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Did music lessons at school help with your musical life?

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Just thinking back to music lessons at school (back in the seventies when I was at 'big school' aged 11-16)

I can say I learned absolutely nothing that has helped me in my musical life.

All our teacher did was to stand in front of a blackboard and make us learn the different clef and key signitures on the stave and that kind of thing. Never touched an instrument, occasionaly heard (classical) music and rarely did anything practical. Thinking back I'm getting angry at how bad those lessons were.

It wasn't till I left school and got my first bass that I learned anything. Essentially taught myself from books and friends.

 

Anyone have similar experience?

Or a better experience?

(Note - moved this from a thread in off-topic)

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Simple answer is no!  Music in the early 60s was not that inspiring.  Classical or classical, a great choice.  I did join the lunchtime guitar club when I bought my first guitar, a Vox stroller, single pickup and a TV aerial socket as an output jack and it was brand new!  I shared a half watt amp that my guitar playing mate had built and we both got thrown out of the club for being too loud.

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Similar in the late 50s/early 60s.  Mainly sat, head resting on arms on desk “listening” (ie dozing) to classical music on a scratchy gramophone.

We did have manuscript books, but I can’t remember what we put in them.  I gave up the subject after (iirc) the third form - year 9 in today’s money.

But I was in a group, as bands were called then, behind the kit, from age 15-ish, with school mates, so all wasn’t wasted, maybe.

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I tried tenor horn in primary school but got bored of it and mimed in recorder lessons in middle school. High school.....no idea, can't even remember having music lessons, although I'm sure I did.

Overall I don't really remember what happened in any lessons in school almost 40 years ago.

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I picked up drumsticks at 13 and a bass at 15.

 

Never had a lesson in bass and had lessons for snare drumming for about 4 years.

Im now 48 and no lessons has done me no harm (imho) in bass and in drums I play a kit now so snare drumming isn’t as relevant as a single instrument. 
My eldest son has a music degree and occasionally talks a foreign language and if he would just play it I would know what he means.  

PS I don’t speak Italian 

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I think I played a Clarinet once....

My music teacher was also my form tutor and she was a proper b!tch - as a punishment she would pick you up by pinching you by the hair. She eventually married a former student.

Another of my music teachers I now realise was a dope smoker. Obvious looking back but didn't realise till years later.

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Early 60's - a bit of singing and that was about it. Never had a lesson in my life. I do envy those that had lessons, especially piano lessons as youngsters.

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Yes, indirectly. No practical playing of instruments, but a realisation that there was a whole universe to be explored, not just whatever the Light programme (BBC radio at the time...) was putting out. No music theory, but exposure to much more than I would otherwise have heard (symphonies, concertos, opera...) and an awakening of a curiosity and thirst still un-quenched. The Music Teacher (Mr 'Goatee' Smith...) died recently, I learned, but it was through his lessons that I developed my own 'Middle C' principle, which has served me throughout my later careers. This theory has little to do with Music; more about Humanities, but it came about thanks to ol' Goatee.
Playing an instrument came much later, once I'd started earning a meagre crust, but some foundations had been laid. No regrets here; I wasted much more time and opportunity in other lessons. 9_9

Edited by Dad3353
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Late 60s to early 70s did violin and trumpet at school. Plenty of hands on experience and playing in a band / concerts. All classical until one concert I was "allowed" to jazz up Summertime, it was just a bit of growl rather than anything clever. I remember my father beaming at me from the audience as I went feral! All was done using 'script - no tab (did it exist then?).  

I do not recall learning any music theory other than note length, however. Perhaps there was some but I have forgotten in all. I taught myself jazz songs on the trumpet but never learnt the relationships between notes and could only learn songs I knew the tune to. Did it help me later on? No, but my father was a semi pro drummer with some well known musicians as friends and I grew up with either records or live bands playing at home. That was possibly my inspiration to learn an instrument in my later years.

Having said that, the arthritis in both hands means I will never be more than a just about average bass player, irrespective of whatever I may have learnt back then or indeed am learning now. 

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I can read music, although far too slowly to play by, other than that it was a complete waste. Uninterested teacher who didn’t think what I like was even music (punk, heavy rock, alternative), only interested in classical music, 20 tossers out of a class of 30, no practical. It could have been so much better.

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Music at my secondary school was more like a history lesson.  We learned about the lives of Mozart etc but never saw a musical instrument!

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Good thread...

Was taught 'classical' Double Bass from 8-16, hated the individual lessons, could never be arsed to practice, but loved playing in youth orchestras and being part of the bigger sound playing with others. Didn't touch a DB from 16 y/o until I was 32, and love the instrument now. Was never exposed to what jazz/folk/blues could be on the bass... In retrospect the only reason i'm vaguely competent these days is the technique and theory i learned at school.

Same with piano, had lessons but my parents were informed I was "unteachable". Teacher love Haydn, I wanted to be Ben Folds/Elton John/Victoria Wood/Les Dawson... Still play to a reasonable standard, can busk along with most things, and still love the piano.

Great music dept at school though, they turned a blind eye to me skipping classes to hang out in the music dept, messing around with multitrack tapes/early computer programs/PA/mics, which is essentially my career 20 years later 😫

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On reflection, I have loved music my whole life, but early experiences learning instruments, while full of promise, were dreary and discouraging. School music lessons all the drearier, and without the promise. I remember one particularly yawnful day, as my music teacher droned on about Braaaaaaahms as we stared at a dingy photo of a bearded and be-Tweeded old fart, that I decided that this music malarkey possibly wasn't for me.

At the same time I had swapped my Sega Megadrive for a guitar, quickly encountered bass and fell head over heels in love. For a long time I couldn't reconcile the dusty old music lessons with the whale of a time I was having learning and making music with my friends. Even with a new music teacher who let us practice in the music room at lunchtimes I felt that we were being allowed to get away with it rather than 'properly' delving into music ourselves (the high chance that he was less interested in our musical blossoming, but our blossoming into strapping young men notwithstanding).

My youthful ignorance was as much to blame as the music lessons not being attuned to people my age at the time, but I do feel it was a missed opportunity. That said, thousands of gigs, tours of the UK and Europe, and the opportunity to spend all these years making my living doing something I love, speak volumes. Still, my notation reading could be a lot hotter!

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In short - no. I quit music in the 5th year and took motor engineering, which I did find useful for maintaining my early bangers. The reading of the treble clef I learnt at primary school was the most useful musical thing I leant at school.

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At grammar school we spent the entire first year rehearsing the choral parts of the Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The other 4 years of ‘music lessons’ were taken up with listening to prog albums that fellow students had brought in. No music theory whatsoever.

I have taught myself music theory over the last 42 years, no thanks to my school.

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I wouldn’t say so as I had the interest in music already, knew what I wanted to play and it wasn’t what was being taught in the general classroom. I took bass lessons to find out what the notes were, then quit and taught myself via a Never Mind The Bollocks (by The Sex Pistols) song book. 

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I started playing guitar at primary school, as well as having piano lessons from the age of about 7 when my folks realised I had ‘a good ear’ ( just the one ....) Secondary school didn’t help much really, with music lessons mainly to do with singing and also listening to classical stuff. We had a student teacher for a year who started a guitar class which was significant for me, and I still remember his Gibson J40 which he let me play! The only school bands were an orchestra ( which held no interest to me, especially as I’d been bollocked for playing a double bass with my fingers!) and a small brass band. Contrast that now with what goes on - a guy who was in my last band was head of music at a local secondary school, where they have a soul band, rock bands and a jazz ensemble, and also a recording studio set up! 

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Absolutely not...it was early mid 70s....recorders, violins, triangles lol.....not cool for an aspiring young Rocker into Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, UFO...i hated our music teacher he was a short fat Ginger haired and goatee bearded pompous git and i was thrown out of many a lesson for refusing to learn such girly instruments lol

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I reckon I only got an A in Music because I was asked to play bass guitar for a church where my music teacher led the band. Stuck it out every Sunday morning for 9 months, and although it was tough given it was also the age I discovered drinking, I did learn a lot...

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Nope. Music lessons were exclusively classical, and I just wasn’t interested or challenged.

I dropped music at GCSE. 
 

years later I went to college to do a course in music theory at night.

two years after that I quit my job and went to music college.

I always knew I wanted to do music as more than a hobby, but school music ‘lessons’ were more of a ‘two steps back’ rather than ‘one step forward’.

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I actually feel quite angry when I think back to my comprehensive school music lessons. From a young age I was passionate about music but those lessons managed to extinguish any smouldering fire I had burning inside me to actually learn how to create music. The teacher tried his hardest to belittle any music I liked and flatly refused that any of it was worthy of any musical merit. Well you can stick that guiro up your 'arris you pompous shite! It wasn't until a few years after I left school that I taught myself to play. 

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I really fancied both my music teachers at school which was rather a distraction whilst attending lessons but conversely this encouraged a disciplined regime of after hours practice on the pink oboe, unfortunately not an instrument recognised formally within the comprehensive curriculum during the 70s.

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Cello lessons, from age 8 I think, which I should have continued - quit at 16, partly because of a school change, partly because I didn't really want to play in orchestras.  The more bass guitar I play, the clearer I am that those lessons are a key part of my musical mindset.  But I never did very much with it.  I also did theory, to at least grade 5 (I found the certificate a couple of years ago), but I have no recollection of doing that at all.  I've pretty much forgotten how to read music.

I can't remember anything of the curriculum music lessons.  Possibly I didn't have to do them?  I certainly learned a lot more at home though.

I do remember my parents (both teachers) talking about the sorry state of music education in schools.  My dad floated the idea that if the powers that be really hated rock music so much, they should ensure it was taught in school.

Edited by alyctes

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The actual lessons, no.

But being able to use the music room, having access to the 4-track recorder, and jamming with the older kids who taught me Smoke on the Water, Paranoid, etc, then absolutely.

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