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RDW
04-25-2002, 10:03 PM
Hi,
I'll see if I can explaine my question. Could you tell me the
difference in private lessons as opposed to music colleges. I've taken private lessons learning theory and have started classical finger picking and reading music. But through all of this it seems people that go to say, Berkley School of Music or GIT come out with a knowledge of how to play and apply the theory better than people with private lessons. Is it the difference between a 30 minute lesson as opposed to being in a class all day? Better teachers? What do they teach at Berkley I might not be getting? Although I know you don't know what I'm getting. It just seems music school graduates have more understanding. If I make any sense could you attempt to answer this question?
Thanks,
Dewayne

EricV
04-25-2002, 11:07 PM
Hi Dewayne,

well, I am sure Gunharth can elaborate on attending Berklee. I graduated at GIT, and I get a lot of questions about studying there. So, here are some points that stand out ad might answer your questions:
- The time I spent there was FILLED with music. That means, I spent almost all day with a guitar in hand. Attending classes, jamming, practising for hours, performing. So youīre really focussed. Once ou spend that much time with the guitar, you tend to enter realms youīve never entered before in your playing / practising
- There were a lot of great teachers, with different approaches to teaching, and you have both classes together with other students as well as private instructions. That keeps your attention level high.
I also was able to pick up some stuff from other students, some of them played amazing stuff
- That brings me to another point... when youīre at a school such as Berklee or the GIT, youīre surrounded by bunches of awesome players, great instructors etc. That really motivates you, and there usually are new musical impressions each day. You walk down the hall and there is someone playing stuff you never saw before, and it makes you wanna run home and learn that.
You can certainly get one private instructor, plus dozens of books, videos and other instructional material, but itīs tough to simulate a musical, inspiring surrounding like that.

- Also, there often were occasions to jam and perform, like i.e. getting a bassist from the BIT, and a drummer from the PIT, then jam for hours. I always tried to jam with players that were way better than me, that always kept me on my toes and gave me new impressions and a lot of motivation to work harder.

So, added to the fact that you have lots of different, cool instructors, you have an extremely motivating surrounding and a lot of chances to actually USE the stuff youīre working on ( which is the step it takes to turn it into actual musical information, stuff you can use... otherwise itīs just a bunch of stuff you know... you gotta apply what you learn in actual music )
Youīre pushed to work hard, and there is a lot of stuff discover throughout a time where you completely focus on music.

One thing about private instructors, though: if theyīre good and donīt have gazillion of students, they usually are able to focus on you as an individual way better. They usually know what you want to learn and where you are right now, so they can kinda customize the content of the lessons, which is more effective for you... if theyīre good teachers, that is...

Anyway, I hope you found this interesting, of course thatīs just my opinion. Iīm looking forward to hear other graduates of Berklee and / or GIT submit their opinion
Warm regards
Eric

RDW
04-26-2002, 06:56 PM
Thanks Eric for the lengthy reply. That was great. Seeing how Im pushing 40 I don't see much opportunity to go to a school like GIT
or the like. Maybe I can get the parents to send me to school. Im ready to study now!(Just joking.):D . It would be nice to have other good players in my area to learn from. If anyone else has private or music school experiences lets hear your comments.

Guni
04-26-2002, 07:34 PM
Eric, you really hit the spot. I think you included all of the points that make such a school worthwhile attending. Let me just add some personal notes.

It took me 3 years to get through Berklee and now, 5 years after, I have to say that this was the best experience I've ever had, not only in Music terms but for all the other stuff I am doing now as a result.

Berklee is like an apple tree and next to mandatory courses that you have to go through, you pick the apples that you are interested in in order to get enough credits together for graduation. There are also a lot of courses on offer that I never thought of taking, which turned out to be quite interesting, eg Entrepreneurship or basic keyboard for non pianists.

3 years are a long time and a lot can happen inbetween - musically I changed through those massive influences that I was exposed to. After 1 1/2 years I decided to do a lot of arranging classes, ie writing for small ensemble, big band, etc ...... as I thought that I will never again have the chance of doing such stuff. And where in the world do you have a bigband to try out ya arrangements!. Oh yeah, and the Berklee Library - what a treasure - sometimes I spent a whole day in there just listening to one CD after another - artists whose cd's I would never buy nor had ever even heard of before.

I also attended some classes in business and computers. This was very vital for everything that was to come afterwards. I lived together with 2 other crazy guys just accross from Berklee, so we really more or less lived in that school - day in -day out. This was for sure the most musical intensive time ever.

What I wanna say is that in private lessons you more or less determine the where the lesson is going to, whereas at such a school you are forced to study loads of stuff, even things you maybe aren't interested in but which in the long run are very helpful.

One thing we all had to cope with was the info flood, knowing that you are not able to work on all of the material that we are tought. This was sometimes depressing as you had the feeling of being stuck and you were torn apart by what to practice next .... (Thank god for the pitchers at TC Lounge :D

And there are some other issues as with all bureaucratic institutions .......... :D

But all in all I am thankful that I did have the opportunity to study at Berklee, and I'd do it again without hesitation.

Hope this helps answer your question :D

Guni

TaikaJim
04-27-2002, 10:22 AM
There are a lot of BAD private teachers out there. When i say bad i dont mean they are bad players. They might be good players but their teaching methods are utter crap. Good teacher is someone who cares about his/her student and wants to help them to get better. My teacher is a Berkley graduate and overall a very cool guy. Ive have learned a lot from him. And even though he has a lot of students, he can give the dedication to all of his students equally.

Guni
04-27-2002, 10:39 AM
Good Point.

Good player doesn't automatically mean good teacher and vice versa. Is the same for private lessons and schools.

Guni

EricV
04-27-2002, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by TaikaJim
There are a lot of BAD private teachers out there. When i say bad i dont mean they are bad players. They might be good players but their teaching methods are utter crap. Good teacher is someone who cares about his/her student and wants to help them to get better. My teacher is a Berkley graduate and overall a very cool guy. Ive have learned a lot from him. And even though he has a lot of students, he can give the dedication to all of his students equally.

Yo, I agree. I often have my doubts when I hear of teachers who teach like 70 students or so. I mean, there must be something about them that they attract so many students, and there sure are some who are awesome instructors, but I have heard of some who canīt even remember the names of all those students. So how would they be able to remember what they taught them already, or what they know about a students preferences ?
For a while I was teaching in a town where the numbers of students I taught increased every week... I figured out quickly that most of the new students quit their lessons with another local teacher... that guy taught about 40 students a week, and he taught every students the same stuff, like with a curriculum.

There might be good points about that, but if I see a students who really is eager to learn how to play the stuff about his favorite rock band, and for a year or two he has to learn all jazz-standards, I kinda can understand when those students quit.

I mean, it of course is very important to learn the basics and all that, but I believe ( and I go that way when I teach ) that you can teach those too by showing a student songs he wants to learn...
He / she certainly needs to bring some motivation, but I also think that the teacher has to do some stuff too do motivate them...
So if there is someone who just got himself an electric guitar and wants to learn his favorite Metallica-songs, then I try to teach him / her some Metallica-stuff, while also trying to teach him the basics based on that ( or split up the lessons to teach both )... that way, it is more fun for the student.
It sure is more work for an instructor to do it that way, but I think it also is more enjoyable for both that way, and I do feel better when I see that a student has fun...
Just my opinion though.
Sorry if I got too long-winded
Warm regards
Eric

RDW
04-29-2002, 01:26 PM
There might be good points about that, but if I see a students who really is eager to learn how to play the stuff about his favorite rock band, and for a year or two he has to learn all jazz-standards, I kinda can understand when those students quit.

Eric, you hit the nail on the head with that statement. I started last month with a guy that teaches classical fingerpicking and reading music. He tells me I'll learn theory, because thats what I asked for in the beginning but, we have to go through this book and that book first. I'm not a classical player! I'm more blues and rock. I just don't like to be baited into lessons and then steer me in another direction. I might not last here either. Although, I may continue learning to read music, on my own. Back to the old rock teacher I guess. Thanks for the replies.
Dewayne

EricV
04-29-2002, 02:06 PM
Hi Dewayne...

Yeah I see that happening a lot.... good point
Again: I am not gonna say anything against a thorough teaching method, learning all the basics etc.
But I think in most cases, the teacher should try to understand what a student tries to say.
An example: I do have a student who is in the early 30īs. Heīs got a wife and a small child. He wants to learn some chords and songs, so he can jam with some friends etc.
And I really think thatīs cool ( I met a lot of people who were like "Man, Iīm almost that and that old, I wonīt get anywhere anymore with the guitar, so it wouldnt make sense to try to learn how to play..." I honestly disagree with that, but thatīs another story ).
Anyway, what I always try to remember is that that student of mine has other priorities. I mean, I make a living with music, and I consider it fun to sit down and practise for hours, I studied all the basics, theory etc.
But that does not mean that he can or wants to do the same thing. He has got a wife and a kid he wants to spend time with, he has got a dayjob... so he ainīt got several hours every day to sit down and practise hexaphonic scales, play his way through the fakebook and transcribe dozens of solos... but he wants to learn how to play some songs, and itīs fun to him.
So I try to teach him exactly what he wants, while still teaching him some basics and theory that he might really consider helpful.
Some people might disagree... but I found out that it works that way and is satisfying to both me and the student...
Eric