Can a Person Effectively Teach Themselves?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, May 29, 2015.

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    So what you are saying is if the Shew fits, wear it?
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I figured I'd touch on what I feel are the main points of your post, hence cutting out some of the rest of the post.

    You say that you have huge holes in your knowledge set, correct? That means that you recognize what those holes are, right? If you know what they are, then you have all of the knowledge you need to set about filling in the holes in your playing - you don't need a teacher to tell you what they are, and likewise, if you know what they are, you can prescribe to yourself the corrective measures to learn what you need to fill in the blanks - it's then a matter of gathering the materials you need (method books, exercises, etc) and self-discipline to set about to structure a practice regimen to systematically do it.

    To touch on something else, you say that you are a good player, but not a great player, and you attribute that to never having had a teacher. Fair enough, but consider this: I've known a lot of players in my years playing and gigging around, and I know a lot of people who are only good players, and yet had every advantage. They majored in music in college (some even performance majors) so they had ensembles, lessons, structured practice, etc. Some of these people had teachers all through their formative years up through high school as well. In the end, they were only mediocre players. I knew A LOT of people in my years as an Army bandsman who fell into that mould.

    So is it a lack of private instruction? I would contend that some people will just never be great - call it a lack of talent or whatever, but as long as there aren't major technique issues such as a really poorly formed embouchure, I don't see the shortfall as being caused by a lack of formal lessons.

    I've got gaps in my own playing. As a trumpet player, I don't improv worth a dang. I "could" go get a teacher, or take a course on jazz improv, but the truth is, everything that I'd need to learn is available to me without a teacher - I just have never had the discipline to dig into it. Part of it is that my practice tends to be gig oriented, and I've never put myself into a gig where soloing was a requirement.

    As a drummer, I'm a solid rock player, and I do swing shuffles and country shuffles pretty well, but kicking a big band? Not my cup of tea. It isn't that I'm not capable, but rather, I've simply never taken the time to work that aspect of my playing, mainly because I've never had a gig that required it. Same thing goes with using a double kick pedal - I've never learned to use it because my gigging never required it.

    In any case, and to try to bring this back on track to what you posted, you might regret that you didn't go get lessons, but the truth is that the end result may not have been much different from what it is currently. To add to that, if you really want to change it, DO IT. Dig into the materials you need to fill in the gaps - everything you need is there, all you have to do is go get it and make it happen.
    Dupac likes this.
  3. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Everyone has holes in their knowledge set, even Maynard. That's why I put his quote in my signature.
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Something I should probably touch on, which is kind of an addendum to my somewhat long-winded post above, is the fact that I'm not a "great" player. I'm certainly not top-tier symphony quality, and I'm not premier military band level either. Maybe at my very best with an awesome audition and an audition panel who knew me and wanted to be kind, I might have been able to swing getting into a premier military band, but these days the requirements for getting into those are off the charts.

    With that said, as a hobbyist player, I'm solid enough that I gig regularly and continue to get called back. You don't have to be awesome to be perfectly functional and to do a great job for the average holiday church gig or wedding, nor do you have to be awesome to gig with a working local big band or party band. I suppose it depends on where you want to go with it. I'm not sure that even with every advantage, or even if I had gone to college as a trumpet performance major, that I would have quite had the juice to ascend to that top-tier. Some will say that I'm pessimistic, but I don't think that's it because there was a time where I assumed that I would continue to improve, and improvement on the horn was a linear, ascending thing, but as I've illustrated above, lessons does not equal greatness.
  5. Rapier

    Rapier Forte User

    Jul 18, 2011
    Trickg. I said I'm an ok player, not a good player. If the gaps in my skills had been identified by a tutor, the gaps would have been filled in long ago. Actually, there would be no gaps.

    So as I said, can you teach yourself? Yes. Should you? No. As a beginner you would do better to be taught correctly from the beginning.
  6. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    Yes -- absolutely you can teach yourself

    -I would say the biggest obstacles to me teaching myself are INSPIRATION --- and I did take trumpet lessons in public schools when I was younger. But in order to go above and beyond what is required in my community band ---- I need to keep challenging myself and inspiring myself OR finding people that can inspire me.
    the other major thing is getting in a rut ---- dreaming of only playing higher notes or ballads --- so I practice the stuff I like to do ---- and often, I avoid the tonguing exercises and certain rhythms that I hate
    and when you AVOID practicing certain rhythms or tonguing exercises -- when I don't PUSH myself then I actually get to a song in my Measly community band -- where the trumpet section is featured, and we have some double tonguing ----
    then I have to play catch up, and really crack down on my practice sessions to be able to keep up
  7. DaChan

    DaChan Pianissimo User

    Aug 10, 2014
    As a junior and highschool band and highschool jazz band kid, I had one private lesson. Maybe it was two, I can't recall. I'd describe myself as self taught. I rarely wish for a teacher as I'm usually able to find plenty of things to fulfill my curiosity on my own. That said, If I had a time machine and could go back and listen to and coach my younger self - I think I'd be a better player for it today. I don't think that lessons make musicians. Almost half of the people I went to public school with took piano lessons as elementary school kids. Very few of them play today. That said, I'd probably benefit immeasurably from some piano lessons. I have my first paid studio gig on Monday. I'm not a great player, and as just mentioned I'm an amateur. I practice improve and don't read worth a damn. Last night I sought advice from a studio pianist that hangs out at my local. We talked briefly about how to sell your ideas to the producer. I guess I'm saying that information can be found on an as needed basis but it is helpful to surround yourself with people who have walked the path you want to travel. If you look at lessons as the supplement to your music and not the cause of it, then you'll probably be a hell of a player... if you practice... I guess the question is - Can someone find the commitment to practice without a mentor. I'd say yes.
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Can we teach yourselves? Yes, and the people who do it best are called "talented." Can we learn from others? Yes, and the people who do it best are called "musicians."
  9. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

    Mar 11, 2015
    Tidewater, VA
    Very true, Mr. TJ. But like Mr. Dennis intimated, I was a persistent student. That also meant that I do what I've done with any other endeavour I've obsessed myself with: I research, research, research, find successful people at the field I'm burying myself, and work, work, work with heavy critical self- and external analysis and then work, work, work some more.
    Nobody said it was easy. If it was, everyone would be able to do it.
    (This saying goes for powerlifting and can be said for trumpeting.)
  10. Franklin D

    Franklin D Forte User

    May 23, 2009
    The Netherlands
    If I remember well, Harold Hill was a fraud.

    And I really didn't know that Lay Tzu played trumpet let alone Genghis Kahn.

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