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Missing out on how much, if not taking lessons?

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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

As I've said a couple of times, I was taking lessons from January to August of this year, after a 19-20 year hiatus of learning. Twenty years ago I took lessons and practiced for about 9 months. Then I gave it all up. So even though I remembered a few riffs and some standard notation from back then, when I started lessons this year I was a beginner.

I think I've come a pretty good distance this year, but I still have some roughness in the basics. After all this time, Fmaj is still a bear for me. It's kind of hit-or-miss.

I'll tell you what I know I'm not good at...
1. Barre chords, though I try working at them.
2. Pentatonic scales. I'm just not interested in them right now; I'm more interested in rhythm than soloing or lead.
3. I have a basic, but not complete understanding of chord intervals and keys. I have a detailed and colorful chart I put together for those.

It may seem that I don't think there are too many things I'm not good at (get that? good, cause now I'm confused ), but I don't know what I don't know (well, that's even worse ).

The tools I have to work with are...
1. This site of course. I've learned and am learning more than I imagined when I first stumbled in here.
2. Guitar For Dummies and Rock Guitar For Dummies, which I think I need to read more thoroughly.
3. Rosetta Stone of Guitar (which I have yet to look into).
4. Determination.

So I am wondering, hopefully not sounding arrogant, how much do you miss out by not taking paid-for lessons? I know one of the things I miss is not having someone to coach me, play with, jam with.

I hope this helps other beginners too.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@jase36)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 247
 

I have had only 6 lessons in my couple of years of learning, infact they were all in the last 12 months. I would love to go on a regular basis but its just not possible so I have had the odd one hear and there. i can actually see the results from those lessons in my playing . For me the big plus of a teacher is having someone elses view and not having to rely solely on yourself to work out whats the best way to go about learning. They also spot your weaknesses better than yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jase67electric


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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

IFor me the big plus of a teacher is having someone elses view and not having to rely solely on yourself to work out whats the best way to go about learning. They also spot your weaknesses better than yourself.

That's true... I have considered that. What I'm looking to do is justify going back for lessons.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@darthnihlus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 25
 

I started playing this January as well and have yet to take a real lesson. I'm not "self taught" because I have learned a lot from the internet and Youtube lessons. I don't feel I'm missing out because I am able to work through the challenges I have encountered.

For me it was playing clean open chords, transitioning open chords, playing first song, clean transition to the open C, singing and playing. Then it was barre chords, open to barre and then barre to barre.

It seems to me that you are not setting goals for yourself. Do you want to learn music theory and or notation? You will probably need lessons for those. Do you want to master the barre chord? A teacher could get you there a little faster but you will still need lots of practice. Or do you want to play all the songs on your iPod? Again, a teacher will get you there faster but it can be done without one.

I go to ultimate-guitar.com for the tabs/chords/lyrics and youtube to figure out the strum patterns and timing. I probably will at some point start taking lessons but I'm having too much fun doing what I'm doing now.

So to answer your question, I don't feel that I'm missing out on not taking lessons. Then again I've never paid for one either. I would also like someone to jam with but I'm not going to pay someone $60 to jam.

Good luck.


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

Thanks! :)
It seems to me that you are not setting goals for yourself.

Possibly. My "lesson plan" consists of a list of 10-12 songs I'm currently working on. I am almost completely satisfied with about 3 or 4 of them, such that I can play them along with the recording and they sound pretty good. My goal is then to be able to play by myself, and sing. That's going to take some coordination. The other songs get attention on a rotating basis. Instead of focusing too much on 1, I switch back and forth between 2 or 3. I'm chipping away at perfecting them.
Do you want to learn music theory and or notation? You will probably need lessons for those. Do you want to master the barre chord? A teacher could get you there a little faster but you will still need lots of practice. Or do you want to play all the songs on your iPod? Again, a teacher will get you there faster but it can be done without one.

If theory and notation is essential to playing and being a proficient musician, then sure, I'd want to learn it. If a barre chord comes up in a song I'm working on, then I have to master it. I should probably do barre chord exercises just for the sake of learning them. I know I can't spend a huge amount of time learning a song if most of the time is going to be on the barre chords in it.

My songbook consists of a lot of tabs and chord sheets, something like 85-90, from ultimate-guitar.com and other sites. Yes, they are just some that are in my iTunes collection. I've copied the ones I want to eventually learn into a new playlist that makes up an index to my songbook. I have a bunch of other books too.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@taver)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 63
 

I'm in similar boat, thinking of getting lessons. I've been looking in my area for a teacher but there doesnt seem to be too many, and they want to have a month booked up in advance and that doesnt work with the time i have to spend at work.

I'm wondering, has anyone tried the correspondence lessons with Tom Hess? I've read some of his articles and looked at his website, looks like it might be worth a go. i'm hoping haveing a teacher reviews what ive been doing will help keep me motivated.

One day !!
http://www.soundclick.com/taver
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQhXgRKobGI


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(@bloos66)
Reputable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 335
 

Hi Minotaur - I am in a similar situation. Last year, when I took the guitar up again and decided to learn how to play properly, I had a teacher with whom I was extremely dissatisfied. What I found annoying was that he constantly told me what to do but never once showed me how to do it, or provided some strategies on how to master certain skills.

Since then I have bought many books (with CDs) and DVDs, downloaded tons of clips of youtube, looked at the lessons at this site, bought GuitarPro etc. With so much information around me, I find it quite easy to learn on my own. Sure, progress is slow, and still - the more I practice a certain skill, the faster I learn, and I am often surprised when everything suddenly comes together.

Still, I am considering getting a teacher at the moment. The main reason is that I am learning hammer-ons, pull-offs, bending, vibrato, slides etc, the basic blues/lead skills - and it is quite challenging. The reason for getting a teacher is that the skills are so essential that they need to be learned properly, and a teacher may be able to provide the best guidance and feedback.

My main excuse for not getting a teacher is that none live nearby (none that I know of), and it's difficult to find and energy to travel 30-60mins each way to someone's studio or house. And it saves money too, I've spent lots on books etc already...


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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

Hi Minotaur - I am in a similar situation. Last year, when I took the guitar up again and decided to learn how to play properly, I had a teacher with whom I was extremely dissatisfied. What I found annoying was that he constantly told me what to do but never once showed me how to do it, or provided some strategies on how to master certain skills.

Well, I have to say that the two times I took lessons, both teachers were very talented guitarists, but I did not like the way the lessons were going. It was predominately tabbing out songs from my list and working on them. Sure we had some theory thorwn in, but I was also dissatisfied.
Since then I have bought many books (with CDs) and DVDs, downloaded tons of clips of youtube, looked at the lessons at this site, bought GuitarPro etc. With so much information around me, I find it quite easy to learn on my own. Sure, progress is slow, and still - the more I practice a certain skill, the faster I learn, and I am often surprised when everything suddenly comes together.

Pretty much the same here. I had a trial of GuitarPro, but didn't spend enough time evaluating it to buy it. I've been using Power Tab in a lot of cases. I bought Rosetta Stone of Guitar, but I really do not like it. Yet I've read other people raving about it. I have books, tabs, chord sheets, and have bookmarked a lot of internet videos. I've learned a lot from them and from this site's articles. I got it in my head to learn Bad Boys, but I don't know reggae patterns. Well, there is a young lady on Youtube who teaches reggae rhythms, and uses Bad Boys as an example. Can you ask for more!? :D
Still, I am considering getting a teacher at the moment. ... The reason for getting a teacher is that the skills are so essential that they need to be learned properly, and a teacher may be able to provide the best guidance and feedback.

Yes, I feel the same way. I know there's really nothing like a live experienced teacher to stop you making a mistake of tell you yes, keep doing that. So that's my main reason for raising this issue. But I'll tell you, the next time I sign up for lessons, I'm going to really interview the teacher. I made a list of things I can do and areas I need to learn or improve. And I'm sure the list will grow. I'm not just going to sit back and go along for the ride.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@bloos66)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 335
 

I am quite disillusioned with teachers as well. A lot of them are former musicians who can play extremely well but lack the teaching and training skills. And many more are used to teaching children, which is basically - play these songs over and over again until they sound ok. This method just doesn't work for adults. Adult learning is a huge area that's getting a lot of focus, and I find it amazing how many teachers/tutors/instructors have never done any work in this area. It's like saying that one teaching method will work for everybody - it doesn't....

I think I'll persist with my books, CDs, DVDs and the Internet for the time being. It's already becoming quite obvious that for a recreational player like me with no aspirations to make money from playing, learning this way is quite ok. The key is regular practice, and regular quality practice at that.

I find the work that Jamie Andreas at http://www.guitarprinciples.com does very inspirational, she is tackling guitar playing from an angle that very few teachers have any idea about. I've got quite a few of her books and DVDs, and she also does online video lessons as well.


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(@jase36)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 247
 

I think you do have to look around and try a few different teachers. As I said earlier in the thread I've only had half a dozen lessons but split between 2 different teachers. After 2 lessons with the first teacher I contacted him to tell him it wasnt working for me and tried another teacher. The first teacher has a really good reputation and I have heard that many people have done well with him. I think the important thing is if you are going to have a teacher is to make sure your suited before investing to much time and money.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jase67electric


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(@taver)
Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 63
 

There seems to be a shortage of teachers in my area, so finding a good one is going to be difficult. I know having one to one with a teacher would be best, but i dont think thats going to happen. Has anyone on here tried correspondence lessons or even considering them?

One day !!
http://www.soundclick.com/taver
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQhXgRKobGI


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Well I think it all depends on where you want to go with your playing. I've had a few teachers in my time that I've been playing, some like my current teacher who I think is very good or at least for me he is and some not so good.

But I've gotten into a little niche with my current teacher and I'm not sure it's the best approach but it's working for me.

When I started we would split the lesson into a technical half and a half used for tabbing songs. As I started learning more songs that's pretty much what I wanted to do and the past year has been pretty much him tabbing out songs that I play with my band or whatever you'd call it. Anyway, he has a great ear and tabs out whatever I need him too, always the rhythm but some solo's that I want to play etc. like riffs and fills etc.

Now I have thought about the theory part and talked to himn about doing something along those lines but I still don't see the immediate value in that.

All I'm ever going to be doing is playing cover songs in a cover band or playing along to a CD etc. The theory might help more if I were writing songs or doing more improv jamming which I don't do much of.

So for me this is perfect. I learn a new song pretty much every week, which I can usually get do without a problem sometimes certain parts take longer but other than the occasional thing I'm doing wrong the only thing that keeps me from playing those passages are just putting in the practice time.

I gave up on internet tab and most books because they are all crap, the internet is almost always wrong and the books come up with some weird chord voicings or other stuff that is more confusing than anything else.

But I have gotten to the place where it's a bit of a crutch in that I am so used to playing songs that he's tabbed out I find any other way a pain. One thing he does do with his tabs is that he also puts in the note duration so it's as close as it gets to being "real" notation

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
Topic starter  

Well I think it all depends on where you want to go with your playing. ...

All I'm ever going to be doing is playing cover songs in a cover band or playing along to a CD etc. The theory might help more if I were writing songs or doing more improv jamming which I don't do much of.

That's pretty much my thinking.
So for me this is perfect. I learn a new song pretty much every week, which I can usually get do without a problem sometimes certain parts take longer but other than the occasional thing I'm doing wrong the only thing that keeps me from playing those passages are just putting in the practice time.

Lately I've been picking up on things a little faster, too. I'm not really good yet at playing anything, but I can see it coming faster.
I gave up on internet tab and most books because they are all crap, the internet is almost always wrong and the books come up with some weird chord voicings or other stuff that is more confusing than anything else.

Agreed. When I think of a song I want to add to my songbook, I scour the internet and have even combined incomplete tabs or corrected them to what I think they should be, after copying them into Word. Maybe that says something for my developing skills. :D

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Well, I am self-taught, never had a lesson. But really, everybody is self-taught. If you simply take an hour lesson every week, you are never going to learn how to play guitar like that. You are still going to need countless hours of practicing on your own to become a good player.

In the past year I have spent a lot of time practicing piano with my 6 year old son. He started piano about a year ago. His mom and I found out that he seems a lot more motivated when I practice with him. I tell ya, I am getting as much out of his lessons as he is. Every week he gets about 4 or 5 new songs to practice and each lesson deals with a new technique or position on the keyboard. This week for instance we have been working on the A Major and D Major scale and positions. I think I get far more excited about his lessons than he does. What I like, and what I think is beneficial about taking lessons for an instrument is that I am actually learning and starting to understand music. Now, I understand music from sheer experience, but this is deeper, and I'm actually learning to apply it to guitar. Now, when I practice a solo over a progression, I think about each note in the scale and how it applies to the chords. So this is exciting to me, and I think my guitar solos have improved quite a bit.

And I'm starting to read music pretty well. I have also been practicing with my 10 year old daughter on piano, she is WAY past me in ability. She has been playing about 4 years now and is heavy into Classical music by Beethoven, Mozart, and all those long-haired guys.

But I have been practicing duets with her, we have been working on some Christmas songs. I was actually shocked that I could keep up with her (these songs are pretty simple). She even complimented my playing. :D

But what I'm getting at is that I really see quicker improvement with disciplined, scheduled lessons that take you one step at a time. You learn to read, you begin to understand theory, which opens up a world of music to you.

But you still have to spend hours practicing on your own.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
 

I don't think you'll get a better testimony than what Wes stated. Since I've not had private lessons, I too don't know what I don't know. But I do know that having structure around what you are practicing and having some accountability (to practice in order to show improvement to your teacher during your next lesson) will certainly get you moving along faster than you would on your own. How I wish I could afford lessons right now. (time and money do not permit) There is no question in my mind that I would do it.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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