Do you feel a teacher is necessary?

fingerguy

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I say no! Recently on FB I had a disagreement with someone saying you need a teacher to which I completely disagree. Some of the most amazing musicians are self-taught. I myself are a combination of lessons and self taught; the later being the ukulele. Others I received lessons but did a lot on my own too for the guitar and bass. The piano was where I needed the most help but that didn't last long.
 

AQUATOPAZ

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I say no! Recently on FB I had a disagreement with someone saying you need a teacher to which I completely disagree. Some of the most amazing musicians are self-taught. I myself are a combination of lessons and self taught; the later being the ukulele. Others I received lessons but did a lot on my own too for the guitar and bass. The piano was where I needed the most help but that didn't last long.

Would definitely help. I am working on rockckass101 now, but plan on getting some lessons as I work on stuff and have questions. I don't feel that lessons are as effective if you don't have specific things you are working on that you would like specific to you help with. There are lots of lessons online with great instruction. They just can't give feedback and answer questions, which is what I feel teachers are best for.
 

efiscella

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Would definitely help. I am working on rockckass101 now, but plan on getting some lessons as I work on stuff and have questions. I don't feel that lessons are as effective if you don't have specific things you are working on that you would like specific to you help with. There are lots of lessons online with great instruction. They just can't give feedback and answer questions, which is what I feel teachers are best for.

I was asked to give lessons to a High School freshman. I suggested he so some stuff on his own but Mom wanted lessons. My reply was, "getting lessons, in the beginning, is a good idea in order to get some good basic skills down, but after that, he will be flying and having fun discovering on his own and learning from others who play. The only time he may need more lessons is if he wants to learn music theory and advanced fingerpicking. I think the 4 lessons should really take care of most of what he needs to know."
 

Joyful Uke

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There are lots of lessons online with great instruction. They just can't give feedback and answer questions, which is what I feel teachers are best for.

My understanding is that ArtistWorks provides not only online instruction, but also a chance for feedback. You submit videos of yourself for feedback. I think that they also answer questions.

I would guess that there are other online classes that do something similar.

I never get far with lessons, though, because they're usually teaching something that I'm not interested in. That's what I get for being picky, I guess.

Maybe at some time in the future I'll have more time for lessons and can learn whatever they're teaching, but right now, I'd prefer to spend my time learning songs that inspire me to keep playing.
 
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I guess it depends on what you're looking for in playing, and how much natural ability you were built with. One can always teach themselves a great deal on any instrument, but lessons help find blindspots and ultimately reach new levels of competency and understanding.

I taught myself the drums and thought myself fairly proficient...then after 10 years I took lessons. Luckily I found the great teacher who taught me the fundamentals as well as the intellectual components of drumming. That alone has helped me get to a new level of drumming.

After teaching myself what I felt were the basics on ukulele, I've since had 2 ukulele teachers. One wasted my time for months, and one (Aldrine) helped me improve only after 15 minutes. Having the right teacher can help anyone get to the next level.

I think the best players of any instrument are largely self-taught (natural ability + desire to play) and then excelled with the right teachers. If you just want to noodle around, you can find enough on youtube to get you going. If you want to excel, I think having a teacher helps you get there better.
 

John boy

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To the OP's question as to whether a teacher is "necessary," no, it isn't necessary, but it sure helps. I imagine there are some great musicians who claim to be self-taught, or whom legend says were self-taught. Whether they really were self-taught, who knows? If they were self-taught, they might have been even greater if they'd had a teacher.

Editing on an additional thought here, the self-taught greatness thing might work in popular music, but in the classical music world it seems far-fetched to me. Achieving greatness in classical music doesn't seem likely without a teacher (actually lots of teachers).
 
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AQUATOPAZ

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My understanding is that ArtistWorks provides not only online instruction, but also a chance for feedback. You submit videos of yourself for feedback. I think that they also answer questions.

I would guess that there are other online classes that do something similar.

I never get far with lessons, though, because they're usually teaching something that I'm not interested in. That's what I get for being picky, I guess.

Maybe at some time in the future I'll have more time for lessons and can learn whatever they're teaching, but right now, I'd prefer to spend my time learning songs that inspire me to keep playing.

Unless it's a skype lesson where there s immediate back and forth, I don't feel that that kind of feedback is very helpful. Feedback where there is immediate conversation can clear things up. Otherwise I will forgo the feedback. Having something you want to work on is important for lessons. You are paying, so it should be about what you feel you need.
 

KohanMike

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I would not say a teacher is necessary, but using one is very helpful. When I started to play guitar in 1965, I took 8 lessons that got me started, gave me a good foundation. About 5 years ago when I took up the bass uke for my senior ukulele group, at first I went at it myself, but it took me only one rehearsal session to realize I needed help, so I took a series of lessons from Denny Croy at McCabe's Guitar shop, which got me going on the right track.


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9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

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Kenn2018

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I have used books, online information and videos to help me develop the basics. But it has been a scattershot approach.

Now, I need live lessons to help me progress. I need good feedback. Evaluation of what I am doing and guidance. Especially with theory and pointing out to me what I should focus on next. I believe I will progress much faster that way.
 

Graham Greenbag

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I say no! Recently on FB I had a disagreement with someone saying you need a teacher to which I completely disagree. Some of the most amazing musicians are self-taught. I myself are a combination of lessons and self taught; the later being the ukulele. Others I received lessons but did a lot on my own too for the guitar and bass. The piano was where I needed the most help but that didn't last long.

Teachers are quite variable and so are the value of lessons: some cost a lot of money and waste your time whilst others do move you forward. I’ve had some lessons and been helped by them but I’ve also managed to improve my playing without using a teacher too.

My best experience with music lessons was as a child at school; tuition was once a week, one to one and just for 15 minutes - perfect for me and I wish I could do the same for Uke now. The regularity of each week kept me focussed and the short lesson duration meant that there was little chance to get overloaded but enough time to examine progress and be directed towards my next tasks. Practice between lessons cemented the guidance I got in lessons.

There is a lot that you can do without a formal teacher but a good one will aid you to move forwards and inform you of things that would otherwise have remained unknown to you. However music teachers can be somewhat expensive and, as above, some will take your money but not give you the outcome hoped for. If you can afford to take that risk then having a teacher is the better way forward ... but I’ve yet to find a perfect way forward and no one route suits all.

Of course one of the best ways to learn is to simply play and practice, but do so with a self critical ear. That route has helped me too, but you do need to be reasonably well informed about what you’re listening out for and quite self disciplined ... which sometimes I am not.
 
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kkimura

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Personally, I've had hundreds of teachers. I've learned something from almost every ukulele player I've had the honor of playing with.
 

RafterGirl

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My first 6 months of playing was mostly self taught via You Tube. I did take a 6 week community ed class through my local university, which built on what I had already learned. My biggest gains in playing came when I discovered local ukulele groups and began monthly attendance at them. Two of the three groups I attend incorporate teaching skills in addition to just playing music. The leaders of those groups also lead smaller workshops, where I've learned a ton. They have also brought in teachers like Kimo Hussey and Stu Fuchs to do multi-day workshops for us. All of these avenues of learning have helped me immensely. We all learn in different ways, so find what works best for you. If you can find local groups that teach as well as jam, that's a good way to go.
 

Swamp Yankee

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No, I don’t. A natural talent and a love of playing will, in my opinion, take a player as far, or even further than a teacher could. And, in the end, the self-taught player will be more likely to innovate - just as they have always done, to overcome the various hurdles they have encountered along the way.
 

anthonyg

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Life is a teacher. How are you going to get by without life?

Define "Teacher".
Does everyone need structured music lessons with a qualified music teacher? No, but maybe some do.

Its a lot easier these days to say your "self taught" when there is so much information available on YouTube.
Like most I got to where I am with a wide variety of teachers from structured lessons to unstructured lessons.
 

fingerguy

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Thanks for all the input. I am going to stand strong on what I believe that I do not need human interaction lessons from a teacher. I am doing quite well on my own.
 

tm3

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Interesting discussion. Pose the same question on a piano board and IMO the large majority would say that a teacher is essential. Maybe this reflects the relative "formality" of the instruments?

I've chased different pursuits throughout my life and have come to the conclusion that a great teacher is an invaluable resource leading to acquisition of more skill in a shorter period of time and in a more enjoyable way. However, I've also concluded that a bad teacher is far worse than no teacher at all.

Unfortunately, bad teachers are common and great teachers are rare.
 

John boy

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fingerguy -- Sounds good, I hope you continue to enjoy your playing.

tm3 -- re your statement "Unfortunately, bad teachers are common and great teachers are rare." -- my experience is the opposite. I've had a lot of great or at least good teachers in my life. Only a few bad ones.
 

Col50

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There is no right or wrong, there is what works for you.

The huge problem about online tutors or video tutorials is finding the good ones amongst the hundreds who think that they can teach yet cannot.
 

ripock

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Some of the most amazing musicians are self-taught.

This is one of my favorite fibs. It makes me giggle when I think Jimi Hendrix believes we are gullible enough to buy that. We're supposed to imagine him as a kid noodling around and all by himself coming up with all those blues progressions and those jazz chords like the dom7#11. Give me a break! Maybe he didn't go to a Guitar Center and take lessons from some guitarist whose band will never make it big...nevertheless someone showed him some stuff.

As far as the topic of the thread is concerned, in ukuleledom as in every other aspect of life you can get along without a teacher until you hit that point (if you ever hit it) when another set of eyes are needed to advance your goals. I find that refining one's sense of rhythm is especially useful with another person. Also, one aspect of coaching that hasn't been touched upon in this thread is the motivation of a personal relationship. When you know that if you don't practice you'll be letting down another person's expectations of you, it actually keeps you focused and motivated. Also...speaking of obligations...another great way to be taught is to compete. When you know your failure will be made public, you practice. So commit yourself to playing in public. That's a good way to learn and be taught.
 

Just Russ

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I taught myself guitar and did most of the work with ukulele and can say that a good curriculum with steady progression in difficulty and knowledge might not be required, but it makes everything feel less random and hopeless. When I was teaching myself, I was looking at where I wanted to go and then had to try to reverse-engineer how to get myself to that point and a teacher with experience would have been able to help out a lot along the way.

I bit the bullet and signed up for Artist Works and the flow of the lessons makes sense, Sarah and Craig explain things and I’m getting to the point where I can use principles behind songs to figure out or arrange other songs instead of what I’ve done forever, which was just wait for someone to figure a song out for me.

So after lots and lots of resistance to the idea, I’ve realized teachers reduce the heartache and time required to understand and play things and give you a good path. And I’d rather have that than say I taught myself the uke.

(Besides, there’s a very slim chance anyone is teaching themselves anymore. The days of wearing out a record, blindly looking for notes is long-gone and you have to question whether getting lessons on YouTube or downloading tabs from Dr. Uke is truly teaching yourself.)