Do we still need instrumental tutors and why?

  • People come in a wide variety of configurations. Those who are self-motivated and able to learn things on their own are among the minority.

    This is true not just of music but pretty much everything. Years ago I wrote several books to help people improve their career (in tech as well as for creatives). I additionally did one on one mentoring. What I found is what pretty much any instructional author will tell you. The overwhelming majority of people consume books and media telling them how to improve life or learn a skill, and then take no action. This may sell a lot of books, but it doesn't do much for the people you're trying to help, which for many of us is the entire point. Relatively few people are wired to be self-starters.

    This is where teachers come in. A book or YouTube video isn't going to evaluate your performance, gauge your progress, identify where you're having trouble so helpful tips can be offered, highlight the things you're doing well so you have the encouragement and motivation to continue practicing, and so on.

    Books and videos also offer also no personal relationship. I think in our current quarantined reality, many people are beginning to realize the value of interaction. A two way video call is better than just watching a video. Sitting in the room with another actual human being is even better. That human connection creates a spark that can give you the strength to keep doing hard things (practicing anything is hard), and inspire you to reach for things you never would have believed on your own.

    Make no mistake, there's a difference between someone who can read a textbook or grade a paper and someone who's truly a teacher. Schools are full of the former, and we all remember them being about as inspirational as rock. Then there were those rare classes where the teacher just had the spark and could connect with students in an almost magical way.

    If you're capable of creating that kind of magic, I highly encourage you to go for it. There's no shortage of people who would benefit.

  • I think children who want to play may benefit from a structured learning environment. But, the approach that is best for a particular student may vary. The traditional "learn how to read music" approach may not appeal to the same young learner as the newer "Rock School" approach.

    But, If they are self-motivated enough, they can use all the online information to learn how to do the things they want to do, and hopefully get it just wrong enough to create something different, and perfect enough for their time that will let them do it for a living :)

    I think if an adult wants to play, or wants to start playing again, there is plenty of information on YouTube for them to figure it out. But, if they are more comfortable with a teacher/student approach, there is nothing wrong with that.

  • It is always good to have a person who listens and watches and respond immediately to the student.

    YT will not do that.

    I mean a good teacher will say things like "take care of being melodic,create nice music first,try not to shred from the first note" and such things..

    Also YT will not react ofcourse to sloppy practicing.A teacher will.

    But..if the student once reached a certain point and has developed a good mentality and also love for music..many,many tutorials on yt are really,really great.A lots of information.

    And if someone can already play and is just looking out for a certain thing..tutorials all the way..

    You don't need to pay a teacher just for learning tapping or arpeggio sweeping.Just go to yt.

  • Great points, everyone. Think this is going to be an interesting read with some very valid comments.

    There always has been self-taught and teacher-taught, whether reading the “play in a day” book or skipping the arm on some vinyl in the 50s/60s or clicking through youtube today.

    Depending on your age you may appreciate the values of the skills required v the technology available at that time, especially if you had personal tuition at some point.

    Does the fact that we (my generation) learnt by skipping back and forth on a cassette player give us an advantage over the kids surfing the net today?

    Being self taught is like making a journey without a map where you get lost and don't know what there is to cover, so, what can we get away with not learning?

    “We dont know what we dont know until we know about it”

    Part of the excitement of life is discovering new things and understanding what we don't know and then tackling it. Its sometimes difficult to explain to someone what they don't know.

    I wonder if a good teacher is as valuable now as it was a few decades ago?

  • For sure the "tape generation" had more work to do.

    The yt generation has much less work to do getting information for learning the instrument but it also has more decisions to make.Today kids have no false hopes and dreams to get "signed by a big record company which will make a MTV clip" with them..

    They have less work with getting all the information learning their instrument but they have much more work creating their social media presence.They have to do it all themselves.And as far as I can say this is a very time consuming job.

    As for being a teacher today..nothing has changed.Many things are by far easier than years ago.Teaching with the help of internet and all the technology in our hands..its good.Specially if you are a teacher who is "specialized" in a certain issue which certain people all over the place are interested in.This can be a lot of things.Certain use of music theory,teaching a certain style etc.

    In any case nothing has changed of what a good teacher is supposed to do.And this is most of all one very certain thing:Initiating this spark in his students heart..the love for music.The rest comes from alone.And this will never change.Sounds cheesy.But that's it.

  • skipping the arm on some vinyl

    In the 70s, everyone played Little Wing. Being a bit contrary, I decided to learn Castles Made of Sand instead. I was a broke musician with a very cheap turntable, but I did what we all did - sat down with the album (Axis: Bold as Love) and went over the song a gazillion times trying to figure out what Hendrix was doing because he never really did the exact same thing twice.

    By the time I was through, my cheap needle had carved a groove of its own from dropping before the song so many times, so every time I played the album after that it got to Castles Made of Sand and just went around in circles in the margin before the song started.

    Collateral damage, but at least I learned the song. Sorta. :)

  • You can learn to play guitar about 90% good with the internet, but that 10% feedback from a live in-person instructor makes you a guitar god, IMO. And you don't wait till the end at 90% to get that live 10%. Get that live 10% early on.

    The more you find what Kemper can do then the harder you try to find what it cannot do -- like make a good cup of Frappuccino.

  • No Internet in the mid 70s so I took 5 years of guitar lessons from a jazz virtuoso (Robert Conti.....check him out on Youtube and his website). I'm not a jazz player (that takes a life of dedication), but I got up to speed quickly and learned a lot of jazz chords and improved my ear immensely so that I could figure even more things off recordings than what he showed me. My technique also improved a lot to the point where the jazz learning really helped my rock.

    A great teacher is invaluable.

    The key to everything is patience.
    You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
    -- Arnold H. Glasow

    If it doesn't produce results, don't do it.

    -- Me

  • My two cents:

    There is no substitute for in-person, personalized coaching and instruction. If nothing more than for having someone hold you accountable and not allowing you to waste time on things that don't matter. Sometimes the biggest problem is you forget where you were going.

    This is true in business, where the vast majority of highly-successful people have advisors and coaches.

    Not having a coach and/or trainer in athletics guarantees you'll never reach your potential.

    If education only required video and reading, online learning during COVID would've proved in-person was unnecessary for prime effectiveness. In reality, it proved much the opposite.

    “Without music, life would be a mistake.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • I teach guitar. Firstly it provides motivation and consistency. These I think are the biggest points.
    Learning via YouTube etc independently often leads to jumping around, a lack of consistency and not improving as fast or in a meaningful direction.
    imo :)