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Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by marc2211, Nov 13, 2019.
I'm trying to picture it from the teacher's perspective. He probably gets a lot of people who show up and say they're intermediate and they're horrible. You show up and he's surprised
at your level of playing. He might actually be worried that it won't be easy for him to teach you much-- that he'll have to work at it because the stuff he dishes out to 99% of his students
you already know. So I think you should really pay attention in your next lesson to see if you're getting what you hoped for.
Another possibility is he's not sure what you really want to learn. Maybe you should make one or more specific requests and see if he
can help you achieve that. Rather than saying you'd like to know more music theory, here are some examples of what you could say that would be more specific:
1) When I look at a RealBook chart and it calls for all these jazz chords, even if I know their fingerings and can play them, I don't really understand what makes an Asus
or an Am11. I'd like to understand music theory enough to understand the construction of these chords and why they work together in a progression.
2) I really like how Robben Ford plays the blues. When I listen to him playing it is obvious to me that he isn't just playing a pentatonic box. He is "playing the changes", and I've
also hear he likes to use licks built on the diminished scale when transitioning from one chord to another. I'd like to learn how to do both those things and to be able to build
my own Robben Ford-esque licks using these concepts.
3) Some blues guys are obviously influenced by jazz and they play some really hip passages that sound "jazzy" but still fit really well with the chords. Not just playing a scale, but
playing a well crafted series of notes that sound really musical, but also sound "outside". I want to learn how to do that.
4) When I look at a RealBook chart the melody for the song is written out on a G clef using traditional classical notation. I'd like to learn how to be able to pick out the melody from
reading the notation- both the notes of the melody and its rhythm.
These are just some example ideas of how you could make a more specific request that would help the teacher know what you really want to accomplish. "Music Theory" is so broad
that he otherwise might not be on target with what you really would like to learn.
You might be surprised at how many people will pay a good chunk of money for a guitar lesson and then act like they are going to teach the instructor how to play. I know instructors who get a little suspicious/insecure when they get a new student that plays better than they let on. I'm not at all saying that is what you did, but rather I bet your teacher has students like that. Maybe that could account for the complexity of his reaction?
Finding out you play better than you thought, from a well-reputed guitar teacher? That is great news. And I agree...go play some gigs!
I heard an interesting idea regarding stage fright one time. If you are at a venue and are getting nervous, take a slow stroll around the performance space and simply familiarize yourself with your environment. The idea is that if you have walked around the performance space you feel like you own it a bit more and that might instill more confidence.
Other thoughts on stage fright...caffeine is usually unnecessary before playing. The stress of performing in public will almost always provide you with ample adrenaline to stay focused. Breathing exercises help too. If your mind is racing and that is what is increasing your anxiety, try a mental distraction task. Something as simple as counting backwards from 100 can be helpful.
Marc, it may be difficult to find a good teacher if you're playing at an intermediate to advanced intermediate level. I'd suggest finding a coach. By coach, I mean the type of person who coaches skilled athletes, except you may want to try to find such a person for guitar. That covers the part you're probably thinking about right now. Theory is more difficult. I'm currently battling that. I know my major and minor scales and major and minor pentatonic scales. I know chords and inversions. I know my fret board, but more by numbers than by notes. For instance, I can find a b5 or minor third in any key, but I can't keep track of 6 sharps or 5 flats. I'm trying to master modes so I can expand out from what I'm currently playing into jazz. My problem there is that I have trouble "hearing" the mode. Unfamiliar modes can be challenging that way. I plan to retire in June. A university near me has an excellent music department. I'd like to take a theory course, followed by a jazz course, and then a composition course. My playing technique isn't classical technique but not all that uncommon in American country music. I could certainly stand to improve it to play things I just can't play very well now. I could stand to learn a more conventional finger style. I do better one on one but YouTube helps. It seems like there are good instructors for beginners and excellent coaches at the professional level. What most of us need can be hard to find.
It means you are a good player but aspire to be better. Everything is relative. You might be comparing yourself to pros, and you realize that you fall short. You expect more of yourself. Your teacher may be comparing you to others he teaches, which could be beginners or hopeless hacks. He expected less of you. Don't give up on the teacher, give it some time. Seems like you need to have a more direct discussion of what you hope to get out of the lessons. Maybe you need to pinpoint those areas you feel you need to get better.
I can relate sort of. I am good enough to understand what I don't know and how impossible it will be to achieve that. But when I was truly awful I didn't even know what I didn't know.
This is a great point. For those people who are even slightly introspective, it is common for these people to see their shortcomings. When you start to see your own strengths alongside your shortcomings you have a more realistic view point. You know what you don't know, but you also know what you know. It makes you a well grounded individual when you know what you can do, and you also know those things that you want to learn how to do......You don't have to know and master all things to be a great player.
If your goal is to learn music theory, then being an intermediate or advanced player will make that goal much easier and more enjoyable as you will be able to apply the things you learn very quickly to your existing guitar playing. So, continue to take lessons with that in mind. If you feel you want to eventually play out in a group setting, that will come in time - no need to rush. But remember to learn songs and know the arrangements of those songs so you can anticipate what the other players will do.
Also - to augment your live lessons, there are a lot of very good YouTube channels with basic music theory lessons for guitar players. In the evening, rather than watching network TV, I am usually watching a guitar or music theory lesson on YouTube -- or an old Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert
sockgtr has it right. You can learn things from just about anybody. All you need to do is determine what kind of thing you want to work on, then find someone who could help you with that. Once you find someone that you are in sync with, then you both can expand the boundaries of lesson topics.
I took guitar lessons almost all the time in my playing career. Once I found someone I could trust and value, then it becomes more of a joint endeavor (except they get your money). Anyway, loved teachers.
My dad used to say, "You bragging or complaining?"
I'd say start giving lessons
When I started my YouTube channel 2 years ago, I did NOT think I was good enough to be on there. But a friend had captured me playing a jazz blues improve that actually sounded pretty good, so I thought why not? I've gotten some surprising and very encouraging feedback from people around the world and it has greatly encouraged me. All I can say is we can be terrible at assessing our own merit.
I've felt for a long time that it is the responsibility of the artist to create the art (or music or what have you). It is the responsibility of the audience to determine its worth. Not that we shouldn't have standards or try to get better, but we can be so hard on ourselves or have such ridiculously high standards that we don't get anything done at all. Create something uniquely yours. Then create something else. Try to make it better each time.
Imagine if Miles Davis never recorded because he couldn't play like Dizzy or Bird or whoever. Or B.B. not recording because he couldn't play and sing at the same time. Look at all the great music we would have missed.
Based on what you say the teacher said, my conclusion is that he really said only that you would benefit from playing in public with others and that he would teach you some things in future lessons.
He was simply being encouraging.
In my early sixties (five years ago), I started taking guitar lessons and started voice lessons two years ago. My teachers, like yours, sized me up and encouraged me, at the same time never talking about my weaknesses. Over time, they addressed my weaknesses constructively and have led me to improve in ways that I would not have understood in the beginning.
I hope you will stick with the lessons.
The day I’m satisfied with, and proud of my playing, I’ll probably quit.
This is why we keep practicing and working on learning.
Unlike many, I used to get depressed after going to see a great pro live rather than inspired.
You need to find a low pressure situation to get over your fear of playing in front of people. Mine was when my pastor at church, who knew I played, but had always refused her requests to play in church, asked if I’d (please-please-please) accompany a female vocalist singing in a wedding. Just me backing her up. I said ok, practiced the hell out of the song, and hey! I did fine. I think it helped being just an accompanist knowing everyone would be focusing on her. That was probably 25 years ago. Then, I found something else out. If you are willing to sing, you get a lot more invitations and chances to play your guitar.
And that’s how the trouble started...
Most of the guitar players I've known think they are way better than they are. About half of the best guitar players I've known are as good as they think they are. The other half of the best aren't sure how good they are. Many of the guitar players I've known are not good and definitely know it. Just keep practicing because nobody is completely sure how good they are compared to everybody else.
teachers keep students coming back when they tell them how good they are and how much better they can be with some guidance for a fee
I’d just do a little more teacher shopping.
I’ve had about a dozen teachers, but only three of them were right for me.
I learned really important skills from them.
Even really well educated and degreed professionals are sometimes not great teachers.
The ability to communicate well is a valuable and rare art.
Anyways, good luck!
Ive been playing since I was 11. no music theory.. I did manage to find a good jazz teacher to get me started into music theory as I really know nothing.. if I'm good at anything, Im good at copying.. and I just copy copy copy, but never knowing what I do..
but I only managed to attend 2-3 sessions as I got busy with my day job..
I do play in band, regularly.. but I dont consider myself a good guitarist.. if anything, I feel like Im just faking it til I make it.. and I cant solo to save my life.. so yeah.,.. hopefully one day I really get to sit down and learn theory.. I feel like I've been missing a whole lot.. and even an inkling of theory will make me a good guitarist!
marc, you must play what you know with some heart and style, and I bet you've got your own "tone" happening, and sounds like the teacher hears it and likes it! If nothing else, he can help you discover the 'theory' behind what you're playing and ways to expand from there. Sometimes we need to be convinced that we really do have something to offer. Good luck!
Your points 2 and 3 describe me perfectly and probably strike home with the OP and many of us here.
The question is does the teacher know any of this? Can he teach it? Or anything else equally challenging? OP you need to figure this out.
Regarfinh performing in public, some of it is knowing your stuff, but half of it is getting into the audiences head - mainly through confident delivery. Confidence is something you practice for but its also something you perform, i.e. you act out the confidence. That type of mind frame works for me. Face the audience and whlie delivering think "now I'm gonna show you what its all about!" Practice a lot but keep the public performance techically simpler by a notch or two. I've heard a few top pro players jam with friends and I got the impression that technically they take less chances at a paid gig.
How good was the teacher? I don't mean at knowing theory but did he make your jaw drop? There are a lot of knowledgeable teachers out there but a lot of them fail to impress with their playing. I would expand on your theory knowledge but not focus only on that. I would find a teacher that sounded great and could teach you how to play the same with a little theory thrown in for good measure.
I would also find a new teacher when you think you have learnt all the teachers licks etc.
Play with a bunch of different teachers that all sound great and concentrate on the theory in your own time. Theory is free all over the net. It's also very boring and uninspiring and doesn't really help much if your chops are no good or you bag of tricks is limited.