Feeling like a Loner

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Dartez82
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:27 pm

Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Dartez82 » Wed May 16, 2018 4:08 am

Adam wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 5:51 pm
If you are paying the teacher, why are they not willing to work on what you want to work on? Is it that you've just not asserted yourself?
Believe it or not, I have asserted myself with 3 of 4 of my teachers. I did it in a very respectful way. The first was very friendly but didn't budge. The second seemed pompous, arrogant, and it was his way or the highway. The third kept telling me we could play my stuff but he was constantly giving me his suggested pieces and made my plate so full I didn't have any time to even think about playing the stuff I was attracted to. With the 4th, I just gave up on the idea of playing my own choices. We worked on sor op 7 (the full piece). It took me a year and a half to get it to a point that I could perform it for people. He was a good teacher, but I can't do another year long project like that.

After my experiences I just assumed that teachers have a certain repertoire that they are most effective at teaching and to get the best results I would have to accept that.
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Dartez82
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Dartez82 » Wed May 16, 2018 4:12 am

eno wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 1:06 am
I've been a loner player for decades after finishing music school and since then I always played only what I liked to play. Once you pass a certain level (and it sounds like you did) you don't need a "once-every-week" teacher anymore. You may get better help from having occasional sessions or master classes with professional performers, they can tell you tricks and secrets that ordinary teachers will never tell you, they will hear in you playing some tiny details what ordinary teachers will never hear. Just meet with professionals once in a while, attend masterclasses, play to them and listen to what they say. And save the money that would otherwise go to a teacher for one or a few really good guitars. A really good guitar will open new musical horizons to you and can teach you what an ordinary teacher will never tell you.
Thanks for the advice. This is very practical and doable. After not taking lessons for a year, I decided to buy a new guitar recently. And then I bought another one a few months later! :roll:
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2018 Alejandro Cervantes Signature Rodriguez
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Dartez82
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:27 pm

Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Dartez82 » Wed May 16, 2018 4:14 am

Tom Phillips wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 9:15 pm
maybe you should become a teacher!
Maybe one day! Need to pay off the house first and build up some savings :D
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Dartez82
Posts: 94
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Dartez82 » Wed May 16, 2018 4:21 am

markworthi wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:13 pm
If you were to continue with a new teacher, would the Levels 7 and 8 pieces still offer you significant opportunities for development?
I think this is an interesting question. Technically, no there's not much room for development. But musically, yes, I feel there is a lot of room for development. There are many gems in levels 7 and 8 that I've never played. For example, I started watching Tariq Harb's lessons on the 20 Sor studies on Tonebase. He teaches them with a musical depth that none of my teachers taught me with. My lessons on those pieces were more technically driven.
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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Wed May 16, 2018 8:40 pm

Dartez82 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:29 pm
I feel like I'm in a loner phase of my guitar journey. After 9 years of lessons with 4 different teachers I decidedto stop for 2 reasons. I wanted to play pieces that I liked and could choose. I didn't feel like I was getting much value out of the lessons anymore. So I've been playing on my own for the past year. I record myself almost daily and critic my own playing. That is going well,however, I still feel I may be missing out on development by not having a teacher. But from my experience teachers always dictate rep and it doesn't seem tobe the best thing for me. For example it seems that teachers want to work on level 10 rep with me but as a Dad of two little ones I don't want to work on a year long project on one piece. I would prefer to play level 7 and 8 pieces right now. I also haven't come across a teacher that really loves the romantic era music. Baroque, classical and modern music seem to be the preferred tastes of teachers I've in encountered in my part of the world. I want to continue to develop my skills with a teacher but I'm not convinced of one that is right for me. Thus I'm in this loner phase right now. Anybody else experience this? How did you handle?
I often see and can easily detect these sort of feelings in my students and let them have a break by asking them if there's any specific piece they want to play. If they don't have anything in mind, I suggest something that I think they would like and most of the times they do. This can even be an absolutely different genre like pop, flamenco, jazz, etc.

I believe these sorts of breaks are very important. It can be very dull to work on a one year project without playing anything else. I appreciate your dedication but am not sure how you did it... It's like having your favorite food for every meal, you will slowly but surely will hate it at some point... if you know what I mean.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

Adam
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Adam » Thu May 17, 2018 3:29 pm

Dartez82 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:08 am
Adam wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 5:51 pm
If you are paying the teacher, why are they not willing to work on what you want to work on? Is it that you've just not asserted yourself?
Believe it or not, I have asserted myself with 3 of 4 of my teachers. I did it in a very respectful way. The first was very friendly but didn't budge. The second seemed pompous, arrogant, and it was his way or the highway. The third kept telling me we could play my stuff but he was constantly giving me his suggested pieces and made my plate so full I didn't have any time to even think about playing the stuff I was attracted to. With the 4th, I just gave up on the idea of playing my own choices. We worked on sor op 7 (the full piece). It took me a year and a half to get it to a point that I could perform it for people. He was a good teacher, but I can't do another year long project like that.

After my experiences I just assumed that teachers have a certain repertoire that they are most effective at teaching and to get the best results I would have to accept that.
That seems very odd to me. I assume you are an adult? I could maybe understand this if you were a kid...

In your situation, I'd reach out to teachers and tell them up front that you're looking for someone to help correctly learn to play some specific rep. I may actually do that myself at some point, then I feel like my self study is stalling. I'm not there today.

Rognvald
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Rognvald » Thu May 17, 2018 9:01 pm

rpavich wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:18 pm
Adam wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 5:51 pm
If you are paying the teacher, why are they not willing to work on what you want to work on? Is it that you've just not asserted yourself?

When I was taking lessons, I balanced this desire by always having one thing we were working on be a piece of my choice. My teacher was receptive to that.

But also I found a lot of cool stuff I would never have found if my teacher had not given it to me, so I didn't want to close that door completely.
My teacher works that way. He suggests pieces or exercises that I "need" because of flaws in my playing. He suggests "stretch goal pieces" that I'd never even consider at my level of playing. He also asks me if there is anything that I'd like to learn. That way my plate is full of varied tastes.

R,
There's a problem with "stretch goal pieces" in that they introduce unnecessary angst for a student when they should be focusing on positive, credible improvement. When I first began CG, I was a very advanced player on another instrument so the only thing I needed to focus on was technique. I advanced very quickly and at 9 months my teacher wanted me to play "Recuerdos." After a month on the piece, I told him my performance was abominable and as a musician it was difficult to hear . . . let alone to practice. I dropped it like a cold potato and moved to the Five Preludes of Villa Lobos that were a joy to practice and much more musically accessible. Beware of "stretch goal pieces." Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Nick Cutroneo
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Location: Manchester, CT

Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Nick Cutroneo » Thu May 17, 2018 9:32 pm

Dartez82 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:29 pm
That is going well,however, I still feel I may be missing out on development by not having a teacher. But from my experience teachers always dictate rep and it doesn't seem tobe the best thing for me. For example it seems that teachers want to work on level 10 rep with me but as a Dad of two little ones I don't want to work on a year long project on one piece. I would prefer to play level 7 and 8 pieces right now. I also haven't come across a teacher that really loves the romantic era music. Baroque, classical and modern music seem to be the preferred tastes of teachers I've in encountered in my part of the world. I want to continue to develop my skills with a teacher but I'm not convinced of one that is right for me. Thus I'm in this loner phase right now. Anybody else experience this? How did you handle?
If you are really interested working with a teacher, I think the first thing you need to do is to clearly define what you want to accomplish with that teacher. As a teacher, when a student gets to a certain point (technically/musically/etc...) I feel they need to be invested in their playing. This usually comes in through the student being actively involved in choosing repertoire. It might be good for you to have a few "introductory" lessons with a hand full of teachers to see who best works the way you wish to work. For me the "intro" lesson is a great way to get to know each other, talk about likes/dislikes, your goals and desires in guitar playing. It's a great time for me see the student play and for me to assess where their playing level is at. Once a student has the core technique down - if I assign pieces, it's for a specifically purpose for the development of the student. If their goal is to develop better reading chops we'll do that and work in a method which accomplishes that task. If they want regular musical coachings - where they prepare the piece and come in to play it for me, we'll do that. If they desire technical refinement, we'll do that. It's just a matter of expressing your goals and what you want out of lessons.

As adults, we know the value of listening and following a teacher's instruction - but we have to balance that with what we want to achieve. I myself haven't taken regular lessons since 2010 (when I finished my graduate degree). I've had lessons here and there, and have contemplated finding another teacher to help continue to challenge me and explore greater musical possibilities. At this point it's just finding someone who I'd like to work with.
Nick Cutroneo - Classical Guitarist, performer/teacher/suzuki instructor

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segobreawill
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by segobreawill » Fri May 18, 2018 12:03 am

Dartez82 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 3:29 pm
I feel like I'm in a loner phase of my guitar journey. After 9 years of lessons with 4 different teachers I decided to stop ...

I didn't feel like I was getting much value out of the lessons anymore. So I've been playing on my own for the past year ...

That is going well,however, I still feel I may be missing out on development by not having a teacher. But from my experience teachers always dictate rep and it doesn't seem to be the best thing for me ...

I want to continue to develop my skills with a teacher but I'm not convinced of one that is right for me. Thus I'm in this loner phase right now. Anybody else experience this? How did you handle?
I know EXACTLY what that "loner phase" you describe is all about! Its 8 years this month that I started back on CG. And I had to start from the complete beginning again. I did it on my own because after all, I knew what I had to do since I've already done it in the past. But, the question of a teacher was always in the back of my mind. I have not once contacted a teacher during this time although I have thought about the possibility of eventually seeking one out.

I have not yet gone to see a teacher because at this point, I STILL want to do what I want to do. I'm enjoying the process and working at my pace on whatever exercises, studies I want and even my own compositions. Were I to go to a teacher, then I'd have to accept right from the start that I would have to engage myself with that teacher's process and lose some of what I might have preferred to do. If all you want to do is YOUR stuff, then you don't need to go see a teacher except if its for special lessons to work out some specific issue and then goodbye until next time around.

And that's exactly how I've thought of it too btw: Money saved on a teacher is money saved towards a guitar... or two, as in your case! :wink:

It seems to me that you know what you want but may be afraid to "go it alone" after being under a teacher's wings for so long. Stay on your own for a while. You know what you have to work on to improve your playing and if you're a more advanced player, then progress might be a little slower as you've advanced far beyond the basic technique levels. Maybe its time for you to ride solo? Enjoy the ride! :)

markworthi
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by markworthi » Fri May 18, 2018 2:39 pm

Dartez82 wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 4:21 am
markworthi wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:13 pm
If you were to continue with a new teacher, would the Levels 7 and 8 pieces still offer you significant opportunities for development?
I think this is an interesting question. Technically, no there's not much room for development. But musically, yes, I feel there is a lot of room for development. There are many gems in levels 7 and 8 that I've never played. For example, I started watching Tariq Harb's lessons on the 20 Sor studies on Tonebase. He teaches them with a musical depth that none of my teachers taught me with. My lessons on those pieces were more technically driven.
If that's the case, I think you need a teacher who will give you a bit of space. Developing your musicality is, in large part, an individual endeavor; and I can understand how the relentless focus on greater technical ability can get in the way of that. I really do think it may be in your interest to just reallocate your time, maybe taking technically-oriented lessons every couple of weeks instead of weekly, and doing your own thing in between.

By the way, I am lucky enough to have an immensely talented and knowledgeable teacher-- a professional musician, trained at a conservatory-- who is encourages me to choose the pieces (within my own limits) that I would like to study. They are out there.

segoviaDevotee
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Location: Connecticut

Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by segoviaDevotee » Fri May 18, 2018 6:06 pm

ode_to_bacchus wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 10:39 pm
segoviaDevotee wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 10:13 pm
Hell, the whole reason I got into classical guitar was that you could be a loner and still make a great sound. I had lots of disappointing experiences trying to be in a band especially if youre serious about it but nobody else is.
I hear you...story of my life.
Yep. Some band member would have a fight with his girlfriend about how they were suppose to to go someplace on a evening when we were suppose to rehearse so everything would get cancelled. So we'd end up doing half the work we should have done and we sounded like crap at the next gig.

Whiteagle
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Whiteagle » Sat May 19, 2018 8:49 am

Why aren’t you telling your teacher what pieces you want to work on?

Philosopherguy
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by Philosopherguy » Sun May 20, 2018 5:17 pm

I think you have had a lot of good advice on here with how to approach teachers.

Personally, I might look for a teacher who was more open to doing less frequent lessons and in more of a performance/technique critique rather than the traditional "follow my lead" style. You might want something more akin to a masterclass where the teacher helps you hone your skills and performances of pieces that you want to play rather than simply following the "book".

My last teacher was great. When I started lessons with him I had a long conversation with him about what music I enjoyed and what goal I had. My goal was simply to play things to sound more akin to professional players in recordings (very broad I know). But, he understood what I meant. Technically my fingers already worked and I needed some tweaking, but I was already fairly advanced. So, we worked on songs that I enjoy (like you a lot of Romantic repertoire, Sor, Tarrega). He gave me tips on how to approach the pieces and how to really play things like a waltz and mazurka in order to get the "feel" and "sound" that professional players get. He also gave me tips on how to sense what is going on in the music in order to add those little touches (i.e. appoggiatura and so on).

I ended up having to stop lessons because I am moving. But, I think lessons from a teacher like that are important for someone who just wants to play for enjoyment and to keep the mind active. Just learning the "standards" in all the grades isn't for everyone. Like the OP, I have two young kids and no time to do monumental pieces. I like to work on pieces I can learn in a few days/weeks and enjoy my time.

Keep looking for a good teacher! You will find one.

A note about teachers: I didn't use to think pedigree was all that important. But, I have come to believe that its usually best to study with someone who is a world class performer, or someone who was taught by a real world class performer/teacher. I think very few teachers really "get" their music and play it in the style that real musicians do. I think it's because so many people play music but don't really listen to it and don't feel it. It's a skill that not many teachers have, as they are not that great, to begin with. Technically they may be able to play the pieces, but there is a huge difference between playing a piece and really making it musical. So, I would advise you to look for a real teacher with some credibility. Otherwise, you might as well just learn on your own and see what you come up with. There are many online resources these days for performance tips and example videos of great players that were never available before.

Martin
*************************************************************
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dory
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by dory » Wed May 23, 2018 5:42 pm

I like all kinds of music but recently I have been enjoying 20th and 21st century music a lot. This is not what my teacher’s other students are playing. They are playing composers such as Tárrega. He has been really interested in my musical choices and has given me help with whatever I want to play. I have been on this 20th century kick for almost a year now and have never had a problem with my teacher. (He does personally play quite a bit of jazz.) I feel that if I went on a binge of Renaissance music he would support that too. In my opinion, unless you can get that kind of support from a teacher it is not worth it. In your case you have the added issue that it sounds like you are quite advanced. You need a teacher who a) appreciates YOUR taste in what you want to play, and, b) plays better than you do. (I know, this is a bit self-evident but you sound like you need convincing that this exists.) Therd ARE people who have both qualities, but it takes searching sometimes. Are there nearby universities where you can find a professor or advanced graduate student? You can check this out but sometimes faculty can be controlling. Also one particular person may not meet your particular needs. Search widely. For example, I live in Madison, WI but some of the advanced students here drive to Milwaukee— an hour away because they love the particular teaching strategy of a guitar prodigy who lives there. You can also check out online teachers. If you can’t find the qualities that I mentioned you ARE better off working alone. However, you sound lonely so I think it is worthwhile searching a bit widely.
Dory

dory
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Re: Feeling like a Loner

Post by dory » Wed May 23, 2018 5:43 pm

I like all kinds of music but recently I have been enjoying 20th and 21st century music a lot. This is not what my teacher’s other students are playing. They are playing composers such as Tárrega. He has been really interested in my musical choices and has given me help with whatever I want to play. I have been on this 20th century kick for almost a year now and have never had a problem with my teacher. (He does personally play quite a bit of jazz.) I feel that if I went on a binge of Renaissance music he would support that too. In my opinion, unless you can get that kind of support from a teacher it is not worth it. In your case you have the added issue that it sounds like you are quite advanced. You need a teacher who a) appreciates YOUR taste in what you want to play, and, b) plays better than you do. (I know, this is a bit self-evident but you sound like you need convincing that this exists.) Therd ARE people who have both qualities, but it takes searching sometimes. Are there nearby universities where you can find a professor or advanced graduate student? You can check this out but sometimes faculty can be controlling. Also one particular person may not meet your particular needs. Search widely. For example, I live in Madison, WI but some of the advanced students here drive to Milwaukee— an hour away because they love the particular teaching strategy of a guitar prodigy who lives there. You can also check out online teachers. If you can’t find the qualities that I mentioned you ARE better off working alone. However, you sound lonely so I think it is worthwhile searching a bit widely.
Dory

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