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robcat2075

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« Reply #20 on: Aug 03, 2016, 11:52AM »

As an adult, after years of lessons in my previous lives, I prefer being on my own schedule now.

I've been teaching myself the cello for the last four years.  

As I look back, has there ever been a stretch of even one semester where I could have cleared out the daily time, every day, to practice and truly do my best on all the repertoire that would be expected every week?

Would I have been able to make it to all the scheduled lessons?

No. I like being on my own schedule.

Some people love the lesson process. Some people need to be told each week, "That's good, keep trying."  Some people need to be told each week, "That's not good enough, keep trying." That is great that that works for them.

I'm just not in that frame of mind anymore where I am hanging on someone else's approval.
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« Reply #21 on: Aug 03, 2016, 01:44PM »

It's coming out that somewhere along the line, a lot of us have - for one reason or another - self taught.

I agree that I don't know if I would have the patience for weekly lessons. I guess it would depend upon who the teacher was. If the teacher was my drop-dead inspiration, then I would want to see him every day!  Way cool

A couple band-mates suggested I take lessons. They weren't criticizing my playing. Quite the opposite, I think. I told them I was afraid to - since I was making such rapid progress on my own - I was afraid a well-intentioned teacher would derail me. Deep down inside, is that what self-taughts are afraid of? Did I just make a noun out of an adjective?

...Geezer
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 03, 2016, 01:47PM »

I think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 03, 2016, 01:53PM »

I think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.

Oh, there's no one single reason. But there might be some commonalities; a reason that resonates with more than one.

I find it interesting that more than one has ranked social media sites like this one as a low form of getting information on how to play the trombone. I rank it up at the top! I have to wonder if others who have ranked it a lot lower are merely doing so out of distaste for social media in general...

...Geezer
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 03, 2016, 02:46PM »

If you are curious about lessons and the money is not a problem and... you have the practice time to do it justice, then go for it! There's not much downside if you don't like it.

If I were looking for cello lessons my first gambit would be the local community college system which would be fairly affordable (I'm pretty much paying for high-class cello lessons already with my property tax to the community college district  Yeah, RIGHT.).

It's the whole semester timeframe that is a barrier for me.
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« Reply #25 on: Aug 03, 2016, 03:15PM »

If you are curious about lessons and the money is not a problem and... you have the practice time to do it justice, then go for it! There's not much downside if you don't like it.

If I were looking for cello lessons my first gambit would be the local community college system which would be fairly affordable (I'm pretty much paying for high-class cello lessons already with my property tax to the community college district  Yeah, RIGHT.).

It's the whole semester timeframe that is a barrier for me.

Time and money are not issues for me. The downside is there not being anyone I wish to take lessons from without a pretty good travel time. But as someone else mentioned, it could be a periodic trip where I also do other things, like a ball game, family visit, etc.

I hear you about the local community college scene. I got an associate's degree about 20 years ago to update my undergraduate degree. It cost me pocket change. I just checked the online course catalog for the one near me. Turns out they have "Performance Ensemble" classes where the student must first audition. As an aside to another recent thread, they also offer courses in the business of music. Interesting.

...Geezer
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« Reply #26 on: Aug 03, 2016, 03:22PM »

Time and money are not issues for me. The downside is there not being anyone I wish to take lessons from without a pretty good travel time. But as someone else mentioned, it could be a periodic trip where I also do other things, like a ball game, family visit, etc.

...Geezer

I would suggest you look for a single lesson at first. Try a few teachers. My experience as an adult has shown me that some teachers understand the needs of adults, while other teachers treat everyone the same. Everyone needs an open mind including the teacher.

Likely, a diagnostician would be a good place to start.
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« Reply #27 on: Aug 03, 2016, 04:10PM »

I had played Euphonium, and Trombone with some lessons and training for years but taught myself Tuba.  A couple of years ago I actually took some Tuba Lessons and in a short period of time I made great advancements in sound production and tone.  He corrected bad habits that I didn't know I had, and gave me direction on what to work on.  Not saying you can't learn an instrument on your own, but I do think that taking lessons from a competent instructor achieves results quicker than the trial and error method used by self taught musicians. 
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« Reply #28 on: Aug 03, 2016, 05:25PM »

I had an "aha" moment this evening. About a year ago, a pro friend told me during a phone conversation that he uses minimal mpc pressure on the chops when he plays. This evening I was having some problems with my tone transitioning up from trigger range into the middle of the middle range. So I gave it a try. Voila! I guess it gives the chops a lot more freedom to vibrate without being pinned down. So now I have to practice playing that way for it to be a habit, like breathing.

The above wasn't the only time I got inspiration from a phone conversation. I can honestly state that I have learned as much or more from phone conversations or casual face-to-face conversations than I ever have had from a sit down lesson. Maybe that's how I roll.

...Geezer
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« Reply #29 on: Aug 03, 2016, 05:56PM »

I am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.
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« Reply #30 on: Aug 03, 2016, 07:07PM »

I am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.

Good! Good! Good!

When I did start teaching, I realized how little I really know about trombone. So mostly what I do as a teacher is try not to destroy, but encourage the curiosity about trombone and music.

Leif
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« Reply #31 on: Aug 04, 2016, 04:36AM »

I am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.

Hey wait a minute! If I do the math right, then you've been playing for 18 years! Eighteen years ago, I was 49! Holy trigger horn! If I would have started when I was 49, I would be, um maybe a little bit better?

Anyway, I agree that one can learn a lot just from being a fly on the wall or even better yet - actually engaging with a better player. About a year or so ago, I watched a jazz trombonist playing. He was a youngish man. He told me he had been studying for 12 years. He sounded terrific and he didn't need any music. When I got close enough for the conversation, I noticed he was using a whiskey keg for a mpc! And yet he was able to hit a lot of bad-ass high C's, pretty good high D's, some so-so high Eb's and some squeaky high F's. So I learned at least two things right there: 1) that it can be done on that size mpc and 2) I needed to re-arrange my long-term goals.

I need to find a master class. Nothing beats seeing the demo live. Recordings are fine as far as they go, but they fall short.

Every time I play in a band with other musicians I learn something. So I have made it my business now to be in 3 bands and looking for a 4th.

I have also found that it's better to play as wide a variety of music as possible. There have been some glitches I wasn't aware of until I hit a certain piece of music and there they were, buck naked. So now I play through all the pieces of music that have uncovered my glitches when I'm testing out a new mpc or a new horn. Can I get through them better or worse with the new piece? So yes, I'm now into Rochut <Gasp!>.

For me, classical music is a stretch. For classical music players, maybe jazz would be a stretch. We should all stretch. When I worked part time at a fitness center, I used to be amused at all the tall, slender ladies who streamed in for yoga classes. That's easy for them. For me, it would be a stretch (pun intended). For them, a real stretch would be heavy weight training. We should all stretch, whether we are "self-taught" or not.

Good! Good! Good!

When I did start teaching, I realized how little I really know about trombone. So mostly what I do as a teacher is try not to destroy, but encourage the curiosity about trombone and music.

Leif

I have heard that expressed through-out my life and not just trombone-playing. Teaching is learning and I believe the better players can learn from the lesser players.

...Geezer
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« Reply #32 on: Aug 04, 2016, 06:21AM »

I think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.

The advantage of having a teacher who you see even a few times a year is that they get to know you, your playing, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and then can offer advice to move you forward quickly - even if it's that a new instrument or mouthpiece were necessary to achieve your goals (or modifications to your current one).

I find it interesting that more than one has ranked social media sites like this one as a low form of getting information on how to play the trombone. I rank it up at the top! I have to wonder if others who have ranked it a lot lower are merely doing so out of distaste for social media in general...

...Geezer

There are lots of great resources about how to play - including advice on this site. However, advice that works for YOU won't work for others. When I was doing masters work, my teacher sent me to have a lesson with several other teachers. His exact words about it were, "You know now what works for you - so check out what these others have to say, and see if you think it will help. Discard the rest." I did that - I took some advice, and discarded other advice (well - put it aside for consideration another time), and made improvements quickly as a result.

The time when lessons start to be less than worth the money spent is when you start predicting what the teacher will say. I ran into that my last 5 lessons (3 with my regular teacher during masters work, 2 with other teachers I was curious to get their opinions about my playing on and thoughts on improvement). At that point, you've developed your self-reflection muscle enough to be able to be truly honest with yourself to push your own development, and have enough knowledge to know where to find (or how to create) resources to support that development. Until then, when a new perspective improves your abilities, you know it's not time to stop taking lessons.

That being said, your needs will vary. Some people need, or desire, weekly lessons. Some, monthly. Some, quarterly. And some, as needed or when concepts have been mastered enough that they are ready to move on. If you want to start taking lessons, then I'd start with once in a while lessons - a few times a year for you. Then, if you find that the teacher you are traveling to would be worth seeing more often, go more often. I think you'll find the time saved learning concepts will far outweigh the time traveling to and from the lesson, and you'd be able to have more fun on the horn faster. Just my 2 cents.

I don't have anything against self-taught musicians, personally - all that matters is can you play. But, I'm an efficiency guy - if I can learn something faster for less effort, why wouldn't I? It means I can learn more in the same amount of time, then - which is what I find inspiring.
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« Reply #33 on: Aug 04, 2016, 06:41AM »

Yeah... outside of playing in school band and a local jazz band my senior year, I am technically a self-taught player. It was just never *normal* for me or anyone around me to get a teacher, and I'm a pretty shy individual (or so I like to think of myself), in addition to that my personal-, music- and church-life in my senior year was so stuffed up that I didn't really have much time.
But I think also I'm very much a "DIY" kinda person, I like to go through the entire production process on my own and not be "disturbed" in my creative element, but I do see that I am rather stubborn when it comes to being told I suck, and I lose motivation easily Pant however, NOT taking lessons didn't HELP me get better as a trombonist or as a person, I can say that for sure!

I can certainly confirm that the large majority of the really great players I know HAVE had lessons, if even only one year. People tell me I'm quite good for never having had lessons, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm "good".

But I'm gonna change that! I'll be getting lessons for both trombone and trumpet in this upcoming year once I'm back in the states. I'm MEGA-excited now.
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« Reply #34 on: Aug 04, 2016, 07:50AM »

Of the past 15 years or so since I graduated from college, I've spent 2 or 3 years taking weekly or monthly lessons, and the remaing time working on my own.  I made many more discoveries working with a teacher, but turning those discoveries into habits has generally been something I did on my own.

I see private lessons having a couple of advantages for me: teachers have helped me identify the root cause of problems in my playing, and helped me address the root causes of my playing problems rather than masking symptoms.  Teachers have provided me with a critical ear, showing me the parts of my playing where I'm "cheating" and not sounding as good as I could because of it.  Teachers have also given me motivation, since I never want to show up to a private lesson sounding bad.

For me, the major disadvantage was the time commitment I needed to make to keep from wasting my teacher's time.  I'm not taking regular lessons now because I have small children at home and I can lose a week's worth of practice time in the blink of an eye if one of the kids brings home a flu bug.  I'm pretty down about the way I'm sounding right now, so I'm hoping that I can start occasional lessons again in another year or so.
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« Reply #35 on: Aug 04, 2016, 08:34AM »

I'm really enjoying reading the personal anecdotes about being self-taught vs having a teacher. A common thread seems to be a tendency for some individuals to vacillate between the two at times for different personal reasons.

Not many so far have touched on something that has always been important to me. Davdud101 did and perhaps someone else as well. I'm the type of guy who takes great pride in teaching myself how to do something. In my lifetime so far, I have taught myself how to craft heirloom-quality furniture, watercolor paint to the pro level, become a master gardener and a credible home-style chef. Clearly, of all of them, teaching myself how to play the trombone reasonably well has been the most difficult and time-consuming. Thank goodness for this Forum and other resources available to me as needed!

As Jessie J sings, "It's not about the money, money, money...". Being a geezer is the new gerry. I'm not the kind of geezer who cheaps out on everything. I tip well for good service and I chide people to leave the damn salt 'n pepper shakers on the table. I even tip our trash haulers when I think I've abused them with all the crap I set out for pick-up. I don't have alligator arms. I'm usually the first one to grab the check. As I state, it's about the pride. I am very pleased with myself to have figured it out so far.

But I am rapidly getting to the point where I am satisfied with myself enough. I am rapidly getting to the point where I think it would be fun AND a different kind of source of pride to be a student of so-and-so's, provided I'm not an embarrassment to him. That day will come. Tic. Toc.

...Geezer   
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« Reply #36 on: Aug 04, 2016, 11:02AM »

Not many so far have touched on something that has always been important to me. Davdud101 did and perhaps someone else as well. I'm the type of guy who takes great pride in teaching myself how to do something.

Certainly different people are wired differently.  I certainly feel no less of a sense of accomplishment for achievements that I've made while taking lessons, since I've had to apply just as much hard work and intelligence to transform ideas and criticisms from my teachers into something that actually works for me on the horn.  But I'm more engineer than scientist; I've always prioritized achieving goals over making new discoveries.
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« Reply #37 on: Aug 04, 2016, 01:10PM »

Certainly different people are wired differently.  I certainly feel no less of a sense of accomplishment for achievements that I've made while taking lessons, since I've had to apply just as much hard work and intelligence to transform ideas and criticisms from my teachers into something that actually works for me on the horn.  But I'm more engineer than scientist; I've always prioritized achieving goals over making new discoveries.

As our parents used to say, "That's different". lol With all due respect, how would you know the difference if you have never self-taught anything? Did you teach yourself how to ride your first bike? Did you teach yourself how to drive? I did - on a 1954 Willys Jeep, when my parents were out. I taught myself in the back alley. Then when my Dad took me out, I already knew how to drive a stick and he thought he did great "teaching" me. lol

For me, it hasn't been the destination, or I would have immediate (if not sooner) cut to the chase and did lessons. It's been the ride that has been at once, pleasurable, frustrating and rewarding. One of the things I used to do (yep - self taught) was to code in Cobol. I loved doing original coding and hated legacy patch-work. The few times I got to do original coding, I totally savored it. It was the ride I got to go on, not the finished product that I valued.

...Geezer
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« Reply #38 on: Aug 04, 2016, 02:57PM »

It's a choice, it depends on lot of factors and goals we set. Nothing wrong with being self taught but as I see it, it has some limitations. For most people that want to learn trombone I would recommend a teacher. Learning trombone we actually have to do our self, but a teacher can guide us in the right directions so we get more fun out of the trombone. We can reach our goals faster, and get more out of the possibilities each of us have. It has to be an professional really good teacher of course. There is lot of bad teacher's around that is dangerous.

The danger about being self taught is we go on a road that never can bring out the full potential we have. It actually is a risk that we will limit our own potential. Then often the fun about playing will go away.

Of course this is a personal choice and many of us play in a community band once a week and have some fun with other people. We don't need a teacher for that. Still I would recommend going to a really good teacher once in a while to get maximum fun out of our trombone. Its a personal choice. If young people want to go the professional route, they don't have a choice. Go to the best teachers available. They need a school where they have to learn how to get into the professional life. Its much more than just playing....


Leif
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« Reply #39 on: Aug 04, 2016, 04:23PM »

As our parents used to say, "That's different". lol With all due respect, how would you know the difference if you have never self-taught anything? Did you teach yourself how to ride your first bike? Did you teach yourself how to drive? I did - on a 1954 Willys Jeep, when my parents were out. I taught myself in the back alley. Then when my Dad took me out, I already knew how to drive a stick and he thought he did great "teaching" me. lol

I've gotta say, I don't follow.  Having said that, I fear I haven't made my point as precisely as I should have.

As I said, I've taken lessons for a few years of my adulthood, and been self-taught for many more.  When I compare a year in which I did take lessons to a year where I slaved away by myself in my basement, I am personally no less proud of what I accomplished during the year in which I took lessons.  In fact, I might be more proud of what I accomplished while taking lessons.  Not exactly case-control, but it's the best I've got to present.

Again, this is my story, and I'm more focused on the goal than the process.  YMMV.
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