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#1601141 - 01/19/11 10:59 PM Concerned about Teachers approach???  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 109
hoffy Offline
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hoffy  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 109
Adelaide, Australia
OK, I have had two lessons with my new teacher. When I saw him for the first time, the brief was simple. As a returning learning, I said that my goal is to move away from classical leanings and more into Jazz, contemporary music, including and ultimately improv. I also said that I would go back steps if needed and would do method learning if required. The first lesson was talking, a bit of playing and a bit of listening, including different styles on his iPod and him showing me what he could do. For me, it was a perfect intro and pretty much what I expected. He said that I really needed to nail down the styles that I liked. He also said that doing something like Alfred's may be a bit boring and maybe not required.

For the second lesson, we jumped into the deep end. He showed me a few basic cords and we leapt straight into the Hancock tune "Watermelon Man". The idea was for me to play basic shell Cords and start to feel the tempo, which will lead into improv. We also covered a piece that I had been playing and also talked about what I could do next. Apart from the Hancock piece, he had nothing else planned.

Now, I have to admit, that I am only two lessons in, but I feel a little uneasy about it. I am not sure whether this is a case of learning EXACTLY what I asked for (cords/ improv/ playing from lead sheets) and I just don't know it yet, but is this something I could expect (based on my initial spec)? How long would you give it before deciding Whether I need a different tutor? Should I be trialling someone different NOW (there is another tutor in my area who does Jazz).

Cheers


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#1601155 - 01/19/11 11:12 PM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Apr 2010
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Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Virginia, USA
While it's a little more vague than I'm used to, I would still suggest giving it a couple more lessons. Two is kind of difficult to base any decision on I would say.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
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#1601168 - 01/19/11 11:29 PM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Sep 2006
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rocket88 Offline
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rocket88  Offline
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Originally Posted by hoffy

Now, I have to admit, that I am only two lessons in, but I feel a little uneasy about it. I am not sure whether this is a case of learning EXACTLY what I asked for (cords/ improv/ playing from lead sheets) and I just don't know it yet, but is this something I could expect (based on my initial spec)? How long would you give it before deciding Whether I need a different tutor? Should I be trialling someone different NOW (there is another tutor in my area who does Jazz).

Cheers


I think you are premature in your feelings.

First, it takes a while for a teacher to understand a student, which includes what they know, what they don't know, how fast they learn, what style of learning is best, will they practice, will they practice correctly, etc, etc.

Two weeks is early in the process.

Second, students such as yourself present a somewhat difficult task for a teacher, for at least two reasons.

The first is you are not a brand-new student, so the teacher does not have the luxury of starting off at the beginning. Instead, he/she must play the part of a detective, and discover what you know, and what you don't, and try to fix bad habits all the while keeping you interested long enough to have fruitful progress so you don't quit before the cake is ready to come out of the oven.

Second, you are wanting to:

Quote
move away from classical leanings and more into Jazz, contemporary music, including and ultimately improv.


This means that the teacher does not have the method books to teach you the "traditional" classical way.

Thus, for music other than classical, and especially for improv, it is a "lets explore this together" journey rather than teach step by step from a standardized method book.

I have been down this path with numerous students, and it has taken as much as several months before we settle in, and I learn the person's weakness, try to fill in the gaps, and then finally move on to forward motion in the relatively uncharted waters (compared to classical) of pop, blues (I don't teach modern Jazz,) lead sheets, and improv.

What he did with Watermelon Man with you is exactly what I would do to see where you are, and how you respond. Plus, that choice of music fits in exactly with what you asked for. I don't get your problem.

I suggest that you work real hard, and see where you are in three months, if you are making decent progress.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1601175 - 01/19/11 11:48 PM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 737
Chris G Offline
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Chris G  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 737
Portland, Oregon
I think you should give it some more time. If you are used to a teacher who has a very structured approach, uses a method book and gives set assignments every week it probably feels strange to take lessons from someone who is less structured. I've had both kinds of teacher and I prefer a teacher who is flexible, I'm sure there are other students who need more structure. I would not give up so early on this teacher because two weeks is not a lot of time to learn much about jazz chords and improvisation.

Last edited by Chris G; 01/19/11 11:50 PM.
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#1601182 - 01/19/11 11:58 PM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,313
custard apple Offline
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custard apple  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 2,313
Sydney
I agree with the above posts especially rocket's suggestion to give the teacher 3 months. That's what I did with my former jazz teacher.

The good thing is that he is already giving you tunes, so that you're learning the chords in context.

#1601212 - 01/20/11 01:48 AM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,364
jotur Offline
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jotur  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,364
Santa Fe, NM
It sounds to me like exactly what you wanted, but what do I know? rocket88 is the experienced one here, and I'd take what he has to say to heart. But "shell voicings" and feeling the tempo sounds like the jazz thread here in the ABF. And it's a tune you like, no? So, as I say, it sounds exactly right to me.

JMO, and it's worth about 2 cents, but there you go laugh

Cathy


Cathy
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Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous
#1601217 - 01/20/11 02:01 AM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,101
ll Offline
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ll  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,101
Like jotur, I'm confused...

Your complaint is that... you're doing exactly what you want to do?

Huh. Wish I had that problem! wink

Stick with it a bit longer, like everyone suggested. You'll get a better feel after a few more weeks.


II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.
#1601320 - 01/20/11 08:25 AM Re: Concerned about Teachers approach??? [Re: hoffy]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 109
hoffy Offline
Full Member
hoffy  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 109
Adelaide, Australia
Thanks everyone. Yes, I have to admit that this teaching method is not what I would normally expect. I suppose I have been conditioned into a more stricter regimented way of learning, that I was concerned that I could be being led up the garden path.

I just wanted to check that this didn't seem abnormal in general. I already feel a bit more at ease.

Cheers


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