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Discussion Starter #1
Be the teacher.

When the teacher is ready, the student arrives… :bluewink2:

You go to the hairdresser to fix the mess you have on your head, and you ask for something not too short, well cut and fresh. In a word, you want to look good.
Back home you find yourself in the mirror with a pair of scissors trying to fix the mess he did, cursing and swearing you’ll never give a penny too that stupid crook anymore.
But did you really explain him what you wanted precisely in the first place? Several times? Did you stop him when started cutting way too short? Believe it or not it’s never too late.

It’s the same with your saxophone teacher.
I consider my teacher as a tool I use to too shape my saxophone technique and improvisation.
He is the guide, the cherpa who helps me to go from point A to point B. In order to find the fastest way to cross this my path I have to be clear and honest with him about my strengths, my weaknesses, the time I can afford ( the money) and most important “the goals” I wants to achieve at the end of each month or semester.
In a word, I consider I must have a plan before asking for saxophone lesson.
By goals I don’t mean saying to the teacher “I want to be the best improviser in the world”, being the best will be the outcome of my practice routine.
What I mean by goal is for instance:
‘I want to be able to improvise freely on a 12 bars blues or an anatole.
-I want to be able to manage myself through ll-V-I majors and minors
-I want to be able to play over ll-V minors and majors.
-I want to develop my vocabulary over modal tunes.
-I want to improve my sound, my ear.
-I want to develop my sight reading.

What I also do is that I come to the teacher with a schedule of the lesson, with the different exercises I want to work on and the time we’ll have to spend on it.
Of course the schedule change over time, and we rearrange it together weekly.
This strategy enables us to be more efficient, and it’s a relief for me and him. We know where we are heading.
Moreover a lot of teachers are very good musicians but are sometimes lost when it comes to organize a course around a specific student.

Lastly,” know thy teacher”.
This is a very important concept. All teachers are not equals.
There are good/ bad pedagogues, good /bad improvisers, good /bad in a technical point of view ect…

If I’m looking for a saxophone teacher helping me to develop my sight reading, my overtones or mastering my harmonic minor scales, I almost don’t care If he’s a good improviser, If he’s the best technical player I know.
I f can pick up quiet easily some lines and I have a good schedule (and a recorder) at each lessons, I can work with a great improviser with zero pedagogy.

Again it all falls down to what you want to learn/improve and which tool are you going to use to achieve your goals.


What do you think guys ? how do you approach/tackle your interaction with your teacher ? (or people supposed to help you to improve your musicality)
 

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What I mean by goal is for instance:
‘I want to be able to improvise freely on a 12 bars blues or an anatole.
-I want to be able to manage myself through ll-V-I majors and minors
-I want to be able to play over ll-V minors and majors.
-I want to develop my vocabulary over modal tunes.
-I want to improve my sound, my ear.
-I want to develop my sight reading.
A lot of students would say anyone who is aware of these worthy goals, has advanced enough to independently woodshed thru a lot of this at home. You're teach's students must not be ready for that, still needing fundementals work. I think many students need help understanding what the above elements are, and how to get there? Isn't that instruction?
 

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"A goal is a dream with a deadline." -Napoleon Hill
 

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Back home you find yourself in the mirror with a pair of scissors trying to fix the mess he did, cursing and swearing you’ll never give a penny too that stupid crook anymore.
But did you really explain him what you wanted precisely in the first place? Several times? Did you stop him when started cutting way too short? Believe it or not it’s never too late.

It’s the same with your saxophone teacher.
I consider my teacher as a tool I use to too shape my saxophone technique and improvisation.
I'm not sure I get the hairdresser analogy at all. Then again, I'm also not clear on what you're saying here. It sounds a bit like you are trying to dictate to a teacher what you need, while at the same time expecting a teacher to then do it for you (hence the hair cutting analogy?).

Anyway, while I realize a lot of us on here, myself included, point to the importance of getting some instruction, there is a tendency on the part of some students to think that a teacher is all they need; that somehow the teacher will do the learning for them. I'm not saying that's your approach, but it's important to realize YOU have to do the work. All a teacher can do is help set you in the right direction and provide some feedback. If you're not making progress, it's not necessarily the teacher's fault.
 

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I try never to tell a teacher what he should be teaching me.
 

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A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:
"If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen."
The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years."
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then ?"
Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years."
"But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?" asked the student.
"Thirty years," replied the Master.
"But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?"
Replied the Master," When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."
 

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For me I tell the instructor the music genre I like to play and my weaknesses that I know about then I let him decide what he think I need to know and practice. If I don't understand why I need to do something I'll ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:
"If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen."
The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years."
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then ?"
Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years."
"But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?" asked the student.
"Thirty years," replied the Master.
"But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?"
Replied the Master," When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."
I totally agree with you Dubrosa, i don't want to have only, one eye on the path, That's why I've post this thought, that's why I stil have a mentor.

What I was pointing is the passivity I find some times from both teachers and the students during the lessons.
From the teacher:
I firmly beleive that a great teacher is one who starts from the "needs" and interests of each student. But it's easier to repeat, and play the same things with all the students.
I know it can seem counterintuitive, but ask a 9 year old student at his very first class, what he likes to listen, what he wants to play. You'll maybe find youself jamming on some Justin bieber chords, I know, but even there, there's a lot to say and to discuss on. And what a fun this first courses would be.
Or put 4 measures on reapet mode on your Ireal B, start singing some skou-bi dou bap and then ask this shy 9 years old student to do the same. You'll be amazed... Then start to work on what he has just sang. And help him develop it.
The assumption that a young student has noting inside him, because he doesn't know any scale, licks or thinks that Charlie Parker is a basketball Player, is a sad misconception.
The role of the teacher is to help the student to blossom what he already has. But most of all the teacher is the one who has to guide the student toward autonomy and selfdiscipline. If the teacher is good, defining priorities will be second nature in the student. Scales, jazz sound and vocabulary come along the way.

From the student:
An other misconception: thinking that the student don't know enough to submit priorities. Or thinking that he can't define a schedule. I'm not talking about some cocky pretentious attitude, but defining what's the most important to you ! If you don't, you'll fall into some basic schedule written for everybody (and so for nobody) and you will loose a lot of time my friends.
What is the solo you can't wait to transcribe ? What is the tune you can't wait to play ?
Last but not least, there are some bad pedagogues out there. Their only gear is:"Well...play everything in 12 keys !".
Yeah, thanks...
Teaching is an art in itself and unfortunately, learning even with a great improviser doesn't assure you quantum leaps in your playing. Thinking about a schedule or a strategy can save you some times and can be adjusted with the teacher depending on your progress. Are you one of those students who criticize their teacher, those who say nothing and do what they are told to do, or one of those who comes whith a burning need, some idea on how to proceed and are constantly reajusting?

Your quote Dubrosa is inspiring.
It's not how hard do you work, but how do you work.
 
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