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Curious

johnny880
Posts: 250
3 months ago
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I am curious to see how many of you have taken music lessons, music school or any formal training. And how some of you may have done it the hard way like me. I couldn't afford the lesson thing so I chose the hard way. Kind of forced into that area. I am interested in hearing from both camps. If it really makes a difference from those that have taken those lessons and those that are self taught ? And does it make a difference in the long run ? Or is it more how you get there ? This query is aimed more at the seasoned pro big boys and girls out there and in this forum that would like to maybe put in a few words on how they got where they are now. But if newer players want to chime in on how you are learning. Go nuts. I would like to hear that as well. I am sure lessons speed up the process of getting there, but there is something to be said about going it alone. I would like to hear your thoughts. Pros and Cons.
johnny880
Posts: 250
Don't be shy now. Do tell.
Marko1960
Posts: 3118
Let me start by saying Paul McArtney never took a lesson and can't read a line of music, that says it all really. I never took lessons but wish I did. My youngest brother, seven years my junior, got into bass cos I had one and he was playing it without my knowledge, he took it far more seriously than me, he learnt one of Jaco's hardest pieces and used it to get into Newcastle Polytechnic studying Jazz Bass. He moved to Newcastle, 30 miles from our home town, and got into various bands, Newcastle is a big city with a vibrant music scene ( The Animals, Sting, Lindisfarne etc) he got session work with a band based in Newcastle called The Lighthouse Family who had moderate chart success. Being a pro has taken him places I can only dream of, bass playing is his day job
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1778
No lessons, no instructions. I started in the days before the internet, before there were easy references like Youtube instructors or an exorbitance of tab web sites. I learned by simply sitting down with my instrument and finding my way, note by note, familiarizing myself with the fretboard and how notes tie together in relation to one another. I would occasionally pick up a guitar magazine or Cherry Lane tab book, but – ironically, considering I've written so many tabs – I never had the patience to pore over them back then.

I can't read sheet music, I can play scales but don't know their names, and music theory is all Greek to me, but I can sure play the hell out of my bass.
IamMark
Posts: 1070
When I first started I took lessons for about 6 months. Covered some of the essential basics that helped me develop (fingering techniques, positioning, etc.). Got me going with basic sheet music reading, but I didn't practice that at all and I regret it now.

When I started college I took a music theory course and got my ass kicked. Had to drop the class. All the other student were pianist or violinists. The teacher didn't have patience for me to catch up, and I was left in the dust.

I learn now by listening, playing others' songs, and just goofing around creating grooves to click tracks.
johnny880
Posts: 250
Quote:
No lessons, no instructions. I started in the days before the internet, before there were easy references like Youtube instructors or an exorbitance of tab web sites. I learned by simply sitting down with my instrument and finding my way, note by note, familiarizing myself with the fretboard and how notes tie together in relation to one another. I would occasionally pick up a guitar magazine or Cherry Lane tab book, but – ironically, considering I've written so many tabs – I never had the patience to pore over them back then.I can't read sheet music, I can play scales but don't know their names, and music theory is all Greek to me, but I can sure play the hell out of my bass.
I can sure play the hell out of my bass ! Exactly. You did it the real hard way before there where internet tabs and such. Kudos to you. I like doing it on my own but wish I had of taken just a few lessons just to see if I am on the right track and perhaps tweak a few things.
johnny880
Posts: 250
Quote:
Let me start by saying Paul McArtney never took a lesson and can't read a line of music, that says it all really. I never took lessons but wish I did. My youngest brother, seven years my junior, got into bass cos I had one and he was playing it without my knowledge, he took it far more seriously than me, he learnt one of Jaco's hardest pieces and used it to get into Newcastle Polytechnic studying Jazz Bass. He moved to Newcastle, 30 miles from our home town, and got into various bands, Newcastle is a big city with a vibrant music scene ( The Animals, Sting, Lindisfarne etc) he got session work with a band based in Newcastle called The Lighthouse Family who had moderate chart success. Being a pro has taken him places I can only dream of, bass playing is his day job
He is very lucky. That's cool. Maybe you can use him as a reference to get your own gig.
johnny880
Posts: 250
Quote:
When I first started I took lessons for about 6 months. Covered some of the essential basics that helped me develop (fingering techniques, positioning, etc.). Got me going with basic sheet music reading, but I didn't practice that at all and I regret it now.When I started college I took a music theory course and got my ass kicked. Had to drop the class. All the other student were pianist or violinists. The teacher didn't have patience for me to catch up, and I was left in the dust.I learn now by listening, playing others' songs, and just goofing around creating grooves to click tracks.
Music theory is as Loudlon said. ALL GREEK. I don't have that kind of time to delve into that. I think you need to have parents that start you in music lessons when you are 3 years old to make it thru that routine. If you can play the hell out of your bass as Loudlon says again. Or are getting to the point on your own that you can play the hell out of your bass. Mission accomplished. Feels kind of good doing it on your own though doesn't it ?
IamMark
Posts: 1070
I wouldn't discredit theory. Knowing some basic theory helps when playing with other musicians for the first time on a stage. For someone like me, who doesn't have a good ‘ear’ I rely on my basic knowledge to get me through a song I've never played before.

And then there's the whole “language” thing that those who have a good grasp on theory are able to communicate with other musicians that seem like a secret language that gets them from point A to point B pretty quick.
2nick3
Posts: 427
What Mark says above - without a good ear you will need to rely on Theory at times. The group I play with at my church has some VERY talented musicians in it, and being able to understand them discussing the way we are playing a song is really helpful.

And I don't mean the really complicated stuff (“Play a D-minor arpegio over the C# major dominant…&rdquo. When they say “modulate the chorus up a half step” or “Can you play that segment legato?” I know what they want and can just do it. I also know when we do a warmup jam and the guitarist is playing “II IV V in A” I can just jump in. If my ear was better I could follow along, but with the theory I can step in and play along with him, rather than reacting to him until I pick it up.

Back to the original question, I tried on my own for a few years - a few books, Youtube, etc. It just wasn't clicking - I was very mechanical in my playing (which is a step above “primitive” in skill development, at least). Getting into lessons has helped me get my playing much more fluid. For me it's the difference between playing notes and playing music. So worth every penny and the time. But I have the means, and the lessons help overcome the lack of natural musical skill.
johnny880
Posts: 250
Thanks everyone for your input. I wanted to know because I am at the point where I think I am starting to play with a understanding of what I am actually doing and able to play tunes that come into my head. However I see bass players on youtube and I feel I am missing something. I think 6 months of lessons going over what I know and what I don't know and where that person could take me wouldn't hurt. Comes down to the money thing. 25 a half hour they charge here in Canada. If I wasn't on disability for a forklift neck injury I could have done that. Maybe one day I will win the lotto. P.S that's why a short scale comes in handy when the nerves in your arm and hand don't work like they are f##king supposed too. Thanks again.

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