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  1. #1

    Default How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    Hey everyone, I am a student at USC and enrolled in jazz sax individual instruction. I am completely new to sax and am not really sure if my teacher is any good for me. He is an extremely talented musician and his sax playing is really excellent, but he even admitted to me that he never teaches complete beginners before..usually just established players looking to reach the next level.

    Are there questions I can ask him or something to help determine if he is showing me what he needs to? He has not given me much direction on my embouchure other than 'lower you're jaw' or 'don't lower you're jaw' and I am a little worried about developing bad habits.

    Are there things I should bring up to him to MAKE SURE he goes over with me?

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    So you're a complete beginner and have been accepted in a college jazz course; how's that even possible? I haven't been to a music oriented college so maybe I'm missing something?

    Anyways, to answer your question, it's really simple: talk to him. It seems this is something people fear nowadays. Just go talk to him and ask him for more insight on embouchure as you're not sure what to do and are afraid of developing bad habits. Problem solved.

    Just make sure you practice what he asks you to and don't worry so much about it. Bad embouchure, articulation and posture habits all translate directly in your playing so it should be easy for him to notice and correct them before they become a problem.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    I am a business major at USC and this individual instruction is available to all students, even those that are not music majors...guess I should have cleared that up haha

  4. #4
    Forum Contributor 2011
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    Nefertiti's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    Yeah, just talk to him and ask questions as they come up. If you're learning and progressing then that is a good thing.

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member LateNiteSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    This is a very, very important question. Its one of the most important questions, and you must be absolutely, positively certain that this person is "good for you." I had some bad teachers, and they amongst the most toxic things you can be exposed to on this planet. BEWARE. They have the potential to do you tremendous, even possibly irreparable harm if you give them the power to do so. And students often do, looking for approval, love, guidance, people make themselves vulnerable.

    The answer is simple: Your teacher must be coming from a place of pure love, truth, honesty, patience, caring, and give you his complete attention during the lesson. Thats to say nothing about being a competent teacher and musician. Also it helps a lot if he/she has a sense of humor. Follow your intuition and gut feeling. It will give you the correct answer, and also try out a few teachers and see which one you like. Good luck.
    "We sax players need to stick together and save the world." Sonny Rollins, 1993 after a show.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do i tell if my teacher is good for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by LateNiteSax View Post
    This is a very, very important question. Its one of the most important questions, and you must be absolutely, positively certain that this person is "good for you." I had some bad teachers, and they amongst the most toxic things you can be exposed to on this planet. BEWARE. They have the potential to do you tremendous, even possibly irreparable harm if you give them the power to do so. .
    I think that is maybe a bit alarmist. The scenario you are talking about applies most to kids where they end up saddled for years with a teacher they hate playing music they hate. Most very good players have something to teach a motivated adult even if they aren't great teachers. Some average players who are good teachers have something to teach a motivated adult (if not, i'm sunk).

    "Follow your intuition and gut feeling" is good but also I think look at how much you feel like your playing is improving or going to improve through these lessons. Also just "am I really enjoying this?".

    That's all completely IMO.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

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