View Full Version : Why do I need a teacher???

04-01-2003, 06:12 PM
first of all; lemme explain something. Even though the headline seems a bit arrogant, it's not ment that way.
But lately I've started thinkin' ("wow, awesome, dude...") about the value of having a teacher. I know Tom Hess has written an article about this subject on ibreathe, and I think also Jamey did so. But anyway: I think I've come to this point where I see that I'm learning out of own motivation, I find most of the material by myself, and have a pretty good "practice-attitude".
So here's the question once again: Why would I need a teacher? What is a teacher's job? (I have one now, and he's helped me to reach the point where I'm "independent")

Any thoughts?

04-01-2003, 06:36 PM
Well, first of all, for some it works best to have a teacher first, in the beginning, to help them kinda "jump-start". Later, they donīt need one anymore.
The thing is though: a teacher can help you to get new ideas, to explore new areas. Also, he / she might be able to "force" you a bit to work on stuff you need to work on... letīs say you donīt realize ( or donīt WANNA realize ) that you lack a feel for the timing, for rhythm.
Well, a good teacher can kinda make you work on that, pointing out that you need to work on it, and hopefully provide some "custom-made for you" exercises to do so.

I think that you should have a teacher especially when you start playing, so you can SEE how something is done. I could write bunches of articles about picking, floating hand etc., but it would be way easier and more helpful if people could SEE what it looks like ( yeah, weīre thinking about a video ).
Also, a teacher can take a close look at your playing an dpoint out if you are doing something "wrong" or if your way of playing lacks efficiency and / or accuracy when playing certain things.

If you are convinced that you donīt need a teacher anymore, if you are motivated and are sure that your technique is rather proper and accurate, it might be best for you to go on on your own... you can later return to taking lessons if you feel like it.
But remember, a teacher can show you things way better than books or internet articles can, and he can see what YOU are doing...

04-01-2003, 06:54 PM
I can agree on that. Really didn't mean to sound arrogant. Do you have a teacher?

04-01-2003, 07:08 PM
You didnīt sound arrogant. I was just giving away my opinion.

Nah, donīt have a teacher right now. After leaving the GIT, I didnīt take lessons anymore... ( ok, I went to see some workshops ).
At the GIT, I was taught a lot of cool stuff thatīll keep me busy for eons, and I also learned alot about practicing etc.
I still practice a bunch, and I also like to pick out licks from songs I dig. And jamming with guys like Thorsten always gives me new ideas and motivation.

04-01-2003, 07:37 PM
I feel it is a personal choice.

I played for years all self taught, and then decided to take lessons. The main thing I got out of taking lessons, was that I became more disciplined when it came to practicing. Since I was paying for my lessons, I made sure that I practiced, so that I wasn't wasting my money. The other thing, was that this teacher got me practicing all the stuff in a progressive manner that made sense. Prior to that, I would play a bit of this, a bit of that, etc, and I felt that I was learning bits and pieces, as opposed to the whole thing.

However, it got to a point, where I stopped, because I felt that I got what I needed, and did not feel the need for more lessons.

Bongo Boy
04-02-2003, 05:11 AM
...maybe 'teacher' conveys the wrong perspective. For me, the concept 'teacher' suggests' a one-way communication--from teacher to student--that's because 'education' as I know it in America (I resisted the 'k', aren't you proud of me?) is so horribly dorked-up.

Maybe a more effective idea is that of mentor or coach. If you're really out there, then the idea of shaman may be appealing. ;) I'd prefer someone who, rather than 'showing me how', breaks my head and makes me find a way.

God's taken my logic for a ride. (Ziggy Stardust)
I get all my good guidance from Ziggy, but that's another story altogether. Eric's comments are, to me, really insightful. What he suggests is that a teacher has the skills needed to get us to improve our abilities to self-inspect. For example, it might be hard for a person to see (and believe) that they really DO have no sense of rythym. A good coach might be able to do that--and THAT means they can get under our defenses. Can you imagine how hard that is to do? How willing are any of us to believe we suck at something? No...I'm talking about believing it. Think you can do that? It HURTS, unless you have no ego at all. And that's crap, IMO.

04-02-2003, 06:01 AM
Why would I need a teacher? What is a teacher's job?

That's a question that I've thought about quite a bit. After awhile there's not much use for the "average" guitar instructor. There gets to be a point where a guitar student thinks stuff like: my chops are fairly advanced, my ears are well trained, my improv skills are decent, and so on. What can this teacher show me?

Maybe he can't show you anything else!

There comes a time when you reach a plateau with an instructor and you don't advance. I believe in ending the lessons and figuring out where to go from there. It may be self-studies for a year or two, and then go back to the instructor with a fresh perspective. Or maybe you'll go find an instructor with an entirely different approach.

For me, a teacher's job would be to show me a new style of playing. I don't know much about country guitar or bluegrass techniques, but I would like to learn that stuff someday. When I finally make the commitment to learn those styles, I'll probably find a teacher to help me with the basic techniques for a few months. (Just listen to Albert Lee for 2 minutes and you'll wonder what planet he's from)

04-02-2003, 01:20 PM
It is all about what you want to learn.
In the city where I usually live (Nashville), there are hundreds of fantastic players. You could learn any style you want from these guys. Basically I believe the role is more like mentor or spiritual guide ( maybe epiphany guide). If you are lucky enough to find some one or several people who can constantly show you new and different ways to look at things, you will have found the ideal guide. New ideas about technique or approaches is the real key.

I beleive this site, when it is at its best, is a good source for new and different ideas.

04-02-2003, 02:16 PM
You guys get me thinking! :D OK, I know this teacher that I used to have lessons with two years ago, and he's quite old (OK, so now I insulted all the guys at 50-55 here! :p) and has a great deal of experience, and is WAY beyond me!
Maybe I should call him one day...
The teacher I have now is about 35 years, and are the kind of overall guitarist who plays allmost everything, and he's really good, but he's not a specialist on any specific area, and I believe that's what I need right now: To focus on one genre.

04-02-2003, 04:51 PM
I've taught myself, took one class after playing for a year and a half, but it was taught through my high school so it wasn't one on one by any means and we couldn't get too advanced because we had to keep up with the slowest learners, I wasn't by far the best in the class, but I could've gone farther if I was let to, that class is actually where I mete two of the members of my second band, first actual serious one. But let me tell you, if I had the knowledge of a good teacher in the area and I had the money and time resources, I'd be in with a teacher just to expand my talents as not only a guitar player, but a musician in general.

04-02-2003, 06:31 PM
I don't think I could use a teacher. I s'pose cuz I have this aversion to authority figures... I don't like people telling me what to do. I do think an advantage of having a teacher though is having the pressure of knowing that you have to (to one degree or another) live up to someone else's expectations. What I mean is, for example, if they say, "I want you to have 'X' perfected by the next time we meet", I think you are more likely to do it than if you set a goal for yourself of having 'X' perfected by a certain time. That's the way it works with me at least. I reckon what I'm trying to say is that if you're weak in the self-discipline department, then a teacher can be a help to you (you, not me :D).