Being Self-Taught

ttf_Geezerhorn
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Being Self-Taught

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:29 am

I am self-taught. I am not shy about it. Pedagogy is applied directly to my own forehead via me. Some state that I hold my progress back through the trial and error process, re-inventing the wheel as I go. Easy to state. Hard to prove. 

I'm sometimes curious if there are others on TTF who are also self-taught. If you are, why? Is it as mundane as there are no qualified brass teachers in your area? Do you feel the cost is prohibitive? Would you - like me - prefer to be resourceful? Do you - like me - not have any truly great players/teachers in your area who inspire you as to the way they play, either technically or stylistically? Or is it something else; some other reason.

What are your outside resources? Do you mentor with someone who isn't technically your teacher? Do you glean information from TTF and other online places?

Are you too shy admitting you are self-taught? Are you afraid salesmen will approach you?

This thread isn't about dissing those of us who are self-taught. It's about sharing information and resources.

...Geezer
ttf_MrPillow
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Post by ttf_MrPillow » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:44 am

I am largely self-taught on trombone, and entirely self-taught on keyboards. It has worked out well enough for my own needs - I play mainly smaller gigs - churches, theater, quintet, etc. I did a lot of accompanying through school on piano/harpsichord/clavichord/etc. I have no aspirations of playing as a career and do it strictly for fun. I have not yet come across work I couldn't handle with the rest of the local names. That said, I do not doubt for a second that I would be better than I am now if I had applied myself and taken advantage of all lessons available in and out of school.

For me, becoming a better player at this point is not something I am looking to spend time doing.
ttf_hyperbolica
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Post by ttf_hyperbolica » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:13 am

I think anyone who isn't actively taking lessons is at least a little self-taught. I've only had a handful of lessons in the last 30 years, but I keep applying stuff I've learned to my current situation. And if you play with other people, you are probably learning stuff from them, even without formal lessons. Playing in a small group is one of the best things you can do to keep learning and improving, especially if there's a mentor type person in the group you can lean on a little.
ttf_Torobone
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Post by ttf_Torobone » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:39 am

I've given this some thought over the past 40 years. All self-taught players take great pride in figuring things out on their own.

With one notable exception, every self-taught player I'd heard has had at least one issue that could have been fixed if they had taken a few lessons. The lessons could be as simple as finding a critical listener, or lessons to show show new and better techniques.

With recording equipment, Skype and online forums, there is little need to go it alone. Personally, I saved time and learned more with the help of a teacher.

Finding the right teacher is another topic.
ttf_Geezerhorn
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Being Self-Taught

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:05 am

Good, honest replies so far guys! I don't see any attempts to give subtle or passive-aggressive jabs and I agree with the comments posted.

I'll admit that I could have progressed faster if I had lessons. In the past 4 1/2 years, I've gone down one blind alley after another. The silver lining is that there is learning through mistakes and I know why something doesn't work - not just "don't do it", however thorough the explanation might be.

Has anyone ever considered taking "music lessons"? What I mean is - lessons in musicality - from a respected musician who doesn't necessarily have to be a brass player. As a young child, I had lessons. If we count that, I'm not the purest-of-pure self-taught. But it was almost 50 years ago. One of my teachers was a clarinet player and a piano player. He had music in his veins. He couldn't teach me anything about trombone playing, but I still remember his attempts at instilling a love of music into me and his attempts at coaching whatever musicality I had in me - out. I think, to this day, those lessons were just as or more valuable than any trombone teacher's efforts.

...Geezer
ttf_Matt K
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Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:15 am

I've basically always tried to take music lessons, it just so happens that the people I studied with happened to be trombonists.  Granted, I'm not a self-taught individual, so this might be out of the purview of your question.

That said, I think, if possible, the emphasis should be on studying with a musician rather than an instrumentalist. It just so happens that there are many fine musicians who are trombonists and, to me, you get the best bang for your buck when you study with someone who is well versed in the problems and limitations of an instrument who can determine if you are having a musical problem or a technical problem. It's a lot easier to make music if you're not fighting the instrument. On the other hand, there are times where the technical restrictions on an instrument are not the cause of a lack of musicality. 
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:22 am

Quote from: Matt K on Aug 03, 2016, 09:15AMI've basically always tried to take music lessons, it just so happens that the people I studied with happened to be trombonists.  Granted, I'm not a self-taught individual, so this might be out of the purview of your question.

That said, I think, if possible, the emphasis should be on studying with a musician rather than an instrumentalist. It just so happens that there are many fine musicians who are trombonists and, to me, you get the best bang for your buck when you study with someone who is well versed in the problems and limitations of an instrument who can determine if you are having a musical problem or a technical problem. It's a lot easier to make music if you're not fighting the instrument. On the other hand, there are times where the technical restrictions on an instrument are not the cause of a lack of musicality. 

Spot on!

The reason I have mused over taking "music" lessons is due to not having an inspirational trombone-player in my area from which to study. I could move, though! lol

...Geezer
ttf_Exzaclee
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Post by ttf_Exzaclee » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:25 am

I was self taught in MS (my first teacher was my band director who was a french horn player - so i was basically teaching myself) but in 9th grade I started studying with Joe Wright (a retired band director who had some great HS bands in the 60's, former trombonist with serious skills!) and he taught me how to learn a piece by breaking it up into pieces, and how to count rhythms out slowly. He also had me using alternate positions as a rule: an All State audition piece we had one year was in B major (a key I was horribly unfamiliar with at the time) and he explained how alternate positions not only made playing certain figures easier, but also made things more in tune. In college I studied with Kent Kidwell - he taught me how to sight read, how to play in tune across all the registers of the horn, how to conceptualize different "classical" approaches, how to prepare for multiple genres of music, how to practice efficiently, how to hear your sound, how to listen and play in tune; and playing in time, stylistically correct and in a section regardless of the symphony or the big band was a part of "playing in tune." He taught me how to prepare an audition, what to expect at auditions, and how to practice beyond the requirements of an audition or performance so the actual act of playing seems easier.

I can't claim to be a self-taught jazz musician - I had a lot of good advice from a great many musicians I met at the Clark Terry Jazz Camps in the early 90's. I did what they told me to do: I worked on my scales, I transcribed solos and spent a lot of time trying to develop a personal sound. I listened to a lot of great music, and I learned from that music.

I can't really claim to be a self taught composer or arranger - I learned how to compose from the theory and jazz improvisation classes I took as an undergrad and from transcribing the stuff I liked - at the time this was a lot of Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis and Gil Evans.  I learned how to arrange and how to be a good copyist from my time on cruise ships - yes, I did a lot of writing in college as well, but writing for a steady gig for 10 years was the best practice i had in terms of developing the craft.

My piano playing is mostly self-taught, although much of my practical skill in this regard comes from my improvisation lessons - when you're learning jazz from a good teacher, you will be told to learn the songs on piano. Later on i picked up Mark Levine's Jazz Piano book, a book I still work out of and have my students work out of. My comping is pretty good, and I can pull off a solo gig if I absolutely need to, but compared to a real jazz pianist, it's pretty obvious I'm self taught. I don't have any real technique and my hands cramp up when i try to play lines that I can conceive of but my hands haven't practiced yet. There's a youtube video making the rounds on FB from my last quintet concert, where we played Shorter's "Yes and No" (at the Branford Marsalis tempo - hey, Bowen was back in town and we were excited). It came time for the piano solo and things were going well until it occurred to me that my right arm was cramping up before the end of the 2nd A. I really wish I'd started on piano earlier, and practiced it more when I did start.

There is nothing wrong with being self taught. Every one must teach theirself to an extent, but for the majority of people a teacher helps. So many of the things I've figured out as a composer-arranger I could've learned decades ago with a good teacher (or if i'd paid attention when given the opportunity.) I still take the occasional lesson from somebody - there's a universe of musicians out there who know more than I do.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:51 am

Quote from: Exzaclee on Aug 03, 2016, 09:25AMI was self taught in MS (my first teacher was my band director who was a french horn player - so i was basically teaching myself) but in 9th grade I started studying with Joe Wright (a retired band director who had some great HS bands in the 60's, former trombonist with serious skills!) and he taught me how to learn a piece by breaking it up into pieces, and how to count rhythms out slowly. He also had me using alternate positions as a rule: an All State audition piece we had one year was in B major (a key I was horribly unfamiliar with at the time) and he explained how alternate positions not only made playing certain figures easier, but also made things more in tune. In college I studied with Kent Kidwell - he taught me how to sight read, how to play in tune across all the registers of the horn, how to conceptualize different "classical" approaches, how to prepare for multiple genres of music, how to practice efficiently, how to hear your sound, how to listen and play in tune; and playing in time, stylistically correct and in a section regardless of the symphony or the big band was a part of "playing in tune." He taught me how to prepare an audition, what to expect at auditions, and how to practice beyond the requirements of an audition or performance so the actual act of playing seems easier.

I can't claim to be a self-taught jazz musician - I had a lot of good advice from a great many musicians I met at the Clark Terry Jazz Camps in the early 90's. I did what they told me to do: I worked on my scales, I transcribed solos and spent a lot of time trying to develop a personal sound. I listened to a lot of great music, and I learned from that music.

I can't really claim to be a self taught composer or arranger - I learned how to compose from the theory and jazz improvisation classes I took as an undergrad and from transcribing the stuff I liked - at the time this was a lot of Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis and Gil Evans.  I learned how to arrange and how to be a good copyist from my time on cruise ships - yes, I did a lot of writing in college as well, but writing for a steady gig for 10 years was the best practice i had in terms of developing the craft.

My piano playing is mostly self-taught, although much of my practical skill in this regard comes from my improvisation lessons - when you're learning jazz from a good teacher, you will be told to learn the songs on piano. Later on i picked up Mark Levine's Jazz Piano book, a book I still work out of and have my students work out of. My comping is pretty good, and I can pull off a solo gig if I absolutely need to, but compared to a real jazz pianist, it's pretty obvious I'm self taught. I don't have any real technique and my hands cramp up when i try to play lines that I can conceive of but my hands haven't practiced yet. There's a youtube video making the rounds on FB from my last quintet concert, where we played Shorter's "Yes and No" (at the Branford Marsalis tempo - hey, Bowen was back in town and we were excited). It came time for the piano solo and things were going well until it occurred to me that my right arm was cramping up before the end of the 2nd A. I really wish I'd started on piano earlier, and practiced it more when I did start.

There is nothing wrong with being self taught. Every one must teach theirself to an extent, but for the majority of people a teacher helps. So many of the things I've figured out as a composer-arranger I could've learned decades ago with a good teacher (or if i'd paid attention when given the opportunity.) I still take the occasional lesson from somebody - there's a universe of musicians out there who know more than I do.

That is both a beautiful and inspiring story!

There's a lot in what you wrote, but I think the highlighted part is sage for me. Make no mistake about it; the onus for learning is on the student. No one can jump inside us and make us play. It's not about the "Being John Malcovich" movie. A good teach can coach and point things out, but it's up to the student to place the chops, blow and play. Not too profound of a concept on my part, though.  Image

I guess my hesitation is if I did find a great trombone player in my immediate area, where I could visit with him weekly, he would no doubt play a massive trigger horn and expect me to love classical music. Okay; that's very biased. I don't know it for a fact and there is nothing at all wrong with playing a large trigger trombone. It's just that it seems to always go together with classical music.

What I probably should do, is find an local improv specialist (a trombone player would be a definite plus) who can help me learn a "down and dirty" way to improv - even if it's not academically perfect.

...Geezer
ttf_Torobone
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Post by ttf_Torobone » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:19 am

As an adult, weekly lessons might not be the answer. I suspect that the right lesson would go a long way towards saving you time and pointing you in the right direction. My teacher does just that, and I take 1-3 lessons per year.

Last year, I watched a bunch of age 50+ trumpet students take weekly lessons at the local conservatory. Measured 30 to 60 minute lessons are not for me, and I can't say I was overly impressed with the results. The teacher kept saying: "Blow more air!"; I kept thinking:"Give me a break!" Repetition is for young-uns, not us geezers-in-training.
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Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:27 am

QuoteI guess my hesitation is if I did find a great trombone player in my immediate area, where I could visit with him weekly, he would no doubt play a massive trigger horn and expect me to love classical music. Okay; that's very biased. I don't know it for a fact and there is nothing at all wrong with playing a large trigger trombone. It's just that it seems to always go together with classical music.
I think a lot of the times that person may not necessarily be a great musician. However, to be fair, that person may be a great musician who just happens to pay a "massive trigger horn." That shouldn't be any different than studying with a great musician who is a tubist, euphoniumist, or cellist. Or likewise, if the person was playing a 458 bore trombone like Matt Niess, one of my old teachers does, they can also be a great musician. Even if you're trying to learn that "massive trigger horn" you can learn a thing or two from a guy like that.
ttf_Geezerhorn
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:27 am

Quote from: Torobone on Aug 03, 2016, 10:19AMAs an adult, weekly lessons might not be the answer. I suspect that the right lesson would go a long way towards saving you time and pointing you in the right direction. My teacher does just that, and I take 1-3 lessons per year.

Last year, I watched a bunch of age 50+ trumpet students take weekly lessons at the local conservatory. Measured 30 to 60 minute lessons are not for me, and I can't say I was overly impressed with the results. The teacher kept saying: "Blow more air!"; I kept thinking:"Give me a break!" Repetition is for young-uns, not us geezers-in-training.

I could arrange 1-3 sessions a year.

I'm not sure I ever want to compare myself with a conservatory student. Those places graduate freakish technical masters a dime-a-dozen. At least that is my concept of them; probably both untrue and unfair.

...Geezer-In-Training
ttf_Geezerhorn
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:40 am

Quote from: Matt K on Aug 03, 2016, 10:27AMI think a lot of the times that person may not necessarily be a great musician. However, to be fair, that person may be a great musician who just happens to pay a "massive trigger horn." That shouldn't be any different than studying with a great musician who is a tubist, euphoniumist, or cellist. Or likewise, if the person was playing a 458 bore trombone like Matt Niess, one of my old teachers does, they can also be a great musician. Even if you're trying to learn that "massive trigger horn" you can learn a thing or two from a guy like that.

Lol. I'm learning to play a peewee trigger horn. Baby steps. You can learn something from anybody.

I guess I would need to "audition" any local talent first to see what I might be letting myself in for; good OR bad. Just b/c I go to a local symphonic "pops" concert and am impressed with the baritone player's solo doesn't mean he would be necessarily what I'm looking for - without digging deeper to find out.

...Geezer
ttf_Geezerhorn
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:49 am

OBTW. No one's dropped any names yet for current recommendations and I really don't think it would be a good idea, since livelihoods can swing in the balance if there are disagreements. We all know who they are on this Forum anyway and this discussion wasn't meant to be personal that way.

...Geezer
ttf_Torobone
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Post by ttf_Torobone » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:58 am

I didn't mention teacher names because that would change the thread away from being self-taught.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:59 am

Quote from: Torobone on Aug 03, 2016, 10:58AMI didn't mention teacher names because that would change the thread away from being self-taught.

That as well.  Image  I've probably digressed, although to be or not to be is probably inevitably intertwined...

...Geezer
ttf_Matt K
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Post by ttf_Matt K » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:00 am

Lessons give a good excuse to travel if there's no one locally you like or if you don't want to play local politics with "he studies with him" kind of stuff.

I've traveled just to take lessons off of people, even after I decided not to pursue trombone as a career.  Its fun meeting other trombonists and a lesson is the most effective way to figure out their approach.  I've had many one-off lessons with players. A lot of times you can work it out so that you can see them perform right after or right before. A few symphony players have gotten me free tickets to their show. That's half the cost of the lesson in tickets! Image

Bear in mind that, particularly with trombonists, you have something in common with the person you'd get a lesson with.  I've had meals following/preceeding that were really cool experiences.  You hear lots of stories, lots of opinions about a variety of things, sometimes musical sometimes otherwise.  

I'd rather have one of those lessons than a years worth of lessons from someone who happens to be around. The last lesson  had left me with plenty to work on for more than a week. On the other hand, there was a period of time after graduating with my first degree that I had 3 or so lessons over the span of a few months.  I would have progressed much faster if I would have had those three lessons a little closer together.

Ultimately, I actually don't like weekly lessons or the idea of them. More instruction is generally better than less instruction. But sometimes, especially as an amateur like us, a concept takes more than a week to learn. Or less than a day to learn.  

I think the best approach is to have someone help you get started and pointed in the right direction.  When you're hiking, the sooner you use your compass to get you pointed in the right direction, the less work you have to do later.  Once you're on the straight and narrow, it requires much, much less intervention.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:05 am

Quote from: Matt K on Aug 03, 2016, 11:00AMLessons give a good excuse to travel if there's no one locally you like or if you don't want to play local politics with "he studies with him" kind of stuff.

I've traveled just to take lessons off of people, even after I decided not to pursue trombone as a career.  Its fun meeting other trombonists and a lesson is the most effective way to figure out their approach.  I've had many one-off lessons with players. A lot of times you can work it out so that you can see them perform right after or right before. A few symphony players have gotten me free tickets to their show. That's half the cost of the lesson in tickets! Image

Bear in mind that, particularly with trombonists, you have something in common with the person you'd get a lesson with.  I've had meals following/preceeding that were really cool experiences.  You hear lots of stories, lots of opinions about a variety of things, sometimes musical sometimes otherwise.  

I'd rather have one of those lessons than a years worth of lessons from someone who happens to be around. The last lesson  had left me with plenty to work on for more than a week. On the other hand, there was a period of time after graduating with my first degree that I had 3 or so lessons over the span of a few months.  I would have progressed much faster if I would have had those three lessons a little closer together.

Ultimately, I actually don't like weekly lessons or the idea of them. More instruction is generally better than less instruction. But sometimes, especially as an amateur like us, a concept takes more than a week to learn. Or less than a day to learn.  

I think the best approach is to have someone help you get started and pointed in the right direction.  When you're hiking, the sooner you use your compass to get you pointed in the right direction, the less work you have to do later.  Once you're on the straight and narrow, it requires much, much less intervention.

I really like your concept that the actual lesson is also a part of the experience. It's the travel, perhaps seeing/experiencing new things or visiting with friends/family in the area, interaction aside from the lesson and so on. That's terrific!

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_watermailonman » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:46 am

I was self taught up to high school I think. My first teacher was a clarinet/saxophone and accordion player who did not know anything about playing the trombone. I did not realize that. I had a friend in the music school and his father was a dixiland trombone player. My friend and I met through this clarinet teacher and become close friends. His father told him stuff and then he told me, this was the way I learned.

My grandfather was a musician and was of great influence to me but he never criticized my playing even though I begged him to. I rememer his wonderful tone and his vibrato on this Swedish old Ahlbergh Ohlsson "tenor-basun". This was of some help of course but technically he did not help me at all. He did not want to get to involved I think and I was a disaster. The first time I heard a trombone was i n 8'th grade. I was Shocked!!!

Later when I decided I wanted to study music seriously I came in contact with Sven Larsson  Image Image at this forum. Without him I had never become the reasonably good player that I am at this stage. In fact I owe a lot to him Image

At this time in life I still learn from him but also from other professional and other good players I meet, and of course from records. I've also picked up some good ideas from the forum. Suggestions that I have tried and found out to be good for me but most advice here are of no real value to me. Either I already know it or it is just totally against what I believe in. Some of the information could fit another person naturally, give associations and lead someone to new knowledge. Image

/Tom     
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:48 am

When I was getting back into playing, and in school and had time to practice daily, weekly lessons made sense.

Then I graduated.....and weekly lessons were a waste of both my and the teacher's time-- I can't guarantee I'll be able to practice enough, frequently enough, to make a weekly lesson realistic.

I don't want to suggest a lesson interval, but I definitely think for me, unguided learning can only do so much. Lessons have helped me tremendously, with the forum as a distant third after self-directed practice. Intelligent, diligent, critical practice is one thing, but that combined with someone else to point out your flaws and suggest an approach speeds up the process dramatically. For me. And many others.

I think a lesson every couple months or so would work well for me, provided I have enough time to practice. Which I don't right now.
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:52 am

As an adult, after years of lessons in my previous lives, I prefer being on my own schedule now.

I've been teaching myself the cello for the last four years.  

As I look back, has there ever been a stretch of even one semester where I could have cleared out the daily time, every day, to practice and truly do my best on all the repertoire that would be expected every week?

Would I have been able to make it to all the scheduled lessons?

No. I like being on my own schedule.

Some people love the lesson process. Some people need to be told each week, "That's good, keep trying."  Some people need to be told each week, "That's not good enough, keep trying." That is great that that works for them.

I'm just not in that frame of mind anymore where I am hanging on someone else's approval.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:44 pm

It's coming out that somewhere along the line, a lot of us have - for one reason or another - self taught.

I agree that I don't know if I would have the patience for weekly lessons. I guess it would depend upon who the teacher was. If the teacher was my drop-dead inspiration, then I would want to see him every day!  Image

A couple band-mates suggested I take lessons. They weren't criticizing my playing. Quite the opposite, I think. I told them I was afraid to - since I was making such rapid progress on my own - I was afraid a well-intentioned teacher would derail me. Deep down inside, is that what self-taughts are afraid of? Did I just make a noun out of an adjective?

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_MrPillow » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:47 pm

I think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:53 pm

Quote from: MrPillow on Aug 03, 2016, 01:47PMI think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.

Oh, there's no one single reason. But there might be some commonalities; a reason that resonates with more than one.

I find it interesting that more than one has ranked social media sites like this one as a low form of getting information on how to play the trombone. I rank it up at the top! I have to wonder if others who have ranked it a lot lower are merely doing so out of distaste for social media in general...

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_robcat2075 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:46 pm

If you are curious about lessons and the money is not a problem and... you have the practice time to do it justice, then go for it! There's not much downside if you don't like it.

If I were looking for cello lessons my first gambit would be the local community college system which would be fairly affordable (I'm pretty much paying for high-class cello lessons already with my property tax to the community college district  Image).

It's the whole semester timeframe that is a barrier for me.
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Being Self-Taught

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:15 pm

Quote from: robcat2075 on Aug 03, 2016, 02:46PMIf you are curious about lessons and the money is not a problem and... you have the practice time to do it justice, then go for it! There's not much downside if you don't like it.

If I were looking for cello lessons my first gambit would be the local community college system which would be fairly affordable (I'm pretty much paying for high-class cello lessons already with my property tax to the community college district  Image).

It's the whole semester timeframe that is a barrier for me.

Time and money are not issues for me. The downside is there not being anyone I wish to take lessons from without a pretty good travel time. But as someone else mentioned, it could be a periodic trip where I also do other things, like a ball game, family visit, etc.

I hear you about the local community college scene. I got an associate's degree about 20 years ago to update my undergraduate degree. It cost me pocket change. I just checked the online course catalog for the one near me. Turns out they have "Performance Ensemble" classes where the student must first audition. As an aside to another recent thread, they also offer courses in the business of music. Interesting.

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_Torobone » Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:22 pm

Quote from: Geezerhorn on Aug 03, 2016, 03:15PMTime and money are not issues for me. The downside is there not being anyone I wish to take lessons from without a pretty good travel time. But as someone else mentioned, it could be a periodic trip where I also do other things, like a ball game, family visit, etc.

...Geezer

I would suggest you look for a single lesson at first. Try a few teachers. My experience as an adult has shown me that some teachers understand the needs of adults, while other teachers treat everyone the same. Everyone needs an open mind including the teacher.

Likely, a diagnostician would be a good place to start.
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Post by ttf_Radar » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:10 pm

I had played Euphonium, and Trombone with some lessons and training for years but taught myself Tuba.  A couple of years ago I actually took some Tuba Lessons and in a short period of time I made great advancements in sound production and tone.  He corrected bad habits that I didn't know I had, and gave me direction on what to work on.  Not saying you can't learn an instrument on your own, but I do think that taking lessons from a competent instructor achieves results quicker than the trial and error method used by self taught musicians. 
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:25 pm

I had an "aha" moment this evening. About a year ago, a pro friend told me during a phone conversation that he uses minimal mpc pressure on the chops when he plays. This evening I was having some problems with my tone transitioning up from trigger range into the middle of the middle range. So I gave it a try. Voila! I guess it gives the chops a lot more freedom to vibrate without being pinned down. So now I have to practice playing that way for it to be a habit, like breathing.

The above wasn't the only time I got inspiration from a phone conversation. I can honestly state that I have learned as much or more from phone conversations or casual face-to-face conversations than I ever have had from a sit down lesson. Maybe that's how I roll.

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:56 pm

I am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.
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Post by ttf_savio » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:07 pm

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Aug 03, 2016, 05:56PMI am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.

Image Image Image

When I did start teaching, I realized how little I really know about trombone. So mostly what I do as a teacher is try not to destroy, but encourage the curiosity about trombone and music.

Leif
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:36 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Aug 03, 2016, 05:56PMI am not self-taught. I had lessons from age 11 until age 22. In many ways, teaching lessons for high school and middle achool students during college and afterwards was even a better teacher for me than lessons were. I don't take lessons any more, but I feel like I am always improving some aspect of my playing. I don't think this means I am self-taught, though, even though it's going on 7 years without a lesson.

Here's my take on it, though. You can definitely learn a lot from watching videos and listening to recordings. You can do pretty well working through music and books on your own. But the recordings and lessons won't be able to tell you obvious tweaks and fixes that even a friend could in a "lesson" on stage during a rehearsal. Whether it's a formal lesson that you pay for or not, at some point, there will be someone who has insight that none of us could stumble upon by ourselves.

Some of the best "lessons" I've ever had is just being in the same room as a great musician and soaking in their playing. To hear what a real forte sounds like, or real expressive playing from just a few feet away -- a recording doesn't tell that story. I remember a masterclass from Norman Bolter where he demonstrated "middle F". Every dynamic. Fortissimo peeled the paint off the walls. A video of the masterclass would not have told that story.

I think that players who are mostly self taught are inspiring, and some are the best musicians I've ever worked with! This doesn't mean that there is nothing to be gained from attending masterclasses or recitals so we can "see how it's done" and incorporate that into our playing.

Hey wait a minute! If I do the math right, then you've been playing for 18 years! Eighteen years ago, I was 49! Holy trigger horn! If I would have started when I was 49, I would be, um maybe a little bit better?

Anyway, I agree that one can learn a lot just from being a fly on the wall or even better yet - actually engaging with a better player. About a year or so ago, I watched a jazz trombonist playing. He was a youngish man. He told me he had been studying for 12 years. He sounded terrific and he didn't need any music. When I got close enough for the conversation, I noticed he was using a whiskey keg for a mpc! And yet he was able to hit a lot of bad-ass high C's, pretty good high D's, some so-so high Eb's and some squeaky high F's. So I learned at least two things right there: 1) that it can be done on that size mpc and 2) I needed to re-arrange my long-term goals.

I need to find a master class. Nothing beats seeing the demo live. Recordings are fine as far as they go, but they fall short.

Every time I play in a band with other musicians I learn something. So I have made it my business now to be in 3 bands and looking for a 4th.

I have also found that it's better to play as wide a variety of music as possible. There have been some glitches I wasn't aware of until I hit a certain piece of music and there they were, buck naked. So now I play through all the pieces of music that have uncovered my glitches when I'm testing out a new mpc or a new horn. Can I get through them better or worse with the new piece? So yes, I'm now into Rochut <Gasp!>.

For me, classical music is a stretch. For classical music players, maybe jazz would be a stretch. We should all stretch. When I worked part time at a fitness center, I used to be amused at all the tall, slender ladies who streamed in for yoga classes. That's easy for them. For me, it would be a stretch (pun intended). For them, a real stretch would be heavy weight training. We should all stretch, whether we are "self-taught" or not.

Quote from: savio on Aug 03, 2016, 07:07PMImage Image Image

When I did start teaching, I realized how little I really know about trombone. So mostly what I do as a teacher is try not to destroy, but encourage the curiosity about trombone and music.

Leif

I have heard that expressed through-out my life and not just trombone-playing. Teaching is learning and I believe the better players can learn from the lesser players.

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_BMadsen » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:21 am

Quote from: MrPillow on Aug 03, 2016, 01:47PMI think it would be silly to try and figure out any single idea why self-taught musicians choose to remain self taught. Everyone has their own reasons. For me, it has always been a question of interest. I play to have fun, and do it well enough to have fun playing the kinds of music I like to play. If I start to struggle to have fun, I might seek out a way to improve that situation, whether it is lessons, a new instrument, whatever.

The advantage of having a teacher who you see even a few times a year is that they get to know you, your playing, your strengths, and your weaknesses, and then can offer advice to move you forward quickly - even if it's that a new instrument or mouthpiece were necessary to achieve your goals (or modifications to your current one).

Quote from: Geezerhorn on Aug 03, 2016, 01:53PMI find it interesting that more than one has ranked social media sites like this one as a low form of getting information on how to play the trombone. I rank it up at the top! I have to wonder if others who have ranked it a lot lower are merely doing so out of distaste for social media in general...

...Geezer

There are lots of great resources about how to play - including advice on this site. However, advice that works for YOU won't work for others. When I was doing masters work, my teacher sent me to have a lesson with several other teachers. His exact words about it were, "You know now what works for you - so check out what these others have to say, and see if you think it will help. Discard the rest." I did that - I took some advice, and discarded other advice (well - put it aside for consideration another time), and made improvements quickly as a result.

The time when lessons start to be less than worth the money spent is when you start predicting what the teacher will say. I ran into that my last 5 lessons (3 with my regular teacher during masters work, 2 with other teachers I was curious to get their opinions about my playing on and thoughts on improvement). At that point, you've developed your self-reflection muscle enough to be able to be truly honest with yourself to push your own development, and have enough knowledge to know where to find (or how to create) resources to support that development. Until then, when a new perspective improves your abilities, you know it's not time to stop taking lessons.

That being said, your needs will vary. Some people need, or desire, weekly lessons. Some, monthly. Some, quarterly. And some, as needed or when concepts have been mastered enough that they are ready to move on. If you want to start taking lessons, then I'd start with once in a while lessons - a few times a year for you. Then, if you find that the teacher you are traveling to would be worth seeing more often, go more often. I think you'll find the time saved learning concepts will far outweigh the time traveling to and from the lesson, and you'd be able to have more fun on the horn faster. Just my 2 cents.

I don't have anything against self-taught musicians, personally - all that matters is can you play. But, I'm an efficiency guy - if I can learn something faster for less effort, why wouldn't I? It means I can learn more in the same amount of time, then - which is what I find inspiring.
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Post by ttf_davdud101 » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:41 am

Yeah... outside of playing in school band and a local jazz band my senior year, I am technically a self-taught player. It was just never *normal* for me or anyone around me to get a teacher, and I'm a pretty shy individual (or so I like to think of myself), in addition to that my personal-, music- and church-life in my senior year was so stuffed up that I didn't really have much time.
But I think also I'm very much a "DIY" kinda person, I like to go through the entire production process on my own and not be "disturbed" in my creative element, but I do see that I am rather stubborn when it comes to being told I suck, and I lose motivation easily Image however, NOT taking lessons didn't HELP me get better as a trombonist or as a person, I can say that for sure!

I can certainly confirm that the large majority of the really great players I know HAVE had lessons, if even only one year. People tell me I'm quite good for never having had lessons, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm "good".

But I'm gonna change that! I'll be getting lessons for both trombone and trumpet in this upcoming year once I'm back in the states. I'm MEGA-excited now.
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Post by ttf_anonymous » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:50 am

Of the past 15 years or so since I graduated from college, I've spent 2 or 3 years taking weekly or monthly lessons, and the remaing time working on my own.  I made many more discoveries working with a teacher, but turning those discoveries into habits has generally been something I did on my own.

I see private lessons having a couple of advantages for me: teachers have helped me identify the root cause of problems in my playing, and helped me address the root causes of my playing problems rather than masking symptoms.  Teachers have provided me with a critical ear, showing me the parts of my playing where I'm "cheating" and not sounding as good as I could because of it.  Teachers have also given me motivation, since I never want to show up to a private lesson sounding bad.

For me, the major disadvantage was the time commitment I needed to make to keep from wasting my teacher's time.  I'm not taking regular lessons now because I have small children at home and I can lose a week's worth of practice time in the blink of an eye if one of the kids brings home a flu bug.  I'm pretty down about the way I'm sounding right now, so I'm hoping that I can start occasional lessons again in another year or so.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:34 am

I'm really enjoying reading the personal anecdotes about being self-taught vs having a teacher. A common thread seems to be a tendency for some individuals to vacillate between the two at times for different personal reasons.

Not many so far have touched on something that has always been important to me. Davdud101 did and perhaps someone else as well. I'm the type of guy who takes great pride in teaching myself how to do something. In my lifetime so far, I have taught myself how to craft heirloom-quality furniture, watercolor paint to the pro level, become a master gardener and a credible home-style chef. Clearly, of all of them, teaching myself how to play the trombone reasonably well has been the most difficult and time-consuming. Thank goodness for this Forum and other resources available to me as needed!

As Jessie J sings, "It's not about the money, money, money...". Being a geezer is the new gerry. I'm not the kind of geezer who cheaps out on everything. I tip well for good service and I chide people to leave the damn salt 'n pepper shakers on the table. I even tip our trash haulers when I think I've abused them with all the crap I set out for pick-up. I don't have alligator arms. I'm usually the first one to grab the check. As I state, it's about the pride. I am very pleased with myself to have figured it out so far.

But I am rapidly getting to the point where I am satisfied with myself enough. I am rapidly getting to the point where I think it would be fun AND a different kind of source of pride to be a student of so-and-so's, provided I'm not an embarrassment to him. That day will come. Tic. Toc.

...Geezer   
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Post by ttf_mhanna » Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:02 am

Quote from: Geezerhorn on Aug 04, 2016, 08:34AMNot many so far have touched on something that has always been important to me. Davdud101 did and perhaps someone else as well. I'm the type of guy who takes great pride in teaching myself how to do something.

Certainly different people are wired differently.  I certainly feel no less of a sense of accomplishment for achievements that I've made while taking lessons, since I've had to apply just as much hard work and intelligence to transform ideas and criticisms from my teachers into something that actually works for me on the horn.  But I'm more engineer than scientist; I've always prioritized achieving goals over making new discoveries.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:10 pm

Quote from: mhanna on Aug 04, 2016, 11:02AMCertainly different people are wired differently.  I certainly feel no less of a sense of accomplishment for achievements that I've made while taking lessons, since I've had to apply just as much hard work and intelligence to transform ideas and criticisms from my teachers into something that actually works for me on the horn.  But I'm more engineer than scientist; I've always prioritized achieving goals over making new discoveries.

As our parents used to say, "That's different". lol With all due respect, how would you know the difference if you have never self-taught anything? Did you teach yourself how to ride your first bike? Did you teach yourself how to drive? I did - on a 1954 Willys Jeep, when my parents were out. I taught myself in the back alley. Then when my Dad took me out, I already knew how to drive a stick and he thought he did great "teaching" me. lol

For me, it hasn't been the destination, or I would have immediate (if not sooner) cut to the chase and did lessons. It's been the ride that has been at once, pleasurable, frustrating and rewarding. One of the things I used to do (yep - self taught) was to code in Cobol. I loved doing original coding and hated legacy patch-work. The few times I got to do original coding, I totally savored it. It was the ride I got to go on, not the finished product that I valued.

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_savio » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:57 pm

It's a choice, it depends on lot of factors and goals we set. Nothing wrong with being self taught but as I see it, it has some limitations. For most people that want to learn trombone I would recommend a teacher. Learning trombone we actually have to do our self, but a teacher can guide us in the right directions so we get more fun out of the trombone. We can reach our goals faster, and get more out of the possibilities each of us have. It has to be an professional really good teacher of course. There is lot of bad teacher's around that is dangerous.

The danger about being self taught is we go on a road that never can bring out the full potential we have. It actually is a risk that we will limit our own potential. Then often the fun about playing will go away.

Of course this is a personal choice and many of us play in a community band once a week and have some fun with other people. We don't need a teacher for that. Still I would recommend going to a really good teacher once in a while to get maximum fun out of our trombone. Its a personal choice. If young people want to go the professional route, they don't have a choice. Go to the best teachers available. They need a school where they have to learn how to get into the professional life. Its much more than just playing....


Leif
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Post by ttf_mhanna » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:23 pm

Quote from: Geezerhorn on Aug 04, 2016, 01:10PMAs our parents used to say, "That's different". lol With all due respect, how would you know the difference if you have never self-taught anything? Did you teach yourself how to ride your first bike? Did you teach yourself how to drive? I did - on a 1954 Willys Jeep, when my parents were out. I taught myself in the back alley. Then when my Dad took me out, I already knew how to drive a stick and he thought he did great "teaching" me. lol

I've gotta say, I don't follow.  Having said that, I fear I haven't made my point as precisely as I should have.

As I said, I've taken lessons for a few years of my adulthood, and been self-taught for many more.  When I compare a year in which I did take lessons to a year where I slaved away by myself in my basement, I am personally no less proud of what I accomplished during the year in which I took lessons.  In fact, I might be more proud of what I accomplished while taking lessons.  Not exactly case-control, but it's the best I've got to present.

Again, this is my story, and I'm more focused on the goal than the process.  YMMV.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:59 pm

Quote from: mhanna on Aug 04, 2016, 04:23PMI've gotta say, I don't follow.  Having said that, I fear I haven't made my point as precisely as I should have.

As I said, I've taken lessons for a few years of my adulthood, and been self-taught for many more.  When I compare a year in which I did take lessons to a year where I slaved away by myself in my basement, I am personally no less proud of what I accomplished during the year in which I took lessons.  In fact, I might be more proud of what I accomplished while taking lessons.  Not exactly case-control, but it's the best I've got to present.

Again, this is my story, and I'm more focused on the goal than the process.  YMMV.

 Image clarification. You've appreciated it from both angles! Maybe I can get to that point as well.

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_mhanna » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:14 pm

Circling back to the question of resources for teaching yourself, I'm not sure anyone's mentioned all the great resources out there for ear training.  Back in the day, I started working through the David Burge relative pitch
course.  I found it to be effective, but also a bit tedious and expensive.  These days, I'm seeing a lot of online options pop up as well.

I often feel like the time I've spent developing my ear and the time I spent at a keyboard working through chord progressions have been as important to my development as a trombonist as the time I've spent with the horn on my face.
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Post by ttf_Torobone » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:23 pm

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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:33 pm

Quote from: mhanna on Aug 04, 2016, 06:14PMCircling back to the question of resources for teaching yourself, I'm not sure anyone's mentioned all the great resources out there for ear training.  Back in the day, I started working through the David Burge relative pitch
course.  I found it to be effective, but also a bit tedious and expensive.  These days, I'm seeing a lot of online options pop up as well.

I often feel like the time I've spent developing my ear and the time I spent at a keyboard working through chord progressions have been as important to my development as a trombonist as the time I've spent with the horn on my face.

Talking about resources...

I resolved in earnest this evening to play more against the "radio". I put the word radio in quotes because I use Amazon Echo. I can ask Alexa to play almost any genre of music from my prime account. Interesting working out the key of a pop piece of music. Lots of them in A, D and C. Other keys as well, but those keys seem to be prevalent. Probably a guitar thing.

I also decided to use BiaB in a more advanced way. I have all four Hal Leonard Real Books. I've keyed the chord progressions into BiaB of all the standards that I know in those books. I play through each one twice. I'm going to start playing through them 3 times, improving progressively more and more with each pass - until on the 3rd pass - where I'll try to devise an on-the-fly alternate melody line to whatever tune is up.

I can play well enough for all three bands I'm involved with. So it's time to cut down on the study books a bit. Now is the time to start picking up my horn to just play. I admire those who can do that.

I've been at BiaB pretty steadily now for about 6 months, but it and playing against the "radio" is going to get more priority.

Quote from: Torobone on Aug 04, 2016, 06:23PMHere a fun link http://www.musictheory.net/exercises/ear-interval

Your timing couldn't be better!  Image

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_harrison.t.reed » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:35 pm

Watch out playing with the radio/recordings -- it is often not even close to A440.
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Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:31 am

Quote from: harrison.t.reed on Aug 04, 2016, 07:35PMWatch out playing with the radio/recordings -- it is often not even close to A440.

Even better yet!

Actually, I'd forgotten about that. A couple years ago, I tried playing along with a few LP's and almost went nuts - until someone told me about that tuning thing. Then I ripped the LP's down and tuned the wave files. Whew! I probably could have just adjusted the turntable to rotate at a different speed.

Contemporary pop can be tough to play along with - all the special sound effects and sometimes no clearly defined melody line. Music from the 50's, 70's, 80's & 90's might be easier. Contemporary jazz can be tough as well; with the fancy-dancy chord progressions.

Good stuff though - for someone like me who doesn't want to bother with learning the theory of music - who just wants to pick up the horn and play by ear. Uh-oh! There I go again - causing trouble!

...Geezer
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Post by ttf_stephenkerry » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:15 am

I'm pretty much self-taught, in that I never had any formal lessons, and was brought up in a brass band format. we did have a school band, in which I played as well, but it was not run out of the music dept, which was pretty non-existent in my school. After finishing school, I carried on playing in a band for some 5 years, where I was lucky enough to play in a band containing many fine member musicians. It's this that probably influenced me most, and learned what good playing and musicianship sounded like. I then moved away for a few years, and had a break.
Why no lessons? Two main reasons - at school my parents would have thought it bizarre to pay for them, and there were no teachers locally that I knew of. Later, just didn't have enough money or time while doing more studying and working/family.I had a few lessons while unemployed at 28-ish, and some more at 61 (!) when again unemployed. (I need to restart them after a a break!)
I think one of the main things missed is not coming up through the grade system, and not being aware of opportunities that might be there with some musical study. (I did some OU muisic courses, which were good but not trombone-related).
But I have been very fortunate to play in SA brass bands in my youth and big bands a bit later (one for 30 years!) and now in concert band, orchestra and quartet all doing exciting performances, and also regularly being asked to help with other bands. I still get to sit next to a very fine trumpet player and musician weekly, and every time it's like a free lesson. But if some one says what standard am I, it's bit tricky to answer 'cos I never even did grade 1.
 
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Post by ttf_watermailonman » Fri Aug 05, 2016 11:15 am

Quote from: stephenkerry on Aug 05, 2016, 08:15AMI'm pretty much self-taught, in that I never had any formal lessons, and was brought up in a brass band format. we did have a school band, in which I played as well, but it was not run out of the music dept, which was pretty non-existent in my school. I carried on in the band for some 5 years, where I was lucky enough to play in a band containing many fine member musicians. It's this that probably influenced me most, and learned what good playing and musicianship sounded like. I then moved away for a few years, and had a break.
Why no lessons? Two main reasons - at school my parents would have thought it bizarre to pay for them, and there were no teachers locally that I knew of. Later, just didn't have enough money or time while doing more studying and working/family.I had a few lessons while unemployed at 28-ish, and some more at 61 (!) when aagin unemplyed.
I think one of the main things missed is not coming up through the grade system, and not being aware of opportunities that might be there with some musical study.
But I have been very fortunate to play in SA brass bands in my youth and big bands a bit later (one for 30 years!) and now in concert band, orchestra and quartet all doing exciting performances, and also regularly being asked to help with other bands. I still get to sit next to a very fine trumpet player and musician weekly, and every time it's like a free lesson. But if some one says what standard am I, it's bit tricky to answer 'cos I never even did grade 1.
 

I liked to read that and several other comments too. Each of us has his own story. As long as you are fine with everything and have a good time why bother. Enjoy the moment. Live the presence. No need to take lessons for that, just appreciate what you've got and do your best with joy and enthusiasm. Live life!  Image

/Tom
ttf_11914227
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Being Self-Taught

Post by ttf_11914227 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:10 pm

I will start with the fact that I am 15, and am a rising junior in high school, I do not claim to even be very good at bass trombone, nor anything else I do.

Like most players my age, I started in school band while struggling to stay motivated about music. I started on trumpet (no offense to any trumpet players, but that definitely did not help my motivation) I never found my niche on trumpet, never got good at it, never found motivation and overall just wasn't having fun. I was the kid that took band because it was an easy grade. After about a year I switched to tuba, my band director was a flutist by trade, and could play the basic instruments, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone probably, but, of course, not tuba. I had the basic beginner's books to teach me the notes and the basic fingering chart. I got about as good as you could expect a middle schooler with no music experience to be. I started playing trombone in January of this year, after attempting one time and another over the past year before that. During our christmas concert there was a bass trombone part our lead tuba player played, and I was inspired, and have been playing bass trombone since. I've made leaps and bounds whether by talent or motivation, or even both. Both of my band directors luckily are low brass players, euphoniumists, but still. I've been mainly self taught, watching videos from random people, reading internet forum posts by random people, I've had an entire 1 lesson from the principal trombone player in my area's symphony. I teach myself because I'm a very independent person as is, I enjoy figuring things out on my own, I enjoy being on my own, and many things about me personally coincided into a trial and error and trying new things out.

Hope this answers your questions or at least provides a new perspective.
ttf_Geezerhorn
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:59 am

Being Self-Taught

Post by ttf_Geezerhorn » Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:33 am

Quote from: 11914227 on Aug 08, 2016, 10:10PMI will start with the fact that I am 15, and am a rising junior in high school, I do not claim to even be very good at bass trombone, nor anything else I do.

Like most players my age, I started in school band while struggling to stay motivated about music. I started on trumpet (no offense to any trumpet players, but that definitely did not help my motivation) I never found my niche on trumpet, never got good at it, never found motivation and overall just wasn't having fun. I was the kid that took band because it was an easy grade. After about a year I switched to tuba, my band director was a flutist by trade, and could play the basic instruments, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone probably, but, of course, not tuba. I had the basic beginner's books to teach me the notes and the basic fingering chart. I got about as good as you could expect a middle schooler with no music experience to be. I started playing trombone in January of this year, after attempting one time and another over the past year before that. During our christmas concert there was a bass trombone part our lead tuba player played, and I was inspired, and have been playing bass trombone since. I've made leaps and bounds whether by talent or motivation, or even both. Both of my band directors luckily are low brass players, euphoniumists, but still. I've been mainly self taught, watching videos from random people, reading internet forum posts by random people, I've had an entire 1 lesson from the principal trombone player in my area's symphony. I teach myself because I'm a very independent person as is, I enjoy figuring things out on my own, I enjoy being on my own, and many things about me personally coincided into a trial and error and trying new things out.

Hope this answers your questions or at least provides a new perspective.

The information you posted tells me you will be going into your junior year this fall. If you are having fun and everyone around you is happy with the way you play - including your director - then keep doing what you are doing. But if you plan on taking your horn with you to college or otherwise continuing to play afterwards, then it wouldn't hurt for you - at your age -  to have some lessons with a GOOD trombone or brass teacher.

...Geezer
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