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(@frank2121)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 269
Topic starter  

What should you look for in a teacher? I recently decided to get and pay for a lesson on guitar,
For I have been working through this site and others for about a year now and have found it great, but I came to a stop (felt I was not learning didn't know what should I learn next) I thought I needed some direction.
I have never got a lesson before this so I decided a lesson was the way to go,
When i Idid I must say, I was very disappointed in it
I felt I didn't learn anything from it .Now I'm thinking is it worth going back will I learn, should I give him another chance, does it take a while to get into the swing of things, do I tell him what I would like or does he tell me what I should learn who's in charge. Should they give you something to practice before you go back for another lesson which I didn't
get. .
I'm no expert but I feel there should be some structure to go by, it can be very expensive to learn if your not leaning anything
I guess how do you know who's good or bad till you try!
~~~~~~~~~~~COST YEA THOUGH ~~~~~~~~~~~~

yours truly
Disappointed

ps had to get that out


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Yep, there should be a structure... but first lessons don't always have one (unless you're a complete beginner)

Most instruments have a standard 'pedagogy', an order in which skills are learned. A piano or violin teacher can size you up in minutes, and determine what should be taught next.

But guitar doesn't have that. Many (most?) guitarists learn things in a somewhat random sequence, picking up bits and pieces from friends, books, and the web. I've seen folks who could play all sorts of extended chord inversions, but didn't know an open Em chord, and folks who can play dozens of different scales without knowing the names of all the open strings. So the first lesson from the teacher's perspective is about finding out where your knowledge gaps are; if the teacher doesn't have a handle on that, he or she may end up showing you things that a) you already know, or b) you don't have the foundation to properly grasp.

By the second lesson, a teacher should have enough information to make an educated guess as to what you need next. So I'd give it one more try before dismissing the teacher.

What to look for:

- an understanding of the techniques for the genre you want to play
- the ability to communicate those techniques in several ways
- enough experience to diagnose physical problems (hand position, posture, etc) and explain what you're doing wrong
- patience
- organization; a lesson should have a feeling that it's 'going somewhere'

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@nexion)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 536
 

This is a good topic, I have just started taking lessons. I have been to two (well one really, the first was just to get to know each other and we just jammed together). The second time I was really disappointed, all we did was go over the first two boxes of a pentatonic scale (which he already showed me last time) and go over the first lesson in a introductory to theory book. Not only was this stuff from the previous lesson, it was stuff I could learn on my own.

I called the guy and tried to talk to him and get some assurance that I would learn things from him that I couldn't learn from a book or the internet, etc... It seemed like he was just defending himself and explaining that what he was doing had a purpose. I am going to give him three more lessons and see how they go.

"That’s what takes place when a song is written: You see something that isn’t there. Then you use your instrument to find it."
- John Frusciante


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(@rahul)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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- organization; a lesson should have a feeling that it's 'going somewhere'

This is the most important part of a teaching.


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(@soundgarden)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 43
 

My teacher does not always have completly organised lessons but i think i learn more in them than i could in a completely structured lesson. With my last couple of lessons rather than having a plan we have mainly covered any area that i have had difficulty in. In my most recent lesson we went over all the small (and major) faults in my technique, you don't get that kind of hands on help from a book or video. In that lesson i really only learned a few excercises that i could practice but i think that it was a productive lesson. If you approach each lesson with the belief that you will come out of it knowing something entirely new than you will be dissapointed. Mind you my lessons work out to about $6 or $7 each so i don't have to expect as much as someone paying $30 an hour.

Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with with your self esteem. Kurt Cobain
Have you seen the roses? There's a whole lot of colours. Syd Barret


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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5367
 

The second time I was really disappointed, all we did was go over the first two boxes of a pentatonic scale (which he already showed me last time) and go over the first lesson in a introductory to theory book. Not only was this stuff from the previous lesson, it was stuff I could learn on my own.

Don't take this personally, but there are times when a lesson clearly hasn't sunk into a student's head and you have to re-teach it before they can progress.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@frank2121)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 269
Topic starter  

The main thing is that you're learning regardless to how much you're paying soundgarden
I think if you come out of a lesson after getting something out of it, you well be happy
But I don't think that's always the case...
For us with so little knowledge surely one should be able to come out of a lesson having learnt something after all there is so Much to learn
I hope I'm not getting all the teachers backs up now you probable are saying who the hell is this guy? But there is no offence intended, just want to learn.
Can any one tell me, what the structure for learning is?
What should you learn first, then second and so on, like is there a different method if you just want to pick up the guitar and sing a few songs in a pub or even buskin (lol) one day to someone we'll say that wants to play in a band or at a concert, with that very hard fingerpicking style rather than strumming and writing there own stuff.
Like is there a point to learning these scales every one talks about, if you're just trying to learn a few songs and you see the chords written above the word where you have to change them (I know its not the easy ).
What about once you get that far then you might want to learn the theory but then that would be a different can to open but at least you can play a song or 2 before you open it .

What you think ?


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2823
 

I think Noteboat explained that here.
But guitar doesn't have that. Many (most?) guitarists learn things in a somewhat random sequence, picking up bits and pieces from friends, books, and the web.

If you arent enjoying your lessons then you shouldnt be there, with that particular teacher. But it is a relationship and they take time. When I first started with my current teacher I nearly dropped him several times, for several different reason, but I stuck it out.. we learned how to communicate with each other and I am so happy I stuck it out.

I would say it is important to learn a few easy songs in the beginning. Something you can go back to when you get a little frustrated. Do do that you need to know a few basic chords. But at that point, its really about where you want to go. That determines kind of what you practice next. There are probably teachers that are more stuctured and there are definately ones that are less.. but its really up to you to find the one you end up clicking with.

And i always go with the philosophy that I am the one in charge. I am paying the bill. But part of me being in charge is letting him have enough control of the lessons to teach me.

Ehh, probably didnt help any.. Good luck to you though.

Jim

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 974
 

Like is there a point to learning these scales every one talks about, if you're just trying to learn a few songs and you see the chords written above the word where you have to change them (I know its not the easy ).

Right Frank - it depends on what the student wants to learn. One of my students is a Sunday school teacher. She just wants to strum some songs for the kids to sing along to. She loves it and is making real progress. There's no way that I'm going to waste her time and money teaching her pentatonic scales, which would be completely useless for her.
I will at some point, though, show her how to use major scales to find the chords of songs by herself.

Whatever is taught must always be relevant and useful.


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(@frank2121)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Topic starter  

Dont get me wrong , it's not that I don't want to learn as much as I can but would just like to know what direction in which to go

I can play open chords without looking at what I'm doing which I thought was cool, and the barre chords well I can do them some fast some slow but still hurts, some scales (still don't know why) the start of quite a few songs (easy ones), the strumming isn't great, timing well??

So Now I don't know what to get at next that's why I guess I went to a lesson but after I finished it I felt I was no the wiser, all we did was jam don't think we even talked.

I could do with some help and inspiration surely there is ways to go about things like make goals to get to so you can see improvement .

I think the teacher should have listened to all this on first lesson or perferable on the phone before the lesson so he/she would have something organized method .

Am i being a pain yet ?


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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 974
 

So Now I don't know what to get at next that's why I guess I went to a lesson but after I finished it I felt I was no the wiser, all we did was jam don't think we even talked.

I could do with some help and inspiration surely there is ways to go about things like make goals to get to so you can see improvement .

That doesn't sound too promising - there should have been a lot of talking - discussing your goals, your strengths and weaknesses and the amount of practice and study expected, taking into account your personal circumstances, free time, etc.

There should have been clear instructions on what and how to practice with the understanding that it will be constantly reviewed to ensure that real progress is being made.

But, as NoteBoat suggested, give him another chance. The second lesson is important for the teacher because it reveals how well you absorbed the information from the previous lesson, how much practice time you devoted, and how much you achieved given that amount of practice.

If you feel he's just a jammer who is under the false impression that his playing ability alone can translate naturally to teaching ability, then it's time to find a real teacher.
Real music teaching is a highly organised and disciplined profession - and you should expect nothing less for your money.

I should mention an exception, though. Advanced students can gain enormous benefits studying with great players who know nothing about teaching. In that case the student knows exactly what they want and how to get it.


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(@kingpatzer)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2198
 

Teachers really vary in quality and approach with guitar.

And relationships do take time to build.

However, when you say "all he did was jam, I don't think we even talked," the hairs on the back of my neck stick up.

Now, I AM a very structured teacher who does lesson plans and keeps notes on students, etc. And, I generally only take students who want to be "serious" musicians . . . I don't do the "I'd like to learn how to play open chord tunes for church" folks. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not me as a teacher and there are better teachers for those people than me. . . but even so I occassionally do have a "jam along" type lessons.

But doing that as part of a first or second lesson seems odd to me.

I think you have some genuine concerns, and I'd encourage you to talk with your teacher about what you want and expect.

It may be that a different teacher is what you need. It may be that you guys just haven't connected yet. It's hard to tell after only a few lessons, but there are some warning signs there that I'd take seriously now instead of waiting until they develop into real issues for you.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


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(@frank2121)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 269
Topic starter  

Just like say thanks I appreciate your input, nice to get a second opinion


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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5367
 

However, when you say "all he did was jam, I don't think we even talked," the hairs on the back of my neck stick up.

Now, I AM a very structured teacher who does lesson plans and keeps notes on students, etc.

Right on kp

I agree - jamming doesn't constitute any kind of lesson. It requires no thinking except accurate timekeeping and knowing what key you're in/ chords to play. I start most lessons with a short jam, but that's to make sure my students are warmed up and ready to play (no musical injuries for my students, thank you very much)

A teacher must keep notes, otherwise he has no idea how much his student has learned. This is the first thing a teacher must learn when starting to teach.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@urbancowgirl)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 431
 

I'm glad you brought this topic up. I started lessons in order to have some sort of structure. Something that I had to learn/practice every week and to have someone tell me if I was even holding the guitar the right way, putting my fingers in the right places, etc. I had 3 lessons. The first was just him playing and showing me all the things he was going to teach me, which got me very excited about learning. For the second one, I was supposed to find 3 songs that I wanted to learn to play. Well I did, and they were Eagles songs, and he didnt know any of them (How can you be over 40 and have never heard any Eagles songs???) so he gave me a 3 chorded Beatles song to practice, which was fine, and again just sort of played around himself and showed me things. Anyway, he said he would check the song and we could work on it the following week. Oh, by the way, he sort of just glanced at my playing technique and said it looked fine, which I have my doubts about. The third week, he had forgot about my Eagles song and showed me some scales and told me to practice them. I did that and for the next two weeks he called and said he was sick. Ok fine. Then the last week, I get no call so I go down there only to find the place locked up and the lights off. I have not been back or even called to get my money back for my 4th lesson that I paid for and never got, and I have to say this has sort of discouraged me. I don't even feel like looking for a new teacher at this point.

Ok, I feel better now that I have ranted.

All my life I wanted to be somebody. Now I see I should have been more specific.


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