beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Skype lessons
Skype lessons
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1 post
Nov 09, 2019
4:34 PM
Hello, new to the forum. Has anyone here tried skype lessons? What are some pros and cons? Who was the teacher? Do you think it was a good investment?
6268 posts
Nov 09, 2019
5:40 PM
Hi, tone04.
I have had Skype sessions with Jimi Lee, Mark Hummel, Christelle Berthon, and Ronnie Shellist.

Cons are potentially the expense, time zones, sound quality, choosing the wrong instructor for your musical interest, and something else I’ll talk about in more detail later.

Pros are that you might get some genuine qualified direction on what you need to do, and some insight into how to achieve it, and have confidence in the advice.

Books and videos are cool and many contain high quality instruction. The problem I’ve often had is knowing when to move on, or how much emphasis to place on particular aspects. A good tutor will help with that.

Mr Jimi Lee is not cheap. He is a great harp player in many ways and if you like the way he plays he can definitely help you play like that.
He really helped me understand about bending and vibrato and I have him to thank largely for getting me on track to develop my tone (to whatever extent that’s a thing).

I did not like the YouTube hangout format whereby he shared the link to a private video which I could not download and keep. Eventually I was unable to access those recordings.
I also did not like the way he signed me up for another block of lessons at the end of each block. I understand it’s business, but I felt pressured and I began to feel like I was on a merry go round. He never discussed my goals, or what direction I wanted to go. I am not saying he took me in the wrong direction, and he did teach me a lot. I’m not saying he did the wrong thing. All I’m saying is that I wasn’t consulted and at times I felt out of control.
The other thing was that I struggled to practice enough to really assimilate the information and I often felt I was moving on too soon. That kind of goes with the territory when you are being signed on for another block of lessons you know.

Anyway, if I’d been a more confident or assertive person this could have all been dealt with easily so I’m really not blaming the teacher. I’m just saying you probably need to be prepared to butt in sometimes and make sure you’re getting value and be prepared to call it if not.

By contrast, Christelle said at the end of our lesson that she would be happy to give me another lesson ‘but not too soon’. This was very honest, acknowledging that I needed to put in some basic work on my ability to bend to pitch before she could really help me further. Jimi Lee actually dug in and taught me to take control of the bending process.

Mark Hummel offered a discounted rate if I booked a block of 4 lessons. He was actually cheaper than JL. Mark did not teach me to play in the same way as JL though. We studied a couple of songs and he suggested ways I could work on learning to play 3rd position, things I should work on to improve my game- these were things which came out through the study of specific songs when there was a passage I couldn’t reproduce.
He was also just great to talk to. I could have taken more away from those sessions if I’d been better prepared with questions for him. Basically I had 4 hours of one on one time with a great player and although I’m not quite sure how it worked, somehow I grew as a player.

Ronnie Shellist is a very straightforward and in my view honest guy. I never felt any pressure with Ron, in fact he expressly told me I could come and go as I pleased. He was different to JL because there was basically no theory. Oh, there were scales I suppose, and we talked about positions so there has to be some theory but Ronnie is all about the ears. He was also the most flexible in choice of session times and very available to listen to examples of my playing and make suggestions.

I’d take more lessons from RS but the $ has gone so high and I know by now that I really just have to put the work in.
2 posts
Nov 09, 2019
6:40 PM
Thanks SuperBee. I did look into Ronnie but his price is high. I am terrible at learning by ear and am a beginner. So unless the lessons where only once a month, not sure of the value for me.
16 posts
Nov 10, 2019
12:46 PM
Never had skype lesson can't afford it but, you can use zoom for a virtual group meet up.

Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings. Try Zoom for as long as you like - there is no trial period. Your Basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. Need your group meetings to last longer than 40 minutes?

If you know of a person with more experience who is willing to give up some time could be worth looking into.

Might be good for members of this forum for having a virtual jam session. Just a thought.

I've never used zoom but from what I've it seems possible but it needs to structured session.

I know John Gindick uses zoom for his lessons.

This video shows John giving some skype lessons.

Last Edited by Dai on Nov 11, 2019 3:34 AM
303 posts
Nov 13, 2019
5:04 AM
Though I don't do skype (I am one of those that put tape over the laptop camera).
I live in a rural area so I did learn a ton off of youtube.
Lots of people put out tabs and music together which is one my favorite ways to learn.
I did some of Charlie McCoys on line lessons but those are also not interactive.
Loved the Dummies book with included cd and some of the other ones.

I like live lessons in person with somebody. My last teacher was the best one as he writes a lot of songs and I like his style of playing.

Good luck it's all good.

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