In my case that's just the way it was - circumstances during my formative years prohibited private instruction. For one, I didn't live in a place where I had an instructor other than my many band directors. (5 in 4 years of high school - unfortunately it was like a revolving door) I did have 6 months of instruction at the Armed Forces School of Music, but it was clear that I wasn't the instructor's pet pupil, so even though I did learn, that relationship was somewhat strained at best. After that, I was working as a musician, and I suppose I could have taken lessons from one of the many top-rated players in the area, but I was young and life was trucking along, and frankly, I was doing quite well on my own. (I was also keeping my eyes and ears open, and was picking the brains of the people I was playing with who were better than me) Keep in mind that I never said it was ideal. I probably limited my potential by not doing private instruction over an extended period of time, but I've always been functional, and I've always gigged - isn't that the goal?