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  1. #1

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    I’ve been considering taking some private lessons (online, of course). I’m curious, though: as a non-beginner guitarist, are they worth it? Are private lessons a standard tool for jazz players, and if so, what is the normal cadence? Like, are we talking “check in every once in a while,” or weekly, or somewhere in between?

    And, assuming the answer is probably “it depends,” I’d love to hear some personal anecdotes about your experience with lessons, whether you’re glad you took them, and anything else that comes to mind.

    Some context: I’m past the stage of getting started where I don’t know what to do—I feel like I could spend five more quarantines on it and not run out of stuff to practice. I’ve also played non-jazz guitar for most of my life, and even taught some lessons several years ago. I have a fairly robust, but intermediate, knowledge of theory, and I’m moving slowly and steadily through the Jazz Theory Book. I also recently started Randy Vincent’s “The Guitarist’s Introduction to Jazz,” and I’ve dipped my toes into a couple tunes. I have just a tiny bit of ear training and transcription under my belt so far, but I’ve logged a ton of time over the years listening to jazz guitar.

    So I’m conflicted—is it better to just push forward for a while through the resources I already have, or would lessons be helpful at this stage? I haven’t had a ton of questions yet (that I couldn’t find the answers to myself, I mean), but I have this nagging feeling that ya never know what ya don’t know.

    I’ve lurked around here a lot over the years, and I really appreciate any input from you all!


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by EString
    I’ve been considering taking some private lessons (online, of course). I’m curious, though: as a non-beginner guitarist, are they worth it? Are private lessons a standard tool for jazz players, and if so, what is the normal cadence? Like, are we talking “check in every once in a while,” or weekly, or somewhere in between?

    And, assuming the answer is probably “it depends,” I’d love to hear some personal anecdotes about your experience with lessons, whether you’re glad you took them, and anything else that comes to mind.

    Some context: I’m past the stage of getting started where I don’t know what to do—I feel like I could spend five more quarantines on it and not run out of stuff to practice. I’ve also played non-jazz guitar for most of my life, and even taught some lessons several years ago. I have a fairly robust, but intermediate, knowledge of theory, and I’m moving slowly and steadily through the Jazz Theory Book. I also recently started Randy Vincent’s “The Guitarist’s Introduction to Jazz,” and I’ve dipped my toes into a couple tunes. I have just a tiny bit of ear training and transcription under my belt so far, but I’ve logged a ton of time over the years listening to jazz guitar.

    So I’m conflicted—is it better to just push forward for a while through the resources I already have, or would lessons be helpful at this stage? I haven’t had a ton of questions yet (that I couldn’t find the answers to myself, I mean), but I have this nagging feeling that ya never know what ya don’t know.

    I’ve lurked around here a lot over the years, and I really appreciate any input from you all!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I started taking lessons around the beginning of the pandemic and it's really helped.

    I also have to mention that I HAD been taking lessons during various periods before from a couple of different teachers.

    I do think it's worth, but I also think that to get the most out of jazz lessons, your ears have to be in a certain place.

    In other words, all of the stuff you learn you will have to be able to hear in context yourself before you play it. I noticed going back through my old lesson material, that some of the stuff my old teacher (MANY years ago) taught me was some of the stuff that my new teacher is teaching me, but it couldn't absorb because my ears weren't good enough.

    That said, that is only going to affect how often lessons are useful to you. At any stage, even complete beginner, I think once a month is still helpful.

    It definitely cannot hurt... unless you get a teacher who plays outside the jazz fundamentals.

  4. #3

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    I take private classical lessons (for upright bass) and I get a tremendous amount out of them. I tried going it on my own for a couple years using online lessons and such, and, it's just so much better to have a teacher hear their input on your playing. I'd recommend giving lessons a try and seeing if you like what they do for your playing. As a bonus, since basically no musicians are working right now, you can study with literally anyone you can dream of.

  5. #4

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    Welcome to the Forum, "E!"

    Regardless of your ability, a good teacher can only help. For online work, I highly recommend (Forum member) Pete Sklaroff!

    Marc

  6. #5

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    Welcome to the forum. I'm conflicted about my answer since I've done all that you mention and have good and bad, ok not necessarily bad but mediocre results. First let me say that in general I do believe taking lessons from a good player and good teacher, not always one and the same, is a good thing. As an intermediate player I did lessons on an ad hoc basis when I was doing that since I couldn't commit to weekly. On line and personal resources work well for that kind of approach since you can do it when you want and work on what you need at the time.

    I've had teachers that have given me lots to think about and work on and that's from in person lessons as well as on line. I think that one of the advantages of lessons is that it can focus you on certain things. If your teacher is in tune with what you need, they will give you things to work on that will develop your playing. There are things that I've taken from lessons a good number of years ago that I still think about when I'm practicing.

    I had a teacher that emphasized internalizing everything and I've tried that as much as possible. Another teacher, on line, was able to show some very specific things to work on that helped my playing a lot. I had another teacher who really didn't ask much about what I wanted to accomplish and on the first lesson told me to go home and learn stuff from 'Kind of Blue'. Didn't go back.

    I, like you, have a ton of stuff that I've gathered over the years and work on as and when I need something specific. I'll pull out a technique book and run things. This 'self motivated' approach can be less useful if you are not motivated enough to do these things. This approach allows you to pin-point issues that you need to work on and dig out the material related to that.

    I'm now at the point where I know I'm not going to get much better than I am so I've stopped the teacher/lesson approach but still pull out the books on stuff that I get stuck on from time to time. Don't regret any of the good lessons I've had, though. That material sticks in the brain forever.

    So, without actually giving you an answer, maybe I've helped you arrive at an answer?? Oh, and btw, I mostly play sax [jazz] so all the above relates to that. I'm mostly self taught on guitar and mostly a folk style player but I've been picking away on jazz stuff for a while. And, you'll find lots of info around these parts as you may already know.

  7. #6

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    I am a teacher, but not a jazz teacher. I feel my jazz playing is quite modest. I came to it late so I am still working on it. I have taken lessons but only very sporadically, mostly Q&A stuff. I find this very useful but the thing that improves my jazz playing the most is either playing together with other musicians, or playing along with recorded music. The more I do these two things, the better my playing gets. Sometimes I have to slow a track down to 75% of the original tempo, just to keep up, but it still helps me improve. Eventually, I can do the song at full tempo.

    When you practise entirely on your own - no other musicians, no tracks - you can stop and start anytime you like. But with others and with a track, there are demands placed on you. You can't just start over. I think that that imperative makes you think on your feet a lot more and that is at the core of improvisation.

    Just my two cents.

  8. #7

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    I read that Doc Severinson took private music lessons while he was leading the Tonight Show band.

    I think Buddy Rich did too -- long after he was already famous.

    I would add that I like group lessons and have done them often -- not a bunch of guitar players, but a band. We ask players we consider experts to come in and coach us for a few hours. It's been great every time.

  9. #8

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    It's a very good idea to take a few jazz guitar lessons to put you on the right path, even if you are already somewhat of a guitarist.

  10. #9

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    I'm an advocate and devotee of the most extreme and pure form of private lessons - teaching oneself.

  11. #10

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    I never realized how many basic foundational told I was missing until I started taking lessons.

    Some people take pride in being self taught, some people also take pride in getting their pizza from the gas station.

    On the bandstand, nobody cares where you learned to play.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen

    On the bandstand, nobody cares where you learned to play.
    !!!

  13. #12

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    I'm always studying with someone. I like having to be musically accountable for something each week.

  14. #13

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    Beyond beginner levels I think it's really important to make sure that the teacher is suited to the syle of music you want to play. Also make sure that they have some kind of repeatable and multi-leveled program and are not just winging it.

  15. #14

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    I'm currently taking lesson via Skype.

    I record the lesson, of course and then view it as a kind of "cutting" session...that is to say...can I execute everything that the instructor asks of me.
    (This can be humiliating).

    Then I load a copy of the video into iMovie and cut out all my fumbling and just leave what was asked of me with perhaps leaving one of my fairly successful attempts in.

    What I end up with is a "meat and potatoes" solid 25 minutes (out of 60) of instruction.

    Later I playback the edited version and play along to see if the information is "ingrained".
    (This can be embarrassing..as in, "why the hell didn't I see that?").

    I'm up to six and this system is improving my playing.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    I'm an advocate and devotee of the most extreme and pure form of private lessons - teaching oneself.
    Why?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by EString
    So I’m conflicted—is it better to just push forward for a while through the resources I already have, or would lessons be helpful at this stage? I haven’t had a ton of questions yet (that I couldn’t find the answers to myself, I mean), but I have this nagging feeling that ya never know what ya don’t know.
    I share your conflict. As a bassist, I studied with great musicians -- I'm not bragging; I'm not them. Then I played bass for decades. Learned a lot of tunes, wrote, led bands etc.

    About ten years ago I decided to explore jazz guitar more thoroughly. Part of that was just to see where I went if I used my ears and my bass experience, and didn't take lessons. I've had one guitar lesson ever, with an excellent teacher, and the main thing I learned was that I was still a beginner in many ways. Which I accept -- it was a great, positive, powerful lesson.

    At this point I am an advanced-beginner jazz guitarist. I can make it through a duo gig without looking but nobody thinks, "Wow, that's {insert name here}!!"

    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    I take private classical lessons (for upright bass) and I get a tremendous amount out of them.
    Double-bassists NEED lessons. You can easily hurt yourself playing DB unless you instill rigorous ergonomic habits.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    Regardless of your ability, a good teacher can only help.
    Maybe so -- you know a lot on the topic. But I'm just not in a hurry. I don't feel like I'm wasting time going where my ears take me and working on tunes.

    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I read that Doc Severinson took private music lessons while he was leading the Tonight Show band. I think Buddy Rich did too -- long after he was already famous.
    Michael Brecker took lessons throughout his later life. They agreed to keep his teacher's name private so that his teacher did not have to suffer from being tagged or bagged as "Michael Brecker's Teacher."

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    I'm always studying with someone. I like having to be musically accountable for something each week.
    I've got a full bucket of accountability as husband, father and attorney. Holding up my end of a musical conversation is plenty of accountability for me, and if it happens weekly that's even better!

    Next . . .

  18. #17

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    Imo, lessons are not worth it unless you are willing to put in a lot of work. I don't want to insult the instructor by showing up for the next lesson without putting in the work on the previous lesson.

    With that attitude lessons can be very motivating to putting in the time.

    Given that, I also highly recommend Pete Sklaroff | Guitarist/Teacher/Author

  19. #18
    One of the most advanced teachers I have found on the internet is Scott McGill. He really knows his stuff!!! He teaches out of The Nicolas Slovinsky Thesarus of Scales. I believe he was one of Dennis Sandoles students. Scott lectures at the top music conservatories in Europe . He has a stunning version of Tom Giacabettis arrangement of Prelude To A Kiss on YT and McCoy Tyner,Coltrane,and Holdsworths ideas. I hope people will enjoy his masterful work!

  20. #19

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    http://beyondbasicsguitar.com/

    When I decided to take the plunge and learn guitar for real (spent teenage years with some lessons but mostly noodling, etc..) I was in my 30’s and knew some scales, chords and could read music very little. I studied with Paul (see link above) for about 4 years. He was an ace teacher who could quickly uncover my weaknesses and set me on a path to achieve my humble goals.

    He had a system to learn how to comp, really know the fretboard and solo. I also learned a lot about reading music, theory, timing and chord melodies. I suppose I could go to True-fire and use those incredible lessons they have there and get some good results but having a weekly lesson solidified things for me better. Having the weekly lesson really made me put in the time to practice so I wasn’t wasting my money. Accountability is a wonderful thing!

    I even took some lessons after the initial 4 years to work out some specific things and get motivated. There are so many resources out there to learn from but a good teacher can chart it out for you based on your unique situation. I wasn’t knowledgeable or focused enough to go it alone so a teacher was necessary!

    All the best!

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    I've got a full bucket of accountability as husband, father and attorney. Holding up my end of a musical conversation is plenty of accountability for me, and if it happens weekly that's even better!

    Next . . .
    Who are you trying to convince, us or yourself?

    Most of us have jobs, careers, and families to support. It's just that some of us have musical goals we're trying to accomplish as well.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    Who are you trying to convince, us or yourself?

    Most of us have jobs, careers, and families to support. It's just that some of us have musical goals we're trying to accomplish as well.
    Woah!

    If something in my post left you with the impression that I was trying to keep you, or anybody, from reaching your musical goals, then it's a good thing your spoke up. Thank you.

    But the answer to your question is, "Neither."
    And the response to your point is that my approach to reaching my musical goals doesn't depend on guitar lessons yet.
    It might be slower or meander more than yours, but that's OK with me.

    Play on and find the joy, Dana.

  23. #22

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    The last time I took a guitar lesson was back in 2016, until about a month ago. I've been a full time musician for about two years now and though I've been playing a lot, I wasn't improving much. Since starting lessons again, I feel like I've gotten so much better as a musician and looking back I wish I hadn't ever stopped.

    Find a great teacher you connect with. It's definitely worth the money.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftwareGuy
    Why?
    ... asking about "I'm an advocate and devotee of the most extreme and pure form of private lessons - teaching oneself."

    The reason is because of the resulting effect on how one plays. If you distinguish teaching oneself from being taught, it looks to me like the difference is best viewed as a difference between modes, substance, and paths of learning construction - external vs internal.

    External means using books, videos, teachers, lesson plans, methods, charts, sheet music, etc..., all presented in the form of writing, symbols, marks, verbal labels and their relationships. Then the learning process includes a great deal of translating those external things to suitably form a mapping onto novel internal symbolic abstractions freshly constructed within the mind.

    Internal means teaching oneself and thereby producing a mapping among one's already existing internal innate symbology abstractions. Although this is more difficult, the end result is that because the elements being manipulated are already direct parts of oneself rather than new internal constructed translated external proxies, playing is also direct without needing spurious visual or verbal machinations; the process is naturally phenomenological from beginning to end.

    With regard to performance, it is well known that many of the "greats" fairly admitted to what is the latter internal process sometimes posed as "forget everything" after learning everything. Likewise, a lot of ordinary players first learn by external process before transitioning to internal process. Really, all I'm suggesting is that there is a little walked path of going internal from the beginning. It is not easy until it becomes so, after which the rewards can be worth it.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    Woah!

    If something in my post left you with the impression that I was trying to keep you, or anybody, from reaching your musical goals, then it's a good thing your spoke up. Thank you.

    But the answer to your question is, "Neither."
    And the response to your point is that my approach to reaching my musical goals doesn't depend on guitar lessons yet.
    It might be slower or meander more than yours, but that's OK with me.

    Play on and find the joy, Dana.
    By the way you quoted previous posts favoring teachers and then responded seemed dismissive to me. Perhaps I misunderstood the "Next" at the end of your post.

    Seemed like you were convincing yourself you didn't need lessons, which is fine if that's what you believe.

    What's that old saying, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."

    A guitarist who teaches himself.....oh forget it.

  26. #25

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    [QUOTE=Dana;1068217
    What's that old saying, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."

    A guitarist who teaches himself.....oh forget it.[/QUOTE]

    So you're equating lawyer and guitar teacher? Is that a joke or just wildly pretentious? Plus, your comparison is muddled. It is actually "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." No reference to a lawyer representing himself. More importantly, there are many, many excellent self-taught guitarists. Not too many lawyers.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    So you're equating lawyer and guitar teacher? Is that a joke or just wildly pretentious? Plus, your comparison is muddled. It is actually "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." No reference to a lawyer representing himself. More importantly, there are many, many excellent self-taught guitarists. Not too many lawyers.
    Actually I was responding to Sam Sherry's response where he said he was too busy "husband, father and attorney" to take lessons. What do you think the rest of us are doing, twiddling our thumbs? We all have professional and family obligations. If we're talking pretentious, let's start there.

    If people want to self study, have a ball. It's when people try and sell this BS that 'there's nothing a teacher can teach me that I can't learn myself' that I reject. I've spent too many years helping self taught adults unlearn their bad habits to buy into that nonsense.

    I don't believe anyone is completely self taught. Self taught musicians learn from recordings or books, or from other musicians on the bandstand. It's not divine inspiration.

    I love when people say 'there are many, many excellent self taught players." Really? Cause I can only think of a handful. I think that's something people like to say to enhance their reputation. From my direct experience for every self taught genius, there's 100 hacks.

    As for self taught lawyers the most famous is Abe Lincoln. But the majority of American lawyers of the 1700-1800's were self taught.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    Actually I was responding to Sam Sherry's response where he said he was too busy "husband, father and attorney" to take lessons. What do you think the rest of us are doing, twiddling our thumbs? We all have professional and family obligations. If we're talking pretentious, let's start there.

    If people want to self study, have a ball. It's when people try and sell this BS that 'there's nothing a teacher can teach me that I can't learn myself' that I reject. I've spent too many years helping self taught adults unlearn their bad habits to buy into that nonsense.

    I don't believe anyone is completely self taught. Self taught musicians learn from recordings or books, or from other musicians on the bandstand. It's not divine inspiration.

    I love when people say 'there are many, many excellent self taught players." Really? Cause I can only think of a handful. I think that's something people like to say to enhance their reputation. From my direct experience for every self taught genius, there's 100 hacks.

    As for self taught lawyers the most famous is Abe Lincoln. But the majority of American lawyers of the 1700-1800's were self taught.
    Well, actually Sam Sherry's response is completely reasonable. He evidently is now too busy to take guitar lessons, with the time and commitment they entail. To be clear, I have taken lessons for multiple years from at least three teachers. I'm glad I did. But I stopped with two of them because of family and work commitments. That's not pretentious, it's real life.

    You don't believe anyone is "completely self taught"? Well, of course self taught musicians learn from recordings or books, or from other musicians on the bandstand, as you say. But that doesn't mean they had regular lessons from teachers. In fact, two of the three longtime teachers I had never took lessons. They were "self taught."

    And of course most American lawyers of the 1700-1800s (200 years ago!!!) were indeed "self taught." Do you think they didn't read books about lawyering or talk to lawyers or watch lawyers in action or maybe work in a lawyer's office? Of course they did. After all it wasn't "divine inspiration."

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil59
    Well, actually Sam Sherry's response is completely reasonable. He evidently is now too busy to take guitar lessons, with the time and commitment they entail. To be clear, I have taken lessons for multiple years from at least three teachers. I'm glad I did. But I stopped with two of them because of family and work commitments. That's not pretentious, it's real life.

    You don't believe anyone is "completely self taught"? Well, of course self taught musicians learn from recordings or books, or from other musicians on the bandstand, as you say. But that doesn't mean they had regular lessons from teachers. In fact, two of the three longtime teachers I had never took lessons. They were "self taught."

    And of course most American lawyers of the 1700-1800s (200 years ago!!!) were indeed "self taught." Do you think they didn't read books about lawyering or talk to lawyers or watch lawyers in action or maybe work in a lawyer's office? Of course they did. After all it wasn't "divine inspiration."
    Ok at this point I have no idea what your argument is, beyond repeating my points..

    Good luck.

  30. #29

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    The key for adults, imho, is to make sure that you have clear goals in mind and that the teacher is someone who can help you reach them. If you're having heart issues, don't make an appointment with a podiatrist. Or something like that.

    In my experience, I've found that pretty much all adults who can already play who take lessons "to get better" are usually wasting their time. Goals. Goals. Goals.

  31. #30

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    I have sought private lessons twice and they have absolutely been the best thing for my playing. I feel like they are very helpful, even if you do them for a short time, to see the holes in your playing and what you need to work on. It is not easy to notice things in your own playing that a teacher could identify and help you fix. As far as how often of a cadence I would say weekly is the norm, but I would ask to schedule it to allow enough time for you to really dig into the material before returning for your next lesson. If you don't think a week is enough time, ask for two.

    On my own history of lesson, I took some from a private teacher back in 2008/2009 when I was in my early twenties after being self taught to that point. While I was frequently gigging around town, I had become pretty stagnant and bored of my playing in a rock/blues vein and wanted to breakout out of the rut. These lessons were for me to learn arpeggios, other scales, and really start seeing the neck well. I stopped after a year roughly and continued to work on these things on my own.

    As I went further the jazz bug bit, and bit hard. I worked on learning as much as I could on my own before I kind of hit a wall. I had the opportunity to study music at the collegiate level and jumped at the chance. It was by far the best thing I did for my playing and I would not change a thing. Many online will say that there is not a point to music programs, the degree is useless, etc. And while there are valid criticisms, there are amazing benefits and experiences as well. Its very hard to find an opportunity, if you are teaching yourself, to play in combos and big bands, especially depending on where you live. These were completely eye opening on how to perform this music in a live setting. While a private teacher might not have this, he could have ideas on other students to pair you with. I also got to have arrangements played by these ensembles, and interact with world class musicians in masterclasses.

    As others have mentioned, the benefits of a teacher are only really felt if you put in the work and time on your own. It was an absolute grind for me in school, as I did this later in life while still working and having a family. It was wake up, get the family out the door, practice for an hour-ish, work, school, work, family time, and then hours of nightly practice and homework after they were asleep everyday. I still feel like I wish I could have devoted more time to it while I was there, but the other stuff obviously took precedent.

  32. #31

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    A teacher can be a tremendous shortcut and help in improving rapidly. But as an adult, make sure you enjoy their way of teaching, and be sure you really feel like learning new stuff and following someone else's instructions. The older we get, the more we are set in our ways, and the more difficult it is to stay motivated.

    I 've taught guitar for decades, and have also taken guitar lessons for decades in various styles. I enjoy both. In my opinion, if you find the right teacher (and there are lots of them around) it doesn't get better than that.

  33. #32
    I would like to be able to participate in sharing my playing for skype lessons and working on standards. What is the best home computer cam mic for someone on a limited budget?

  34. #33
    I recently bought a Cannon Vixia HF R 800 sara monic external mic and an Audiant iD4 audio interface my camera has usb and HDMI out I think I will go to my local camera store and ask but is this enough to get started? and do I need a bright camera light and wide angle lens? any help would be appreciated.

  35. #34

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    I do it on my iPhone 8. I can then airdrop it to my Mac without it any need for SD cards or wired connections.

    Modern smartphones have good cameras that are much better than my old digital camcorder. I’m starting to think about investing in a camera for videos.... mirrorless is what everyone likes because they are better for autofocus and video than DSLRs, but that can get expensive so start with a smart phone.

    I don’t have a webcam - I have one built in to my Mac. It’s fine for what I use it for.

    For audio I use a Rode NT1A with a Focusrite Scarlett Audio interface and that gives crisp audio. You could get a mic that plugs straight in, but my set up has more flexibility and I can take multiple inputs from guitar and so on.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-17-2020 at 04:46 AM.

  36. #35

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    Lighting wise I have one of these cheap led units which is fine for nice soft lighting if I bounce it off a wall, and is useful for Skype lessons after dark, but mostly I use natural light atm for YouTube. (Also I use Zoom which is much better than Skype as you can switch off the audio gating.)

    My videos are not very attractive, but they get the job done. I’m sort of refining stuff to get it a bit better at the moment to try and move things to the next level, but I have around 4.5K subscribers now. If I want Patreon money I think I’ll need to do more organised and better looking videos.

    To give an idea of how it looks:


    (You can see Logic running behind me BTW which is what I use for editing audio.)

    Honestly, if you want really pro results I think you can chuck as much money at it as you like, but I think it’s good to get started doing it right away. Then you can upgrade gear as you go, rather than coughing up a load of money right away and then losing interest or whatever.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-17-2020 at 04:47 AM.

  37. #36

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    For recorded content, Editing wise I am using Wondershare Filmora which is cheap or but I am seriously thinking of coughing up for Final Cut Pro as it runs much smoother.

    Not sure what the PC options are...

  38. #37

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    For Video editing on a PC i just use VSDC, cost me about 20 euros and its very easy to get things done..

  39. #38

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    My advise before starting lessons is to ask oneself: what do I want to get from taking lessons?

    I have found two main reasons: one is to gain knowledge. (duh). The other is to use the lessons and the teacher to impact discipline: E.g. establish a routine (like weekly, every other-week lessons), that will lead one to practice more, learn more tunes, etc....

    Of course knowledge is always gained but tons of knowledge can be communicated in, say, 30 minutes. Incorporating such knowledge into one's playing,,,,, that requires discipline, which can take months, if not years.

    These days, with all the ways one can "gain knowledge" (e.g. this forum), I assume most take lessons to impact discipline. Of course there are much cheaper ways to impact discipline then paying a teacher by the hour; E.g. ask your wife to nag you; "did you practice today!!!", but that often creates a host of other issues (ha ha).
    Last edited by jameslovestal; 10-18-2020 at 01:16 PM.

  40. #39

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    Education is really complex. But here's a fairly simple and not totally inaccurate way of looking at it.

    Want info? Go to the internet. There's no end of it.

    Wearing my 'teacher hat'; none of my jazz students are empty vessels needing deposits of information. They all know as much theory as they need. So why do they come to me?

    OK, wearing my 'student' hat, my Konnakol teacher has a YouTube channel of all the exercises that you can watch for free. Why do I pay him for lessons?

    So in educational theory we have a thing called a Kolb cycle, which David Kolb suggested as the process by which something is learned. Learning is a bit more complex than that, but this basic model is very helpful, and can be boiled down to the following in simple language:

    1) do the thing
    2) evaluate how it went
    3) think about how you could improve it
    4) try out some stuff, plan
    back to point 1)

    Now think how useful it is to have a teacher to help with 2) and make suggestions regarding 3) .

    And there you go, that's what a teacher really does. You can try and do it on your own... but you will have blind spots. And experienced musicians can hear more than you can. A professional musician represents a high level of embodied, intuitive knowledge you cannot get from reading books. Wish I'd known that 20 years ago.

    Other things I do - set assignments, practice exercises of course. But it's all based on that cycle. If someone has already has great technique I won't waste their time with technical exercises, but focus on what THEY need. It's not always easy to make that evaluation yourself.

    Also another thing a teacher can do - make observations, ask questions. I always find the way Jim Hall taught very interesting. I also like the idea of collaborative learning. Sharing, asking questions, exploring subjects together. I learn a lot from my students. I also think I end up learning what I need to work on better, too.