Local Community College music courses vs. individual lessons

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by rolandk, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. rolandk

    rolandk Member

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    Unfortunately my work schedule makes finding a band unlikely, so I’ve decided to focus on becoming a better musician until the right band fit comes along.

    Seems like the advantage of a Community College music course is a well rounded education and paves the way towards a BA (a nice feather in your cap for attracting a top band). Individual lessons are more narrowly focused and the only payoff is being a better player.

    Has anyone taken local college courses and would you recommend?
     
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  2. Little_Wing

    Little_Wing Member

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    It would seem to me that a Community College music course would be a good opportunity to meet other people who are looking to form a band.
     
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  3. Rotten

    Rotten Silver Supporting Member

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    It’s all good. I’ve had long stretches of not having time to play with others or being too exhausted to expend mental energy. Any opportunity to learn and play with others should be valued.
     
  4. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Absolutely.

    I took a couple of CC music courses a few years after I was starting out. Had studied a bit with a guy and he was buddies with the music dept chair at our local CC. He tossed me into a jazz ensemble class. I was, by far, the worst musician in the room but learned tons.

    Good luck with it.
     
  5. somecafone

    somecafone Member

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    This.
    When I was 17 or 18, I took a jazz ensemble class at the local jc/cc.
    Didn’t even know major or minor 7th chords at the time.
    Still recall the experience with great affection.
     
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  6. JiveJust

    JiveJust Member

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    I’m about to graduate the music program at my local CC at the ripe old age of 45. My school had a lot of classes for ensemble playing (Jazz, Classical, Rock and Electronic) as well as what they called applied lessons which is a one on one class with the professor. I met a lot of musicians and networked quite a bit. I highly recommend it.
     
  7. Wyatt Martin

    Wyatt Martin Member

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    Definitely check into the instructor and curriculum before hand.

    I took music theory in CC and for 4 semesters never once did we touch an instrument not even a piano. I could write 4 part harmony and dissect written music but never really found much I could apply to my own music.

    We spent maybe 2-3 weeks studying scales the first semester and I enjoyed that and it did make sense which scales started on each note and that was something I could apply to my own music.

    In the end I was a little disappointed but from the advice of my instructor I joined choir my second semester and with my grades I got a 100% paid scholarship. Otherwise had I paid the whole time I couldn't say I would have got my money's worth.
     
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  8. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Wow.

    I've never heard of a program like that. Wonder what their rationale is for that approach? Are they far removed from a sizable population center that they couldn't find qualified faculty to teach instruments?
     
  9. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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    I have an associates degree in music from a small junior college in a mostly rural area. There were classes, labs, and lessons where we brought and played instruments in class. But there were lots of classes, including music theory, in which we sat in a classroom and took notes while the professor/instructor talked and wrote things on a chalkboard. Later on I took some jazz classes from a university in an area with a larger population. In performance lab we brought instruments and played them in class. In jazz theory and jazz composition we did not play instruments in class.
     
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  10. Rockledge

    Rockledge Member

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    It depends on what you want to do with it in the future.
    I studied theory from a dude that was in the process of going for his masters degree in electronic music, he was a classical guitarist. He taught me theory in about 6 months ( actually, it took much less time than that) for the price of lessons, and pretty much just cut all the bullsheist out that colleges require from you to learn.
    I think I got one hell of an education from him on the cheap.

    But sometimes I wish I had went to college, because much of the other stuff you learn is important, things like voice leading which train you to recognize intervals without an instrument in your hand and all that.

    So, if you want to just become a better guitarist, ask around and find out who the guitar teacher is in town who is the best instructor for theory.
    If you imagine yourself getting deeper into music and at some time might consider becoming a composer, by all means go to the added time and huge expensve of a college.

    Theory is not really as complex as it seems it might be, and I picked up on it right away, but I did it at a time when I had the free time and was still quite young and had the ambition to delve into it for hours at a time. I am quite satisfied with what I learned, but I had an excellent teacher who went on to be the dean at a big college.
    You should be able to learn it from a good guitar teacher.

    Also, if you are under time constraint I strongly suggest that you find a guitar teacher that is good at teaching theory, and learn the basics of theory, how to build chords on the major scale and name them and all that. If you get that part down everything else is far easier to comprehend.
    I suggest setting a couple hours a day a couple or 3 days a week and taking lessons to learn theory. That way you will learn if it appeals to you.
    Then if you decide that you have no problem regimenting yourself to that two hours a day a few times a week thing, go on and do some college.
    That would allow you to get your feet wet and see exactly how diligent you can be with it, and when you take college courses you will have a leg up.
    Once you learn basic theory, everything else makes a lot better sense and is far easier to comprehend. Theory does not lend itself to any one style of music, it applies to all music and once you have it you can go whichever direction you fancy.
    And of course , doing it that way you will not have gone through the crap you have to go through to enroll in a school only to find out you don't have the time, or that it bores you to tears, or any of the other many distractions that can happen.

    The reason I suggest a couple hours is because, when I got into it, I would get my head in it and was fascinated with it and couldn't stop. You might not want to do it for that long at a time, but if you do you will have that time set aside. It sucks to just get your head into something and then have to stop and go do something else.
    You might be able to do it a half hour at a time or so. I just couldn't.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  11. Wyatt Martin

    Wyatt Martin Member

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    Derekd,


    When I enrolled it was a first year instructor in a rural area. 2 hours from any sizable community. They just had a long term instructor retire who from all accounts was a respected instructor with respective pep and jazz bands.

    The college, I assume was cutting corners with the music dept and the band program was dropped completely for at least the 2 years I was present. The program was going through a major restructuring. The new instructor was mostly a vocal oriented teacher which is probably why we spent so much time writing and dissecting 3 and 4 part harmony and studying piano sheet music. Everything we did was classroom work. With nothing to compare the course to I didn't know at the time I was being short changed but I always felt there should have been more to the course. The school still owned a lot of equipment but it was moth-balled the whole time I was there....

    The most beneficial part to me was actually being involved in choir. I received weekly vocal lessons and learned to be a better singer which was a welcome change since I had no desire to sing prior.

    But still my advice is to dig into information about the curriculum and instructor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  12. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    I went to Berklee and found a good amount of backlash towards "schooled" players. Apparently, we are stiff and can't manifest mojo out of the ether. There were a lot of years that didn't tell people I studied, once I got established it didn't matter.
    I get most of my work from drummers and bass players, so I think the assumption might be wrong.
     
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  13. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    That's unfortunate, but I'm guessing your ear is very well developed.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
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  14. Wyatt Martin

    Wyatt Martin Member

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    I had a school mate/guitar playing friend who finished Berkley at the height of the grunge era. He has always felt because of his timing it was the biggest waste of time and money because he was instantly "uncool" because he was schooled. He said he ended up ditching most everything he learned and bounced around the country playing in classic rock and country cover bands. It's weird how timing works.

    He plays mostly jazz now which he said was about the main thing at Berkley he avoided.
     
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  15. misterturtlehead

    misterturtlehead Member

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    Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music. Understanding music theory is about knowing the language of music. I think one of the best ways to learn basic music theory is to learn how to read music in standard notation on your instrument. And I highly recommend learning how to read music before signing up for community college music classes. You could start with Mel Bay's Modern Guitar Method Grade 1. There is also this book.


    Here are some books I recommend once you learn how to read music on your instrument. Most are "jazz" books. Though you don't necessarily have to commit to becoming a jazz musician to learn a lot of useful stuff in them.

    Chords & Progressions For Jazz & Popular Guitar by Arnie Berle
    Patterns For Jazz by Jerry Coker, Jimmy Casale, Gary Campbell, and Jerry Greene
    The Serious Jazz Practice Book by Barry Finnerty
    The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine

    I recommend being able to get through about a hundred fifteen pages of Patterns For Jazz before tackling The Serious Jazz Practice Book.
     
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  16. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched

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    Depends on the private instructor. College courses are likely to be a lot of pen-and-paper theory and notation, which may not sound glamorous, but you'd likely be happy you did it in retrospect. The farther away I get from my education the more I appreciate it, particularly the elements I found tedious at the time.
     
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  17. guitarmook

    guitarmook Member

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    CC courses - if you can find an ensemble class, you'll be PLAYING music, and probably learning quickly, unless you have a background in big-band jazz standards. You'll probably learn more about the details and mechanics of theory and harmony than you would with a private teacher. You'll also meet a bunch of people, perhaps even someone you want to take individual lessons from.

    Potential issues - you'll only go as fast as the class can go... sometimes that seems slow. You'll learn more about the details and mechanics of theory and harmony... which can be a little dry. You may learn a LOT, but maybe not a lot you can 'apply to your music'...

    It's probably cheap enough to give it a try, maybe even a couple tries, just to make sure you didn't get a lemon if the first one class is a little sour.

    I went to my local CC almost 20 years ago to learn about recording... just started w/ a basic class, they had a fantastic instructor and a full 24-track studio with 3 different tracking rooms. It took a while, but I eventually finished my Associates Degree in music. I enjoyed most of that degree.
     
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  18. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    What kind of band are you talking about? The bands I know about don't ever look at your CV.
    I'm all for education but also in favor of reality awareness.
     
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  19. Madsen

    Madsen Member

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    College courses was a great opportunity to get my hands on some gear. I went in the early 90's & my school had a pretty good "MIDI Lab". I had a synth at home & i'd had tons of lessons, but it was a great opportunity to play with other types of synthesis, computer recording hardware/software & get some instruction on how it all works.

    A former bandmate with a degree in music teaches at a Community College now & they have a full on recording studio. Protools rig, mixing board, microphones, ect. They offer certifications & degrees in Audio Production and regularly put out student recordings.
     
  20. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    The good? You’re less likely to be let off the hook for reading, than you might’ve been with a private teacher. The awkward to me? Unless you’re just starting, seems pretty likely that you’ll be significantly ahead of, or behind the group, unless there’s an audition and placement. I think a combination of class and one on one instruction would be good.
     

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