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Thread: Do you feel a teacher is necessary?

  1. #1
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    Default Do you feel a teacher is necessary?

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerguy View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AQUATOPAZ View Post
    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."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AQUATOPAZ View Post
    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.

  5. #5

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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.
    Soprano: KoAloha Opio Acacia
    Tenors: KoAloha KTM-00, aNueNue UT200 Moon Bird, Pono MGTP5-PC
    Baritone+: Pono UL4-30

  6. #6
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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).
    Last edited by John boy; 09-04-2019 at 04:59 PM.
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned re-entrant gCEA)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned DGBE)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (currently tuned low-octave ADF#B)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    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.

  8. #8
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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.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
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  9. #9
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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.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerguy View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 09-05-2019 at 12:49 AM.

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