About a year ago, I got the hare-brained idea that it might be fun to take up a new hobby, namely electric bass. I had never held one, let alone made a note with one. But I liked the challenge of learning to play an instrument in an ensemble, figuring the worst thing that would happen would be that I hated it and would have to find something else to do with my limited spare time. And I thought it would be pretty cool to be able to start from nothing and end up being able to figure out how songs go and actually play in a band.
I found Jerry's ad online and responded, letting him know I was an absolute green beginner, that I wasn't young and that I didn't even own a bass. And was totally impressed with the thoughtful and thorough response I received from him, which was the first of many thorough and thoughtful responses he has given me over the 10 months I've been taking weekly lessons. I took Jerry up on his free lesson offer, and he hung one of his basses on me and got me to make some notes so I could get a rudimentary feel for the instrument. Then we talked a lot about what all I would need to buy, and the choice of deciding to go left or right (I am left-handed but went right because I didn't want to wait for a Lefty version of the bass I wanted).
A few thoughts about what I've learned/am learning from Jerry:
He gave me invaluable guidance in purchasing a first instrument, steering me away from oddball choices and major music retailers, and I ended up with an axe I love to pick up and an amp that complements it (yeah, a few other items, too). When I feel I need something new (i.e. a stand, a gig bag, a recording device, etc), he shares his opinions and sources for acquiring items reliably and at reasonable cost.
He emphasizes technique and exercises, but got me started on real songs that illustrated the concepts I was learning early on, so I was actually playing music sooner than I thought I would be... and that was pretty exciting! In short, Jerry makes the work worth it.
He covers theory to the extent that it can help me navigate the instrument and help me figure out songs I want to play. Sometimes I wonder how I got so far in life without learning more about what makes music work, because it is fascinating.
He gives pointers and evaluations that are fair and helpful and does not teach down to me. One of my biggest fears in searching for a teacher was ending up with one who would give me material that was dull or too pedestrian, or would stop challenging me when I got frustrated with my abilities. Or was a jerk when I couldn't play something perfectly right off the bat.There are many things I am still learning, but I work on lots of different songs, some of which are more difficult for me than others. Some that were nearly impossible for me a few months back are now sounding OK. Jerry pushes me when he thinks I am ready to try more, but takes me back to the basics of technique or theory when I seem to be floundering.
I don't consider learning to play the bass a sprint...it's a marathon. I could not possibly hope to master it in the 10 months I've been learning. Jerry's been able to bring me this far in less than a year; I'll keep going, because it's already enjoyable to play along with songs that I've heard on the radio or are part of my musical library. It will be really trippy when (with a big of luck) I'm playing in a band.