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I have changed my mind about the oft-repeated, good-intentioned recommendation to "Get a Teacher!" I used to subscribe to the idea that the ONLY way to learn piano properly, or any other instrument for that matter, was to get a teacher. I've softened my stance on that now.

First off, let me say that I have 3 music teachers at the moment, one for piano, one for saxophone, and one for classical guitar. They are now all giving lessons virtually but during non-pandemic days, they are normally in-person, one-on-one. So, I'm definitely PRO-teacher, no question about that. Every lesson, I get taught nuggets of useful and important info that improves my playing. Feedback is so dang helpful.

So, why the change in view, you might ask? I am working full-time from home now, and have since March. And I am bored out of my mind! I started piano and sax prior to the pandemic, and picked up the classical guitar as my "pandemic instrument", knowing full well that it is my 3rd priority, behind piano and sax.

Unfortunately, I'm not getting on with classical guitar like I thought I would and am quite frustrated with it at the moment. But in an effort to support my teacher through this tough time, I decided to stick with it for a couple more months and then decide to give it up or not when the pandemic's done. I found out he lost a significant number of students when the pandemic hit and I felt it was the least I could do to help a musician.

So, in that frustrated frame of mind, I started to develop an itch for yet another instrument. I decided I wanted to learn to play the violin and over a couple of weeks, I went from renting a violin "to try it out, nothing serious", to buying a very decent student-level violin!

I'm sure there are people who will call me crazy for trying to learn 4 instruments at the same time, and I would wholeheartedly agree with those people! I am crazy! But in all that craziness, I am also having a great time, keeping my mind and fingers active and my mood up in this very stressful and sad time. In effect, I'm using the violin (and piano, sax, and guitar) to stay sane. So, I have no regrets.

However, although I would love to support yet another teacher, I simply couldn't justify it financially. So, what to do, what to do? I finally decided to take the plunge and self-learn the violin. I will be doing this with books and online violin courses. I will also be subscribing to an online learning site with the possibility of video exchanges, similar to Artistworks. All this will cost much less compared with a teacher. And so far, so good. Things are working out, and I am enjoying myself, which really is the ultimate goal at the moment. Will I eventually get a violin teacher? Most likely, if I take to the violin like I hope I will. I am getting on with it much more than the classical guitar!

The point of this long story? I was quite surprised that given different circumstances, how my mind has changed about the concept of "get a teacher". I would encourage all those out there who are unable to pay for a teacher at the moment for whatever reason, not to get discouraged. Just do it! There are plenty of good books and online resources that can help you along on your learning journey for little or no cost. It's ok not to have a teacher. It's not as taboo as you would think. At the end of the day, most of us are not really trying to become a concert instrumentalist anyway. We are just trying to learn an instrument for ourselves, as a hobby, to keep our minds and fingers active, to have something to enjoy, to have something to get our minds off the pandemic and its consequences, even if it's only for an hour a day.

Stay sane and stay safe!

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 11/24/20 01:31 PM.

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I never thought that having a teacher permanently was mandatory, except for those advanced pianists who needs a coach rather than a teacher. It is very usefull in the first months. After that i think it depends on the ability of the person to learn on their own. But that said, you have opened a hot topic !

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I have changed my mind about the oft-repeated, good-intentioned recommendation to "Get a Teacher!" I used to subscribe to the idea that the ONLY way to learn piano properly, or any other instrument for that matter, was to get a teacher. I've softened my stance on that now.
Like so many things that require learning, it depends on what you're looking to achieve.

It never crossed my mind, for example, to have a teacher for guitar, or ocarina, or harmonica.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I have changed my mind about the oft-repeated, good-intentioned recommendation to "Get a Teacher!" I used to subscribe to the idea that the ONLY way to learn piano properly, or any other instrument for that matter, was to get a teacher. I've softened my stance on that now.
Like so many things that require learning, it depends on what you're looking to achieve.

It never crossed my mind, for example, to have a teacher for guitar, or ocarina, or harmonica.

Well, let me tell you about my classical guitar learning experience. At every lesson for the first couple of lessons, I was doing something seriously wrong, all posture-related. While I was glad my teacher pointed them out, and I have since corrected the posture issues, I came right out and told him I wanted to grab my guitar by the neck and smash it against a wall. That was how frustrated I was with it and how much a teacher was truly needed, to steer me in the right direction.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I never thought that having a teacher permanently was mandatory, except for those advanced pianists who needs a coach rather than a teacher. It is very usefull in the first months. After that i think it depends on the ability of the person to learn on their own. But that said, you have opened a hot topic !

Hot topic? Maybe so but it doesn't have to be if people keep an open mind.


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WLH - I am seriously jealous! If I had the free time, I would love to be doing music all day. Theory, ear training, and probably 4-5 different instruments. smile

Personally, I probably wouldn't want to tackle learning any brand new instrument without getting tips from a teacher on the basics at least. I do hope one day I won't feel the need to work with a teacher for piano, at least not on a regular basis, but I'm not there yet.

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Originally Posted by JB_PW
WLH - I am seriously jealous! If I had the free time, I would love to be doing music all day. Theory, ear training, and probably 4-5 different instruments. smile

Personally, I probably wouldn't want to tackle learning any brand new instrument without getting tips from a teacher on the basics at least. I do hope one day I won't feel the need to work with a teacher for piano, at least not on a regular basis, but I'm not there yet.

Yes, time is working against all of us! The work-from-home mandate has freed up 3 hours of commuting time for me. Just making use of that extra time.

I would also have preferred to learn a new instrument (especially violin) with a teacher but unfortunately, finances are limited and must be prioritized! 😉


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I tried the recorder for three months but gave up as mentally I didn’t have enough left after piano sessions

Last edited by Wayne2467; 11/24/20 02:52 PM.
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, let me tell you about my classical guitar learning experience. At every lesson for the first couple of lessons, I was doing something seriously wrong, all posture-related. While I was glad my teacher pointed them out, and I have since corrected the posture issues, I came right out and told him I wanted to grab my guitar by the neck and smash it against a wall.

You are more dedicated than I am. Every time I pick up the guitar, I quickly get frustrated because I can NEVER make a chord without touching too many strings. Ten minutes of fooling around with the guitar makes the piano seem much more inviting and pleasant!

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Originally Posted by Pau Gasol
Ten minutes of fooling around with the guitar makes the piano seem much more inviting and pleasant!

I had the same feeling! Getting back on the piano was so “refreshing” - aaahhhhhh.


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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
I tried the recorder for three months but gave up as mentally I didn’t have enough left after piano sessions

I don’t do more than an hour, an hour and a half of piano practice a day. Of all the instruments I’m learning, piano tires my brain the most. But if I go onto another instrument, it’s like another part of the brain is used, and I start fresh. It’s weird.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 11/24/20 03:14 PM.

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, let me tell you about my classical guitar learning experience. At every lesson for the first couple of lessons, I was doing something seriously wrong, all posture-related. While I was glad my teacher pointed them out, and I have since corrected the posture issues, I came right out and told him I wanted to grab my guitar by the neck and smash it against a wall. That was how frustrated I was with it and how much a teacher was truly needed, to steer me in the right direction.
You're definitely right to get a teacher for classical guitar.

Under different circumstances - for instance, if I'd spent my childhood in the UK (where I live now) and had watched Julian Bream and John Williams playing stuff like Asturias and Recuerdos de la Alhambra on TV, I'd have started learning classical guitar with a teacher (programs like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jXGDddSHcI )

But I was living in a tiny country where the only classical music teachers were piano teachers, and no-one heard of guitar being used for anything else but pop, and I'd watched relatives singing pop songs accompanying themselves on guitar (which they learnt from song books). So, that was all I thought guitar was used for, and that was the only reason for me to learn to 'play' it. By the time I knew of classical guitar, I'd acquired so many bad habits that it didn't seem to me worth the effort to re-learn guitar properly to be able to play the tiny amount of classical music in the guitar rep.......especially as I was already quite adept at playing chords on guitar by ear, and could easily accompany myself singing most pop songs in any of several keys. (Of course, I also tried to hack my way through Recuerdos et al with the same success as chimp would.....)

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, let me tell you about my classical guitar learning experience. At every lesson for the first couple of lessons, I was doing something seriously wrong, all posture-related. While I was glad my teacher pointed them out, and I have since corrected the posture issues, I came right out and told him I wanted to grab my guitar by the neck and smash it against a wall. That was how frustrated I was with it and how much a teacher was truly needed, to steer me in the right direction.
You're definitely right to get a teacher for classical guitar.

Under different circumstances - for instance, if I'd spent my childhood in the UK (where I live now) and had watched Julian Bream and John Williams playing stuff like Asturias and Recuerdos de la Alhambra on TV, I'd have started learning classical guitar with a teacher (programs like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jXGDddSHcI )

But I was living in a tiny country where the only classical music teachers were piano teachers, and no-one heard of guitar being used for anything else but pop, and I'd watched relatives singing pop songs accompanying themselves on guitar (which they learnt from song books). So, that was all I thought guitar was used for, and that was the only reason for me to learn to 'play' it. By the time I knew of classical guitar, I'd acquired so many bad habits that it didn't seem to me worth the effort to re-learn guitar properly to be able to play the tiny amount of classical music in the guitar rep.......especially as I was already quite adept at playing chords on guitar by ear, and could easily accompany myself singing most pop songs in any of several keys. (Of course, I also tried to hack my way through Recuerdos et al with the same success as chimp would.....)

Well, I too hadn't realized that classical guitar existed until not too long ago, so you're not alone. It's not a very popular medium I would say and has a limited repertoire indeed.


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WeakLeftHand --- since you're doing violin on your own:

I highly recommend the Coursera course "Teaching the violin and viola; creating a healthy foundation" Here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/teach-violin-lessons

With violin, the foundation is really important. I got messed up on that front - and that was with a teacher. The course is meant for teachers, but when I took it, I noticed a couple of people who were students, and even a parent living in some remote area where there were no teachers.

In Artistworks - Darol Anger - it's "fiddle" by name, but he has technique bar none, and he teaches it in a way I really like. For example: instead of telling students that they must have their bow stay on "this precise sounding point", with "this optimum weight" and "this optimum speed" - he has students experiment with the three things that make up sound, and discover all the weird and amazing sounds you can produce: like a kid playing in a mud puddle with all that abandon. That's for beginners. I wish I'd known that.

Classical guitar - I "self-taught" as a teen. I'm sure I did everything wrong. No Internet then. No access to teachers where I was.

Enjoy!

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Originally Posted by keystring
WeakLeftHand --- since you're doing violin on your own:

I highly recommend the Coursera course "Teaching the violin and viola; creating a healthy foundation" Here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/teach-violin-lessons

With violin, the foundation is really important. I got messed up on that front - and that was with a teacher. The course is meant for teachers, but when I took it, I noticed a couple of people who were students, and even a parent living in some remote area where there were no teachers.

In Artistworks - Darol Anger - it's "fiddle" by name, but he has technique bar none, and he teaches it in a way I really like. For example: instead of telling students that they must have their bow stay on "this precise sounding point", with "this optimum weight" and "this optimum speed" - he has students experiment with the three things that make up sound, and discover all the weird and amazing sounds you can produce: like a kid playing in a mud puddle with all that abandon. That's for beginners. I wish I'd known that.

Classical guitar - I "self-taught" as a teen. I'm sure I did everything wrong. No Internet then. No access to teachers where I was.

Enjoy!

Thanks for the pointers, keystring. I will need a lot of resources since I'm going it alone for a while. Much appreciated!


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Without a teacher you either get no corrections/comments/feedback on your playing or, I assume, minimal comments if feedback is included as part of an online course. I can't imagine that one receives the typical one hour of feedback one would get in a weekly private lessons even if "feedback" is included in an online course.

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The only feed back I get is from the teacher- I envy people who are/were brought up in musical families

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Without a teacher you either get no corrections/comments/feedback on your playing or, I assume, minimal comments if feedback is included as part of an online course. I can't imagine that one receives the typical one hour of feedback one would get in a weekly private lessons even if "feedback" is included in an online course.

No, it’s not the same amount of feedback as a one hour weekly lesson with a teacher in person. I’m well aware of the benefits of in-person lessons with a teacher. There’s no argument there. But that’s not really the point. The point is, in a situation where a private teacher is not accessible for whatever reason, one makes due with what they can get. And for me at the moment, it’s video exchange. My understanding is that we are asked to limit our videos to 15 minutes or 20, depending on the package, and the instructor will reply via video. I haven’t submitted any yet so I don’t know how long her feedback video is.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 11/24/20 07:32 PM.

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Originally Posted by Wayne2467
I envy people who are/were brought up in musical families

Me neither so you’re definitely not alone.


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Good to be open to other ways of learning and that's awesome you can learn that many at once! And I will also add I think we can do away with the "ask your teacher" reply too. laugh laugh laugh

Last edited by Sebs; 11/24/20 08:12 PM.
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