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  1. #1

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    I wanted to start this for all of you that have studied with other people in the past. Yes, a ton of people are self taught. I am not knocking them at all. I just wanted to give a space for those of us who reached out (and went broke) finding other people to study with.

    These people don't have to be guys and gals you studied with in person, they could be people you've skyped with or had lessons over the phone (didn't Ted Green do that?) They don't even have to be "jazz" teachers. They could be classical cats, composition cats, or sousaphone soul seekers.

    My only requirement is that you give a short description about what it was like to study with X, Y, and Z

    So, on your mark, get ready, type!


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I studied with a great local rock player from my beginnings atvage 12 til is was 18. He probably could have been tougher on me, but he opened my ears to a ton of music i might have never sought out on my own. By the time i finished with him, because of college, it was set in stone I'd be a guitar player for life.

    Later, in my 20's, i returned to that same little studio to teach...with my old teacher still in the room right next door! The studio was was run by a great jazz between lessons, my informal jazz mentorship began. He'd hear me noodling away on a standard and call me over to the piano, or pop in my doorway with yes--an accordion! He taught me so much about jazz "language."

    He passed away in 2008. I still miss him every day.

  4. #3
    I could visualize those lessons and I don't even know you in person or the people you spoke of. Excellent first post. I already spoke of my lessons with Kenny Wessel and James Chirillo. If you'd like to hear more, I can elaborate. Honestly, I'd rather listen. Let me know. If not, carry on some.

  5. #4

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    When I was 8, my grandmother set up singing lessons with Mrs. Levitz over at Auerbach's Vacuum Repair and Music Academy. She had me learn all the songs from the movie Mary Poppins. One day I accidently spilled a bottle of vacuum cleaner transmission lube onto the keys of her Lowry organ, and she told me to get my ass out and never come back. I can still sing "A Spoonful of Sugar helps the Medicine Go Down".

  6. #5

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    At about 7 or 8 I learned some chords and folk songs from a little old lady down the street. It was like having your great grandmother teaching you chords. At about 10, I took from a local teenager who was into the same music I was. It was like taking lessons from Beavis (or Butthead?). Later, at about 12, I took lessons from a "real teacher" who nearly turned me off of the instrument. It felt like I was a Jimmy Page wannabe taking lessons from a Segovia wannabe. In fact, he teaches classical guitar at a university now. At 17 I met my girlfriend's father who taught me to use my ears and fingers together, and took from an absolutely wonderful teacher. Between the 2 of them my playing skyrocketed (well, all things are relative).

  7. #6
    destinytot Guest
    Re. private lesons, mine were with great players who were ineffective teachers - except Trefor Owen, who was diligent and well-prepared.

    But I've had plenty of 'coaches' - and can tell plenty of cautionary tales. (How does the saying go? 'Everyone's apprentice but disciple of none' or something like that.)

  8. #7
    I'm mostly self-taught but had a classical instructor in college who was great. Very laid back, groovy dude and a great teacher.

    One day I went to a lesson and had not sufficiently practiced. He noticed and asked me about it. When I gave my excuse, he told me that I would receive a zero grade and to go to a practice room down stairs...with a smile on his face. "I can't teach you anything if you haven't practiced".

    Honestly, coming from a gentle soul such as him, that had a profound impact on me; much more so than a guilt trip or lecture. "Go practice". Very positive actually. There's nothing wrong with you. You just need to practice. Hmmm.

    I that now in teaching private lessons. "Wow. You haven't practiced... I'm going to leave you with that for a few minutes while I get a drink of water." They've already paid the month. Stretch the legs. Maybe they'll quit...
    ...or actually practice. It's really their deal.

    I've seen many other private teachers who just can't take it when a student hasn't practiced. Kind of come unhinged and can't separate from it being a personal affront to them. They usually don't last long as teachers.

    Thanks, professor, for the kick in the butt and the boundaries lesson. Very valuable.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 09-27-2015 at 04:18 PM.

  9. #8

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    The only tuition I ever had was classical guitar lessons from the age of 12 until I left school. My teacher Mr Stevens was a very easygoing and patient guy. I got all the correct posture and technique from him. He did 2 things which I think really helped keep me going. First he let me drop the guitar exams after a couple of years because I found it too much of a struggle with my school work. Then someone gave me a load of guitar music including an edition of the Bach lute suites etc. I really wanted to play some Bach but the edition was in baroque lute tablature (Hofmeister edition). So my teacher swapped it for his own guitar edition, which he just gave to me to keep. Then we spent a lot of the remaining time working on Bach pieces, which I really enjoyed.

    So I think I owe him a lot, because he instinctively did the right things to keep my interest when it was flagging. I suspect a lot of guitar teachers would have insisted on me doing the ABRSM exams, then I might have dropped playing altogether.

  10. #9
    Okay, I'll tell some of mine. These little histories are really vivid, really enjoying reading them.

    I first started jazz guitar with Kenny Wessel over at the Westchester Conservatory of Music... it sounds more esteemed than it actually was (still a great music school). I started at the end of 10th grade, me with my black epi les paul and my thumb... good times.

    Anyway, fast forward a year and I was amped up to play my first "concert" with Kenny. It was at this local park or something. I open my guitar case... and...

    What the FREAK, my high e broke!

    Kenny looks over to me and says something like "oh, you don't need that string, Alex. Just comp behind me"

    We played Fi-Fe-Fo-Fum. I know, the tune was way outta my breadth, but I love Wayne Shorter. And we played, and he turns to me and says "that was some great comping"... Good times. And I wasn't nervous, hell I am always nervous when I play gigs, and I wasn't nervous. If you have a chance to come to NYC, study with Kenny Wessel. He really set me straight.

    Oh and Matt, James Chirillo did that with me too.

    James "So Alex, did you practice singing out of the Wedge book this week?"

    Me "Um, sorta..."

    James "sing this line right here"

    I start singing, off key

    James "You've neglected your Wedge book, that's a big part of our lessons here. I'm sorry Alex, but that will be reflected in your final grade for private instruction"

    I got a C+ that year, my lowest grade, ever, in college (besides the F's I got for being sick, but I retook those courses).

    Despite that, James was a cool guy too. And he always dressed up for lessons. I mean, always (even in the dead of the summer).

    And I still remember picking weeds out of his drive way and washing his windows so he would charge me less for lessons. You know what, I didn't mind it at all. Good times...

    James had me go through Drop 2's and 3's really slow, so that each finger knew exactly where to land to make the transition as smooth as possible. Then we studied out of the GVE Method for Guitar. We played through the Segovia Scales.

    After that, he sat me at the piano. We played all the major scales. Then I had to sing them and the half steps 4-3 7-1 in each key. Then we did sight singing out of the old Wedge book.

    And then, finally, I got to play with James (and his huge rhythm guitar).

    James "Lemme try your guitar [Alex hands guitar over to James], holy smokes Alex, the action is too high"

    Alex "But James, isn't the action high on your rhythm guitar?"

    James "Yea, but I ain't playing bebop on that thing. That'd be like crushing golf balls over and over. This is an electric guitar you got here"

    Alex "Crap!"

    Yeah, that was my first Eastman. My guitar repair guy aptly called it the "nightmare" guitar... The truss rod sunk into the neck. Shesh, it was traumatizing I got it replaced, thank goodness. GnJ helped me out on that one
    Last edited by Irez87; 09-27-2015 at 04:26 PM.

  11. #10

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    After I had been playing for a while on my own, but learning very quickly, my father, a part-time drummer, found me a teacher. Roger Moore was a kind, gentle man with a real love for the guitar, and he was also a good upright bassist. I took weekly lessons for a couple of months, then he hired me to teach in his studio. My best teacher was Bill Leavitt, my favorites were John Williams, Pat Martino, Mick Goodrick and Barney Kessel, my mentor. I found over the years that every single top-level accomplished musician had a one-or two-line aphorism that summed up a pearl of wisdom, and collecting those has been a lifetime of lessons from the greatest. Kessel was enormously deep and philosophical, and I learned from him how to survive as a musician and keep your mind and goals focused. I currently study with Jerald Harscher, who specializes in focal dystonia, a neurological condition that destroys the best parts of a musician's technique, with which I've been dealing for 14 years. Many never recover, but I seem to be well on my way towards full recovery and, according to Jerald, an even stronger and better technique. This is because I practice v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and I recommend it highly. A perfect technique is in the brain, not the fingers. If one practices even for one minute without being fully aware of everything that's happening, then one ends up practicing mistakes, which, I'm sure you can all agree, need no practice whatsoever.

    Few of these teachers taught me much guitar, except Leavitt, but they all taught me artistry and independence, and they were, without fail, supportive. That would be the major trait of a great teacher.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot
    except Trefor Owen, who was diligent and well-prepared.
    See - there's another clue for me that you could be english.

    During one temporary sojourn in Toronto, I lodged with the late Gerry Inman - a pianist who would later evolve into a fluent Japanese speaking private detective. One day, he gave me a lesson at the piano that lasted at least two hours, maybe three. It was like suddenly having blazing lights switched on. It was the first time, for instance, that I had the major scale explained to me. I never knew before. Of course, it had been seeping from the aural wallpaper surrounding my small life constantly enough for me to know what it was by ear and be able to sing it easily enough, but this was the very first time anyone had brought the nature of its construction to my attention. Such a small thing. Yet so personally consequential and profound. It provided me with a very simple skeleton of understanding from which I could begin making sense of what I wanted to know.

    From that fundamental "aha!" moment, Gerry took me through chord-generation and introduced me to ideas about functional harmony that my ears had already been recognising, and then he opened the Real Book and started me off on analysis. The time flew by. It was bloody amazing. And no wonder it took two or three hours to get through.

    That one lesson lasted me for years, like all good lessons should, during which time I played the chord-generation game with other scales, and persisted in analysis so my ears could become more confident about the motions I was following. And I remember the thrill I got when I stumbled into the discovery of what an ALT chord was all about.

    Later on, I grabbed the opportunity for a workshop-lesson with David Baker, who said "now let's put all that stuff aside and look at it this way instead". He gave me a purchase on Coltrane subs and inside/outside pentatonics. Great stuff. also long-lasting in its benefits.

    And then, even if the encounters may not necessarily have been labelled officially as lessons, I picked-up and learned about musicianship and approach from messing with Michael Garrick, Howard Riley, Pete Saberton, Jeff Clyne, Norma Winstone, John Parricelli and Hugh Fraser. Neither can I overlook the Canadian Pat Coleman - who quit G.I.T. after only two weeks (HR immediately offered him a teaching gig there) and moved over to Dick Grove's academy. I work with Pat every chance I can, and each time is like a highly enjoyable private lesson.

    Currently, I am studying with west-coast composer-arranger Fred Stride, who is also a graduate of Dick Grove, and with whom I can get deeper into some of the theory behind what is probably basic standard arranging practice to you guys. But to me it is all treasure.

    It's been a gorgeous journey, and I feel very lucky with it.
    May it continue 'til I drop.

  13. #12

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    My father was a guitarist/songwriter in the 30s and 40s up till he got married, so he wanted me to start real young.
    He made me go to a guy when I was 5 or 6, and I hated it, and locked myself in the bathroom so I wouldn't have to go to the next lesson.
    I played the clarinet in school from the age of 7 through college, so I knew how to read music and play by ear.
    I also was the lead 1st soprano in my grade school, and the older girls resented that they had to follow this little punk.

    Then I taught myself with a Beatles book, and copied songs off the radio, until I started listening to my father's Wes and Kenny records, and wanted to learn jazz when I was 13.
    He found me a local guy checking out guitars in a music store owned by a character who he used to play in a band with back in the 30s. Of course, the teacher had to be Italian, and when he found out my father had a D'Angelico, he gave me first class treatment.
    I worshiped the ground this guy walked on, and used to practice 8 hours a day, because I stopped doing homework.
    I studied with this guy until I was 19, and then studied with his teacher for a while.

    After a little while, this guy gave me Jim Hall's number, but since I'd already copied a lot of Jim Hall's stuff off his records, I never called him.
    I had to take CG lessons in college, but I had a serious injury to one of my RH fingers as a child, and I could barely scrape by.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    this guy gave me Jim Hall's number, but since I'd already copied a lot of Jim Hall's stuff off his records, I never called him.
    What a shame, what a pity.
    Too late now.

  15. #14

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    had private lessons with Dennis Sandole, Pat Martino, Andrew White, Walt Namuth, Howard Roberts, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass.

    Studied with Dennis for 6 months. Didn't learn much. Martino for a year. Learned a huge amount but not much from him. Most of it was inspirational practicing and transcribing during that time. The other guys I picked up a few things here and there. The biggest portion of my learning was from my dad who was a jazz musician and from transcribing martino, benson, pass, wes, etc. I would say the formal lessons accounted for about 1% of my playing.

    And the majority of that was studying with competent local players who taught me how to read, comp, learn theory, etc.

  16. #15
    Zucker, I was waiting for your reply. So you learned the one finger chromatics from Martino in person? Your dad is a kick ass player, I'm jealous:

    Last edited by Irez87; 09-28-2015 at 07:34 PM.

  17. #16

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    I studied with a classical guitarist at first. About a year. Then in high school I took from Lee Havens who taught a Howard Roberts approach and classical transcriptions for pick of Paganini, Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov, Chopin, etc. that was in incredible. Then I studied a little with Howard Roberts himself, at seminars and a couple of private lessons. THEN Warren Nunes for a couple of years. I was also a music major for three years at CSUS. After that Mingus, Walter Bishop jr, and life. Private tips and tutelage from all kinds of great musicians, including name dropping that would be in bad taste.

  18. #17

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    cool...nunes was the norcal whiz..junior watson praises him..nunes played guitar for juniors singin mom..

    check these vids-1st of three

    nunes talk around the 11 minute mark

    Last edited by neatomic; 09-28-2015 at 10:17 PM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    What a shame, what a pity.
    Too late now.
    Yeah, I probably should've done it, but I was a dopey kid still in my late teens, and doing some high paying commercial gigs, so I thought I knew everything. I didn't know shit.

  20. #19
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazz
    See - there's another clue for me that you could be english.
    That and my Loakes.. fair cop, got me bang to rights - society's to blame!

  21. #20

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    I'll go. I'll start with jazz teachers, because I guess that's what you guys want to know, haha. I'll refrain from saying bad things, but you'll get a vibe of the guys I really liked and those I didn't.

    My first jazz teacher was Neil Bacher, a guy down in West Palm Beach, FL, when I first started college, studied with him for two years. He got me started in this music and got me into what I needed to get into to play it. Taught me a lot of the basics, really great player, but I just think I was too much of a beginner in the jazz world to really take advantage of the stuff he could have given me. I still hang with him every time I fly down to Florida, and it's always a pleasure to get to play with him now that I'm good, and we teach each other a lot of stuff when we get to hang. Really great guy.

    When I moved to New York, I was in Westchester for a minute, studied with Jay Azzolina for a year. Similar situation with him as with Neil, I was still kind of clueless as to what I was doing, but we got into some more advanced things, since at this point I could at least play over changes decently. We worked on a lot of Charlie Banacos stuff (with whom he studied with), learning more interesting tunes, some chord stuff. I was a bad practicer though... haha.

    When I moved to the city, like Irez, I also took lessons with Kenny Wessel. I was at City College at this point and they usually pushed all their new students to him. Me and him got into more detailed things about playing changes, targeting specific notes, doing specific rhythms, etc. He is a very systematic guy. I enjoyed studying with him, especially because by this point, I had familiarized myself with him and what he really does (something I think a lot of his students don't do, and study with him because schools make them do it or something), so I think we had a good time. I still hang with him a lot. I'm doing a private guitar ensemble with him which is really fun. He also likes doing these private masterclasses at his apartment, usually with out of town musicians, he's had guys from all styles, for example, John Stowell and Debashish Battacharya to name a few.

    My second semester at CCNY I studied with Mike Moreno. Mike is sort of... an osmosis kind of guy? I didn't get much information out of him, it was mostly just "let's play" kind of lessons. Mike's a cool guy, I also see him from time to time, but I don't think his teaching style was compatible with me.

    My last semester at CCNY I studied with Brad Shepik. Brad is also a very systematic guy, but is really good at considering things you also want to do. I went to him asking about more abstract chord voicings, and he knew that I needed other things as well, but he found a really nice way to blend both things and made a system out of it. It was really nice, and I'm kind of bummed I only got a semester's worth of work with him.

    (FYI, I only did three semesters of undergrad at CCNY, in case you're wondering how I finished in three semesters, I transferred credits from two schools).

    After graduating, I wasn't doing many lessons, mainly to get my stuff together. After a while I hit up Dan Tepfer (who is Lee Konitz's pianist at the moment, and leads his own amazing groups). Dan was really cool to work with, I came to him with questions about comping, which I felt was a weakness of mine. It was the first time I took a lesson with a non-guitarist, and it was interesting to have to work in translating a pianistic approach onto guitar. He also plays saxophone, so he would often play with me so I would comp for him, it was actually kind of amazing. We also worked a lot on singing and how that's way more important than thinking about how to "play these triad pairs of the substitution of the chord that's coming next to imply these four alterations without using chord tones" and all that crap. It was really funny too, because for some reason every time I'd come in I'd sound horrible. So he probably thought "this guy can't play". But he was really nice, and I actually hope to start getting together with him again at some point.

    Then I started grad school this last semester and made a decision to study with Miles Okazaki for the next two years as I finish. Miles is probably the most detailed (as opposed to systematic) teacher I've had. Finds all these crazy, but fun ways of pinpointing my weaknesses, things that I've never even considered, and makes up crazy exercises on the spot to work that out. He's been getting really busy lately with a teaching job at Michigan, and working with Steve Coleman a whole lot, but we find time to get together twice a month at least. He loves teaching and does it for the sake of it. He rarely takes in new students and will only take you in if he knows you're serious and likes you, that kind of vibe. Probably the best teacher I've had.

    I've also taken one/two-off lessons with guys.
    Took a two hour long lesson with Adam Rogers, was really cool, and it's a bummer he doesn't have enough time to take regular students, because I'd be totally on that.
    Took two lessons with Peter Bernstein, similarly to Mike, he's a "let's play" kind of guy, but he finds ways to address weaknesses specifically in that approach. I like to see him once every year and a half or so, kind of a way to measure my playing.
    Took a lesson with Peter Mazza when I first moved to NYC, lots and lots of information. My theory was weak when I saw him so he gave me a lot of useful, but basic stuff. I'd love to see what he'd give me now.
    I also took a lesson with Jason Rigby (amazing saxophonist), who I had classes with at CCNY, but we didn't do a lot of playing. After I did lessons with Dan, I hit Jason up for a one off lesson. We worked on some incredibly cool stuff, but it took me so long to get together that by the time I wanted to call him up again, I got really busy. We also hang out a lot, he's a hilarious guy.
    Also took a lesson with Joe Morris, it was really cool, but I feel like the free thing is more of a concept that you need to come up with by talking to people and playing with people who are good at it, I don't think it's something you teach. Regardless, I think he's come up with a great way to teach it.

    I've also had chances to talk to a lot of people (through my job, school, and/or connections). Guys I talk to often and hang out with but haven't taken lessons, include Steve Coleman, Tyshawn Sorey, Ben Monder, Gilad Hekselman, and Steve Wilson.

  22. #21

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    My first guitar was a plastic "cowboy" guitar at around five years old which I used to strum as I serenaded my father's patients in his home office singing songs like Happy Trails to You. Unfortunately, no contract ensued.

    But I sang in school from the first opportunity to do so, culminating in being elected President of the Glee Club as we called it in my senior year. What is it they say? Just showing up is half the deal in life. One of my fine music teachers was an extremely talented pianist / singer - Louis Davis - who had studied music and bel canto in Italy.

    My formal lessons in guitar began with Hibbard Perry, who was the President and founder of the RI Classical Guitar Society, when I was about twelve for the next three or four years. Mr. Perry was an imposing white haired guy who played all styles of guitar out of a studio downtown and resembled Andres Segovia physically down to the black rimmed glasses. He was a tough taskmaster who inspired me to practice, though inevitably more the night before my lesson. We started with Richard Pick's guitar method, Carcassi, Sor studies, and Mr. Perry's personal transcriptions for classical guitar of popular songs. In fact, the first time I really felt I was making music as opposed to exercises was playing his version of Ritorno a Sorrento. Reading notation commenced from day one, though I already knew some stuff from my singing experiences at school. My experience with Mr. Perry were my only formal music lessons, but a great foundation.

    Around thirteen I started playing in bands and playing rock gigs for a few years. Those were the days when the Beatles were kings, though my love of rock music went back to when I was in early grade school and wrote a paper suggesting that I wanted to be a singer like Elvis. My teacher was distressed and sent an alarmed note to my parents - I revised my essay to suggest I would consider becoming a doctor like my father, who was a serious classical violinist in his youth.

    I continued to play in college intermittently in terms of gigs. My versions of The Clap and Mood for a Day by Steve Howe helped impress a girl or two along the way. By that time I was studying both classical - Julian Bream's lute and guitar albums, Christopher Parkening, John Williams - and jazz in addition to rock and fusion stuff like Mahavishnu and Chick Correa. A seminal moment was the night of February 27, 1973 when I saw George Benson perform five feet away at The Jazz Workshop in Boston. Special guest that evening was a young Earl Klugh. I was, of course, hooked.

    So my mentors from then on were the performers and their records. I only wish that back then we had the technical stuff we have today to create transcriptions, notation software and such. These days I practice nightly in the early hours of the morning playing along with the resources off YouTube. For the past several years my jazz teacher is a fabulous and generous retired Australian jazz pianist and college teacher, Doug McKenzie, who creates brilliant improvised videos of jazz standards which include notation sheet music that streams as he plays. I just play along with him, reading the sheet music notation of his improvisations. He also annotates his videos regarding musical and pianistic techniques. I highly recommend his site on YT. I think I actually learn more from pianists than guitarists these days.

    And just this morning I learned a Jimmy Van Heusen / J. Burke song called Moonlight Becomes You as performed by Perry Como (great singer - my father's favorite), Sinatra, and Johnny Mathis. From the recordings, of course.

  23. #22

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    i've studied with many, many people, and i've learned from all of them

    the two biggest influences on me:

    David Tronzo -- "sometimes, i go to take a solo, and if i'm not bleeding by the end of it, i've failed."

    Charlie Banacos -- "a-ha, i know exactly what you need!"

  24. #23

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    My "private" lessons have been with Jimmy Bruno through his Guitar Workshop. Unlike most here , I've learned much, received personal video feedback, and was even fortunate enough to perform with him at a master class event.

    And at $60 per quarter, more than reasonable.

    i, too think it pretentious to name and speak of "hanging out" with our teachers as if they're bar buds.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by boatheelmusic
    i, too think it pretentious to name and speak of "hanging out" with our teachers as if they're bar buds.

    I've been very pleased to occasionally "hang" with former students, a couple who've surpassed me as players. People grow and grow up...

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by boatheelmusic
    My "private" lessons have been with Jimmy Bruno through his Guitar Workshop. Unlike most here , I've learned much, received personal video feedback, and was even fortunate enough to perform with him at a master class event.

    And at $60 per quarter, more than reasonable.

    i, too think it pretentious to name and speak of "hanging out" with our teachers as if they're bar buds.
    I'm with Matt here. There's a difference between ass kissing, or going to a guy's gig, waiting for him to finish playing, saying "hey man sounded great!" and saying you hung out with him (which I know a lot of people do), and actually conversing with people, even in non-music related topics, which is why I listed the guys I did at the end of my post.

    I happen to be the house manager for The Jazz Gallery, which is one of the big NYC venues, so I do get to hang out, in and outside of work with a lot of guys who come through here. Some I've become great friends with and actually play with. I've also happened to be playing with a lot of great musicians here who have studied for a long time with top musicians here, and made connections that way.

  27. #26

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    I'm sorry, I guess I was referring to name dropping, not the creation of actual relationships.

    My bad, I guess.

  28. #27

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    Very fragmented. I think have had about 10 one-to-one jazz guitar lessons in my life, but all of them have been very useful, and given me a lot to think about. These have included lessons from; Dave Cliff, Martin Wheatley and Hannes Riepler among others. All great, and very different, players, which suits me!

    I would have liked more lessons, but often found it hard to make time and find money. Over time as you improve, lessons become less about basic issues (things that need fixing badly) and more about things that can push you in a certain direction.

    That said, I have had a fair amount of contact with educators in group situations over the years.

    Early on I went to something called Brighton Jazz Musician's cooperative every week in the 90's - a group of local amateur players who hired a local professional to teach the group every week. I remember on a few occasions we had the forum's own Mike McCoy (destinytot) take the group, who was great, supportive and non-judgemental to us beginners, as were all of the the tutors. Do you remember doing that Mike?

    I went through a long period of not having lessons because I felt I had so much to get on top of, which was a mistake because I overlooked some very important aspects of my playing. Also in my teens and 20's I was a right pain in the bum and very opinionated (even more so!)

    Later, I attended workshops taught by Barry Harris, which have become important to me over the last 10 years or so. From Barry I learned a sense of the jazz tradition beyond dry theory and records, and a sense of continuity, as well as an approach to harmony that I still use every day. I have found it hard to attend his classes as much as I would like, and I doubt he'd know me from Adam, but he has been a tremendous influence on me.

    So - while I am largely self taught, but I'm not sure I would recommend this path. A good teacher - even if you only see them every month can really keep you on the path.

    That said, I have a good ability to teach myself. With the odd nudge from a tutor, I feel I can learn a new skill pretty effectively. Over the years, I think I have taught myself how to learn... But you can go a bit mad if you try to do everything yourself. Others can help - a fresh perspective is always helpful.

    Now, I find myself learning from listening to my fellow musicians. I am lucky to be in playing contact with some great musicians. Rehearsing teaches a great amount - it's great when you are around musicians you feel comfortable with, know well and play with a lot because you can get honest feedback based on a thorough knowledge of your playing. One on ones with 'celeb' teachers lack this connection, although best of all is a long lasting relationship with a teacher, something I feel I have missed out on. Perhaps this will happen for me in the future!
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-30-2015 at 04:06 PM.

  29. #28

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    Great stories BTW!

  30. #29

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    Early on, all self taught. Playing lots of blues, some rock. I did teach myself open tunings and slide, and that has served so well in keeping me motivated and active. (Gets stale in standard, tune to open E and everything changes.)

    Yearning for structure, I took classical lessons for two years with two students of Manuel Barruecco. So long ago, I've forgotten their names. They were excellent musicians and teachers. It was a bit overwhelming. Manuel B's music is about connectedness, internalizing and visualizing performance. So his students placed a high bar. Just being aware of that level of musicality made a big impression. As did reading. The classical adventure was cut short by left hand problems. Near carpal tunnel stuff. Had to stop.

    Blues continued to be home base for me, though I've been listening most often to jazz since I was a kid. Last year got the chance to study with a longtime blues hero, Bobby Radcliff in NYC. Not much structure, but priceless feeling and soul from this guy. He encouraged me greatly. Taking lessons again triggered that itch for more, and made me realize I owe it to myself to explore jazz. My ears keep taking me there, but not far enough. Early this year I heard a clip on youtube of Bob Devos playing "Solid" with a student. That did it. I had to learn those changes, had to go deeper.

    I had met Bob at one of his gigs years ago. He lives nearby. I got in touch and asked if he would take me on. So now I'm re-learning reading, starting in jazz and repertoire. Turns out Bob is a gifted teacher, quite approachable and laid back. The inspiration is constant. Just being able to see a musician who sounds this good close up, to get a sense of how he thinks. Interesting how lessons work. I'm learning certain discrete things. No way I'm a jazz player (yet), but the process is not just about jazz. It's changing the way I play everything, slowly but surely.
    Last edited by mad dog; 11-01-2015 at 02:08 PM.

  31. #30
    Hey mad dog,

    Music doesn't mean anything if it doesn't light your body aflame in some way. Aflame in joy, laughter, or pain.

    Music speaks more en words, no?

  32. #31

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    I took some violin and cello but never practiced- ever. Tried a guitar at 14 and though OK this will do. Had about 10 lessons in the last 43 years. Most from from this cat;

    About Joel - Joel Perry Guitar

    have to tell this story. First time I snuck into a club I was about 15. Watched a guy playing solo guitar. Nursed my drink. Had some lessons a few years later. Decades later I was scratching my head thinking, who was that guy playing that night? It was my teacher!
    Last edited by Stevebol; 11-01-2015 at 04:36 PM.

  33. #32

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    When I was 12 or 13 years old (more than 50 years ago--you can do the math), I asked my parents for a banjo for Christmas. I suspect the inspiration came from the Kingston Trio, whose version of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" made it to the top 40. What was waiting for me under the tree that year was a Sears Silvertone guitar, with a promise of lessons with Mr. DiPiano, who worked out of the VFW Hall. He started me off with "Bye Bye Blackbird," which I thought was hopelessly square (compared to the Kingston Trio, right?!). I'm not sure I even made it back for the second lesson. What impressed me most, and I remember most clearly, was the bar at the VFW hall, which was made out of beer cans soldered together. Mr. DiPiano, wherever you are, you deserved better.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I studied with a great local rock player from my beginnings atvage 12 til is was 18.
    I did the same! I don't miss him, but I miss my 16

    Then I had the first real master, a great bass player who introduced me to jazz.

    Then I decided to study classical guitar cos at that time there was no serious jazz study in Italian conservatory.
    Giovanni Andreani for theory, singing and writing on computer; Giovanni Podera and later Giulio Tampalini for guitar. I still work with all of them.

    For jazz guitar, after a disastrous experience with a guitarist that can show how playing and teaching are deeply different, I was so lucky to meet Garrison Fewell, great teacher and great musician. Many of you knew him and his music as I read on this forum.