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Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by HearHear, May 9, 2017.
Maybe you should look into playing bass or pedal steel? Just saying...
Just turn up next week with a Bright pink Hamer, Steel Panther T shirt and a giant frizzy blonde perm and he'll soon cotton on.
I guess you've never heard of Cream, or The Who, or Led Zeppelin... Pretty sure they all cite Robert Johnson as a major influence. Not obscure at all. Maybe not as popular as the three Kings, but not obscure to anyone who knows anything about the blues.
Hi! I'd be happy to help. Been teaching guitar for a very long time and will really help you unlock the fretboard and become a musician. Online lessons unless you live in MA. www.karendebiases.com
Id like to go a little against the grain here and say in the long term, having a bit of blues knowledge is really handy.
It is especially good for learning how to solo and learning rudimentary phrasing and licks that can be translated to many styles.
The underlying harmony is also the basis of so much material out there, it is really worth learning a little. The amount of musicians and
styles of music it has influenced can't be denied.
Blues is also a huge style spanning over a 100years and Robert Johnson is going almost to the start of it so pretty old school.
If you do really dislike it and cant go on - I wouldn't tell him, you hate it but just talk to him about what you do like. How to apply some of these ideas to other non-blues songs.
If his only into the blues, then it doesn't hurt finding another teacher who is more along the lines of what you want to do, but in the mean time take what you can.
Different teachers show you different things/perspectives - you can take something away from each of them, its not always a bad thing to have a change.
I have to say, the kind of blues that Robert Johnson made is hard to listen to nowadays, at least for me, being 32 years old.
Maybe something a little more modern is in order ? More in the direction of blues-rock maybe, think AC/DC or ZZ Top ?
I agree though that blues is pretty much the foundation for every kind of rock music, even heavy metal.
That said, maybe something from the first Metallica album ? Its pretty much A minor pentatonic up and down, so its basically a blues album
I also teach guitar and also delve into the Blues Box but not cos I like blues only. I don't like Delta or rustic Blues from 30's/40's BUT I do like Led Zep, Deep Purple, Ziggy Stardust, Roxy Music, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bad Company, Mott The Hoople, MAN, Hawkwind, Jefferson Airplane, Doobie Bros, Rolling Stones, Clapton/Green/Beck, Pink Floyd/Gilmor - in fact nearly all the great music from the late 60s to mid 70s that spawned all genres we have today and THEY ALL - reached into the Blues Box!
So we need this info regardless and it is just remiss of your teacher to not use well chosen references aligned to music that inspires you for you to see the analogy and relevance.
I mean really??
When i first started learning to play the guitar i knew EXACTLY what sort of music the teacher i was going to was into and it couldn't of been further from the music i listened to if he'd tried! However, that being said, my teacher taught me classical, which i hated, taught me blues, which i hated along side the music i WANTED to learn to play, BUT they were new styles and new techniques i was able to incorporate into my music when i wrote stuff.
He told me, and i doubt many of you will agree with it that most rock music is based on classical and blues scales etc. Just over the years its been altered by musicians and professionals to suit the style of music they wish to play.
For me, i wanted to be an all rounder. And i'm happy to say that after a year of learning with my teacher he taught me so many damn styles, and techniques, told me which bad habits to try and drop and i think i can safely say i'm pretty robust at most styles. Don't necessarily like playing them, but if needed to jump into a rock and roll band, i could easily, or if needed in a blue band, i could do the same.
Learning different styles can only make you a better guitarist!!
I'd agree with the posts suggesting that you tell the teacher what YOU want to learn. I made that mistake 50 years ago when I was 12 years old. Mom sent me to guitar lessons with my little Harmony Bobkat, and the teacher asked me what I'd like to learn... rock or jazz? I didn't know the difference, so I said jazz because I though "rock" meant Elvis. What I really wanted to learn was the Beatles, and the teacher even looked like John Lennon with the little blue sunglasses and all. So he tried to teach me jazz, and it was a disaster.
I'll trade you. I like the blues and see it as foundational to nearly every other form other than thrash (and it's offspring) and classical.
Meanwhile my teacher is big on Country and 80s Pop.
That being said, he's much better than me and we've gone to a less structured approach where it's almost like jamming with him. He helps me figure out something I'm stuck on and tosses in challenges based on that, etc.
I get my structure from Yousician.
Two questions - and I see someone finally asked (I'm late to the thread) - What music DO you want to learn? (more on this later...)
Next - If all your friends are learning what you want to learn, why aren't you going to the same teacher?
Now - here's a trick for you - 1)you learn the blues the way it sounds like he's teaching, and in a while you'll be able to play whatever you want... Instead of what you know (which begs another question, are your friends just learning songs from their teachers? or are they also getting a little theory and variety?) 2) You paid for a blues teacher, your buddy paid for a (guessing) Metal teacher..... You should be sitting down and sharing what you learned with each other!!! You can both learn more for your money.
I was always into metal/rock - Ripping through Rush & Yngwie stuff - then I went to a music college, and studied Jazz... Watch some of those guys play and it's humbling... Now I'm getting more into the blues and wishing i had started there...
There's a lot of wisdom in this post.
When I started playing, I did so because I wanted to learn Kiss and Judas Priest stuff. My public school offered guitar classes, so I signed up ... only to progress from "Aura Lee" and "Tom Dooley" to fingerstyle takes on "Georgie Girl" and "Theme from the Godfather". AND, Mr Burkle would not permit flatpicking the arpeggios -- he insisted we fingerpick and if we didn't we failed each and every exam we flatpicked.
Damn, but what I hated that.
Until I started getting back into classical. Because at that point, I had been taught p-i-m-a and its permutations, and could arpeggiate and freestyle in it. His insistence taught me finger independence. That had a direct result in the classical stuff, but was also useful once I picked up slide; having finger independence meant that I could hybrid-pick fairly easily and mute the unplayed strings.
And then once I went on to jazz lessons, fingerstyle jazz was also that much easier.
I know this post doesn't really jibe with my earlier post in this thread, where I advocated finding a teacher that will teach you what you want, but your post is a good reminder that having the discipline to see your way through things you may not care for may still turn great benefit later, once your playing goals have evolved.
Teacher / student relationship is the same as any other relationship. It's based on honesty and communication. You just need to sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your teacher. The blues is one of the most important foundations of all contemporary music, it's essential to learn. However, it also should be presented to you in a style and amount that you can deal with. A good teacher will listen to your concerns, tell you why it's important to learn the blues, and work with you to implement a program that you are comfortable with - for instance that uses examples of music you like to play, but also contains important elements of blues chords and progressions he's trying to teach you. If he bristles at your concerns, and isn't open to working with you, perhaps he's not the right teacher for you (unless you just have no other options, then you'll just have to deal with it.) But just like any other relationship, if you sit down and communicate with him in a positive, non-threatening way, that's your best shot.
Here's the bald truth: no good teacher worth his salt should be teaching you ANY "style" without teaching you "MUSIC" FIRST. And here's a little secret: there are many. many great guitarists out there who are teaching who are great players but NOT great TEACHERS. Effective teaching should teach you Music: chord formulas, intervals, harmonization of the Major scale, key structure, scales and eventually modes--and use examples from ALL styles to show the ubiquitous prevalence of various theoretical foundations and scales in ALL styles. Any teacher who teaches a sole "style" is not a good teacher. They're not teaching you Music--they're trying to translate their own musical ability into some quick cash.
However, it needs to be asked: how LONG have you been taking lessons from him? It's possible that he's simply using Blues as an intro to understanding Western Music, which is, in fact, built on the I-IV-V chord progression. If he's stuck on this for more than a few weeks, he's probably not going to move much beyond what he's doing now.
First thing I tell new students is "I'm not going to teach you a certain 'style' at all; I'm going to teach you MUSIC, how it works, how to understand it, how to use it to play and figure out what YOU like." I use everything from Paganini to Roy Clark to Randy Rhoads to Ennio Morricone soundtracks to round out their understanding of how it's ALL related.
There is no better analogy to learning Music than cooking. A good chef is not going to teach their understudy only how to cook Italian, or Japanese, or American. He's going to teach you how to understand the ingredients and spices and staples, and then encourage you to make everything from simple burgers to elaborate casseroles and the like.
As a teacher, what I would like to hear is for my student to be honest with me, and I would simply admit that I don't have the knowledge, for instance, to teach them progressive Jazz. No foul. If this guy is any bit of a decent human being, he'll either adapt to your request, or admit that he's not the right teacher for you.
Forcing the theory before the fun can also drive people away and make them quit playing.
Every student is different you kind of have to feel it out.
I try to use examples of real songs, riffs, solos, as exercises and as a bridge to the theory.
Like teaching the blues scale, artificial harmonics, palm muting, and alternating picking by having them learn Jump In The Fire by Metallica (if they're into metal. )
That way they're learning the theory but also having having fun.
Or i quickly start trying to use the chord/note names instead of fret position. The first month or so we can get away with, "ok do a power chord on the A string 7th fret, then 5th fret, then 3rd." But i try to quickly transition them to, "ok play E5, D5, then C5."
I want people to have fun and still be learning. And i got to see first hand what other teachers in studios were doing that drove kids/students away.
The two things that i saw drive people away most was pushing blues and pushing the Beatles.
Let's ask a very important question that no one has asked as yet: What interests you more, playing guitar or playing <insert your favorite genre here>?
If the former, it is to your best interest to learn EVERY style. If the latter, go hang out with guys who play that genre and just hack your way to playing what you want (that way, you will save a hell of a lot of money).
If you want to become a fully-rounded guitarist, just tell him to lighten up on the blues and throw the precepts in when you need them (and you WILL need them).
Good luck and whatever you decide, KEEP PLAYING!
Good points, but I would add that this really depends on your student base/age. I would definitely agree with you for young students, beginners, etc.
I get a lot of older guys saying "I've been playing for a couple years, and kinda reached a plateau, and want to know what I'm doing and how to better improvise". So I start right in with the theory because that is almost universally what they're lacking in. I don't actually teach much of the actual Blues beyond Pentatonic/chord relationships and 12 bar kind of stuff until we get to the Dorian and Mixolydian modes and then can speak to the wonderful complexity that can be found in blues at a slightly more advanced level and beyond. But yes, I agree that you have to be able to judge your students' willingness and desire to absorb and assimilate the theory and dole it out in appropriate dribs and drabs.
No even my older students too. I don't want them bored. Part of my job is finding out what they like, what they listen to, and how can i use that music to teach the theory.
Works great for me too because i end up learning brad paisley and Brent mason, or Spanish romance music, or old western, or modern death metal.
Teaching the way i do kept me on my toes and constantly learning as well. It benefited us both.
But more than anything i don't want the student bored. Bored students quit.
My biggest advantage as a teacher has been the fact i know pretty much all the styles and techniques. And that's in part because i had to teach them which forced me to learn them.
My biggest weakness is 8 finger tapping. .... I'm really bad at that. 4 finger tapping I'm ok,..8 finger and I'm just awful.
.... though i don't teach a whole lot anymore and have cut way back on the number of students i take now. And i tend to take the ones interested in rock and metal or the more advanced students. Just because i don't teach and play full time anymore and its easier for me to teach those styles because they're my favorite.
Teaching is fun but it can also burn you out and make you not want to play sometimes. It can take up all your time if you let it.
We don't need no Robert Johnson
We don't need no 12-bar blues
No I-IV-V chords in the classroom
Hey ! Teacher, leave them blues alone
Hey ! Teacher, I wanna play 'tallica tunes !
TBH, if you are going to be playing rock or jazz, blues is a great foundation to have. But if you don't feel like you're progressing I'd at least talk to him and let him know how you feel and see if he can switch styles for you. Otherwise find another teacher you connect with.
My favorite teacher who I stuck with for 10 years could play in any style you wanted, but was more about teaching a solid foundation of music theory and other skills that would translate to any style than teaching in a particular style (though he could show you how to play any song you wanted). His name is Andy Abel and he studied with Linc Chamberlain, a legendary jazz guitarist who lived in the area. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linc_Chamberland
Getting Andy's chops plus the Linc school of theory gave me a solid education that could rival a good music school. He's also a great guy to hang out with which I think is equally helpful in a teacher. If you can find someone you really bond with that has the style and skills you are looking for you should be all set.