New teacher advice

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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kmurdick
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Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:48 pm

Re: New teacher advice

Post by kmurdick » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:50 pm

Guitar Nut says, "The middle joint I have almost no control over and I don't seem to be able to move it independently from the base and tip joints, and even at its most extreme movement it's only a few degrees."

The middle joint doesn't move much, it mainly provides support.

dtoh
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by dtoh » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:23 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:36 pm
I would say that the middle joint only moves about 10 degrees.
The ROM on the middle joint varies tremendously by person. It's typically between 30 and 45 degrees but there are quite a few people who have 90 degree ROM in this joint.

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prawnheed
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by prawnheed » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:38 pm

dtoh wrote:
Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:23 pm
kmurdick wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:36 pm
I would say that the middle joint only moves about 10 degrees.
The ROM on the middle joint varies tremendously by person. It's typically between 30 and 45 degrees but there are quite a few people who have 90 degree ROM in this joint.
To back this up, my left thumb I can independently move through very close to 90 degrees and a bit more if I put pressure on it. My right thumb, on the other hand (obviously) only move through about 20 degrees and even then only when I close the first joint - I can't move it independently at all.

I am right handed, never had any major injuries to either thumb.

Todd Tipton
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Todd Tipton » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:42 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:19 pm
Since you’re in the process of choosing a teacher, this might be helpful:

http://www.pooretom.com/choosingateacher.html

By the way, I see no red flags regarding the advice your teacher is giving you. That said, I’m loath to second-guess someone else’s teacher, particularly when that teacher is working directly with the student and I’m not.

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
I second this advice.

The first thing a student of mine learns to play is a free stroke with the right hand thumb. Before a student does that, I have them do a simple exercise: Hold out your right hand with the palm facing up. Allow your thumb to touch your pinky a few times. Congratulations, you have discovered the wrist joint. It is important to use it when playing. :-)
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

Philosopherguy
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Philosopherguy » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:58 pm

In most applications when playing with your thumb, all the joints move to some extent. From what you said, your teacher is likely trying to correct your over-reliance on the middle and end joint without using much of the 3rd joint. Then again, I haven't seen you play so I would have no idea.

If you trust your teacher you should follow the lessons and just go with it. As you start to learn what direction the teacher is going, his reasoning may become more apparent. Sometimes when you learn its good to over-emphasize certain movements in order to bring about the desired result. Real results can take a while and you have to be patient. When you start with new lessons sometimes it's a hard transition to un-learn old habits in order to become a better player. You have to have patience and trust. If you don't trust your teacher, maybe you should find someone you do trust. I assume you went with this teacher because they have some sort of credentials, or they are a good player/performer? If that is the case, rely on their experience and ask questions. If this is just some random person who is teaching lessons, perhaps you better establish that you trust them somehow!

Martin
*************************************************************
2013 Ramirez 130 Anos - Spruce
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Todd Tipton
Teacher
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Todd Tipton » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:41 pm

Philosopherguy wrote:
Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:58 pm
In most applications when playing with your thumb, all the joints move to some extent. From what you said, your teacher is likely trying to correct your over-reliance on the middle and end joint without using much of the 3rd joint. Then again, I haven't seen you play so I would have no idea.
Great post. I just want to comment on something you said quoted above. I think this is a very good example of something that happens many times: we seem to hear the opposite advice from one teacher to another, and we are left thinking, "Who is right?" Or perhaps we are left thinking, "You have to find what works for you and go with it." However, what is often happening is a lack of context to the situation. Without context, I could easily see myself giving opposite advice to two different students on the same day. As another example, one student may be told to relax their tip joints, while another may be told that more tension is needed. In this situation, neither way leads to any good general advice in good default playing. In both cases though, it is an attempt to meet the student in a very unique circumstance, and correct something.
Dr. Todd Tipton, Noda Guitar Studio
Charlotte, NC, USA (available via Skype)

guit-box
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by guit-box » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:25 pm

See 0.35 min. David Russell (and many great guitarists) use the tip joint of the thumb to pluck. Watch any player with a relaxed technique doing fast arpeggios and you'll see a lot of thumb tip joint movement. Focusing on the base knuckle (MCP) of the thumb and keeping the thumb straight creates too much tension imo. There's a lot of old-school guitar pedagogy that is not correct, and unfortunately you'll find many teachers still stuck in those old ways.



or search youtube for "david russell plays puerto rican music"
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 pm

In general, as a teacher speaking from the perspective of the teacher - you'll do better to not question what your teacher is telling you but rather following the advice given.  At times this will contradict what you've heard/been taught previously/etc... Especially if you've had lessons before from someone else and are changing teachers.

Don't worry about "what is correct" or "it this normal", but rather it is correct for your teacher's students and for what he teaches. If you have questions regarding contradicting information ask the teacher. Part of the reason why you are working with this teacher is that you probably respect their playing/teaching. Trust that they are giving you the right information and there's a reason for the changes. And put real effort into making those changes. Second guessing won't get you anywhere and will ultimately create frustration on your end (because for a lack of a better word - you don't trust their instruction) and frustration on the teacher's end because you aren't committing to the instruction.
robithinker wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:48 am
Took my first lesson yesterday and the teacher had some advice on my thumb technique. He said I was plucking the strings using the first and second joints, but that I should be using the third joint (ie the joint right next to the wrist, counting inwards from the finger tip). Couple questions on this and on teachers

- Is the third joint correct? I can’t remember what my first teacher back in 2003 told me.
- My teacher also told me that I should practice plucking with my thumb from one bass string down to the next and letting my thumb rest on the next string until it was time to pluck again. Is this common practice?
Now to actually answer your questions. Yes using the base knuckle of the thumb is correct. It frees up the thumb and allows for the dissipation of excess tension in the hand. Specifically if you play from the mid/tip joint of the thumb, you'll store tension in the muscle "under" your thumb in the palm of your hand, thus limiting your playing ability.

As for resting the thumb on the bass string, it depends on what you are trying to do. I rarely do rest strokes with my thumb, I find it awkward. I'll pluck, the thumb will recover and IF I need to place my thumb down for 1) support of the right hand or 2) preparation for a new bass note, I'll then place the thumb on the appropriate string, when needed.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

dtoh
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by dtoh » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:20 am

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 pm
In general, as a teacher speaking from the perspective of the teacher - you'll do better to not question what your teacher is telling you but rather following the advice given. 
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! :D

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:59 pm

dtoh wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:20 am
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 pm
In general, as a teacher speaking from the perspective of the teacher - you'll do better to not question what your teacher is telling you but rather following the advice given. 
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! :D
Think about it. If you are choosing to spend money learning from a teacher only to second guess their advice and teaching, why are you studying with them? Why are you paying them?
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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prawnheed
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by prawnheed » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:19 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:59 pm
dtoh wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:20 am
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 pm
In general, as a teacher speaking from the perspective of the teacher - you'll do better to not question what your teacher is telling you but rather following the advice given. 
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! :D
Think about it. If you are choosing to spend money learning from a teacher only to second guess their advice and teaching, why are you studying with them? Why are you paying them?
I simply would not pay a teacher who took the attitude that they should not be questioned.

I would pay a teacher who understood that some people, me included, find it important to get an understanding of why certain advice has been given. What is the context and background reasoning for that advice? Why did the teacher choose that advice from the gamut of alternatives and what are the reasons for rejecting the alternatives? What are the essential aspects of the advice and what are secondary aspects? How should it be applied in specific situations? Once there is a level of mutual understanding, what if my opinion is different? etc. etc. etc.

A healthy dialogue between teacher and pupil is essential to build any kind of trust and mutual understanding.

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muirtan
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by muirtan » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:35 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:19 pm
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:59 pm
dtoh wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:20 am


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! :D
Think about it. If you are choosing to spend money learning from a teacher only to second guess their advice and teaching, why are you studying with them? Why are you paying them?
I simply would not pay a teacher who took the attitude that they should not be questioned.

I would pay a teacher who understood that some people, me included, find it important to get an understanding of why certain advice has been given. What is the context and background reasoning for that advice? Why did the teacher choose that advice from the gamut of alternatives and what are the reasons for rejecting the alternatives? What are the essential aspects of the advice and what are secondary aspects? How should it be applied in specific situations? Once there is a level of mutual understanding, what if my opinion is different? etc. etc. etc.


A healthy dialogue between teacher and pupil is essential to build any kind of trust and mutual understanding.

That's saved me a lot of typing. I've only had 4 teachers ( due to moving area and one being dissatisfied with their teaching) I've found that I make more progress with the ones I question and are who happy to answer my questions. Funnily the 2 that have been happy to do this have both been international performers.

Nick Cutroneo
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:43 pm

prawnheed wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:19 pm
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:59 pm
dtoh wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:20 am


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! :D
Think about it. If you are choosing to spend money learning from a teacher only to second guess their advice and teaching, why are you studying with them? Why are you paying them?
I simply would not pay a teacher who took the attitude that they should not be questioned.

I would pay a teacher who understood that some people, me included, find it important to get an understanding of why certain advice has been given. What is the context and background reasoning for that advice? Why did the teacher choose that advice from the gamut of alternatives and what are the reasons for rejecting the alternatives? What are the essential aspects of the advice and what are secondary aspects? How should it be applied in specific situations? Once there is a level of mutual understanding, what if my opinion is different? etc. etc. etc.

A healthy dialogue between teacher and pupil is essential to build any kind of trust and mutual understanding.
Asking your teacher to try and understand something and asking a forum "is this common practice" are two completely different things. To learn, you must trust and have faith that your instructor knows what he or she is doing. Asking questions to understand is fine. Many adults need to see the process and understand where things come from, I get that - as I learn best in those situations myself. HOWEVER - questioning and not believing your teacher is completely different. They have years of experience - experience that you are paying to learn from. So question, but follow. Try their advice, not for one day - but continually. A good teacher will follow up the advice they give you and continue to refine it from week to week (or lesson to lesson if lessons aren't weekly). Come in to your lessons with questions and observations about what happened while you practiced. Discuss difficulties and things you don't quite understand or know if you are doing correctly. BUT questioning the validity of the instruction is not beneficial. Going on an internet forum to see the "general consensus" of what people do is not productive and undermines the initial instruction.

Here we have the OP who after a single lesson went to an internet forum to see how valid his teacher's instruction was. "Is the 3rd joint correct?" Where's the trust in that question from the original poster? That is a wonderful question for the teacher to answer - to provide feedback and explain "here's why I'm instructing you to do so". Perhaps the OP has already done so, which I 100% support doing. It could even be contrary to what he was taught. And perhaps the teacher needs to explain "here's the history and the physical understand of our bodies to support my instruction". But it's the students responsibility to ask the teacher, and the teacher's responsibility to explain. Running online to see if it's right or wrong is not productive. And more-over you'll get different opinions, which at the end of the day don't matter. What matters is the instruction of the teacher, the student asking and trying to understand. The student (especially and adult student) needs to respect the teacher and WANT to learn from them. Not following directions of a teacher goes against this concept. Obviously this happens as the relationship between teacher and student develop, BUT it won't develop by asking questions as to "is my teacher right" online...
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

Nick Cutroneo
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Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:22 am
Location: Manchester, CT

Re: New teacher advice

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:44 pm

muirtan wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:35 pm
That's saved me a lot of typing. I've only had 4 teachers ( due to moving area and one being dissatisfied with their teaching) I've found that I make more progress with the ones I question and are who happy to answer my questions. Funnily the 2 that have been happy to do this have both been international performers.
Let me ask you this. After asking them and speaking to them about it - have you deliberately NOT followed their instruction? Have you gone to them saying "I asked about this on an internet forum and was told something different, so I'm going to do that instead because more people seem to do it."
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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prawnheed
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Re: New teacher advice

Post by prawnheed » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:09 pm

Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:43 pm
prawnheed wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:19 pm
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:59 pm


Think about it. If you are choosing to spend money learning from a teacher only to second guess their advice and teaching, why are you studying with them? Why are you paying them?
I simply would not pay a teacher who took the attitude that they should not be questioned.

I would pay a teacher who understood that some people, me included, find it important to get an understanding of why certain advice has been given. What is the context and background reasoning for that advice? Why did the teacher choose that advice from the gamut of alternatives and what are the reasons for rejecting the alternatives? What are the essential aspects of the advice and what are secondary aspects? How should it be applied in specific situations? Once there is a level of mutual understanding, what if my opinion is different? etc. etc. etc.

A healthy dialogue between teacher and pupil is essential to build any kind of trust and mutual understanding.
Asking your teacher to try and understand something and asking a forum "is this common practice" are two completely different things. To learn, you must trust and have faith that your instructor knows what he or she is doing. Asking questions to understand is fine. Many adults need to see the process and understand where things come from, I get that - as I learn best in those situations myself. HOWEVER - questioning and not believing your teacher is completely different. They have years of experience - experience that you are paying to learn from. So question, but follow. Try their advice, not for one day - but continually. A good teacher will follow up the advice they give you and continue to refine it from week to week (or lesson to lesson if lessons aren't weekly). Come in to your lessons with questions and observations about what happened while you practiced. Discuss difficulties and things you don't quite understand or know if you are doing correctly. BUT questioning the validity of the instruction is not beneficial. Going on an internet forum to see the "general consensus" of what people do is not productive and undermines the initial instruction.

Here we have the OP who after a single lesson went to an internet forum to see how valid his teacher's instruction was. "Is the 3rd joint correct?" Where's the trust in that question from the original poster? That is a wonderful question for the teacher to answer - to provide feedback and explain "here's why I'm instructing you to do so". Perhaps the OP has already done so, which I 100% support doing. It could even be contrary to what he was taught. And perhaps the teacher needs to explain "here's the history and the physical understand of our bodies to support my instruction". But it's the students responsibility to ask the teacher, and the teacher's responsibility to explain. Running online to see if it's right or wrong is not productive. And more-over you'll get different opinions, which at the end of the day don't matter. What matters is the instruction of the teacher, the student asking and trying to understand. The student (especially and adult student) needs to respect the teacher and WANT to learn from them. Not following directions of a teacher goes against this concept. Obviously this happens as the relationship between teacher and student develop, BUT it won't develop by asking questions as to "is my teacher right" online...
Well that is a bit better. Certainly better than this:
Nick Cutroneo wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:50 pm
In general, as a teacher speaking from the perspective of the teacher - you'll do better to not question what your teacher is telling you but rather following the advice given. 
However, I still think it is perfectly reasonable to look for alternative or contrarian views. Asking questions on a forum is one valid way to do that.

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