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The intermediate phase... In Search of a teacher!

31 Jul 2011 2:41 AM | Homer G Ladas (Administrator)
My last day in Paris and I've been very reflective on what I'm currently feeling wrt my bandoneon practice...  Here's an attempt to summarize my thoughts.

Well, I've been learning bandoneon for about 1.75 years now (almost two years).  I'm straddling the 1000 to 2000 hour mark (probably somewhere in-between as opposed to either end) of practice time.  As is known in most education circles it takes about 10,000 hours to begin to master something...  Perhaps you could say that I'm at the end of the beginner phase and the beginning of the intermediate phase (just my personal self-assessment)? 

Up to this point I've been moving from one practice idea to the next so as not to get to overwhelmed or focused.  As you may know the bandoneon is not an easy instrument to learn how to play.  It's been a very good and productive way to have fun while learning how to play bandoneon.  And, I've learned alot.  You can read my first post in 'My Bando Blog' to see what methods I've employed.  I still recommend these learning techniques for new bandoneon enthusiasts!

As it is with all things in life, however, I've reached the point where I've learned just how much I don't know and just how much there is really to learn (at least another 8500 hours worth of effort).  This is a very natural part of learning and I knew it would just be a function of time before I arrived at this position.  It's important to also refine this 10,000 hour rule with the idea that correct practice is necessary.  Practicing something wrong for 10,000 will still be wrong (and lead to anti-mastery if you will).  I'm not actually sure how much of my initial time was spent practicing in a good and productive way.  I do feel, however, that most of it was spent getting to know my instrument in a fun and mostly productive way (maybe 1000 hours or so?). 

So while I still embrace my initial learning techniques it's time to get more focused and find a guide that will help me approach the next 2000 hours of practice (1 to 2 years effort).  In essence, I'm looking for a teacher, that I can develop a relationship with, who will help me stay focused and develop my bandoneon skills to the next level or two.  Specifically I'm interesting in cleaning up my current technique and also learning how to be more efficient at self-study.  I've approached my friend and bandoneon player-teacher Ben Bogart ( for consultation.  He has a suggestion (teacher recommendation and approach) that I will follow-up on and report back (in the next bando blog).  Note, I will make sure that learning is still fun (using points from my first bando blog) while trying to incorporate a little more structure to this next level of learning...

Stay tuned for more info!

Hugs for now, Homer ;)


  • 25 Mar 2012 11:34 PM | Joe Grohens
    Hi Homer!

    I just found (stumbled upon) your bando blog. I am very interested in reading about your experiences, as I am going through the same thing. (And I'm studying with Ben.)

    I am curious -- how many hours a day are you practicing? By inference it looks like three hours or more on many days?

    How do you schedule your time, and is it tricky to fit in the bando practice while doing so many other things?

    And are you still keeping up the bass?

    Best wishes, and hoping to play bando together next time we meet.

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