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  1. #1

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    I understand the importance of having an open mind and taking in the advice of a guitarist that you look after. There was a time in my life where I bought a book or online course and got hyper-critical of the limitations of the book and call it ridiculous. Instead of just adding the exercises and concepts of the book to a file on a drive somewhere or adding to your arsenal and move on to the next book. But now I have changed in that area after learning John Petrucci’s take on practicing from his book Rock Discipline.

    But recently I had a mid-year or summer disaster with learning guitar songs this 2020. At the beginning of the year, I had a new year’s resolution that I am going to learn 100 songs this year. If there’s anyone that kept a close eye at my posts at this forum pre-Covid, I was literally uploading songs after songs and it looked like I would post more. By May, I had 20 songs that I spent time getting it completed. And then in May, I had guitar lessons with my teacher. In the middle of the lesson, my teacher began insulting me that I didn’t complete any songs. Then I explained to him that I completed a lot of songs for this year compared to previous years. Then he insulted me again, “No, you did not complete any songs.” I tried to explain myself, but he didn’t give me a chance to respond. Then he said along the lines that I need to focus on only one song and master it and not be a jack-of-all-trades. Long story short, I got deflated after that exchange and didn’t learn a new song ever since.

    While there's validity to my teacher’s advice, as time went on, I woke up and realized that it’s an advice for ordinary general simpletons. It’s not an advice built for people with a great memory, for people that can memorize at a fast rate, for people that have time and space and work ethic to learn new songs and review old songs, it’s not a good advice for people who are university graduates - that had to prepare for 5 exams - have only a week to prepare - and forced to do mass memorization on all exams. 90% of my night and day activities are heavy on memorization (memorizing books, chord voicings, book concepts etc). Ear Training is a form of memorization. For improvisation, my time is spent memorizing licks and melodic patterns, before I actually jam. Not to mention I memorized a lot of technical exercises by heart. But I haven’t memorized any songs on the guitar for a while.

    But just to end with a good note - I recently purchased Dan Mumm’s Sweep Picking Compendium and I am on my way to memorize the 455 sweep patterns contained in the 4 volumes of the e-book. BTW, the same guitar teacher that I mentioned above doesn't want me to learn sweep picking! Because according to him - I don’t have the physical ability to learn guitar sweeps as of yet. I also began to purchase 2.0mm guitar picks once again. When I was taking lessons with this guitar teacher, he wanted me to use 1.10mm type of picks, but I have trouble with stability and control with medium weight picks. And finally, I recently learned 1 bar of a new song. So I am slowly getting my life back from the damage.

    This is not to suggest that my guitar teacher is a bad one. When it comes to technique, pick posture, gear and rig advice - his advice and teachings in that area are like the Gospel. But the moral lesson of this topic is to still have an open mind, but filter some advice.


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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Beware overly prescriptive teachers

  4. #3

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    No . The master/apprentice relationship is crucial to music .

    If your teacher is a good , working guitarist and you respect his ability , STFU and listen to him . He knows , you don't .

  5. #4

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    The master/apprenticeship system does not actually work like that. In fact apprenticeship in trades often involves very little direct transfer of information.

    (If interested, you should read Lave and Wenger on the issue; very interesting they rewrote the subject of apprenticeships.)

    Pedagogy is a separate issue, and is by its nature more authoritative. However, this sounds like a fundamental breakdown of the teacher/student relationship. I think there are some things it’s worth specifying and sometimes you do need to be tough and exacting but this teacher sounds like a control freak. But that might suit some people, but I have had a better track record working with the student. They are not blank slates to be written on.

    If this teacher was any good Jason would end up coming to conclusions lead by the teacher not ordered into them, and eventually developing his own ideas. That’s real learning. Questions, not demands.

    A teacher can certainly make strong suggestions about things to try, and that may include suggesting pick gauges etc, but dictating like that is a symptom of bad teaching. Or at least a failure to understand simple psychology.

    In any case a few things strike me as a bit strange about the OP.

  6. #5

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    A great and accessible (non academic) book on how to become a better music teacher is Paul Harris’s the Virtuoso Teacher.

  7. #6

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    ". However, this sounds like a fundamental breakdown of the teacher/student relationship. I think there are some things it’s worth specifying and sometimes you do need to be tough and exacting but this teacher sounds like a control freak."
    Christianm77

    There are many types of teachers. There are many types of students. However, the concept of teaching has changed dramatically in the last 60 years. Teachers, in the past, presented the material/concepts and the student either moved forward or, eventually, dropped out. Generally, there was no attempt by the teacher to tolerate recalcitrant, unfocused, or uninterested students. Or, students with their own agenda. What's the point? However, in today's "Feel Good" world teachers not only are required to present material but also deal with the vagaries of personality, discipline, and inherent intellectual limitations. We're all the same, right? All we need is the right teacher to bring our talents to the surface?
    This, for me, is the problem with all education today. It buys into the false notion of intellectual egalitarianism which is both contrary to nature and contrary to good teaching and places the primary burden on the teacher rather than the student for learning material. For example, if you are a professional horticulturist and buy a bag of infertile seeds, will your professional ability bring them to bloom or will they fail?
    Finally, if you are an advanced musician and desire to study with a world class artist, you don't sign up and get on a list. You must be recommended by a great teacher, interview and play for the artist and then, he/she will decide if they want you as a student. And, if you don't perform to their expected level, you're gone. They don't have time to waste and they don't care why you're unprepared or can't get it. That's for teachers on a much lower level.
    For me, the profession of teaching today is more about "feel good" than communication of material and the responsibility of the STUDENT to learn the material. And, if you have a class of "bad seeds," you're at fault. It is why standardized test scores, nationally, are declining and there's a movement here in the US to disallow them for college admission. But that's another subject. The problem, for me, with the OP is that he/she wants to direct the teacher to do what he/she wants to do irrespective of the teacher's curriculum. And, in that case, my suggestion for the OP is to find a teacher that is willing to follow his/her meanderings from lesson to lesson or to study on his own. However, I wonder how that would work in the study of Physics or Trigonometry for the average student? I don't think music is any different when it comes to learning. Unless, of course, you're a Mozart, Beethoven or Miles. Play live . . . Marinero


    Last edited by Marinero; 09-06-2020 at 11:40 AM. Reason: spelling

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    ". However, this sounds like a fundamental breakdown of the teacher/student relationship. I think there are some things it’s worth specifying and sometimes you do need to be tough and exacting but this teacher sounds like a control freak."
    Christianm77

    There are many types of teachers. There are many types of students. However, the concept of teaching has changed dramatically in the last 60 years. Teachers, in the past, presented the material/concepts and the student either moved forward or, eventually, dropped out. Generally, there was no attempt by the teacher to tolerate recalcitrant, unfocused, or uninterested students. Or, students with their own agenda. What's the point? However, in today's "Feel Good" world teachers not only are required to present material but also deal with the vagaries of personality, discipline, and inherent intellectual limitations. We're all the same, right? All we need is the right teacher to bring our talents to the surface?
    This, for me, is the problem with all education today. It buys into the false notion of intellectual egalitarianism which is both contrary to nature and contrary to good teaching and places the primary burden on the teacher rather than the student for learning material. For example, if you are a professional horticulturist and buy a bag of infertile seeds, will your professional ability bring them to bloom or will they fail?
    Finally, if you are an advanced musician and desire to study with a world class artist, you don't sign up and get on a list. You must be recommended by a great teacher, interview and play for the artist and then, he/she will decide if they want you as a student. And, if you don't perform to their expected level, you're gone. They don't have time to waste and they don't care why you're unprepared or can't get it. That's for teachers on a much lower level.
    For me, the profession of teaching today is more about "feel good" than communication of material and the responsibility of the STUDENT to learn the material. And, if you have a class of "bad seeds," you're at fault. It is why standardized test scores, nationally, are declining and there's a movement here in the US to disallow them for college admission. But that's another subject. The problem, for me, with the OP is that he/she wants to direct the teacher to do what he/she wants to do irrespective of the teacher's curriculum. And, in that case, my suggestion for the OP is to find a teacher that is willing to follow his/her meanderings from lesson to lesson or to study on his own. However, I wonder how that would work in the study of Physics or Trigonometry for the average student? I don't think music is any different when it comes to learning. Unless, of course, you're a Mozart, Beethoven or Miles. Play live . . . Marinero


    I have a degree in Astrophysics and good teaching is good teaching and bad teaching is bad teaching. That said, I’m not a classroom teacher and I don’t have those skills (experienced classroom teachers have serious chops.) I’ll focus here on one to one music tuition because it is what I actually know about.

    The student/teacher relationship does all the heavy lifting.

    As a teacher part of your job is to suss out what kind of a person you are teaching, what their goals are and what’s the most effective way to communicate with them. If you can’t do that, you may well spend your life feeling slightly resentful when students don’t respect your authority, don’t practice etc.

    If you can do that, it is likely you will have more fun.

    OTW I don’t seem these days to have a problem with students practicing and improving steadily, although I certainly used to. A lot of this I chalk up to experience and not making basic mistakes that I used to. If I have to tell a student off for not practicing, something has already gone wrong.

    And most of the students seem to enjoy it, which is kind of the point for most students. Part of the gig is to teach students to enjoy self discipline and the long term benefits of hard work. By the time they can do this for themselves, everything is great.

    Situations vary. Kids at school don’t know how I play, and won’t be equipped to judge it at first. So I could be anyone.

    OTOH If I have someone come to because they respect me as a player and want to acquire the skills to play professionally I may well be a lot harder on them, and more disciplinarian than a student that is just playing for fun. And you have to make that call, and understand what your role is.

    A beginner needs definitive and clear instruction; OTOH a more advanced student might have a perfectly effective technique at variance to yours (having leaned with a different teacher from a different school of technique) and it’s up to you to work out what to prioritise.

    In terms of the results of pedagogy: well if someone simply repeats the technique they were taught without understanding the broader principles and how techniques can vary and still be effective they don’t actually understand technique at all.

    There’s certain schools one can teach: Segovian classical guitar, Gypsy Jazz picking and so on. A good teacher can effectively teach these techniques in a step by step way without alienating the student. If that’s not something you can do because you feel that the kids are all entitled snowflakes or something, probably not the gig for you! You’ll end up hating every second.

    (In general I actually find younger more advanced - say undergrad - students expect to be spoonfed information and something they find much harder is taking charge of their own learning. I find that much more that anything else. I think this maybe because they just haven’t spent as much time playing music ‘in the wild’ as they have receiving one on one pedagogy and practicing in their bedrooms.)

    I believe one should take personal responsibility and not be too quick to blame others for your failures. That’s easy to get wrong in teaching; we’ve all done it. And yet what we get wrong has the most to teach us.

    In other words, you should do your job - and just as in music, reflecting on and improving what you do is a vital part of that.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-06-2020 at 01:53 PM.

  9. #8

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    But that’s just pedagogy. Learning is more than that.

  10. #9

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    Learning is everything.

  11. #10

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    "I believe one should take personal responsibility and not be too quick to blame others for your failures. That’s easy to get wrong in teaching; we’ve all done it. And yet what we get wrong has the most to teach us.

    In other words, you should do your job - and just as in music, reflecting on and improving what you do is a vital part of that."
    Christianm77


    Hi, C,
    Well said! You beat me to the punch.
    Play live . . . Marinero