In-Person Lessons

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by CajunJ, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Meister

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    I’d like some opinions / experiences from those who’ve taken in-person lessons. I’m considering taking some. I’m self-taught and have never taken a live lesson, but I actually do well learning on my own, always have. In college and grad school I always got more out of teaching myself than attending class. So far I’ve been using Justin’s online course, and I think it’s just fantastic, but I was wondering if in-person lessons have something that online lessons just can’t give. What do you think? Is it all personal preference, or are in-person lessons worth it? Thanks
     
  2. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Holic

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    They are great, I sort of outgrew them.. Had 2 short stints with 2 different teachers when I started out. One taught me chords and a little sight reading, the next taught me fingerpicking and more sight reading.

    I enjoyed them, but can't see myself going back to them again... I know that if you want to learn alternate picking and develop speed, it is a great idea to take lessons from an accomplished player. Buckethead took lessons from Paul Gilbert. A good instructor can help with learning jazz/classical as well.

    They definitely make you practice, because if you show up and say "I didn't practice", some teachers get really angry, and might actually fire you from being their student!

    Worth it, but make sure you're teacher is qualified to teach what you need to know. You will always remember your guitar instructors and look up to them... You sap as much knowledge and technique as you can, then you outgrow them...

    My first instructor was a jazz player, the second was a multi-instrumentalist, classically trained. Unfortunately they were beginner lessons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
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  3. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Meister

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    Yea, I was thinking the accountability aspect would be a good motivator to work hard each week.
     
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  4. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    deleted....
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  5. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    There's nothing like working with a good teacher face to face.
    It's not just about the notes. It's about the feedback you get from a pro, or highly experienced player.
    A great teacher will correct your technique, your posture, and keep you out of playing ruts that grind your growth to a halt.
    When I use to teach, I was very direct with my students who could handle it, and they went on to be better players than if they were self-taught using video instruction.
    I once warned a friend that his son was going to turn into a pentatonic minor scale wanker if he didn't get some better lessons. Five years later, he believes me. The kid actually thinks we all want to sit around and listen to him play tired old rock and blues licks from the same old scalar approach. Heaven forbid he learn rhythm!
    Face to face is best!
     
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  6. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    I have done both. Personally, I get more out of on-line courses.

    On-line, I get to quickly audition and pick my teachers. I have gravitated to a few teachers who are truly world-class, providing the information that I want, and gifted in conveying information in a helpful way. Working through a given course with a clear structure over a limited span is very motivating for me.

    In person, my experience with regular lessons has been indifferent at best. The teachers were talented, known local players, but tended to bolt their teaching methodology on to me, without much critical analysis of where my playing was at. The whole point of personalized lessons is the "personal" touch, and in general their methodologies were lacking. I may not have been lucky at finding skilled teachers, but that leads me back to on-line, where the best teachers develop passionate followings and are easy to find.

    What HAS been useful for one-on-one instruction has been focused camps, workshops, or one-on-one "master" classes. In each of those I have received a concrete benefit - somebody saying in a nice or not nice way "you really suck at x. You need to work at it if you are going to be good". For whatever reason, teachers looking at ongoing studies have never given me that kind of useful feedback. Maybe it would be different if I was living in a country where people are more direct.

    I am very unlikely to ever enroll in ongoing classes for guitar again. I will continue to buy courses, and would keep my eyes out for good 1-on-1 opportunities.
     
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  7. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    Online content can provide info, but the student / master system can obtain best results
    In-person lessons with this guy were life-altering
     
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  8. Doomguy

    Doomguy Tele-Meister

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    I think in person lessons are great if the instructor is someone you can vibe with. I went through a couple different instructors when beginning with varying results. Then when I got a bit older and cared more about technique and improving, I went back for in person lessons.

    I enjoyed them and learned a lot more when I came back with experience. That first round I pretty much learned just chords, songs, a few simple scales. Got me far enough but when I wanted to advance, I went back.

    I began my second run of lessons about three and a half, four years into guitar. I stayed with him for a solid year, year and a half. Absolutely love the guy, still keep up with him and jam from time to time. The main focus of the lessons was a mixture of actually learning some theory and cleaning up my god-awful picking technique.

    I can't stand online lessons. I like to ask a lot of questions that aren't always able to be answered by a recording. I also like having someone point out what I'm doing wrong as I'm doing it. Very visual learner.

    Just my two cents. Go for it!
     
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  9. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    It kinda depends on your location. I grew up in a rural area where live music only existed on weekends and holidays. In a low density music scene like that (being quite generous) it can be pretty hard to find a local person that both plays enough and teaches enough to get good at it. There are some places in the world where the population density simply can't support a music scene and you can't always expect to find informed instruction there.

    Don't waste your money, time and sanity taking lessons from a guitar player whose playing you don't like. It is really helpful to scout out their playing out before approaching them. There are simply too many ways to play a guitar to just randomly select an instructor and expect that you will find someone whose playing you enjoy. Know what kind of music you want to learn and make sure they enjoy teaching it.

    If you find an instructor with a formal music education, make sure they don't inundate you with more music theory than you care about. Also make sure they are actually able to play things other than academic music (jazz or classical). Young, inexperienced music school students who decide to teach often overcompensate for their experience by getting really heavy into the music theory.

    If you find an instructor without a formal music education, make sure they aren't so allergic to music theory that it stunts their own musical comprehension. When given the opportunity, I'd rather have someone with way too much formal music education than someone with way too little....both can be quite frustrating, though.

    There are lots of good online resources for educating yourself about guitar. I encourage people to seek an "all of the above" approach to learning about this great instrument. The instruction methods are not mutually exclusive. Make sure the instructor you find isn't intimidated by all the internet resources that you have at your fingertips. There are a lot of insecure guitar instructors who don't know how to exist in a world with youtube. Find one that adapts to this reality rather than fights and/or condescends it.

    In-person lessons from an experienced, enthusiastic, musically active guitarist can provide feedback that you'd be really hard pressed to get any other way. Becoming a great guitarist is a lifetime pursuit and it can't be fully learned over the internet. I've been bummed out trying to teaching guitar lessons over the internet for the last 100 days or whatever. Teaching in-person my studio I have so many more tools at my disposal. I have a full band worth of gear set up and a bookshelf full of music books. I can answer any question immediately in-person. Zoom has so many latency issues it is basically useless for anything other than playing 1 camera at a time. Music is usually made in small groups, in-person and that is the best way to train I believe.

    There are a lot of bad guitar players in the world. There are a lot of bad guitar instructors in the world. You don't owe them your hard earned money, but if you do manage to find a good one I truly believe they can make it worth your time.
     
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  10. pi

    pi TDPRI Member

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    It's very dependent on the instructor.

    I had in-person lessons from different instructors over the years--one helped quite a bit, a couple were pretty good, and one was terrible and didn't help me at all.

    The one that was bad was my first, and slowed me down a long time because they turned me off of lessons. Because of that experience I didn't think teachers were useful, so I spent a long time trying to self teach through books (this was before youtube, so there wasn't free content to learn from). If I had a good instructor at first I would have made much more progress as a beginner.

    The one who was the best instructor was a bluegrass player. I didn't have a strong interest in bluegrass but stuck with him anyway because I was learning and filling so many gaps in technique and theory, that the style didn't matter--he was teaching at the right level I needed to get improvement

    My advice is don't be afraid to cut the instructor if they aren't a fit for your level or needs. But be open to different genres if you're feeling the improvement. You should know right away.
     
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  11. pi

    pi TDPRI Member

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    I just realized my advice might be contradictory to Bergy's. I understand his point too, but in my experience the best teacher I had was playing music that wasn't my genre. Don't get me wrong, I liked his playing fine, but it wasn't what I wanted to learn. I just may have gotten lucky. He is a good teacher, and I enjoyed lessons with him.
     
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  12. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was self teaching and like you, I was always very good at doing so. I taught myself just about everything and passed the written portion of the pilot's exam in just a month's time, but I did hire a classical guitarist for personal instructions about 2 years ago.

    My experience with the instructor was really helpful for the first 3 months and then it failed to be useful. What was great about the first 3 months though was that he quickly identified those things that I learned wrong...the bad habits. That did more for my playing than probably years worth of practice and maybe more than I would ever have been able to resolve on my own. It is like learning to type with just 2 fingers, sure over time you will get pretty quick at it, but learning the proper way is far superior. The same goes for guitar, bad habits can really kill your progress.

    Unfortunately, most of my benefits came in the first month with the next 2 months being less than inspiring. The instructor was just not that organized and never had a goal in mind to the training. I would show up to the lesson, he would ask what we were working on the previous week (a good sign that he never had a plan) and then pull something out of the air to work on for that session. The lessons were interesting and I did learn something new, but they never built on anything, just sort of the noodling version of instruction. At $45 per hour session and nearly 90 minute round trip drive, it just burned itself out very quickly and I pulled the plug.

    I would suggest that you go for it just to get an evaluation on what bad habits you develped and then go from there. It might be a huge change.

    For example. I learned, like a lot of people do, I started out looking at a chord chart and learning where each finger goes. The problem is that we have a natural tendency to do things in numerical order (finger 1 here, finger 2 here, etc.) with the result being that we formed the chords from the high to low side of neck strings. My instructor suggested that I was far better off learning to form chords from the low string to the high string. The result is that you let gravity assist your chord changes and you find yourself smoothly transitioning instead of reaching up from below. That reaching up motion was slower and easier to press a string at an angle causing a mute compared to moving from top to bottom. (I hope I explained that so it made sense)

    I felt like I had to learn to pitch left handed for a month while I re-learned how to form my chords, but it made such a huge difference that I am still amazed.
     
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  13. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    My personal lessons and teaching background ...
    I started taking lessons in Junior High School. I started giving lessons in High School and I was a music major in college and TA'd in more than one class. I took lessons from Ted Greene on and off from about 1978 until he died in 2005. Up until 3 months ago I taught about two days a week. I now give some Zoom and Skype lessons.

    There are a lot of really bad guitar teachers out there. If you want to take lessons - study the guitar - you need to do two things: 1) find the best teacher in your area 2) do what that teacher tells you to do - all of it and in a timely manner.
    *I fire students that don't practice. I don't care if they're 5 or 55. I don't need the money that badly. Harsh? Absolutely.

    This is all assuming that you "wanna get good". When I say good, I mean good as in play like your guitar heroes. You may never get to the level of a Jeff Beck or Tommy Emanuel or whomever (few of us do) but if you at least strive for that, you will get better and you will learn how to continue to get better.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
  14. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Afflicted

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    I went the guitar teacher route when I started to learn Jazz guitar. I think it's the best method....for jazz at least. That being said, there are many online teachers that are great for other genres, ie Rick, Folk etc.. I wouldn't hesitate to try all forms. I have learnt many songs, techniques from online sources. I try to be like a sponge and soak it all up!:)
     
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  15. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    The problem with learning by yourself is that the way we percieve and feel isn't always an accurate reflection of our playing and technique (even when we record ourselves).

    A good teacher provides perspective and feedback that you just can't give to yourself.

    So even if its just a few lessons, I say go for it!
     
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  16. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, everyone. Very thoughtful responses. I will seek out a good teacher. There are quite a few good guitarists in my area who also teach (Western NC). I’ll give it a try. Like with most things, I hope to get someone who isn’t just going through the motions for a couple bucks. But, if I have to try a few to find a good one it seems like it’ll be worth it.
     
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  17. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    I'm a college professor in another part of NC. (Why is the state university out your direction "Western Carolina" and the one in mine "East Carolina"? I don't know.) Self-directed research is a big part of my job. But you don't know what you don't know. Sometimes you can't hear what you're playing wrong, or what you're not playing. Or you can hear that something's missing and don't know how to fix it. (E.g., some people would find their way to unison bends on their own; I'm not one of them.) Weekly in-person lessons have made a big difference in my playing. They're also an incentive to practice.

    Ask who the good teachers are. It can be tricky, sometimes, getting objective advice on this subject. I asked a friend who started taking lessons a few years before me. The teacher worked out well and our friendship has deepened, because we've started performing together. It's also possible that I've become a better teacher myself. I certainly have more sympathy now with students who are struggling to grasp a concept or perform something under the pressure of a teacher's watchful eye.
     
  18. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The teacher I liked the least in my playing career actually gave me the best bit of advice and in hindsight, was a very good teacher. He wouldn't settle for anything less than a full effort, and didn't want to teach anyone who wasn't serious about learning. He actually interviewed me before agreeing to teach me. Once we were past that, I learned volumes of useful stuff that I still use today.
    One thing he expressed to me had nothing to do with theory or technique, and it took several months to sink in was, "Your band is only as good as it's weakest member."
     
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  19. teletail

    teletail Tele-Holic

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    Don't forget Skype. I've been taking Skype lesson since the lockdown.

    As other people have said, watching videos is not the same as taking lessons. Lessons will allow you to get feedback on what you're doing right or wrong. You don't know what you don't know. I've had several examples of a teacher fixing a problem in a few minutes because they recognize what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it.

    The one caveat it to get a GOOD teacher. Get recommendations. A bad teacher is worse than no teacher and I would not get a teacher that teaches you songs. You can learn them on youtube for free. They should be teaching you how to play the guitar. You can learn songs on your own.
     
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  20. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    Any advice on making this work? We've been using Zoom since mid-March. I'm still making progress, but the hour doesn't fly by the way it seemed to in person.
     
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