When do you not need lessons?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by kctrumpeteer, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    Since picking up my trumpet some time ago I have been very good in taking private lessons every week in addition to playing in a number of regular performances. Recently I have also been taking once a month lesson with a local pro to work on some Jazz, improv, and everything else trumpet. In some ways I feel like the weekly thing that I do is fun / good excuse to get out of the house and work with someone to listen to me and make some suggestions from time to time, but for the most part everything I am working on now just requires practice and more practice.

    Since others have probably had experience with being a 'come-back' player and possibly doing lessons have you had experience where you get lazy if you don't have the weekly lesson to commit to? (Which would go back to my thought that I just need to commit myself to practicing, but the weekly lesson sort of helps force me to take time to work on various things.)

    ... or maybe it is just that time of year where the 2 groups I play with take a break over the holidays so I go from a ton of commitments to none from late December to January... and I worry about taking a step back in playing ability.

    So just wondering how others have stayed committed and monitored improvement over time. I know that the lessons have greatly improved my playing ability, just wondering about when the cross over point becomes me just needing to work on things myself versus taking instruction. (I don't plan on giving up the monthly pro meeting but wavering on the weekly lesson)
  2. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    You can stop taking lessons once all your fundamentals are solid steel. Until then, I would advise the weekly checkup.
    Note that top pros still go and take lessons from the master teachers though. (at times)
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  3. iw63boomer

    iw63boomer New Friend

    Dec 12, 2011
    Chicago and other places
    Oh boy! This is a tough question and one I wrestle with myself. I am originally from Chicago and lived there for over 30 years. Now I am more or less traveling with my ‘day gig’, but I still can find awesome opportunities to play. To be honest, and trying to be humble, I don’t run across too many cats that have something to offer me in terms of lessons. Back in Chicago, I approached a couple of ‘big name’ cats, and asked them if I could have a lesson or two, so I could figure out if I was on the right track. In each case, the guys were willing to take me on as a student, but only with a full time (eight hours of practice per day) commitment. These were guys that I had played with, so they knew me; I just couldn’t understand where they were coming from with setting that kind of boundary. I mean, I was very willing to pay a lot of money for their time, but they stuck with their original idea of a full time commitment.

    My focus today, as a player, is on being a good jazz player; I am not so much concerned with being a good trumpet player – I believe they are not the same thing. I have trumpet skills, but have always been strictly a jazz guy. I did some college way back in my misspent youth, but most of my learning was playing gigs, taking lessons from pros, seminars, talking to pros and watching/listening. I have had wonderful opportunities to learn from some real quality cats – and I am eternally grateful for the wisdom that I picked up. But, sometime I guess I am a bit envious of folks who spent lots of years in college practicing. But on the other hand, I got practical experience … so … ??
  4. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    i can support their reasoning, though i don't understand the reasons. In Red Creek Naval Base, the place where the services send their musicians to learn (even after passing the auditions) you spend 3-6 months playing/practicing/reading for 10 hours a day, much of that on your own. all i can say is that the players come out of that miles ahead of where they were.

    that being said, it is indeed a hefty commitment to ask of someone that has a "real" job, family, bills etc.
  5. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    I think sometimes the role of teacher is misinterpreted as well (sorry, had to add more).

    Some players rely on the teacher to make you better. I discourage this in my teaching.

    I believe the teacher can be helpful for technique; can provide feedback on sound and style; can assist in answering ambiguous questions. However, the majority of the load should be on the student. Practice, practice, practice. And don't forget to practice. AND LISTEN.

    The teacher is there to help you learn solid fundamentals and style. Sometimes they can provide help in special techniques. Once the student has that, there isn't too much need for a teacher. Rather, the student has to have the dedication to maintain what they have learned, and know their limits. Essentially, learn to teach themselves.

    Regardless, some great players are horrible teachers. Yet they know what they need to feel or hear in order to know they are using proper technique, so they can work with themselves easily.

    Having a teacher is excellent. But if you're at a point where you are solid, there's not much point in having one, besides having someone to listen to your style.

    This is ALL my OPINION, but I believe strongly in it.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Easy question:
    you need no lessons when you are DEAD.

    I have been playing for 45+ years. I still have a mentor. I saw Wynton running around with Bill Fielder (RIP), most world class singers have a vocal coach, most pros elsewhere have a coach regardless of what they do.

    Only in the trumpet world do I see players that haven't even finished high school telling the pros that they are wrong.

    It is pretty ignorant to assume that there is an end to anything. It is human nature to be convinced that ones own work is definitive. When we get a life, we discover that there is a big world beyond our PUNY brains.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  7. hhsTrumpet

    hhsTrumpet Piano User

    Dec 3, 2011
    You don't need a teacher only when you are absolutely the best in the world (which is impossible to determine). I think you should always learn from who ever is better than you.
  8. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    I would caveat this with: depending on the teacher, it may not take you long to reach the point where they have nothing left to teach you. I reached this point about 2003. That being said, there are hundreds of thousands of trumpet players in the world, one of them is bound to teach you something. For me it was Bruce Patterson, my lead trombonist in the army band (at the time music instructor at West Point) who continued my education. I already had the sound and flexibility i was looking for, but that brilliant musician helped me evolve my style and intonation in a way I didn't at the time think possible. So i would consider you to never give up learning. A mentor greatly accelerates this process. If you're dealing with an individual that isn't helping you progress, find a different teacher, they're humans too, and each have their own strengths. Learn from them all!
  9. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Every Luke needs a Yoda....
    hahkeystah likes this.
  10. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    And what did he keep saying? "but Master Yoda, I'm ready!"

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