want to be great (or, want all the peripheral goodies that they assume come naturally with being great) without working very hard on it. If there's a way to do that, I can't teach it, 'cause I don't know.


    Depends on your goals. If your goal is to be a professional player, I'd say it's very important, if only for the vocabulary with which you can intelligently converse with other musicians, not to mention what it might give you in terms of understanding and analyzing all different kinds of music.

    If you're not aspiring to that I'd say certain aspects of theory can absolutely help you sound better, i.e., knowledge of how to build chords & their inversions & scales and how they relate to the fingerboard, certainly. Keys and the basics of functional harmony, sure, that'd help a lot too. How to construct a retrograde inversion of a tone row? You could probably pass on that....
     
  11. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    This is then a golden opportunity for him to teach you how to pull a song off a recording. Depending upon how hard the song is. It's good for your ears and it also helps you become more independent.

    I don't teach any longer but did for over 10 years in a variety of capacities.

    I agree with KRosser, as it appears he tailors his lesson to the student. That makes a big difference in teachers.

    Theory is not that difficult, I'm a big proponent of learning theory. I think the toughest part about theory is some people's preconceived gumption blocks.

    If nothing else, you should be able to name every note on the fingerboard!!!!! You should also be able to name any chord you know how to play.
     
  12. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I've never heard it put that way, I like that.

    Man I remember when I used all these chords and had no idea, not only of general chord theory and chemistry, but even the name. I'd show songs to friends "..then it's the hendrix chord, then the 'Long Train Runnin' chord, then B but lift your ring finger..."
     
  13. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    LOL - I go to open mics and that is pretty much how I have to communicate. It's such a pleasure when a guy gets on stage and he knows what to play just by me naming the chord. Funny thing is when you say Hendrix chord I know exactly what you're talking about E7#9 (technically Eb). :)
     
  14. raz

    raz Member

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    I think you and I are teaching the same students.

    R
    A
    Z
     
  15. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    Well, man, I hope you had better luck with them than I did, or at least charged them more.....
     
  16. KHK

    KHK Silver Supporting Member

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    I found that teaching X was most effective when presented in the context of what the student wanted to play. I had a good number of folks drop out because I wanted them to approach it my way and all they wanted was to play what interested them. They didn't necessarily want to play like me. If I am honest with myself, ideal students for my style of teaching at the time were in the minority.

    If I was able to relate X to one of the songs that they wanted to learn, they tended to put in more time on the instrument because they were interested and could see the connection. They could see how they were working towards their goal. Everyone realizes putting in the time is the key.

    Frankly, if your teacher is not able to relate to what you want to play, I would look for someone else who can. You will end up doing it later anyway.

    I agree with lhallam, I think you already know the answer to your question.
     
  17. Gravity

    Gravity Member

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    As a guitar teacher, I constantly have the same problem as KRoss...

    Student: Ok I want to play this song
    me: Sure, lets do this and this.. i want you to work on this this week so we can go here next week...

    *week passes*

    Student: well i really didn't have time to practice... I had socce this week and exams are coming up... And there was this party on thursday. I was gonna practice friday but then I forgot which page I was working on...

    (I only wish i were kidding... This is a WEEKLY occurance)


    I quite simply tell the student the following:

    Don't ever appologize to me or make excuses for not practicing. Cus honestly... i don't care. I get paid whether you get good or not. The only single person who suffers or benefits from your practice habits is YOU...

    If you've been playing for a year and you still only practice for 30 mins a day, then something is wrong. On a bad day I wont pick up my guitar... but on average I'd say I pick up and play for an hour or more a day. It's not even practicing per se, it's just picking up one of my guitars and noodling around for a few minutes at a time. If you haven't gotten to the point where you just pick up and play for a few hours on a day off, then you might need to examine how good you really want to get and if its worth your money to continue lessons.

    The plain and simple fact that most students and parents (in the case of younger students) forget is that, as teachers, we spend maybe half na hour or an hour out of every week with the student. The other 167 hours in the week are yours to so with as you will.

    In the end a teacher can only guide the student a little bit, but the student has to take advantage of thier own time and the teacher's experience.

    Personally I've had lots of students come to me with songs that I either A) dont' like or B) have never heard... That doesn't stop me from helping them learn to play them. Most teachers can adapt to that kind of thing.

    On the flip side if you expect (as a student) that the teacher will sound exactly like the recording and the artist when they play the song for you... You're nuts. By the same token there's no way YOU will ever sound just like the recording. Tone is in the fingers after all :)

    I tell all my students to bring me recordings of the songs they want to learn. That way if i don't know the song, I sure as hell will by the end of the lesson.


    What it all boils down to is that the student is only as successful as THEY want to be, and though I make a lot of money teaching, in the end its only about 20% teacher and 80% student work that determines success in ANYTHING... As easy as it is to say "I'm just not getting what I want out of this teacher" usually (and there are exceptions), its the student...
     
  18. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    KHK, I see where you're coming from but I'm pretty sure it's not that - if someone wants to learn a song, I can teach it to them. But when someone comes to me and says they want to learn how to play jazz lines over chord changes, or learn to build more chord voicings, or learn to read music, these are all things that require not only prolonged attention over a long period of time, but a lot of discipline on the part of the student. You can't get it just from showing up to a lesson and not applying anything in between. As for my GIT students, they're there to learn a specific curriculum - if they "don't have time to practice" I have no patience for it. I tell them they have the same 24 hours a day that everyone else has ever had. They have to decide how to invest it. End of discussion.

    Gravity, it sounds like we've approached this in a very similar manner. I think your observations are dead on. Whenever I was a student, I did EVERYTHING my teacher told me. I figured as long as I was spending the money, I should get the most out of it possible and assume the teacher knew what he was doing. Later on, if I happened to question some of it, fine, but I did so after thoroughly checking it out. And I can say this with 100% certainty - every lesson I ever took, and I've had probably well over a hundred, was helpful in some way.

    The ones I love (meaning this sarcastically) are the ones that come in and tell me how to teach...I'm learning to tell them to keep their money and go find someone else.
     
  19. Gravity

    Gravity Member

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    I never took lessons for guitar. (I did have classical vocal training for a rfew years but I was also singing for a couple of hours at least 3 times a week so practice was never an issue. Anyway thats not fully related)
    So I approach it this way: I'm a pretty good guitarist. I'm a very good bass player. I'm not the worlds best at either, and I try to be pretty self-aware of where I need to improve and where I want to get to in my playing.

    I never had a teacher to motivate me, or tell me where I was screwing up, or how often to practice. I just knew I wanted to play, and made it happen on my own. I may not always have been right, but here I am and doing pretty good I think.

    Any student I teach should be able to progress in the same way. I'm no special case where technique is concerned. So all I can try and do is accellerate the process for them by trying to have them skip over the mistakes or long ways round that I ran into when i was learning. The benefit of experience right? :)

    I'm not the world's best teacher... I simply use my experience to try and guide the students along. I'm SURE some of my students have sat there in some lessons going "What the hell is he doing!" and I'm sure they've been right ;-)

    However in all that I can see the students that sometimes I get the MOST held up with on where to go in the lessons, are becoming the best players the fastest.

    Thier learning only has a little to do with me, and more to do with them. It's a very simple equation... In a way I'm living proof that the teacher matters FAR less then the student...

    I've found that students in any subject (high school, elemetary school, university, music... whatever) are all to willing to blame a bad teacher, prof or instructor for thier lack of progress. While I admit that sometimes this may very well be true... I think that in the vast majority of cases, it's the student's attitude and dedication that has the larger impact...
     
  20. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    That, in a nutshell, is what I'm sayin'.

    An enthusiastic and devoted student can grow with even a mediocre teacher. I've seen it happen too many times to doubt it.
     

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