The Bomb (Warning: Animated Violence)
This is one of my favorite gags in Looney Tunes (or Toons if you're from an alternate universe). There are also valuable lessons we can learn from the characters as we relate it to musical instruction. Both situations are a losing battle for the learner. Let's assume that Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner are the novice musicians in this scenario. Yosemite Sam may serve as the instructor or the guardian. Before reading on, be sure that you have watched the brief clips. It should be noted that the music here is accurate. There's no time signature (it should be 3/4) but the treble clef and notes are in their proper place. You can go to your instrument and play those notes in the key of C right now and be proud of yourself. If that's a challenge for you, just stick with it a little longer or let one of our specialists help you (bass clef readers would need it transposed).
The main thing we can take away from the Bugs Bunny scene is the language and attitude expressed by the characters. Bugs has it set in his mind that he can do it "better" than Sam without assistance. Sam then leaves Bugs to struggle, only responding negatively and telling his pupil to try again unsuccessfully. This attitude in real life typically yields more frustration with both parties. By using the appropriate questions and encouragement beforehand, Sam could have coaxed Bugs into hitting the right note (an explosive outcome but the desired result all the same). When he finally goes back to demonstrate, it blows up in his face. By the same token, a teachable spirit from a pupil goes a long way.
In the case of the Roadrunner, we see one of the dangers to being left to "learn" without a coach. The Roadrunner finds a site where he can cut cost by learning without an instructor and accepts the bait. More often than not with some of these locations that don't offer instructor interactions, a person may never receive correction after making repetitive errors. This single fact guarantees the need for specialists such as myself in the field. Automated online tools are definitely helpful, but can never replace the knowledge and interaction with an actual teacher to guide and eliminate poor habits. Wile E. Coyote, in this scenario, suffers when his credibility in this music venture proves to be damaging to him. This is why ASL's Fiddle Co offers video conferencing in addition to the tutorials, sheet music, and audio already available to subscribers.
I am truly fortunate to be able to do what I do. That being said, I don't take the responsibility lightly. While I value the time with each client, it is my goal to develop self feeders so players are able to ask the same questions I pose to them on a weekly basis in order to drive them to play successfully without me one day. It would be great to have former clients as specialists in the near future. Many ask me if I have children that play these instruments. My daughter plays clarinet, but before that she started on ukulele and piano. It's possible that my knowledge of these instruments prompted her to choose something in the wind family. Who knows, but if she did change to another stringed instrument I would probably only encourage from a safe distance. To have me teach her would be the bomb...pun intended.