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Old 04-19-2021, 05:49 PM
jschmitz54 jschmitz54 is offline
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Default Acoustic Guitar Instructor

I stopped taking lessons a while back because of some dissatisfaction with the instructor.
Iím interviewing a potential instructor and am wondering if there are any questions you would suggest I ask?
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Old 04-19-2021, 07:58 PM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is offline
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This is the kind of music I am interested in playing. Do you have a path in mind to get me to fluency in this style?
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:15 PM
spock spock is offline
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You didn't provide a great deal of information on yourself, but at the top of my list would be determining just what you want to learn and then asking the instructor if he or she is willing to agree to teach you that.

I have had instructors who wanted to teach me what they thought I should know, including theory, music style, playing style, etc, which may have been fine if I was 25 and just starting out, but at 67 time is of the essence for me and I want to tailor my lessons more to actual playing and learning songs than knowing every scale in the musical universe.

So, if you have a specific thing you want to learn, such as, blues fingerpicking without fingerpicks, no theory, and concentrated on learning specific tunes, and they are not willing to give you what you're paying for, I would look elsewhere. You can always add things in as you go, but if you are being forced to go down a road you don't want to go, you most likely will not find the experience enjoyable, and while practice can certainly be tedious, the gains resulting from it are supposed to be fun.

Now if it's just a matter of finding a personality you geehaw with and you're willing to accept whatever direction they want to go, then you may have to interview a few before you find the one that clicks with your personality.
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Old 04-19-2021, 08:27 PM
jschmitz54 jschmitz54 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spock View Post
You didn't provide a great deal of information on yourself, but at the top of my list would be determining just what you want to learn and then asking the instructor if he or she is willing to agree to teach you that.

I have had instructors who wanted to teach me what they thought I should know, including theory, music style, playing style, etc, which may have been fine if I was 25 and just starting out, but at 67 time is of the essence for me and I want to tailor my lessons more to actual playing and learning songs than knowing every scale in the musical universe.

So, if you have a specific thing you want to learn, such as, blues fingerpicking without fingerpicks, no theory, and concentrated on learning specific tunes, and they are not willing to give you what you're paying for, I would look elsewhere. You can always add things in as you go, but if you are being forced to go down a road you don't want to go, you most likely will not find the experience enjoyable, and while practice can certainly be tedious, the gains resulting from it are supposed to be fun.

Now if it's just a matter of finding a personality you geehaw with and you're willing to accept whatever direction they want to go, then you may have to interview a few before you find the one that clicks with your personality.
Thanks Spock,
You offer some good insights. Iím 66, been playing for about three years and Iíd like to play well. Itís hard to know what I want to know when I donít know about it. If that makes any sense at all.
I do understand what youíre saying though.
I guess Iíd like to play things Iím familiar with to begin so that probably means rock, folk and 1960s and 1970s. Iíve also been drawn to blues.
As far as theory I would like to understand why music works the way it does and how to improvise.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:41 PM
biotechmgr biotechmgr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschmitz54 View Post
Thanks Spock,
You offer some good insights. Iím 66, been playing for about three years and Iíd like to play well. Itís hard to know what I want to know when I donít know about it. If that makes any sense at all.
I do understand what youíre saying though.
I guess Iíd like to play things Iím familiar with to begin so that probably means rock, folk and 1960s and 1970s. Iíve also been drawn to blues.
As far as theory I would like to understand why music works the way it does and how to improvise.
I would say my journey has similarities.
Started banging through 70s songs with easier chords, with influences from fellow acoustic band members.
Hit the point of wanting to learn scales, theory, chord structures. This is when Istarted lessons and opened up the musical world.

1Bottom line if you want to improvise, learning some theory would help.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:42 PM
hatamoto hatamoto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschmitz54 View Post
Thanks Spock,
You offer some good insights. I’m 66, been playing for about three years and I’d like to play well. It’s hard to know what I want to know when I don’t know about it. If that makes any sense at all.
I do understand what you’re saying though.
I guess I’d like to play things I’m familiar with to begin so that probably means rock, folk and 1960s and 1970s. I’ve also been drawn to blues.
As far as theory I would like to understand why music works the way it does and how to improvise.

I understand what you're going through because I went through the same thing.

I agree with what everyone says. First, define your goals, then find something specific you want to learn. I think this is the most important thing. I wasted a lot of time instructor hopping because of this.

I would go bigger picture and ask them what I should expect after X amount of lessons, and what subjects will be touched upon. I might even ask what the student success rate might have been, how long the instructor has been doing this and state all your concerns and see how he/she responds. Also don't forget to ask if there's any commitment involved and what happens if you're not satisfied.

Knowledge and knowledge applied are different. The latter will take much longer, but I think this is where the fun really begins.

When all the lessons are done, I think a good teacher should be able to leave you ready to refine the skills learnt and add in your own ideas on the subject matter on your own. You should also be able to do independent learning by yourself without getting lost moving forward.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:43 PM
biotechmgr biotechmgr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschmitz54 View Post
I stopped taking lessons a while back because of some dissatisfaction with the instructor.
Iím interviewing a potential instructor and am wondering if there are any questions you would suggest I ask?
"I want to learn x and y and progress to playing z"
What would your lesson look like for this path?"
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:50 AM
NormanKliman NormanKliman is offline
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For starters, pick or fingers? Spock gave it a pretty thorough analysis, as we might expect from his username. Iíll add that, if you want to learn fingerstyle, it helps to focus on players/teachers whose hands are similar to yours. Very important if you have small or large hands; might not matter much if your hands are average or if you just want to learn the basics. Theoryís important for improvising, as biotechmgr has noted, and also for working out chords on your own.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschmitz54 View Post
I stopped taking lessons a while back because of some dissatisfaction with the instructor.
I’m interviewing a potential instructor and am wondering if there are any questions you would suggest I ask?
Hi jschmitz…

For sure I'd be thinking about asking (myself and the potential teacher) about the points over which you stopped taking lessons.

If you are just going to say to an instructor "Teach me things…" you cannot assume they have a game-plan in place to guide you somewhere rather than just teaching you 'mad skills' about music. This is why the older I get the more inclined I am to see something I want to learn and seek out a video (instructional or not) to learn what I'm interested in.

I've invited guys who do cannot teach over to our house for coffee and jammed with them to see the things they play that I'd like to learn up close. Sometimes they have never analyzed what they are doing, but it's still cool, and I want to learn it.

So you need to think about the long-range and short-range outcomes. Do you need long-term lessons, or can you learn from a number of people (variety of people) in short sessions?

As a teacher (for 40 years) I specialized in teaching/playing fingerstyle, and had a 2-3 year game plan for serious players, and a 6 months to a year for the rest. I find I was unusual. Most teachers either just teach from a book, or they seldom have a game plan which serves students well (which they can explain up front).

If I'm the one taking lessons, or going to workshops (spending money to learn things) the 'instructor' has to be a proficient player. I'm not interested in someone handing me charts or pointing me to examples. I want to learn from people who play what I was attracted to when I saw/heard them play.

I'll suggest free lessons while I'm at it. If I'm at a concert, open mic, gig etc…afterwards I'll go to the person who played something I'm interested in, and tell them I was impressed by a lick they played, and ask if they will play it for me again. I've never been turned down in 30 years. Now days I ask while they are getting the guitar if I can video it. Never been turned down on that either. FREE lessons. Some of these folks charge $100 for a lesson (online), so a free lesson is worth something to me. And it allows me to see up close and ask a question or two.




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Last edited by ljguitar; 04-20-2021 at 06:46 AM. Reason: It was 6:30am and I needed to clarify things which I muddled…
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:40 AM
jschmitz54 jschmitz54 is offline
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ďAs a teacher (for 40 years) I specialized in teaching/playing fingerstyle, and had a 2-3 year game plan for serious players, and a 6 months to a year for the rest.Ē End Quote.

This was my problem with my former instructor. I could never divine a game plan. He had his own method didnít teach scales said it was unnecessary and that in time everything would make sense.
Iíd question him from time to time about where we were headed but it was always it will make sense in time. His follow through on things he promised to do was dismal. He said he would email me a song or a practice sheet and more than not Iíd be calling him to do what he said heíd do but didnít.
I left for a few months for the winter and emailed him about resuming lessons upon return he replied heíd get back to me in a few days and I never heard from him again. At that point I figured his commitment to me as a student was less than my commitment to learn. For a year or so I just learned songs online but felt I was just treading water so to speak.
Iíd really like to learn how to play well and understand what it is Iím doing beside playing chords and notes.
Thank you for your reply.
John
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:36 AM
davidbeinct davidbeinct is offline
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I have to say unfortunately it doesnít seem like a lot of instructors have a game plan. If you donít feel like the person you talk to is a good fit this gentleman has a couple good reviews:
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...64&postcount=3
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:41 PM
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I have to say unfortunately it doesnít seem like a lot of instructors have a game plan.
Hi david

I agreeÖmany guitar teachers I've observed have no game plan - short or long. Or they just teach songs they have written, or arranged. It was often a way to pickup extra cash with little or no preparation.

It's likely a reflection of how they themselves were taught to play. My goal was to have students understand what they were learning, and to shorten the time they accomplished it in.

The things I dug out on my own, learned improperly and corrected over decades was easily condensed into a couple years.





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  #13  
Old 04-20-2021, 05:17 PM
PeterM PeterM is offline
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Please do not flame me here...

I have gone a different direction.
I have had several instructors in the past 5 years or so. All good players, not all good teachers. 2 went on with their band to some success, so no time to teach. Good for them.

I had another who I really really liked. Versatile, good player. Getting up in years. Was having hearing difficulties, one of his guitars had such bad intonation I could not take it.

I found a new person where I asked for a specific direction. Worked out great. We have gone off on many different directions...of course my ADHD does that to me.
Been about 8 months now.

My suggestion is to for a personality bond. Remember, these folks can all PLAY.
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