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Thread: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

  1. #1

    Default Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Just nevermind.. everything I said lol. Decided to just be more straight forward.


    New players.. what inspires/inspired you to keep with it? When you are trying to learn new chords and force your hands to move in impossibly alien ways.. what keeps you from deciding its for the birds, throwing your instrument down and going to watch your favorite show instead?

    Does it have anything to do with your instrument? Is it the beauty or relic/nostalgic look that makes you want to master it? The sound? Feel? Other musicians?

    Its been years since I was new to stringed instruments.. but I remember like it was yesterday how much of a challenge it is in the beginning.. moving your fingers in impossibly alien ways to form chords, building finger strength to properly fret strings, fingers raw, sore, and nearly bleeding, getting your effin pinky to half ass act like its connected to your brain lol.. etc.. but I cant really remember what made me pick my guitar up every day multiple times a day and keep at it. I dont know why I didnt just drop it and go do something fun rather than setting there torturing myself with something that seemed impossibly out of reach.

    So what does/did it for you? If you wanted to buy an instrument for a complete newb to playing any instrument, what would you feel is most important to keep them inspired to play it?
    Last edited by Spock89; Sep-06-2017 at 1:53am.

  2. #2
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    As long as you're buying something of decent quality I think there are more important issues to be addressed than what instrument to buy.
    The thing that got me motivated with the mandolin and what I have seen motivate many taking up the ukulele, is the community and supportive social interaction that is available locally. Finding a place and situation where it's ok to have a go and be a bit rubbish at things can make all the difference to keeping going. A poor instrument can put you off, having a nice one can be motivating, but it won't keep you going if you're in a vacuum or playing stuff that doesn't push the right buttons for you.
    Choosing a genre that works is important and so is listening to a wide variety of music to spark new ideas.
    I nearly bought a ukulele once after listening to how Keston Cobblers use theirs. Not done it yet as too much else going on to chuck another complication into the pile.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    For me who has been playing music since 12, almost 39 now I like high quality instruments, that helps when your playing a piece of history that not many others have! and when I get into a funk I put on some old records yep the old school stuff and give a listen to the 1st and 2nd generation pioneers, they were the innovators, they are full of inspiration. I find new music even so called bluegrass just not interesting, sure there are wonderful speed pickers but where's the fun in a thousand notes in a split second? New Country forget about it the days of Buck Owens are over now one can play pop music at the opry in a ball cap and ripped jeans! I was born in the wrong era! There's book taught and then playing with feeling. Hope I understood the OP correctly.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    As a person who is constantly trying to learn new instruments to build on things I've been playing since I was a youngster (trumpet was my first instrument and still my main instrument) there are several things which keep me motivated to keep on when things get frustrating or tough:
    1) the joy of making the sound that any particular instrument can make -- they're all unique and they're all beautiful when played well, regardless of how difficult they might be to learn;
    2) pride in accomplishing something difficult -- not everybody has the stamina to push past the first levels of difficulty, so for those who do there are special bragging rights as well as the joy of playing music on the instrument being studied;
    3) gaining the acclaim of others when we have made it to certain levels, especially when someone says "I tried to learn that but I gave up - it was just too complicate/difficult for me."

    Regarding the buying of a new instrument, in my teaching I make recommendations of several brands/models of an instrument (both used and new) but I leave the rental or purchase of the instrument up to the student and his/her family. I give them my e-mail address and phone number and suggest that they contact me when they think they've found something they're interested in so I can let them know whether I think it's appropriate. But I feel that the earlier a student is invested in the whole process the better for continued interest and effort. I've had to teach youngsters over the years (I've been teaching woodwinds and brass for over 40 years) who were being forced to play instruments they didn't really want to play and very few of them succeeded. Sure they mastered the beginning materials but their hearts weren't really in it and they would seek any possible excuse not to practice and eventually they fell by the wayside. But those youngsters who had some control over things and felt they were in charge to some extent usually succeed and keep on moving up the ladder of success on the instrument.

    To say nothing about the potential for financial hassles if a person says "Buy me an instrument to start on and we'll start in 2 weeks -
    I'll pay you then" who then, after you've spent the money, says "Actually I've decided to skip it. Sorry." Not a situation I want to find myself in.

    But to get back to inspiring the student to actually play the instrument I'd say that family support as well as making music in an ensemble with their friends (school band, incipient rock band, folk music ensemble, young bluegrass band, duets) are the best motivators as well as constantly pointing out how well they're doing (if in fact they are doing well).

  6. #5

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock89 View Post
    . . . New players.. what inspires/inspired you to keep with it? . . .

    If you wanted to buy an instrument for a complete newb to playing any instrument, what would you feel is most important to keep them inspired to play it?
    To the first question: It's fun!

    To the last question: If you're asking how to keep a new player inspired, I don't think you can. Either they get into it or they don't.

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    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    I'm less worried about eh actual instrument, more concerned with making sure they're inspired by what they see or hear. The parents have to take them to various concerts or settings with music to see the style that makes them say "I wanna do that." As much as I wanted to get my daughter into old-time fiddle, she will only play classical, and that's gone on for her whole life. My son, who I thought really took to jazz trumpet, and idolized Diz and Wynton, ended up playing banjo in a band out on Colorado. Some of the kids in the fiddle program have come back ten years later with performance degrees in classical violin, or in one case, bassoon. Bassoon?

    Exposure to live music of all kinds is essential, and the closer the encounter the better. As in walking around picking sessions at festivals, or perhaps small jazz clubs. I've never met a jazz player who didn't want to spread the good news, and that includes some big names. Same with classical; symphonies are great, but sitting close to a small quartet can be even better. They have to hear it ALL.

    Trying to force any instrument, and that includes the mandolin, is just a fool's errand. It's all about exposure. Sure, they have to start with one instrument or another, but don't be afraid to switch. You need to instill a love for music, and playing music, first. Specifics down the road take care of themselves.

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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    . . . The thing that got me motivated with the mandolin and what I have seen motivate many taking up the ukulele, is the community and supportive social interaction that is available locally. Finding a place and situation where it's ok to have a go and be a bit rubbish at things can make all the difference to keeping going. . . .
    Good comment! I'll bet you're an extrovert - you get recharged interacting with other people. I'm a classic introvert. We get recharged by getting away from people.

    So though I do love playing with others, that's not what got me started or keeps me going. I simply like to play, write, figure things out - all solitary pursuits.

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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Find out what kind of music the student wants to play on the mandolin, then take him/her to a live performance of that genre which includes mandolin. A session of that type of music would work too.
    Videos might also be inspirational but there's nothing like live music IMO
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    The mandolin was my first attempt at learning a musical instrument, and I was a late starter when I bought my KM 150 five years ago, in my mid-fifties. I can certainly remember what made me stick with it, and that was being able to play something that I recognised, and could get others to recognise too. My early steps in mandolin were simply learning two finger chords for G, C, D, and Em and playing rhythm and singing along on my own. It was a minor achievement with hindsight, but at the time it felt miraculous.

    Brian

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    Registered User spufman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Well, after dropping clarinet/bass clarinet as a freshman in the seventies in favor of the electric bass, I do recall a primary motivator: I wanted the girls to like me! It kinda worked.

    Now my motivation includes enhancing whatever musical experience is underway with a variety of instruments, adjusting my personal well being with interesting melodies and harmonic richness, enjoying my non-everyman gifts with others like-minded, solving 'puzzles', being able to speak without words, etc...

    Oh, and the attention of the ladies is still very nice.

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  18. #11

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    I think playing in bands is what helped keep me motivated playing assorted instruments more than anything else; peer pressure from fellow bandmates and "fans" basically to keep playing and improving. On top of that in high school especially it was pretty stiff competition to be better than the other bands; nothing was a better feeling than standing out from the other bands at the battle of bands. After years of that pressure it's just second nature habitual part of life to play music even now without all that pressure.

  19. #12

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock89 View Post
    So what does/did it for you?
    For me, it was the love of music. Although all I wanted to do was rock out, for some reason that I don't even remember I also studied formally (classical). Thinking back, I really don't recall why - as I wasn't particularly interested in classical guitar music (although i did enjoy the classic symphonies). I think maybe I was thinking it was the best way to get good. ?

    On motivating others, I couldn't say. My kids were raised on outre music, my pontifications on music in all aspects of life, and can identify the sound of exotic instruments in recordings (I/we play many of them around the house). Of course my daughter, in typical fashion, said "I hate jazz,'" yet her choice of instrument in school was my old saxes, and she's playing bari in jazz band this year

  20. #13

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    But I believe the more relevance music has for us, the more we'll be involved with it.

    *ah, on this I see charlie articulated quite well. My own anecdote: two kids, with complete disparate dispositions toward playing: my daughter probably relates more socially and "systematically" (likes being part of the band, etc) and is thus extrinsically motivated to study. My son, otoh, has quit band and prefers to explore with sound (he enjoys experimenting and makes novel sounds unconventionally on varieties of instruments); he says, "normal is boring."

    I was like a combination of them both. Oh, and yes - a new (and better) nstrument is good motivation, though likely temporal at young age.
    Last edited by catmandu2; Sep-06-2017 at 10:22am.

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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    If youíre buying an instrument for a newbie, just be prepared. There may be no musical inclination or proclivity to play that instrument.

    Some folks gravitate to the musical performance arts; others to sports, or painting, or writing, or accounting, or mechanics. While there a lot of people who enjoy listening to music or seeing a concert, it does not necessarily mean that they actually have the desire, initiative, and/or discipline to learn an instrument. They may think any given instrument might be fun to play, but thatís far removed from having a fire-in-the-belly desire to play that instrument. Quite frankly, many musicians have a hard time reconciling this fact.

    However, for those folks who are musically inclined, they are simply internally motivated to learn, regardless of the obstacles.

    I know folks of very limited means who learned on instruments that most people on this forum would sneer at; yet that was all they had or could afford. Iíve encountered quite a few people who didnít have easy access to lessons or guidance on their chosen instrument, but they learned by taking advantage of every learning moment whenever one presented itself Ė whether it was out of a Mel Bay book or watching an old pro.

    In my personal opinion, the label on the instrument is the least motivating factor in encouraging a person to learn. Community, on the other hand, does so very much because they can support, they can help teach, and they all learn together.

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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by NursingDaBlues View Post
    Some folks gravitate to the musical performance arts; others to sports, or painting, or writing, or accounting, or mechanics. While there a lot of people who enjoy listening to music or seeing a concert, it does not necessarily mean that they actually have the desire, initiative, and/or discipline to learn an instrument. They may think any given instrument might be fun to play, but thatís far removed from having a fire-in-the-belly desire to play that instrument. Quite frankly, many musicians have a hard time reconciling this fact.

    However, for those folks who are musically inclined, they are simply internally motivated to learn, regardless of the obstacles.
    A good reminder. "Fire-in-the-belly." There it is. I've tried and failed as a Musical Introductionist. If there's one person that would be voted least likely to play an instrument, let alone 5, it would be me. So it bothers me when I hear, you 've either got it or you don't, but so far, it's been true more than false. So . . . .

    I was, after a bit, put into a very supportive nest. Later, I outgrew the nest. Now, the support is 1% of what it was. It makes it hard, to continue. Even with 12,000 hours of experience. I say, no man's an island when it comes to Music. I guess playing alone in a basement would be fine, if I didn't know what it was like to play with wonderful, supportive musicians and audiences.

    FWIW - I still remember the first time I changed a chord at the right time, and heard it. I don't know about anybody else, but that was the moment for me.

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    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    First it was Love of music, also there was a strong suggestion that girls liked musicians ;-) But what really got me practicing was severely breaking my right leg and hip. With a 2 year recovery time ,I had a lot of time to practice and not much else to do. This method might not be for everyone YMMV
    Jim Richmond

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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock89 View Post
    So what does/did it for you? If you wanted to buy an instrument for a complete newb to playing any instrument, what would you feel is most important to keep them inspired to play it?
    A nice playing, looking, and sounding mandolin is a must for me. Doesn't have to be new or break the bank to be 'wanta hold it' nice

    Other musicians: The end all. That is the push I needed to stay at it when the new had warn off. If playing in a weekly group doesn't push you, nothing will. imo

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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    About a month ago there was a "new" mandolin picker in the crowd and he told me later that he was about to give it up and just stay on guitar and then he heard me do a "fancy" ending to Arab Bounce and he perked right up and decided to stay with the mandolin and learn that fancy ending that I put on the song...he didn`t realize that what I did was impromptu and a mistake so I`ll just let him think that am a good mandolin picker, if he asked me to show him that ending or repeat it I would be lost to do it again although I have been trying perfect it...

    One thing I try to do to keep newbies going is to tell them how much they have improved since I last saw them whether it is true or not, never tell them that they aren`t progressing...

    Willie

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    Usedtobeawannabee opie wan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    I personally have never needed to be inspired except when I was a small child. If I were trying to get a child to learn to play an instrument I think a teacher that the student wants to please is important. Obviously the teacher must invest some care towards the student.

    If you're an adult and you're not self driven you won't learn. You may try a while and the desire will pass like a fad. It's up to you. How bad do you want it. Either you do or you don't. Perhaps a good teacher may be helpful but it's up to you.

    The instrument needs to be easily playable. If the action is too high and/or it sounds like garbage you'll probably put it down. A decent instrument is a must!

  31. #20

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Over time, I'd been drawn to the sound of mandolin. Knowing I was never going to be great at any one instrument, my goal has been self amusement. Guitar, both acoustic and electric, bass guitar, dobro, then uke, all of them provided me a sense of satisfaction. When I had issues with my hands going numb, I took up pedal steel exclusively for two years. I finally cried uncle with that one, but even then I enjoyed playing.

    I think you just have to want to play, at whatever level you can, more than pulling weeds or knocking a little ball around.

    So I'd been resisting a mando untill my then three year old grandson saw a farmer's market group with one. Next time we were together, he marched up to my wife and told her I should get one. That pushed me right over the edge. Can't disappoint the kid can we?

    So back to the question, and for me learning new instruments has been adding new flavors to recordings of original material, and you can learn three basic chords and enhance a recording, which just makes you want to learn more. But I do think you have to need to play. When I did the pedal steel thing it was out of a deep seeded need to make music. You just have to have the will to get over the many humps you'll encounter.

    I'm sure I'd like golf, fly fishing, restoring old motorcycles, or any other number of activities out there, but I have to make music.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with being good at it.

    Now the nicer the instrument , the more I want to play, so it's a factor, but once you have something that plays well, a low bar these days, it is a matter of need and will, and naturally enjoying the process.
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    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Wanting to play music is just one of those weird things, like wanting to be good at chess or magic tricks or woodcarving. These things are difficult, time-consuming, ego-smashing, unprofitable, and every beginner is terrible at them for a while. Something is either interesting enough to keep you going, or it's not. You can't browbeat or bribe somebody into having passion for something.

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    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    A big motivator for new mandolin players has to be seeing all the big-name mandolin professionals who are constantly surrounded by throngs of giddy women, as well as the multi-million dollar paychecks. I mean, that's why we all got into mandolin in the first place, right? Or is it just the banjo players who get all the money and the chicks?

    Well, that was obviously said in jest. The truth is, mandolin is not the instrument to pick up if you're in it for fame and the cheers of huge crowds. It's not the easiest instrument to learn, and it takes years of effort, physical pain, and extreme focus to get really good at it. I think it's fair to say that probably 90% or more players quit the mandolin before they get any good at it. It's more of a labor of love, for the joy of music itself and sharing good music with the small segment of society that appreciates the kind of music that involves mandolins.

    If you have to artificially motivate someone to stick with it past the first few months, they will probably end up quitting at some point. I mean, some folks will get past that first huge hump in the learning curve and take off from there. But if they just don't feel the passion inside, there's nothing you can do to motivate them. And although I'm saying this about an imaginary third party, it applies to you directly. Search your soul and ask whether you have the drive, commitment, and passion to suffer long enough to get good at it. And even once you get good at playing, what will you do with it? The joy of learning and getting better will taper off at some point when you plateau. What will keep you playing?
    Keep that skillet good and greasy all the time!

  36. #23

    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post

    ...This has absolutely nothing to do with being good at it.
    ....

    Now the nicer the instrument , the more...
    I enjoyed your post brick . I think stew Copeland exemplifies your observation there - https://youtu.be/WwYJxWQCxEE We love Stewart's room

    Ya he doesn't need spensive necessarily - to learn and have fun. Just functional. (But cool is cool, and beauty)

    We like to encourage kids even if they're "not making progress." We feel there's something to be gained from the experience in, who knows?, any manner of approaches, experiences and relation to the world of sound and music.

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    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    It's easy to put too much emphasis on the quality of the instrument. Playability is all that matters at the start. Remember the beginner has no frame of reference, so if it's relatively easy playing, then it won't be the factor in whether or not a student sticks with it.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Opinions on inspiring a new student?

    Are you the student, the teacher, a parent, or the spouse of the student?

    If you are trying to get someone else started, it really comes down to whether or not they want to learn for reasons other than just to please you. Without some internal motivation, it's probably not happening.

    Having an instrument that helps you rather than fights you is important. If you can make some pleasing sounds, at least occasionally, at the beginning, it's easier to keep the faith that you will improve. If for what ever reason—looks, sound, history, progress—you smile every time you open your case, that will keep you at it.

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