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Author Topic: Best way to learn, teachers?  (Read 1767 times)

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malcolmbebb

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2018, 08:29:15 PM »

In my view the most important thing to remember is that everyone has a different way of learning, there is no "one size fits all".
If the book, method or tutor that you're using doesn't do it for you, don't give up but try something different.

And expect plateaux and times when you don't make any visible progress, whatever method you're using. They pass.
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george garside

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2018, 08:45:58 AM »

I
And expect plateaux and times when you don't make any visible progress, whatever method you're using. They pass.

and sometimes you can go three steps forward and two steps back or even four steps back!  If this not uncommon occurance happens it can simply be down to trying to move forward more rapidly than you can! Which is probably something we have all done from time to time!

george
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Calum

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2018, 04:41:05 PM »

An often expressed thought is that there are many different learning styles and no one right way and you should find what works for you, and so forth.

This is not *completely* untrue but the longer I teach music, the more I think it's an unhelpful idea.  We all have to learn the same skills and we all have to go through the same processes of building the connections between innate musical knowledge and mechanical capability.

I say this not to pick a fight, but because it's all to common to see beginners cast around for this or that silver bullet that will solves their problems and make everything work.  It's not like that.  Everything is difficult, until you put in hours of hard work and the difficulty goes away.  Nobody likes Twinkle Twinkle.  It's a means to an end.  If you don't understand what your book or teacher or DVD or Youtube video is telling you, break it down until you do.  99% of problems in playing music are because one finger isn't where it should be, or because the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time. 
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Winston Smith

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2018, 11:57:35 PM »

"the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I think I've heard that before, but not in a musical context!
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Rob2Hook

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2018, 08:37:30 AM »

I have no experience of teachers beyond a very occasional festival workshop.  However, the art of teaching at those seemed to be inversely proportional to the teacher's playing ability.  I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

I was lucky in my early days.  Firstly, someone lent me a (fully functional) box to try out.  Secondly, I had a soundproof room at work where I could make random noises during lunch til I figured out what was where.  I also had two local morris sides which at that time meant I had the opportunity to observe at least five competent (or better) players in action.  One of the sides actually wanted me to become a stand-in player for when the band was short, so their box players gave me the honest feedback and advice needed for me to correct any devious tendencies.

No dedicated teachers, no manuscripts, purely learning by ear - but I got all the elements one would hope for in a good teacher.  Having heard some horror stories of music teachers (mostly piano...), I come to the conclusion that you need all the above points covered and a sympathetic level of understanding with your teacher.  If anything is missing you need to find someone else to help you.  Don't forget that top-flight classical musicians will go to various teachers as they progress, perhaps ending up both giving and attending masterclasses.

Rob.
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Eshed

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2018, 10:12:55 AM »

"the brain is thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time."
I think I've heard that before, but not in a musical context!
Luckily, that can be solved by the Thinkpol, Winston  ;)
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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2018, 10:22:52 PM »

I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

There's definitely an element of this...but I think for the most part the good player who is bad at teaching generally doesn't believe that it's his (usually his) job to understand *why* a student is bad and what, exactly, they need to do to be better.  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching.  Whereas in my teaching I take the opposite approach: if they can't do something it's my fault and I need to find a way to insert it into their heads, rather like the process of getting an unfeasibly large sofa up a narrow stairway. 
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2018, 11:47:50 PM »

I think it's because they have long since forgotten what it's like to be unable to play whatever they mean to!

There's definitely an element of this...but I think for the most part the good player who is bad at teaching generally doesn't believe that it's his (usually his)
job to understand *why* a student is bad and what, exactly, they need to do to be better.  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching. 
Whereas in my teaching I take the opposite approach: if they can't do something it's my fault and I need to find a way to insert it into their heads,
rather like the process of getting an unfeasibly large sofa up a narrow stairway.

Right said Fred (:)

I have only been to three musical workshops in my life and they were all taught by excellent teachers who were quick at making accurate and insightful assessments of their students needs.
The most recent was the Halsway Leveret weekend, where Rob, Andy and Sam [Edit: There were too many Robs]  were superb. I thought all workshops were that good. Have I just been lucky?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 11:51:47 PM by Tone Dumb Greg »
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Winston Smith

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2018, 12:42:15 AM »

Judging by my skill level, I probably shouldn't be contributing to this thread, but seeing as it's never stopped me before; here goes!

I've had a couple of little lessons from well recommended and highly accomplished melodeon teachers, but didn't give them much of a chance to bray anything worthwhile into my thick skull. However, I've just returned from Whitby, where I attended Steve Dumpleton's beginners classes with a certain amount of success, Hallelujah! Mind you, he didn't try to teach us tunes which we might not have known already (except in our heads) or tunes which we possibly did not really like. Several little things have definitely stuck, plus, I really enjoyed the experience, thanks Steve.

But, to get back to the thread subject; in general it seems to me that a melodeon teacher teaches the pupil to play exactly the same as another pupil; press this and push, and then that and pull, so that we will all end up like clones of the teacher! I'm a non-conformist (note the lack of capitals, although they could have been in there as well!) in most circumstances, and that's possibly why I find being taught so difficult. I want to do things my own way; not Steve's or Vic's or even that of the lovely Mel. Is there something wrong with me? (That's rhetorical!)

I noticed in another thread that a question was being asked, and discussed, about displaying "grace notes" in written music (or ABC in that particular case, iirc). Aren't grace notes somewhat like a signature of the player, in that they've slid them in to suit their particular style, or on a whim, and to follow the player by adding his/her grace notes into a manuscript is just imitation, in the same way as copying a teacher? (I might be entirely wrong here, but that seems to be the way of it, to me!)

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Lyra

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2018, 12:52:28 AM »

{snip}  And they don't do enough teaching to get better at teaching.
Have I just been lucky?
I think the folk world is blessed in that the geniuses actually do a lot of teaching whereas in (some) other genres, there's a "mainly do or mainly teach" split. Wild overgeneralisation obviously and probably a result of economic factors as much as anything but for once, benefits to us mortals.

Workshops/lessons I have had tend to cover two categories - technical (you might find it easier if you did this ...) and musical which haven't  (with one exception which annoyed the hell out of me but actually was because the tune was being used as a study to learn certain patterns and actually despite the moaning it did a power of good) been about parroting the teacher but more "I play it like this - have you tried..ooh ooh how about, ooh I've not thought of that before". And occasionally "honestly?, ummm, no"
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2018, 07:19:52 AM »

...However, I've just returned from Whitby, where I attended Steve Dumpleton's beginners classes with a certain amount of success, Hallelujah! Mind you, he didn't try to teach us tunes which we might not have known already (except in our heads) or tunes which we possibly did not really like. Several little things have definitely stuck, plus, I really enjoyed the experience, thanks Steve.

Thanks, Edward! I'm glad you found the workshops useful and enjoyable (I always try my best to make sure they are both).

Quote
But, to get back to the thread subject; in general it seems to me that a melodeon teacher teaches the pupil to play exactly the same as another pupil; press this and push, and then that and pull, so that we will all end up like clones of the teacher! I'm a non-conformist (note the lack of capitals, although they could have been in there as well!) in most circumstances, and that's possibly why I find being taught so difficult. I want to do things my own way; not Steve's or Vic's or even that of the lovely Mel. Is there something wrong with me? (That's rhetorical!)

No - nothing wrong with you!

Hopefully, any good teacher will fully understand that their role is not to produce musical clones of themselves. What a good teacher should be aiming for is to provide students with a set of tools and the knowledge of how to use them, so that they can then go on to develop their own individual creative processes.

Without a teacher, it would still be possible to do this, but there might be a few false starts or blind alleys along the way. But I would guess that even the most ardent self-taught person has been influenced by at least one role model person at some stage.
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george garside

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2018, 09:20:43 AM »

.
 Hopefully, any good teacher will fully understand that their role is not to produce musical clones of themselves. What a good teacher should be aiming for is to provide students with a set of tools and the knowledge of how to use them, so that they can then go on to develop their own individual creative processes.

 

I totally agree.  Before i take on a new ' student' ( or a new 'student' takes on me)  I  offer an ( free of charge) introductory meeting  so we can discuss aims and goals etc in detail and how I suggest we achieve them explaining my strenghts and limitations (eg I am a mainly by ear player and not a good reader etc). Perhaps even more importantly this gives us both the opportunity to sort of 'click'   . At the end of this informal meeting I suggest the 'student' thinks about it and phones me if he/she wants me to teach them  .


If I don't hear from them I take it that  we havn't clicked.  Also on very rare occasions after the initial meeting I say that I am probably not the right bloke to  provide  you with lessosns or something on those lines.   


This has worked well for many years  and gives us both the opportunity to back off without loss of face, reputation or whatever,


george
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2018, 02:10:25 PM »

Having attended many workshops at Witney, Mendlesham and elsewhere with a diverse variety of tutors, I can only remember one or two where the tutor really wanted to teach their way of playing a tune. The rest were encouraging the attendees to learn the appropriate building blocks of the technique, tune style, repertoire etc. in a very consultative and knowledge sharing way. One of the joys of our instrument is that there are always multiple ways to play something!

I only have experience of working with one instrument teacher, and that's Mel. That's been a very consultative and supportive experience helping me to work towards and occasionally reach my goals. I suspect this is a very different approach to the teaching of instruments when it is focused on getting through the syllabus of XYZ Exam Board, whether that is classical-focused or a taught-tradition such as ITM. I found Mel helped me to move out of my playing comfort zone, introduced me to some great new tunes and gave me the tools and confidence to attack those nightmare tunes at the dusty end of my wishlist.

I think you can achieve a certain playing level using instruction books and online resources, a good melodeon teacher can help you to find the keys to unlock the next levels should you wish to go there.
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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2018, 10:41:14 PM »

For me, finding a good teacher has made an enormous difference to my learning curve.  She (Anne Rivaud) is an excellent teacher and working with her has kept me motivated and making progress.  Yes, it is quite expensive so I have had to give up some other ‘luxuries’ to keep finding the 20+ euros per lesson - worth every cent for me!
Maggie  :|||:
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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2018, 12:23:01 AM »

I noticed in another thread that a question was being asked, and discussed, about displaying "grace notes" in written music (or ABC in that particular case, iirc). Aren't grace notes somewhat like a signature of the player, in that they've slid them in to suit their particular style, or on a whim, and to follow the player by adding his/her grace notes into a manuscript is just imitation, in the same way as copying a teacher? (I might be entirely wrong here, but that seems to be the way of it, to me!)

That's a tough question to answer because it depends on the circumstances and the type of music in question. In general terms if we are talking about folk tunes then grace notes, other decorations and general dynamics should be taken with a pinch of salt or ignored entirely unless you want to learn the basics of a particular style of playing. Other disciplines may require you to play the music as written in order to assess your progress, ABRSM grade exams immediately spring to mind.

Bagpipe music, particularly GHP and Northumbrian Piper's Society require you to play music as written in order to enter into competitions, there has to be a level playing field for all competitors. Once you've done your apprenticeship you are free to do your own thing of course. ;) Classical music at a professional standard is at yet another level however . . .
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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2018, 08:29:08 AM »

The question of 'grace notes' is indeed very interesting and with the exeptions  of playing  as per the dots for exams or in a classical group, orchestra or whatever is very much down to the individual player , or in a ceilidh  or morris band up to the band leader  and hopefully some democratic agreement on how each tune is to be played and what each instrument is going to contribute to a , hopefuly, harmonious whole!


My personal feeling is that , whilst carefully chosen   grace notes selectively used, can  on occasions enhance a tune  it is generally best to 'keep it simple'. The basic , but sadly often forgotten  RPD  ( rhythm, phrasing and dynamics)  will add far more to the efficacy of either a 'listening to' or dance tune than will plastering it with grace notes just because you can and indeed overdoing the grace notes can actualy detract from the essential RPD.



also freelancing with grace notes by individual band members can cock up the danceability of a tune.


I am not anti grace notes in any way  and  I try to use the built in free of charge grace notes that are part and parcel of a diatonic box  eg a quick 'back flick' to bring in a touch of the note on the 'other side of a button,  and using a spare finger to add a bit of extra treble rhythm.  I also sometines, selectively, use a very fine underlying pulsing of the bellwos  which  is like a very refined 'back flick' that just brings in a minute touch of whats on the other side of a button for a few bars


used very selectively grace notes can add a great deal to a tune  but can also easily bugger it up"!


george
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Winston Smith

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Re: Best way to learn, teachers?
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2018, 08:48:04 AM »

Thank you to Mssrs Dunk and Garside for their input on grace notes. (Always helpful.)
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