How Do You Tell Your Guitar Teacher You Dislike What He's Teaching You?

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by HearHear, May 9, 2017.

  1. HearHear

    HearHear Senior Member

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    Ok, here's the deal- I'm taking guitar lessons from a very good teacher. I like him, he knows his stuff, and he's effective. However, he's teaching me the blues now and I can't stand it. I really dislike blues techniques (like dead strikes or chuffing/chugging). Should I tell him or how should I tell him without sounding insubordinate or rude? I'm afraid he's teaching me blues because HE likes the blues. It's basically all he talks about- Robert Johnson, other blues players, etc... it just turns me right off.
     

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  2. Who

    Who are you? Who who who who.... Premium Member

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    Don't need to tell him anything other than "I won't be here next week".

    Unless he is talented at teaching the style you want, you should dump him.

    If you ain't "playing the blues", you don't need blues as a foundation.


    Edit: he doesn't need to be a master PLAYER of the style you want, but he does need to be a pretty good teacher to be able to teach something that doesn't turn him on.
     
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  3. DavGrape

    DavGrape Senior Member

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    I had no answer till I read Who's.
    For me, if a teacher was showing me metal; I'd balk.
    Appreciate the technique, but no thanks.
     
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  4. Dave J

    Dave J Senior Member

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    I think you should at least suggest to him something that you would like to learn, whether it is a style or a song.

    I was in a similar position when I was a teenager just starting to take lessons, and I wish I said something. While all my friends were taking lessons and learning all the cool rock songs, I took lessons from a guy who taught me jazz. Here I am learning 7th chords and 9th chords, and some theory and reading music, and my friends can plan the songs that I want to play.

    Don't get me wrong, I am glad I got some theory out of it, and I am happy I know some cool jazz chords and a few "standards," and can use my pinky. But he slowed me down from learning what I really wanted to learn.

    My advice is to say something, don't be quiet about it. You can still ask nicely without offending. Just come in and say, "You know, I'd really like to learn ______".
     
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Senior Member

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    There's really is no reason you can't learn an instrument using the music you are interested in. It is sort of teaching 101 that to keep up interest in music, you should teach what the student wants to learn. At least as far as the type of music and the songs.

    Like anything, there will always be some grunt work and exercises that you find a bit boring.

    The teacher works for you, so he should teach what you want to learn. Now, it might very well be that he doesn't know much about the style you are interested in. That's pretty normal. I'm into jazz. When I took lessons, it was from a jazz guy. While he is a very versatile player, and I'm sure could teach blues and I know classical, he probably wouldn't be the guy for heavy metal or hard rock.

    It's really pretty common for a student to shop around. There's a lot to finding the right teacher, for you. Being on the same page about what you want to learn is a pretty basic requirement.

    Talk to them the way you'd want to be talked to about it. Be polite, and if it does offend them, then it really is their issue, not yours.

    I'd definitely let them know and not just stop lessons. He could have got the idea that you are really into blues. Could just be miscommunication. Also, if it isn't his thing, he might know who would be perfect for you.
     
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  6. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Tell him, "I'd like to learn this or that instead."

    If he can work with that, you've got a keeper. Otherwise, move on to another teacher, or teach yourself.
     
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  7. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Repeat after me... What part of I HATE the Blues don't you get? Focusing on the Blues doesn't keep me interested. If you want to mix tidbits in with the lessons of what I want to improve on, I won't be plagued with resentment. Can this work for you!

    Direct really is the only thing that works. Even better when not done in a hurtful way.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  8. HearHear

    HearHear Senior Member

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    Thanks, I guess I need to politely speak up. I really don't want to drop him or bail out, I like his teaching methods. And in my small town, shopping around might be difficult.
     
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  9. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    You need to follow the Golden Rule.
    You've got the gold, you make the rules.
     
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  10. Brians Evil Twin

    Brians Evil Twin Poophoria Sōtō Zen V.I.P. Member

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    I would avoid saying what you don't like.

    People take things like that way to personally and well, The Blues is the foundation of most American popular music.

    Just tell him in an upbeat sort of way what really excites you and ask him if can help you with it.

    If he gets all weird about it then time to move on.
     
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  11. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    Winner!!!!
     
  12. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    I think you need to work under the assumption that he is a good guy and is trying to please you.
    He very well may be showing you what others wanted to learn and thinking that's probably what you wanted too. Asking him in the tone Twin suggests gives you the opportunity to learn firsthand if his priority is helping you learn what you want or if he'd rather teach what he wants to teach. His response and actions to your request will easily show if you're with the right guy or not.
     
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  13. GRASS

    GRASS Senior Member

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    A good teacher will ask what you would like to play and not just assume.
     
  14. penguinchit

    penguinchit Senior Member

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    We're going to see another thread soon:

    "I had this student that I was trying to teach the blues and..."
     
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  15. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    If you "like him, he knows his stuff, and he's effective", then the answer is very simple. Tell him the kind of music you want to play, give him an example of a song or two you'd like to tackle.
    You don't have to tell him you don't like blues, just that you want to try something different - although if you do like him, and he's as good a teacher as you say, he'd probably be OK with you saying (politely) that blues isn't really your thing.
    Be prepared for him to (politely) respond by saying something like Brian's Evil Twin says: that blues is the foundation of American popular music, and especially of all forms of rock. In that sense you can't escape it
    Of course, that doesn't mean that you need to spend session after session on the ins and outs of Robert Johnson (a relatively obscure and uninfluential figure to be honest)! But pointing out the threads that led to the music you like is valuable stuff. Always better to learn the music that influenced your heroes, rather than their own music. Roots means strong foundations.

    Remember this is nothing to with "insubordination" - you're not at school now! You're the client. You respect his skill and knowledge, but he's working for you.
     
  16. thatF-INGflyingVguy

    thatF-INGflyingVguy Senior Member

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  17. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    I don't know if anyone asked yet. What style do you want to learn?
     
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  18. DotStudio

    DotStudio Senior Member

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    Great question, I'm curious as well.

    I'm probably not the best to provide an opinion (I'm from the "wing it" school of thought), but he's probably just trying to build a foundation to work from. Blues is the best place to start. A lot of the techniques translate to other styles and it'll help make you a better player overall. You can't jump right into face melting without getting your feet wet in "easier" styles. The people I've known that tried to jump right into technical playing end up sounding lifeless.

    I'd still let him know what style you'd eventually like to shoot for, but the blues is most likely the best gateway.

    Just my two pennies.
     
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  19. Orange Lester

    Orange Lester Senior Member

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    well,its like this...politely give feedback to your instructor you are paying for a service. Guitar doesn't have to include Blues as a foundation, but blues ideas creep into other styles in subtle and not so subtle ways. Be honest. Cowboy up! If the teacher is offended by your query, you need a new instructor as they are not a fit for where you want to go. Also, dont expect the instructor to be a mind reader...if you don't tell them, you only have your self to blame.

    YMMV
     
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  20. GySgtFTL

    GySgtFTL Senior Member

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    "How Do You Tell Your Guitar Teacher You Dislike What He's Teaching You?"

    Easy...Stop paying him.
     

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