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Hi everyone. Having problems getting passed to the next level.


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#1 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 12:01 PM

Hi everyone. I'm 22 years old and have been playing guitar for approximately 3 years and a half. I have a music teacher who is very popular in my country and have studied with him ever since. However, I'm having a very....very tough time trying to get to the next musical level. It seems that no matter how much I try, I just can't seem to get the feeling of music and always come back to the basic. As my teacher (who specializes in jazz) is one of the best musicians in the country, he always says I'm not good enough and that I play like a robot. I think it is very difficult to develop your musical skills, but what's even much harder is the mental power you put into it. How do professional musicians (or any other successful people) do that? How do they just keep on trying after constant failure before reaching the "matured" level? Right now I'm just trying to find what's left in my tank and do the best I can.

#2 OFFLINE   karcey

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 02:48 PM

G'day Maximus, Welcome to our community.

Some players want to play guitar and look for suitable songs they can play.
Other players want to play certain songs and do it using a guitar.
It's a subtle difference in approach. Beginners are generally the first type, (but not always.) More advanced players become the second type when they stop worrying about their skill and concentrate on how they present the music.
I wonder which of these types you are? Could your "robot" style be because you're thinking too much about the guitar and not enough about the music?

Keep in touch.
"The music matters more than the instrument on which we play it." Jason W. Solomon

#3 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 03:09 PM

You're right. I suppose I just try to get the notes right and most of the time don't really concentrate on what really matters, like actually feeling the song. For me, I'm more like a nerd basically, so when I turned to music it's quite difficult to stop overthinking and start feeling. How long have you been playing the guitar Mr. Karcey?

#4 OFFLINE   Stu74

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:13 PM

Hi maximus
Are you playing music you really love?Maybe the type of music your playing is the problem.


#5 OFFLINE   karcey

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Posted 30 November 2011 - 06:54 PM

View Postmaximus9, on 30 November 2011 - 03:09 PM, said:

How long have you been playing the guitar Mr. Karcey?
I've been playing music for fifty years, and if I say so myself, with a degree of proficiency.
Guitar?... Well I've been struggling with guitar for about six years and I'm still at the "unhappy" stage.
"The music matters more than the instrument on which we play it." Jason W. Solomon

#6 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 02:24 AM

Thank you all for replying.

To Stu74 - I love the music I practice. It's just that I don't have enough mental power to bounce back everytime I get harsh criticism from my teacher, who is kind of a type-love person. Because as I said that he is one of the top musicians, his standard is so high that I can never reach it, no matter how much I try :(

To Karcey - When you were still an amateur, how did you find the strength to get back up and improve constantly? For me, whenever I get harsh criticism from my teacher, which by all means is a good thing, it really brings me down and it takes me a while to get back up and practice again.

Sorry if I sound a bit too whiny, I just have no one to talk to...

#7 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 02:50 AM

Are there any parts of your playing that he has commended you on?
Nothin sweeter than the sound of music comin out of a 6 string box - EZ me Music / ASCAP "Music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship,the strongest there is"-Malcolm Arnold

#8 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 02:59 AM

To eddiez152 - err.........not really. Even if he did, I could tell he didn't really mean it.

#9 OFFLINE   karcey

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:16 AM

Wow! I feel so sorry for you. You may have a good player teaching you, but he's certainly not a good teacher!
You need a survival technique to get you through. How about this. Your teacher will never compliment you, so don't look for it. His attitude is obviously a negative one. That is, he'll keep punishing his students until they're as good as he is. He probably has favourites and bestows what little good grace he can muster on them. The rest, you included, are just income.
Well instead of concentrating on what you can't do, think for a bit about how much better you are now than you were a year ago. It may not be perfection, but it's going in the right direction.
Keep taking lessons because that way you'll keep making progress. A different teacher would be ideal, but this one will at least be able to give you information and show you techniques that you'll be able to use. It's his criticism that knocks you down, so expect it, and then ignore it. All you need from him is the lesson.
You don't have anyone to practise with. That's a shame. Sharing time with another guitarist is fun and helps consolidate formal lessons. See if you can find someone else to play with between your lessons. They don't have to be good, just willing to play along. Even playing exercises will do.
A few of our members are teachers. You'll find a lot of lessons from them in other areas of this site. To a man they'd all tell you that learning music should be enjoyable, and the teacher has a big influence on whether or not it is. Pity you've got one who doesn't realise this.
So keep at it, measure your progress and reward yourself for every step you take. At 22 you've got a lot more years left than I have, and there's no reason why they can't all be musical.
Keep in touch.
"The music matters more than the instrument on which we play it." Jason W. Solomon

#10 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:58 AM

Thank you very much Karcey. That's what I really needed. I used to have fun playing music, but lately with all the pressure to improve self and have a music career as soon as possible, I just find it harder and harder to pick up the guitar. I've been practising it for 5-6 hours during the past year and practised for 4 hours during my college year. I've always questioned my teacher's teaching method as well. He told me that his teacher used to be more cruel than him, and that made him a better musician. He also said that he is even tougher with other students, and thus they have now landed their career in music. On the other hand, from what I've read from authors of self-improvement books such as Dale Carnegie, Jake Canefiled etc., they all said that if you teach someone and you find little, if at all, improvement, you still must try your hardest to point out the positive stuff, no matter how tiny it might be. Suffice to say, all of these conflicting information has really confused me. It makes me doubt whether I'm mentally strong enough to survive in this business, or my teacher is just being a bit too tough. But like you said, I guess he might be a bit too hard to please.

#11 ONLINE   pHGTRSpider

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 07:05 AM

You do not have to be a great guitar player to have a successful career in music.
Many "average" guitar players have written great songs.
Are you still an average guitar player if you have written a great song?
Just some food for thought...
Don't dream it, be it.
from the Rocky Horror Picture Show

#12 OFFLINE   mset3

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:30 AM

Maximus,

You said you want a music career as soon as possible. This is probably why your music instructor is pushing you. He wants to see you succeed in order to meet your goal. I'm sure he has your best interest in mind. Work hard and don't give up.

The best to you.

Mike

#13 OFFLINE   Stu74

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 04:43 PM

Your teacher sounds very tough.I dont think i would like to have him as a teacher myself.
I think we all get times when we are feeling down about our guitar playing when we are learning.Sometimes a bit of encouragement and praise every now again is what some of us need(i know i need it)
Maybe you are a better player than you think you are and he is just pushing you.
You should have a chat with him and tell him how you feel.


#14 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:31 AM

Thank you everyone for your kind response. I'm feeling a little bit better now but will start practising again soon. Wish you guys the best!!!

#15 OFFLINE   Andy S

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:48 PM

Maximus,

As Mike said, perhaps since you want to make music your profession, that is why your teacher is so hard on you. But, as a teacher myself, I know that one method does not work for all students. When I first started teaching 3 years ago, I realized very quickly that what worked for one person will not work for a another person.

Also, like karcey said, he may be a good player, but it seems he is not that good of a teacher. I think I would look for a new teacher. He or she wouldn't have to be a famous performer, but just have the skills and ability and as important, the desire to share their knowledge with others.

i can tell you now, I KNOW I am not the best guitarist in my town. There are DOZENS (probably a lot more than that) in my city, but they don't teach. Many of the good teachers perform in local bands, some do not. But what you want in a teacher is someone with the desire to share their knowledge and see you reach YOUR goals. it may be that you need a different teacher for now, someone that can comfortably get you up to a new level, then you would be ready to go to someone like your current teacher once you've moved up to a level YOU feel you should be at.

Just my thoughts, I hope you have good luck in your endeavors!!

Andy
Andy S.

#16 OFFLINE   RolandC

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 01:17 PM

Hey Maximus,

I' going to agree with some of the previous posters and suggest you shop around for a new teacher.

To be clear, it has been my experience that oftentimes the best practitioners are the worst teachers--they seem to lack patience and the ability to sympathize with their students. For example, I majored in biochemistry in college and took a course with a guy who was a pioneer in the field. I was very excited to have gotten into his class, but ultimately I was terribly disappointed. He was brilliant, but couldn't teach worth a damn. I learned more biochemistry from a couple of sessions with his grad student than I did in an entire semester of his classes.

The other thing is that this guy sounds like he is making you crazy uptight. The problem is that when you get uptight, you tense up, and when you get tense, it can make you play...like a robot. My teacher is a competent guitarist but not a great guitarist (he plays locally). He has even predicted that one day I will be able to outplay him. But for the time being, he has plenty to teach me AND it's in an atmosphere where I am relaxed enough to experiment and be myself. If I screw something up, he just smiles and says "Don't get upset, let's just try that again."

I suspect that if you find someone who is a better match, the joy will come back into your playing and your true self will shine through.

JMHO
With apologies to the Bard:

"The fault lies not in our [guitars] Horatio, but in ourselves."

#17 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 01:45 PM

To RolandC - I totally agree with you. My teacher is not very patient and seems to expect a lot more than I could ever give in one week (I practice with him once a week). He especially seems to lack the ability to understand the difficulty of the instrument. When I can't play a part or fail to achieve his expectation, he'd be like "is it that hard?", and I'd say in my mind "yes!!!". Because he is so musically competent (he has written and produced hit songs which are very popular all over the country), he has already forgotten that the parts he considered "easy" was not that easy for beginners like me. Which is why, like you rightly said, I couldn't be totally relax when I sent my music homework and played in front of him.

This is the first day, after 3 days of music absence, that I pick up the guitar and start practising again. I'll try to find another teacher later, but for now, I'll try to adapt and maybe talk to him first.

Thank you everyone for all your support. It means a lot.

#18 OFFLINE   eddiez152

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 02:09 PM

Just curious, as a beginner, how did you hook up with this pro player, and what does it cost you for his teaching you on a daily basis ? Is he family connected ?
Nothin sweeter than the sound of music comin out of a 6 string box - EZ me Music / ASCAP "Music is a social act of communication, a gesture of friendship,the strongest there is"-Malcolm Arnold

#19 OFFLINE   maximus9

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 02:26 PM

Oh, it was mere coincident. I met him at a music academy where he was teaching at the time. I am Thai and live in Thailand. It costs me approximately 600 bath an hour, or $20 and I study for 3 hours per session.

#20 OFFLINE   Stu74

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 07:15 PM

Maximus the more you tell us about your teacher the more i think you need to find a new one.
If you can put up with him and work through it you might end up being one hell of a guitarist or you might end up giving in all together.
My teacher sounds a little bit like yours Rolandc.He told me he has many ex pupils that
have out grown him technicaly.Hes far from the best guitarist but he is a great teacher in my opinion.







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