Beginner Quandry..

yas275

New Member
Messages
3
Hi All

I started playing about five months ago and have had a tutor who comes over weekly. I'm wondering if she is the tutor for me as she is very technical and I seem to end up just listening to her playing without any real coaching. She's very good, but as I'm struggling with reading music I can't keep up. Shes presenting me with blues stuff which is mesmerising and all double dutch. I get the impression though that she would not take kindly to me slowing her down as she plays in a band and seems to get impatient with me (she hides it well though!)...

I'm wondering if I should self learn for a while - maybe getting a different tutor once I feel confortable with the basics with reading music etc? I dont get much time to practice so appreciate things will go slowly.. This is just for my enjoyment so not fussed how long things take but at present it seems i'm paying for a private concert each week....

How do you know when you have a good teacher??

Angie
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,041
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
I would look for another teacher - you are paying for her time after all so the least she can do is teach you at your pace- you cant beat recommendations from other players when it comes to teachers, repairers and gear.

ask around and you should find a name/names that keep cropping up -
 

AdamBradley

Member
Messages
134
I would say having these thoughts during your lesson is indicative of your mismatch.

Perhapa you should just try another teacher to see how it compares. Your local music shop should hopefully have some good recommendations.

:)
 

fishpond

Member
Messages
143
Location
Havant, Hampshire
Angie
IMHO, If you are not getting what you want, or need, from a teacher, then there is no point in having that teacher.
I used to go to a group practice with a teacher(?), I never knew what we were doing or were we was supposed to be going from one week to the next, so I packed it up.
Bumped into another pupil from that group at Xmas time and they were about to pack it up for the same reason.
If you want to go on your own for a while then there are plenty of books and info available.
You could do a lot worse than to look up a program called "Smart Music", there is enough on there to keep most people happy for years "highly recommended", there are also a few posts (well worth reading) on this forum about that program.

Hope This helps a little:)
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
Hi, welcome to the cafe first, you've found the right place for your questions.

You're not getting much in the way of tuition if she's following her own programme at a speed you can't keep up with. Speak to a couple of other teachers and explain the problem and ask how they will approach working with someone at your level. Perhaps have a lesson or two to see how you get on with another one.

If you feel you can, then explain to your current teacher that you can't really make sense of what she's working on and can you go back to basics a bit. Doesn't sound very promising though if she's forging ahead and you're not!

Hi All
How do you know when you have a good teacher??
Angie
If you think that you're progressing AND you look forward to the next lesson, is a good start.

Phil
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,993
Location
Just north of Munich
Have you tried discussing this - you should be able to go into a lesson and discuss anything to do with the teaching - pace, content and so on. If you can't discuss this, then it's a mismatch. Sometimes you just need to be assertive and just stand up to them. My wife has no qualms about going into her flute lesson and starting by saying "Sorry, haven't had time to practice this week as the kids have been sick..." Then they work on something specific, or have a look at a new piece. Works well.

Most good teachers will start with a trial lesson so that you can both suss each other out. Then there'll be a discussion about how it can/will work... Or a polite, sorry, it's not going to work for me. They should then tailor the pace and instruction to your progress. Lessons should be a fun event for both of you... I'd definately have something to say about the teacher playing all the time. Sure, demo a point, but then let the pupil have a proper go, with verbal feedback... Later on it's play alongs...

I'd make a point of airing your concerns at the start of the next lesson, and if it doesn't get sorted, find someone else. Good teachers get you a lot of progress, AND stop you from falling into bad habits, which you'll have a problem unlearning later... Well worth it.
 
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OP
Y

yas275

New Member
Messages
3
thanks for all the replies!

My main problem is reading music - I don't immediately know the notes just by looking at the sheet. I have to write the notes on still (i know this is bad). I suppose this then stops the teacher doing something on the night as i have not written on the sheets she brings......

I'm really thinking I need to sort this out myself (reading music) before going back to lessons ......
 

fishpond

Member
Messages
143
Location
Havant, Hampshire
It all takes time, the less you do, the longer it will take, but you will do it in the end.
Suppose it depends on your lust for wanting to learn how to read and play music.
I have saxophone and music books scattered all over the place even at work.
Nobody,as a child could read straight out of a book, without being taught how to work out the alphabet, then words, then string sentences together etc.
Same thing as you are now going through, and myself and a lot of other people of all ages.
Stick at it, it will come. :)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,993
Location
Just north of Munich
thanks for all the replies!

My main problem is reading music - I don't immediately know the notes just by looking at the sheet. I have to write the notes on still (i know this is bad). I suppose this then stops the teacher doing something on the night as i have not written on the sheets she brings......

I'm really thinking I need to sort this out myself (reading music) before going back to lessons ......
Bull - it's part of the lessons. Note values, note names, note names to keys on the sax.... And as you work with it, it sinks in, slowly but surely. Doesn't hurt to do some work yourself of course. Pete's main site has all you need. And some great sax players never learn to read music.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
thanks for all the replies!
My main problem is reading music - I don't immediately know the notes just by looking at the sheet. I have to write the notes on still (i know this is bad). .
How is this bad? You are improving, bet it takes you less time to recognise the in-clef notes this week than it did last week.

Have a word with your teacher, you should be learning together, you about playing and she should be learning what works best for you.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,377
Location
Sweden
How do you know when you have a good teacher??

When you feel good before, during and after the lesson!!

The teachers main task is to find out what kind of personality you have. That means we all have different ways to learn and play music. The teacher should be able to lead a student in most genres/styles, which is not the always the case. A good teacher should make you feel good and you should hurry up home full of energy ready for practising.

I booked a blues musician for a day the other year. I was stuck with my music/playing. He is a teaching bluessax player. We met around 9:00 am and he wave me off on the the station in Stockholm around 17:00 pm. We just played sax for 1½-2 hours. The rest of the time we were just talking about music and players. He showed me some tricks and told me about the things that you can't read in the charts. He took lessons from Bobby Forte back in the 70's so he told me about his lessons with him. How Wild Bill Moore learned him to walk around playing. So he played and walked with the sax. How to be in the hornsection behind Percy Mayfield, Big Mama Thornton, Albert Lee .... . I learned a lot that day, without playing so much and without reading music!!!

After some years without playing so much sax in the late 70's I decided to more or less give up all reading. So farewell to Big Bands, sax ensembles ... , and just play the music I like which is Rocksax (Blues, R&B, Rock 'n' Roll, Funk, Soul). The reason why I'm still playing is thanks to:

Ulf Andersson ( teacher and musician): He had a sax column in a Swedish magazine. I learned a lot from his writing.

Steve Douglas: His video "Rock and Roll Saxophone" opened up the Rocksax world for me.

John Laughter: His books "Rock 'n' Roll Saxophone" and "Contemporary Saxophone" with CC (now I think they comes with CD). Easy and good books to learn from.

Derrick "Big" Walker: Very laidback teacher. Makes you feel good and relaxed! Hwe explained the importance of the "devil" tone in bluessax. He is also very good in playing the "Louisiana Saxophone"!

Andrew Clark (teacher and musician): I had followed his musiclife and writng about "Rock & Roll Saxophone" in Saxophone Journal for the last 15 years! After his first column i started to send him letters, later E-mail, call him and in year 2005 I invited him to Sweden for a Rocksax Masterclass workshop. Since 2005 he has done eight trips over to Sweden for clinics/workhops. Right now I'm trying to put together a new trip for him in August. Andrew is a very good teacher and he makes the players to take serveral steps forward. We all learn a lot from him.

With all this I'm just trying to say that you don't neccesary have to meet a teacher every week! You can get inspiration from other ways. If I had stuck with my teachers in the late 70's I have otherwise quit playing the saxophone or been playing music that I don't like and in a way that doesn't fit me!!

Thomas
 

teebones

Member
Subscriber
Messages
205
Location
Norfolk UK
same prob

Hi All

I started playing about five months ago and have had a tutor who comes over weekly. I'm wondering if she is the tutor for me as she is very technical and I seem to end up just listening to her playing without any real coaching. She's very good, but as I'm struggling with reading music I can't keep up. Shes presenting me with blues stuff which is mesmerising and all double dutch. I get the impression though that she would not take kindly to me slowing her down as she plays in a band and seems to get impatient with me (she hides it well though!)...

I'm wondering if I should self learn for a while - maybe getting a different tutor once I feel confortable with the basics with reading music etc? I dont get much time to practice so appreciate things will go slowly.. This is just for my enjoyment so not fussed how long things take but at present it seems i'm paying for a private concert each week....

How do you know when you have a good teacher??

Angie
Hi Angie,

Try this for music reading :D

http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id82_en.html

It is a online note trainer :w00t: :mrcool
 
Angie, are you putting the work in between lessons? Learning the sax is difficult, even putting your heart and soul in. May be the teacher is not being inspired by you! Its a two way street. If my teacher asks me to learn a scale or a piece, then its up to me to put the hours in to show that I am trying hard and at the start of the next lesson demonstrate that. Perhaps you are being too passive? Sorry if this is too horrible, but it is meant to be constructively critical.

If despite you tryng your hardest the teacher isn't meeting your needs, then you need to change tutors.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
The worst book I've come across, told learners that it would take them at least five years to reach a certain degree of competence. Could this have any connection with the writer's attempt to inflate their own worth? If they had written, "Learning the melodeon (or saxophone) is enjoyable and rewarding." it would impossible to criticise the sentiment.

Do have a word with your teacher. As posted previously, it should be a two way yet individual learning process. If your employee, for that is what your teacher is, does not agree, change them or we will regress to being given six of the best for playing a wrong note.

No names but stop looking forward to it. :)
 
OP
Y

yas275

New Member
Messages
3
that note website is very good - i could use that.

I am putting in as much as possible, but it's only about 20mins a day or so? Maybe I'm expecting too much here, so best self teach until i can give more time - then i might be more fluent with reading music and have more confidence...

thanks for all the response, you guys are great!
 

jadoube

Member
Messages
150
Location
Fleet, Hampshire
thanks for all the replies!

My main problem is reading music - I don't immediately know the notes just by looking at the sheet. I have to write the notes on still (i know this is bad). I suppose this then stops the teacher doing something on the night as i have not written on the sheets she brings......

I'm really thinking I need to sort this out myself (reading music) before going back to lessons ......
Angie,

Hoping to sort out reading yourself before going to lessons may not help. How will you know if you are reading wrongly?

Reading the notes needs practice before it feels natural. It can take some of us years to be able to do it quickly at first sight. Others take longer than that. I've been learning for over 4 years and still need lots of work on my reading. If I'd waited until I was able to read music I'd not yet have gone to any lessons. Which would have been a shame since the lessons have been lots of fun.

Do you talk to the teacher? Have you told the teacher how you feel? Do you know why is the teacher doing what she is doing? Can you ask her to explain more?

For example : you see " a concert", but she may simply be playing the notes so that you can hear them or so you can hear the rhythms and get your note lengths correct.


Remember, changing may just leave you with the same problem with a different teacher.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,993
Location
Just north of Munich
One trick with learning to read music is to work on rhythm and pitch separately. So rhythm by clapping, pitch by a sort of which key do I press method. If necessary, write the keys under the notes at first. Then put it together. I really struggle with rhythm until I can hear it in my head. And clapping's good for that.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Hi All

I started playing about five months ago and have had a tutor who comes over weekly. I'm wondering if she is the tutor for me as she is very technical and I seem to end up just listening to her playing without any real coaching. She's very good, but as I'm struggling with reading music I can't keep up. Shes presenting me with blues stuff which is mesmerising and all double dutch. I get the impression though that she would not take kindly to me slowing her down as she plays in a band and seems to get impatient with me (she hides it well though!)...

I'm wondering if I should self learn for a while - maybe getting a different tutor once I feel confortable with the basics with reading music etc? I dont get much time to practice so appreciate things will go slowly.. This is just for my enjoyment so not fussed how long things take but at present it seems i'm paying for a private concert each week....

How do you know when you have a good teacher??

Angie
I'd say change also. My previous teacher spent half the lesson talking about 'stuff' and most of the rest getting me to attempt to play along with him. He also had me trying to sight read new stuff that was way to hard and I ended up just listening to him play. My new teacher is 100 times the musician he is and 99 times better a teacher. Your teacher shouldn't be getting impatient with you.

I wouldn't like to work completely on my own though you may find it easier. Small 'bad habits' can get ingrained quite quickly and can be hard to eradicate. Which part of the country are you in, maybe we could recommend a teacher to you. :)
 
Angie

Bob aka Fishpond recommended Smartmusic. Several of us use this software as it records the notes you play and tells you if you are ahead or behind the beat and whether you have played the right note. For self teaching it is excellent and is only $30. Less than the price of one lesson. I don't know if this will help but I started sight reading using this. Also, I have written a blog on this site called One way of getting started and some students have found parts of this article helpful for self learning.

Good luck. 20 minutes a day is not really enough. 40 minutes would make a big difference.
 

RoyT

New Member
Messages
5
Hello Angie,
a teacher on a one to one basis should always tailor the lessons to the individual learners needs, you have been learning only a short time and your lessons should be no more than half hour long, you should be encouraged to practise no more than 20mins each time you go to practise on your sax any longer could have a damaging effect on the mussles in the lower face that are used to play, if this happens your playing is lightly to be out of tune perticulily at the top end of the sax, if this is not being told to you, then you need to find a teacher that will. get into good habits of playing and practise from the start. all the best Angie.
 
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