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Do I Need a Teacher ?
Results of FM poll about teachers.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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Oliver
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September 21, 2012 - 11:57 am
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The current FM poll shows that most who responded (61%) are self (internet) taught.

( 163 votes out of 268).

I was wondering if those who are self taught feel that they know as much or more than having lessons ?  Was the progress slower ?  Was the progress less ?   Would you do it the same way if you could ?  Might a teacher have slowed you down ?

I had lessons for one Summer.  I would have been better off with a good teacher but maybe having less fun.  I'm paying for that now.  Years later.

beg

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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FinalPatriot
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September 21, 2012 - 12:23 pm
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I guess that's a tough question to answer there as I'm so new, I don't really have all that much of a reference point.  I see a professional instructor every other week though I may try to increase those visits as funding becomes more available.  What's worked for me is that I read/view just about everything that FM puts out on this site as well as a few other online violin teachers I really like.  My instructor then builds upon my own research/study with the technical foundation that I need as well as helping me to better understand music theory.  Essentially, she focuses on the fundamental principals of study in a classical style and then we combine this training into music that I enjoy and a style I want to eventually master.

What I've noticed though is that sometimes I will get so motivated that I will learn music beyond my level and find out that I wasn't playing it correctly.  Yeah, I have the sound right but technically, my playing format isn't correct. With an instructor, she's able to not only point the direction for me but help me make sure that I'm progressing w/o picking up bad habits.  From my perspective, having a professional instructor is necessary as there are just some aspects that are very difficult to master even with a great deal of personal motivation.

I'm just thankful as her rate is almost half of what he market is for the Atlanta area and unlike some instructors I've reviewed, she loves the violin more than just about anything in life.  It's impossible to learn from someone like that and not find yourself inspired.

"I know a girl who cries when she practices violin because each note sounds so pure it just cuts into her, and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes. Now, to me, everything else just sounds like a lie."

Conor Oberst
 
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Oliver
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September 21, 2012 - 1:15 pm
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Well, you are right that your instructor can SEE you or else you would have to look in a mirror which never worked for me !   So, the teacher gives the advantage.

Also, you are right that the internet is a great resource. 

Seems you are doing a few good things to help your education.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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FinalPatriot
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September 21, 2012 - 1:26 pm
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I avoid the mirror... my bald head causes too much of a glare.  blurry_drunk-2127

 

Actually, I have one setup in my basement so I can track my bowing technique but it's the subtle slouching and incorrect position of both wrist and arm that I sometimes forget about.  She notices that quite quickly.

"I know a girl who cries when she practices violin because each note sounds so pure it just cuts into her, and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes. Now, to me, everything else just sounds like a lie."

Conor Oberst
 
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Oliver
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September 21, 2012 - 2:52 pm
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How did you choose your teacher ?   You say she is your inspiration but did you know that to begin with ?   Was she recommended ?

The other problem ..... wear a hat smile

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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FinalPatriot
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September 21, 2012 - 8:31 pm
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Oliver said
How did you choose your teacher ?   You say she is your inspiration but did you know that to begin with ?   Was she recommended ?

The other problem ..... wear a hat smile

It's a funny story actually.  I found her off of the TakeLessons website but it was mainly her bio and the comments she wrote about her love for the violin that caught my attention.  I had looked around Atlanta for an instructor that was not only reasonably priced but had a personality I fit well with.  There was even one person who would have charged almost nothing to teach me but I frankly couldn't stand the guy.  In the end, I had a few conversations with her over the phone and just knew she was the right person.  I'm not sure that makes a whole lot of sense but in the last month, I've learned to trust that God will help me in this journey.  

 

Oh, and for the hat, I got my lucky Atlanta Braves cap right here!

"I know a girl who cries when she practices violin because each note sounds so pure it just cuts into her, and then the melody comes pouring out her eyes. Now, to me, everything else just sounds like a lie."

Conor Oberst
 
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Oliver
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September 21, 2012 - 9:15 pm
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It is nice to read good story about student/teacher relationships because I believe that is rare.

Mostly I come across reports that "My old teacher was terrible but now I'm much happier.  She is even better than my fourth teacher was but she moved."

(Say what!)

My first and only teacher of 3 months really ran a KinderMuzik operation and had no clue what to do with me.

dazed

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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pky
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September 22, 2012 - 1:49 am
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Oliver said

I was wondering if those who are self taught feel that they know as much or more than having lessons ?  Was the progress slower ?  Was the progress less ?   Would you do it the same way if you could ?  Might a teacher have slowed you down ?

I have asked myself those questions. I am kind of lucky. I learn along with my daughter. I went to the lesson with her every week. (BUT. at the beginning, i paid a lot of attention and now I am not. ) The progress is definitely slower (my daughter's teacher has some adult students, they went through Suzuki book one in five months and I'm still on book one; and I don't practice scales and appeggios as much as i should.

To me, i think the pros of having a teacher would motivate myself to practice more frequently (like everyday), take the challenges better (not skipping a piece that I don't like, even though I know it is okay to do so), correct me if I make mistakes.

I am thinking about taking lessons from my daughter's violin teacher. I don't think she will slow me down (one of my piano teachers did). However, I wonder if I do take lessons from her, where is she going to start with me? How would she like me exploring on my own?

I will do the same way for a little longer because I felt if I do want to play well (Well enough to play at higher level) I will have to take lessons from someone.

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DanielB
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Well, if you can find a teacher and can afford to try lessons, it is probably usually worth it, at least for the help while you are picking up the basics.  Beyond the basics, it is going to depend on the teacher.  Can they do the stuff you want to learn?

But for the basics, I had a teacher at some point at least for some instruments and was self taught on others.  Learning the basics goes a lot faster with a teacher, even if they aren't a particularly good teacher.  Doing without a teacher, personally I have noticed it seems to take around a year of work before I start getting some sounds/songs I can actually be pleased with on a new instrument.  With a teacher, it can cut that time about in half. 

Beyond the basics, if you can find someone who plays even sorta like you want to be able to play, even one session now and then can be a huge help.  By the time you have the basics down, you know how to practice something on the instrument, so one or two good ideas or suggestions are something you can work on and benefit from for quite a while.

It certainly is possible to teach yourself with no lessons.  But it is more work and it takes longer.  Harder to keep the motivation up, and easier to drop out. 

So my viewpoint on the matter is that if you can find a teacher and can afford lessons, by all means take them.  If you can't, then you hunker down and dig in and get to work anyway, but expect it is going to take longer and be harder sometimes to keep going.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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September 22, 2012 - 7:35 am
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As I read this thread, it occurs to me that a teacher also supplies ( or causes ) some structure or direction.  I know that in my efforts I just did not know all of the things that  were important to learn so, later, I had to go back to fill in some gaps.  Not bright but I just didn't know. 

What material does one study being student and teacher at the same time ?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Oliver
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September 22, 2012 - 7:43 am
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@pky

Just caught up with your post.  

Sounds like your future holds some Suzuki.  

Let me say (and you can ignore) that Suzuki is perhaps the most over-rated of methods but certainly one with the best gossip.

cheerleader

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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NoirVelours
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A teacher surely would help me play with better technique, but being self-taught has the benefit of picking the songs that inspire you, flexible schedule and..free! Sure if someone was paying my lessons I would try with a teacher just to see, but it's not the case no I'm quite happy with learning by my own.

"It can sing like a bird, it can cry like a human being, it can be very angry, it can be all that humans are" Maxim Vengerov

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Oliver
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Given one condition ......  having the technique to play those inspiring songs.  Otherwise there is soon a ceiling to deal with.   (How many times can I suffer Amazing Grace dazed)

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlestix
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Oliver said
   (How many times can I suffer Amazing Grace dazed)

You suffer untill the song is no longer beautifull. 200-300 time's should do it, it does for me.

  dancing

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pky
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Oliver said
@pky

Just caught up with your post.  

Sounds like your future holds some Suzuki.  

Let me say (and you can ignore) that Suzuki is perhaps the most over-rated of methods but certainly one with the best gossip.

Yeah, I know the reputation of suzuki method. I have asked my daughter's teacher, she said she doesn't go beyond book five and her teaching is influenced by other methods as well.  I have never seen other methods, other than FM, craig duncan and my piano teachers, so I can't really compare suzuki methods to other methods and how "suzuki" my daughter's teacher is. However, I personally like the way she teaches my daughter. She is a great teacher and that's why I'm considering taking lessons from her.

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Oliver
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September 22, 2012 - 3:17 pm
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Confidence in a teacher is certainly important and you are fortunate to be in a position to know about the teacher.

 

@Fiddlestix ...... true but only if Willie Nelson is singing it smile

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Picklefish
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Thats the best compliment you can give a teacher. Suzuki is a mindset regarding teaching a child, and the music compliments the gradual increase in skills taught. Any graded repertoire can be taught suzuki style. Suzuki is the combined efforts of teacher, Parent-teacher, and child (eventually child-teacher). This means that the parent is attending the lesson and taking notes so that the week long practice is consistent with what was taught. Eventually the child is taught to self critique and essentially teach themselves. Most students dont go beyond book 6 in the series for a variety of reasons. The most is that teachers are so bored with the music after years of teaching the same thing they introduce other composers and compositions of the same skill level. Heck, book 10 is two concertos anyways. My goal is to complete all 10 books. but thats at least a decade of practicing so there is time. As a method suzuki in itself is incomplete and cannot be self taught simply by following along in the books. they just dont give you all the information. But, if you know how to fill the gaps I think they are fantastic, and fun to play.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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Oliver
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September 22, 2012 - 4:34 pm
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Can you name a top six contemporary classic violinists currently active ?

Can you tell me which of these are (mainly) Suzuki products ?

Or perhaps, the percentage at the last Indianapolis (?) contest ?

Bah humbug !

My best Suzuki was a 250 CC !!!!!

 

PS  I think there is a Suzuki creature on YouTube   .... last name Karkowska (?)

I like her.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Picklefish
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Oliver said
Can you name a top six contemporary classic violinists currently active ?

Hilary Hahn, David Garritt, Mark Oconnor, Itzhak Perlman, Andre Rieu, Oh and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....violinists

Can you tell me which of these are (mainly) Suzuki products ? Nope, but Im sure a bunch are.

Or perhaps, the percentage at the last Indianapolis (?) contest ?

The Indianapolis 500? what contest?

Bah humbug !

A christmas Carol. that was easy.

My best Suzuki was a 250 CC !!!!!

The easiest way to recover from a bad experience is to have a great one.

 

PS  I think there is a Suzuki creature on YouTube   .... last name Karkowska (?)

I like her. I sent her an email advising her of your amorous feelings. thumbs-up

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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DanielB
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I think the Suzuki method is just a method. like any other.  All methods attempt some sort of a formalized approach to acquaint students with certain information and to allow them to gain certain skills.  They usually work to some degree or another.

But in the end, the results owe more credit to the student and teacher(s) than to the method.  No method is going to teach anybody anything if the student isn't putting in the work.  So the student always gets the first credit for any result.  The teacher comes next.  A good teacher can motivate even mediocre or poor students and maybe find a diamond in the rough there.  But even with a bad teacher, a student that really wants to play will learn even if it is in spite of the teacher.  They will hunt out things the teacher may miss or skip and teach themselves those things.  

One can also think a teacher isn't good, and be wrong.  One of my guitar teachers (not beginning guitar), we all went in expecting to learn a lot of neat licks and chords and etc.  What we got was nothing but finger exercises for the whole first month.  Basically doing chromatic scale in one position, then shift up a position and do it again, and so on up to the octave and then work your way back down, over and over.  About 45 minutes of that, with one short break.  Then he'd lecture a bit and talk about playing in general.  After the first couple of weeks, he'd talk while we did it or pick up his own guitar and jam a bit over top of that chromatic mess.  The next month was about half a class of finger exercises and then it was scales.  About a month of just major and minor.  Then.. No, it wasn't songs or licks.. it was some simple chords and using dynamics and techniques like hammer ons and pull offs while doing the finger exercises. LOL

The only thing he graded us on was attendance and some very simple theory that a baby could have passed.  He said he wouldn't even give a written exam, except the college required them.  

I thought he was a really crappy teacher most of that time.  The classes were easy, but mostly pretty boring so far as what we actually did on guitar.  But I was wrong, because what it did for your actual playing was good.  Once you got past the sore fingers and cramping hand muscles you got so you knew where every sound was and just how to get it, and moving from one note to any other was easy.  When we went into major and minor scales, no key was any harder than any other, and always, your fingers knew where to go and you didn't have to think about shifts or transitions. 

Over 30 students started that semester.  About 10 of us finished it.  And the next semester, for the "advanced" class, only about 5 of us signed up for that.  That was where we learned riffs and runs and how to put some stuff together and how to use some interplay between scales and modes and what chord forms to pick to support a melody and so on..

He was a really good teacher, in his way.  I just didn't like the first few months where I was acquiring the skills.  But my playing outside of class improved from I'd say probably the first or second week.  Things that had been hard became easy and when playing lead or a fill, I started playing more the notes I thought would sound best than what was easy to reach.  That makes a big difference. 

But again, out of about 30 students, only 5 took the next class, and 3 or 4 of us finished that one.  Most of us complained about the class a lot.  A lot of people found it frustrating or pointless.  But it was a very methodical and sensible approach to "fix" anything you'd learned wrong, and if you were a player, it got you comfortable with that fretboard and easy anywhere on it. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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