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whos taken lessons for a while?


(@mercury187)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 38
Topic starter  

Hi all, I've been taking lessons for just over a year now from a local musician that also teaches. I was wondering if I could hear from other people that have been taking lessons for a while because after a year I really only know basic chords and maybe a scale, other than that I can play parts of songs but that's about it. If someone is a complete beginner to music is there any hope for one day understanding guitar and how to write songs? Every time I go to my lesson he just says so what do you want to do today? I have said before well what should we do and we've messed around with like guitar slides and other stuff but he always asks me what we're going to do and well if I dont really have any knowledge of anything shouldn't he be guiding me? I've been starting to wonder if people that take lessons just learn to become hacks or something and just end up playing other peoples songs. I mean how much can one really progress anyway by only spending 30 minutes a week with an instructor who is just there to make money. Maybe I should be looking for another instructor or take lessons from a different instructor later on in the week or something, I just dont feel like I'm learning a whole lot other than just play these notes or these chords with this strum pattern for this song...


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Just my opinion, but a teacher who doesn't have a lesson plan isn't a teacher - he's someone you're paying to jam with you.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@kroikey)
Estimable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 232
 

I've had this exact problem with 'teachers'. At first I get all enthusiastic about the lessons and the teachers leet skillz, then as the weeks progress its clear that theres either no plan, or the plan is actually what I'd do anyway when I come across something I cant do. I've had lessons with 3 different people and I prefer to learn myself. I find the lessons get in the way due to the pressure to practice something from a so called plan.

Focused practice, mindful practice and enthusiasm. Can't go wrong with those ideas.


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(@chalkoutline)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 157
 

I took lessons for about 6 months and had a good experience.

The first lesson we talked and played a little bit for him to get an understanding as to my level of skill and we discussed what I wanted to accomplish, music I liked and wanted to play, etc. He also had me fill out a form so he didnt have to depend on memory.

Then at the next lesson he had a plan ready for me. It was a nice balance of working on some needed skill sets as well as starting to learn some songs I was interested in.

The only reason I stopped going was work and family obligations. I am planning on going back next spring to continue my progress.

Like Noteboat said, if he doesn't have a lesson plan then he is not a teacher.

Interview guy: What is the source of your feedback?
Neil Young: Volume.


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Just my opinion, but a teacher who doesn't have a lesson plan isn't a teacher - he's someone you're paying to jam with you.

Absolutely agree with this. I went to see a new student last week, spent 30 or so minutes listening to him play and talking to him about what he wants to learn and how he wants to develop, wrote it all down, and we agreed a series of ten objectives.

His first 30-minute lesson takes place tonight, and I have a lesson plan written out together with photocopied handouts, chordboxes, Powertab prints, and an entry-level theory book which I will recommend called "The Right Way To Read Music." It's almost the blow-by-blow lesson plan which my Schools mentor likes me to have ready and I've got prompts for everything from duration and pitch to major chords sounding bright and cheerful and minor chords sounding dark and gloomy. Also, I have notes about what we're going to do at his second lesson and I might even take some "prepared" exercises from the Rock School syllabus (courtesy of Total Guitar Magazine) with me tonight to work on if he soaks up info and theory like a sponge.

You can wing one or two lessons with a student, but no more; certainly not if you want to produce musicians. There are lots of guitar teachers who view your lesson simply as a way of separating you from your hard-earned.

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

I put a lot of work into the lessons I have with my students*. When we first start, I spend talking with them (on my dime) to find out what they are looking for, their goals and aspirations, the music they like to listen to, the musical experiences they've had, and on and on. I don't really have "stock" questions, but the conversations usually follow a pattern and can take an hour or so for an adult student, I make this "free time" at the start of their lessons, and it will continue for more than one lesson (though after the first lesson, I start bringing material they are interested in to the lessons so that we're working already on their goals).

I also see where they are in terms of playing proficiency, the ability to read music, theory knowledge, various techniques, etc.

I then map out a plan on how to get them from where they are to where they want to be, mixing their goals with key elements of musicianship I feel are vital to their goals and which they may be unaware.

I then go over the plan with the student (again, this is free to them) and make adjustments where we both agree adjustments should be, or can be, made.

We revisit this lesson plan on a regular basis. I keep detailed records on each student about what we've done along with my observations about their progress, if they're practicing, and so on. I also hold the student accountable. I've told more than one student I'm not the teacher for them because they are not putting forth the effort to practice or work on theory homework and so on.

I'm with Noteboat, any teacher who does not maintain a lesson plan for each student is not a teacher. You pay for an expert, knowledgeable instructor to guide you efficiently and effectively to your goals, with the specific function of recognizing what you don't know you don't know and helping you fill in those gaps.

I wouldn't even bother having a discussion with this guy. He doesn't get it. Get a new teacher.

Interview your teacher before you pay for lessons. Find out their background. It matters far less what bands they've played in as to what they know. Plenty of very successful performers have less than stellar knowledge of the instrument or musicianship! Ask them how they decide what to teach you. Ask them about how they evaluate their students. If they can't answer such questions to your satisfaction, then don't hire them. It doesn't have to be as detailed as I've outlined above. I have the luxury of taking only a few students at a time, as I don't depend on that income to pay my bills. But if your teacher doesn't answer your questions in a way that convinces you they are a careful, professional instructor, move on.

* well, 'had,' though I'm trying to start up again. I had to give up lessons for a more than a year due to an accident involving head trauma that left me with some fun problems, including auditory hallucinations . . . which tend to make giving music lessons more than a tad challenging. But I'm been symptom free for a bit now, and am going to be starting up again.

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

Just my opinion, but a teacher who doesn't have a lesson plan isn't a teacher - he's someone you're paying to jam with you.

You are so right. But In my experience I have to disagree about the jamming with me part. Rarely had that. I may have said this before, but it was that way with me three times. From week to week my teacher would ask "OK, so what do you want to work on this week?" Me: "Well howzbout continue what we started last week and the other week?" Teacher: "Um OK. What was that?" I'm off the live lessons for a while, perhaps indefinitely.

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


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659
 

Everyone here seems to have similar advice, and I agree with it. I'm a teacher (not guitar) and I'd have starved years ago if I didn't plan lessons, chart student goals, evaluate and record student progress, restructure goals as students progress. And I mostly teach in a classroom setting, with 15-25 students AT A TIME. Not keeping track of this kind of stuff in a one on one lesson is really inexcusable, imo.

I think this happens a lot in the world of guitar, though- good players rarely make a living from their playing, and at some point it occurs to them that they could teach. Well and good. BUT they need to know that teaching requires more than being a good player. Sounds like a LOT of people on this board have it. Sounds like the guy you're hiring doesn't. May be a great player, but he's not a teacher.

I'd look for another one.

Best,
Ande


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(@scrybe)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2246
 

I agree with all of the above - this guy isn't teaching you at all, and you need to find a better teacher.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@puffin87)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 13
 

I do not have much experience with teachers, but the experiences that I do have are dwarfed by the lessons (err songs for beginners, intermediates, etc) that are found here on this website. The lessons are as simple as if David Hodge was sitting in my living room next to me. Not too mention, they are free.

So, if you are having trouble finding a new teacher, stop wasting your money with the one you're with, and work on the plethora of lessons that can be found right here until you find a teacher that actually wants you to learn rather than one who wants to pick your pocket book.

Just my .02,
Puff


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 43
 

I do not have much experience with teachers, but the experiences that I do have are dwarfed by the lessons (err songs for beginners, intermediates, etc) that are found here on this website. The lessons are as simple as if David Hodge was sitting in my living room next to me. Not too mention, they are free.

So, if you are having trouble finding a new teacher, stop wasting your money with the one you're with, and work on the plethora of lessons that can be found right here until you find a teacher that actually wants you to learn rather than one who wants to pick your pocket book.

Well said.


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