“Music is the universal language of mankind.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In Florida, USA, there’s a law that requires that all state-run care facilities for babies play at least 30 minutes of classical music. The law, known as the Beethoven’s Babies Bill, is designed to calm babies down and promote learning in infants. Whether you’re learning the piano, flute, accordion, electric guitar, or the bass guitar, studying music is beneficial for our mental health and our health in general.
So how do you choose the right bass guitar tutor? What do you need to consider?
Choosing the Type of Bass Tutorials You Want
It isn’t always obvious which bass guitar teacher is right for you, especially given how many options there are. Firstly, you need to think about how you would like to learn to play the bass guitar as even though the instrument is similar to your typical guitar with six strings, there are also a lot of differences that your tutor will be fully aware of.
You can get bass guitar lessons in a music school, academy, conservatoire, or private lessons. Private bass guitar lessons can take place at the student’s house or the tutor’s house. This is particularly useful if the tutor has a dedicated music room in their house.
Other students opt for online bass guitar tutorials over webcam. This option will give you even more tutors to choose from as you’ll be able to learn from tutors all over the world.
You’ll need to think about how often you’ll want to have bass guitar tutorials or lessons, too. Some tutors won’t be available more than once a month whereas others might be able to offer several hours a week.
We recommend making a note of your requirements. Making a list will point you in the right direction and you won’t be tempted to opt for a tutor who isn’t right for you.
The Tutor’s Experience
Once you’ve started looking for your private bass guitar tutors, you’ll need to think about which tutor will be right for you. Start by looking at the tutor’s experience. You can ask them questions about their experience before hiring them.
There are two main types of bass guitar tutors: teachers and musicians.
Some bass guitar tutors have trained as music teachers and some will have done it for years. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right tutor. A new teacher might be a great teacher whilst an experienced tutor might use dated and ineffective techniques. You can’t judge a book by its cover so it’s always a good idea to interview them or at least discuss their experience and teaching style.
The second type of tutors is musicians.
Does your tutor play in a band? Are they a professional musician? How long have they been playing the bass?
No two tutors are alike and you can find plenty of different tutors once you start looking. The more questions you ask them, the more you’ll know about them and how they can help you.
Choose Your Bass Guitar Tutor According to Your Goals
Be it rock, blues, jazz, metal, or pop, each musician has their preferences and tastes. This doesn’t mean that you have to choose a bass guitar tutor who likes all the same music as you but it will help if you have some favourites in common.
If they like the same music as you, they’ll be able to teach you the right techniques for the type of music you want to play. They’ll also be able to show you new music that you’ll probably like. Similarly, a shared passion for a certain genre of music can lead to a good atmosphere during your lessons. This can motivate both you and the tutor, which is only a good thing. You also need to think carefully about your goals, too.
Would you like to enrol at a university or conservatoire? Are you planning on forming a band? Just playing for fun? Planning on becoming a professional bass player?
Some tutors will be better suited to certain goals than others. If they’re also in a rock band, for example, they could provide important advice to those looking to form a band.
Consider the Rates of Private Bass Guitar Tutorials
One of the most important criteria to consider is cost.
Like the other factors to consider, you’ll need to think about your budget when it comes to starting bass guitar lessons. You might want to set yourself a budget before deciding upon a private bass guitar teacher.
The rates will vary depending on the type of lesson, the tutor’s experience, the frequency of the tutorials, and where the classes take place. In London, for example, the average cost of a bass guitar tutorial is £29 per hour.
The rates are vastly different at music schools and conservatoires. Some are cheaper, others far more expensive.
You can also get group bass guitar tutorials. If you and some friends want to learn how to read tabs or sheet music, play a few songs, or start playing in bands, you might benefit from group rates.
Online tutorials are also a way for you to learn how to play the bass guitar without having to worry about finding a tutor near you or having to travel.
What Makes a Good Bass Guitar Tutor?
It’s quite complicated to define exactly what makes a good bass guitar tutor as what’s right for one student may not be right for another.
No two bass players will learn to play in the same way. Some might want to learn to read sheet music while others may have no interest in music theory whatsoever. While it’s not a great idea to skimp on music theory, some students won’t enjoy having it forced upon them by a tutor.
As you’ll have understood, the right tutor is the one that meets your criteria. Advanced bass players with years of experience may want to focus on a certain technique whereas a beginner might need help with almost every aspect of playing the instrument.
You have to talk to the tutor before you hire them. It’s important to chat with them or even interview them before you decide to start learning from them. The first hour of your lessons is a great time to do this and discuss exactly how you’d like your lessons to go. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind as it’s a good chance to clear up any problems before they arise.
Ready for your first lesson?
What Should You Ask Any Potential Tutor?
It’s not always obvious what you should ask your tutor in an interview or during the first lesson. Bring a pen and some paper to take notes or make a list. You don’t want to forget what you want to ask them.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask them:
- How long have you played the bass?
- Do you use sheet music or tablature?
- How long have you taught bass guitar?
- Have you had any formal music training?
- What’s your availability?
- What are your rates?
- Which genres of music do you listen to?
- Where do you teach your bass guitar lessons?
- What is a typical bass guitar lesson with you?
- Do you teach beginners and experts?
The answers to these questions will give you a better idea of what to expect from each tutor and work out which one corresponds best to your requirements.
Can You Trust a Self-Taught Bass Tutor?
Should you choose a qualified teacher or a self-taught tutor?
A lot of students ask this question.
This can greatly affect how the lessons are taught, after all. Some musicians teach themselves the basics like a few songs, chords, and how to improvise. You can learn to play the bass guitar at a professional level without ever having taken a class. Of course, they’ll still need to practise regularly.
Students in a conservatoire won’t learn in the same way. In music schools and conservatoires, students focus a lot of music theory and playing in orchestras or groups.
A qualified tutor who’s worked in a music school is a good idea if you intend to attend one yourself. They’ll be able to give you a lot of useful advice.
This doesn’t mean that a self-taught musician can’t be as good as a qualified music teacher. They’ll have knowledge and skills that can be useful to you. Furthermore, self-taught bassists won’t have had a curriculum to deal with and will have learnt exactly what they wanted, when they wanted, which can be beneficial for students in private tutorials!
Whether you want to learn a few chords and some music theory or are looking to drastically improve your technique, don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour for free. Use this time to make sure that their course or lessons are right for you.