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Which teaching style is best?

  • Strict, expects the earth & sets scales, makes rules

    Votes: 7 17.5%
  • Has plan but allows student to modify it after discussion

    Votes: 12 30.0%
  • Leads from the front - plays & inspires & digs up new repertoire

    Votes: 7 17.5%
  • Uses textbook - Suzuiki or other scheme - & works through it

    Votes: 2 5.0%
  • Lets student make free decisions about repertoire & practice

    Votes: 5 12.5%
  • Uses mp3s & concerts to motivate students

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Works by challenging student with difficult or unusual assignments

    Votes: 3 7.5%
  • Other - give details

    Votes: 4 10.0%
41 - 54 of 54 Posts

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Teaching is a very personal activity and experience. Someone who teaches by drills or by using text books can deaden a subject for their students - or by injecting the exercises with humour and the feeling that the teacher loves his/her subject and cares about his/her pupils' progress, they can be very effective. Most of us over a certain age have the experience of learning from a strict teacher who was charismatic and who made the subject sing.
Similarly, one who prefers liberality and hates rules may come across as don't-carish or too eager to be liked; or they may infuse their apparent lack of order with passion and a love of beauty.

Temperamentally, I prefer ordered teaching and am apt to distrust the lack of it; but I feel that my exam teacher stressed strictness without taking account of me as a person or of my learning needs. He wanted me to do well, but only to show what a good teacher he was; at the end of the day, I think he was scared of narrowing the gap.
But it's much more satisfactory when teachers and students work together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Over a year later, and I've decided to concentrate on learning Scottish & Irish traditional music. My main faults are that I'm not fast enough & that I haven't mastered some of the bowing skills, particularly for strathspey.

Another huge issue is lack of confidence. I play now in a local pub session & can cope with their repertoire & also don't feel too nervous as I've got to know them. But I still break down regularly in lessons in front of my charismatic & demanding teacher. So from his point of view, my main fault is my timidity. He is about to start his own pub session & I know that I may break down playing in front of him in public...

If anybody is reading this, do you have any advice for boosting confidence?
All advice gratefully received! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Well, nobody read it - or nobody had any advice.

Happily, it wasn't needed. I've been to two of my fiddle teacher's pub sessions and I found I didn't feel nervous and was able to join in a number of the tunes. My main tip for success is 'lower the bar' - I went with the intention of 'just being there' and listening, and said to myself that if I could join in two tunes, it would be enough. But I managed 11 the first time and 38 the second. It also helped that I felt part of a team, as some players from my other pub session were there and I didn't want them to be left out so kept suggesting tunes that they could lead, and when they did so, I supported them.

It was an exhilarating experience not to be nervous for once! :)
 
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My instructor of the past 5 years is a stickler about scales. Know your scales--all of them--ascending and descending, major and minor (including natural, melodic and harmonic). Know your bop scales. Be able to play them crossing over strings and learn to play them on a single string. Know them both pizzicato and arco. Know where every last note is on that fingerboard and be able to find it instantly. If you can do that, you're 60% of the way there.

I study from certain manuals steadfastly but I'll buy various manuals I come across online and he'll incorporate them into the lessons and also gives them to his other students. We do recitals once a year and we'll talk over what I should perform and repertoire is about 50-50. There are certain things we are going to practice no matter what but beyond that, he appreciates a bit of input from the student. So while he made me learn Bach's "Violin concerto in A Minor" and Monk's "Straight No Chaser," (and "So What" of course) I also found sheet music online for other things to study such as "The Ragtime Bass Player," Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" and "We Be Three Poor Mariners." During Christmas season, we always study a new carol which he usually chooses but when I played him my own version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" in the minor key, he loved it.

But everything we play, he taught me to reach back to the scales and bring them into the piece. That way I can see what chord progression of the piece. As for technique, I learn them while practicing the scales so that when I bring the scales into a piece of music, I bring the techniques with them.

Bottom line--learn your scales, chords, progressions and know your music theory. If you're playing jazz, know your charts, develop your chart skills. You really can't play classical or jazz if you can't read music well. Others may disagree but when it comes to those two styles, I can't play with musicians who can't read. Rock or blues? Sure. You can be self-taught and not read a lick and all I care about is that you can play. But jazz or classical? Sorry but you gotta read as well as play. Can't read? I can't use you.
 

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Well, nobody read it - or nobody had any advice.

Happily, it wasn't needed. I've been to two of my fiddle teacher's pub sessions and I found I didn't feel nervous and was able to join in a number of the tunes. My main tip for success is 'lower the bar' - I went with the intention of 'just being there' and listening, and said to myself that if I could join in two tunes, it would be enough. But I managed 11 the first time and 38 the second. It also helped that I felt part of a team, as some players from my other pub session were there and I didn't want them to be left out so kept suggesting tunes that they could lead, and when they did so, I supported them.

It was an exhilarating experience not to be nervous for once! :)
Yes, it's exhilarating making music with others. I'm glad to hear you can make music with others, there's no greater feeling than that, in my opinion.

I don't have any answers to the original question, which is the best teaching method. Depends on the student, depends on the teacher, depends on what you want, depends on age, depends on ability, depends on physical limitations.

As for confidence, its sounds like you gained some confidence making music with others. All performers have some level of anxiety before and during a performance. But in many cases, the audience is forgiving and just appreciates the music. I guess if the audience paid a lot for a performance they might have high expectations, but if the price of admission is the price of a beer in a pub, the audience will love almost whatever you do.
 

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Definitely a teacher with a plan and allows student to modify it.

As long as the student does not practice incorrectly and puts their heart into the piece, song, riff , whatever. It tends to give students more motivation from my outlook.

Though some students teachers who seem to push strict rules can be better teachers.

There's a difference between the guitarist who is so good and is literally bored of their instrument from being so technically advance and the musician who plays from heart and soul. There are a few who do both but that is quite rare.
 

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My instructor of the past 5 years is a stickler about scales. Know your scales--all of them--ascending and descending, major and minor (including natural, melodic and harmonic). Know your bop scales. Be able to play them crossing over strings and learn to play them on a single string. Know them both pizzicato and arco. Know where every last note is on that fingerboard and be able to find it instantly. If you can do that, you're 60% of the way there.

I study from certain manuals steadfastly but I'll buy various manuals I come across online and he'll incorporate them into the lessons and also gives them to his other students. We do recitals once a year and we'll talk over what I should perform and repertoire is about 50-50. There are certain things we are going to practice no matter what but beyond that, he appreciates a bit of input from the student. So while he made me learn Bach's "Violin concerto in A Minor" and Monk's "Straight No Chaser," (and "So What" of course) I also found sheet music online for other things to study such as "The Ragtime Bass Player," Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" and "We Be Three Poor Mariners." During Christmas season, we always study a new carol which he usually chooses but when I played him my own version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" in the minor key, he loved it.

But everything we play, he taught me to reach back to the scales and bring them into the piece. That way I can see what chord progression of the piece. As for technique, I learn them while practicing the scales so that when I bring the scales into a piece of music, I bring the techniques with them.

Bottom line--learn your scales, chords, progressions and know your music theory. If you're playing jazz, know your charts, develop your chart skills. You really can't play classical or jazz if you can't read music well. Others may disagree but when it comes to those two styles, I can't play with musicians who can't read. Rock or blues? Sure. You can be self-taught and not read a lick and all I care about is that you can play. But jazz or classical? Sorry but you gotta read as well as play. Can't read? I can't use you.
Whatever works :tiphat:
 

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Yes, it's exhilarating making music with others. I'm glad to hear you can make music with others, there's no greater feeling than that, in my opinion.

I don't have any answers to the original question, which is the best teaching method. Depends on the student, depends on the teacher, depends on what you want, depends on age, depends on ability, depends on physical limitations.

As for confidence, its sounds like you gained some confidence making music with others. All performers have some level of anxiety before and during a performance. But in many cases, the audience is forgiving and just appreciates the music. I guess if the audience paid a lot for a performance they might have high expectations, but if the price of admission is the price of a beer in a pub, the audience will love almost whatever you do.
The red part, is the best .
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
There are lots of Learn A Tune A Day fiddle videos on YouTube and they're very useful when I want to find something to play along with - learn a tune by ear - and add something to my repertoire.

And when I go to Fiddle Schools, a lot of them (not all) concentrate on learning new tunes by ear together, which is a good experience and hones the skills.

But for an improver to learn a new tune a day, rather than working to consolidate, seems rather a bad idea?

What do you think? Would a new tune a week, or a month, be a better idea? Or not to have such schemes at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 · (Edited)
I think the best are those who teach technique somewhat strictly, and expects great technique in repertoire... but also encourages creativity, expression, and phrasing. And those who sets their style as whatever is most beneficial to the specific student's needs and goals.
Ah - the gold standard! A great definition, though I've never found such a teacher.

PS - 'And those who set their style as whatever is most beneficial to the specific student's needs and goals.'
If the teacher does that, one doesn't really need the first two requirements. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Is there anyone on TC who's gone from face-to-face instrumental lessons to zoom or skype? What is your experience of the differences? Is it all loss, or does the 'remote' lesson have some advantages, possibly as regards killing nerves and increasing confidence?
 
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