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Thread: Melodic dictation

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    Melodic dictation

    I have a very frustrating problem. In my theory class (college freshman), I have huge difficulty with dictation. For the rhythm, I am able to get it if I really focus and keep the beat. The melody, however, is a different story--the most I seem to be able to do is tell if it begins and ends on the same note, and sometimes figure out the first interval. This is my second theory course and for my first one (really a basic intro to theory), dictation was also big issue, but I realized that I had not been sight-singing. When I started this course, I was told that sight-singing was the way to start hearing the intervals, but the problem persists....even though I sight-sing EVERY DAY. On the quizzes, I can identify harmonic intervals, seventh chords, triads, and cadences almost perfectly, so I don't understand why my ears fail me on dictation. Does it simply take longer for some people or is there something I can do to make the sight-singing/dictation connection stronger?

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    Assuming your sight-singing is good (have you been assessed? or have you recorded yourself and checked your intonation?) - sounds to me like you haven't quite made the connection between producing the notes (sight-singing) and hearing them. They are two different skills - although related of course. (Many people have the reverse problem: recognising intervals fairly well, but being unable to get their voices to sing them in tune.)

    I was recently recommended a training site that you might find useful:
    http://www.learn2hear.org/
    You can practice at different levels and take "examinations", for which you get feedback reports and (pre-packaged) advice on areas that need improvement.

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    Thanks, I'll make good use of it. I would say my sight-singing is decent. There are problems here too--I sight-sing every day (way more than the recommended "you only need 5 to 10 minutes a day"!) and I creep along at a snail's pace. My musical history might play a part. I played very little piano and had some voice lessons on and off since 4-5th grade--the teacher I had was bizarre and nothing came of them. When I started studying voice and taking up the piano seriously about 6-7 months ago (college freshman), it was like I had never had a music lesson. Starting later with the voice is okay, but the music theory side is another issue in itself. Obviously, sight-singing will be easier for an instrumentalist who has seriously played since a very young age. Might my poor musical foundation be holding me back despite my daily work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WellesleySinger View Post
    Thanks, I'll make good use of it. I would say my sight-singing is decent. There are problems here too--I sight-sing every day (way more than the recommended "you only need 5 to 10 minutes a day"!) and I creep along at a snail's pace. My musical history might play a part. I played very little piano and had some voice lessons on and off since 4-5th grade--the teacher I had was bizarre and nothing came of them. When I started studying voice and taking up the piano seriously about 6-7 months ago (college freshman), it was like I had never had a music lesson. Starting later with the voice is okay, but the music theory side is another issue in itself. Obviously, sight-singing will be easier for an instrumentalist who has seriously played since a very young age. Might my poor musical foundation be holding me back despite my daily work?
    The later you start, the longer (the more hours of work) you take to get to a given standard - IMO that's a pretty safe rule.
    IOW, it's not measured in weeks or months, but hours. You can cram more hours work into a day, and you will get there sooner than if you do less per day. (As long as your practice is properly organised, and as long as you enjoy what you're doing.)

    If you're studying at music college, obviously you're going to be up against some people who've been doing it since a very young age - it will all seem very natural and easy for them, but only because they did the "hard" work as children, when it probably didn't seem very hard at all.
    Don't compare yourself with them - they will probably always be ahead of you (forever!). Focus on your own personal development and goals, and don't be afraid to ask advice from your teachers. (Teachers love students who are keen, focussed and curious.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    The later you start, the longer (the more hours of work) you take to get to a given standard - IMO that's a pretty safe rule.
    IOW, it's not measured in weeks or months, but hours. You can cram more hours work into a day, and you will get there sooner than if you do less per day. (As long as your practice is properly organised, and as long as you enjoy what you're doing.)

    If you're studying at music college, obviously you're going to be up against some people who've been doing it since a very young age - it will all seem very natural and easy for them, but only because they did the "hard" work as children, when it probably didn't seem very hard at all.
    Don't compare yourself with them - they will probably always be ahead of you (forever!). Focus on your own personal development and goals, and don't be afraid to ask advice from your teachers. (Teachers love students who are keen, focussed and curious.)
    in music one is not just ahead. it is not something you just learn. it is not scripted. it is not found in a book, it is art.

    sure people doing it longer might be faster, more dexterious, but that does not make them ahead of you necessarily. creativity matters for music, and you might have started younger and yet be more creative. is Oscar peterson better than John lennon? well in some ways yes and in some ways no. it is art. not something which is scientifically measurable.

    people also improve at different rates, so it is possible to put in the same amount of work per day as someone that started earlier than you and then one day you surpass them in dexterity and technique.

    but ya, i agree, don't worry what other people are doing. worry about yourself. but don't ignore others, you can learn from them and what they do, but you need not compare yourself to them. just be your own self in your music and become the best you can and evoke what you wish to evoke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    in music one is not just ahead. it is not something you just learn. it is not scripted. it is not found in a book, it is art.
    I'm not sure I understand your use of words in that sentence. But ...

    How does anyone "just learn it"?

    How can anyone "just learn it" without in one way or another "finding" the knowledge and skill either "scripted in a book" or else from some equivalent source of knowledge?

    If you are learning only by listening to records, then you are learning by copying what others have already done. If you also use a tutorial book/video/DVD then you are again learning what others have done, but with the aid of a teacher explaining it to you. If you learn from a private teacher then, again someone is explaining what others have previously done.

    I don't believe anyone really learns to play electric guitar (say) in a true vacuum where there is literally nothing to guide them. In theory I think that would be possible, but the resulting sounds would presumably be unrecognisable as any "music" we've ever known before. Or if it was recognisable, then that would be a case of reinventing the wheel, and presumably taking an impossibly long time over it.

    In practice I think the best way for anyone to learn electric guitar (say) is by a combination of listening to favourite records & trying to copy those (that's probably where we all start), but definitely making that process quicker and easier by using any & all explanatory tutorial material you can get your hands on ... such as books, learning from other players/bandmates, tutorial DVD's, private teachers, or even websites like this.

    Use everything. And practice a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    sure people doing it longer might be faster, more dexterious, but that does not make them ahead of you necessarily. creativity matters for music, and you might have started younger and yet be more creative. is Oscar peterson better than John lennon? well in some ways yes and in some ways no. it is art. not something which is scientifically measurable.
    It's true we all talk about music in terms of "creative art" & maybe even sometimes saying "it's not scientifically measurable", but the problem with that sort of thinking is that it's likely to become so subjective, vague and tenuous that it never really means much or explains much at all.

    In the end, I think you have to use a considerable amount of rational scientifically considered logic to make sense of whatever you are trying to achieve on your instrument. People don't like to call it "scientific", because they somehow think that means they are less "artistic", but I don't think they can really get away from the fact that they are actually using a scientific approach in trying to make sense of everything they are doing on the instrument.

    I only say that because I don't want to encourage people in fanciful ideas about just siting around waiting for "creative artistic" inspiration, or ideas that they should "just play" (even when they have no idea how to play). I don't believe many/any people will ever succeed much like that.

    If you understand basic music theory, and know your scales and arps pretty well, and if you learn from copying and analysing favourite songs, and work hard on your technique (particularly alternate picking and legato), and if you practice that a lot in a dedicated way, either trying to perfect favourite songs or creating your own songs or improvising over different chords/progressions etc., then I think most people will succeed far more quickly and effectively than if they try to reject any/all of that as "scientific book learning" and attempt instead to succeed by thinking of themselves as creative artists who need no formal education/practice.

    Ian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    in music one is not just ahead. it is not something you just learn. it is not scripted. it is not found in a book, it is art.
    Yes, it is "art", of course, but the "craft" is most certainly something you learn: it is scripted and it is found in books. (It doesn't come magically out of the air, breathed in by magically gifted individuals....)

    No one can teach you what you yourself want to say or do with your own music; and that's not an area where you can usefully compare yourself with anyone else - which is I think what you're trying to say.
    But that's not the issue here: we're just talking about learning the craft, the technical and listening skills. AFAIK that was the OPs concern, not any issues about self-expression or "art".

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    In an unusual turn of events I find myself in (general) agreement with fingerpickin....!

    I think he shot himself in the foot with talk of art and things being unlearnable. This is clearly adressed in Crossroads' example of a completely isolated musician. Remember all music is the result of human endeavour and is bigger than any single person (Beethoven & Hendrix included!). If you are not prepared to stand on the shoulders of giants you will never even see the new territory. Thus if you don't pursue the craft of music or are unprepared to "copy" musical ideas you will never be the musician you want to be. Hell, even the concept of knowing what kind of musician you want to be is deffined by our experience of existing musicians!

    However, he does make a very valuable point:

    I must say I disagreed with any statement that starting younger is usually a good indicator of the "quality" of a musician. As fingerpickin points out, people learn at different rates and put in differing amounts of energy. Everyone learns differently.

    Is it statistically significant to say that a guitarist who starts playing at age 5 is going to be better than one who starts at age 7? I don't believe so.

    Perhaps it is fair to say that someone who starts at age 5 is likely to be better than someone who starts at age 40 so I do see what Jon is getting at.

    What about a guitarist who is forced to practice at age 5 versus a guitarist who starts at age 18 for whom playing is his deepest joy? Its a hard one to call isn't it?

    What about two people starting at the same age. One unemployed, the other with an unrelated career or family?

    Three people the same age: One goes to a music academy to study for 4 years, another other spends 4 years touring with a band, another locks himself in his room for 4 years to study from his favourite recordings. Which one is statistically going to be better? There is no answer....

    Too many other important variables to put that much emphasis on age.

    Just because someone started playing younger than you doesn't mean you cannot be technically as good as them (providing you work!). Similarly, purely subjective elements (once you have philosophically extracted all matters of technique, ingoring all the while that this is actually impossible) like style & taste cannot be linked to age at all.

    A clear nugget was written by Crossroads when he said:
    "Use everything. And practice a lot."

    To that, I can only really add: "Everyone is capable of achieving their musical goals providing they are prepared/capable of putting in the time". Of course how much time you need varies from person to person, but I would say that after 20,000 hours on the instrument you will feel like you can hold your musical ground in almost all situations. One proviso however: 20,000 hours spent running up and down scales and arps alone will not get you anywhere.
    Last edited by bluesking; 04-14-2010 at 11:49 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    I must say I disagreed with any statement that starting younger is usually a good indicator of the "quality" of a musician. As fingerpickin points out, people learn at different rates and put in differing amounts of energy. Everyone learns differently.

    Is it statistically significant to say that a guitarist who starts playing at age 5 is going to be better than one who starts at age 7? I don't believe so.
    I didn't mean to suggest it made qualitative difference. It's a quantitative one.
    All other things being equal, someone who starts younger will have put more hours in, therefore will be technically more capable. Nothing to do with the quality of his/her musicianship. That's not what this discussion is about.

    In fact, it's been shown in various pieces of research that there is indeed a difference between starting at 5 and starting at 7 - tho it's one that is highly debatable in terms of how useful it is to a musician...
    If musical education begins before age 6, there is a hugely increased likelihood of the child developing perfect pitch (esp if they learn piano). After age 6, the ability to learn PP drops off significantly.
    http://www.nslij-genetics.org/apbib/takeuchi93.pdf (llook at p.11)
    If you want something less wordy, there are graphs here:
    http://www.aip.org/148th/deutsch.html
    and news report here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/03/sc...l?pagewanted=1
    Of course this isn't the place to begin yet another argument about the value of PP... - just pointing out that a couple of years at a young age can actually make a big difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    What about a guitarist who is forced to practice at age 5 versus a guitarist who starts at age 18 for whom playing is his deepest joy? Its a hard one to call isn't it?
    Again, I made the point that enjoyment of the process is fundamental. If one is bored by the process (or worse, hates it) one is unlikely to learn anything of value.
    Musicians who become great have (it seems) simply put more hours in than those who haven't. But they've been able to do that (without getting bored or frustrated) because they enjoyed it so much. It may have been "work", but it was never arduous. These are the kind of people who have to be told to stop playing once in a while; they never need persuasion to practise.

    Of course, that leaves the question of why some people enjoy the learning process more than others - that may (I guess) point to some innate difference, tho I still believe environment plays a bigger part.
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesking View Post
    "Everyone is capable of achieving their musical goals providing they are prepared/capable of putting in the time". Of course how much time you need varies from person to person, but I would say that after 20,000 hours on the instrument you will feel like you can hold your musical ground in almost all situations.
    Research shows it's only 10,000 hours, to reach professional (even renowned) standard. This seems to apply across all kinds of disciplines.
    I say "only", because of course 10,000 hours is still a hell of a lot. (3 hours a day, every day for 10 years, more or less.) I'm not sure I've managed to notch up 10,000 hours in the 45 years I've been playing. (I might just have managed 5,000 hours in the first 5-10 years, but my daily rate has tailed off considerably since then.)

    And that ignores factors such as luck (knowing the right people, or being "discovered"), and the confidence and ability to sell oneself. (Let alone the ability to connect with an audience, to produce "art" that has an accessible meaning.)
    There are probably many "geniuses" around that no one ever hears of, because they have no confidence, or are surrounded by people who don't get understand them, or they are simply not interested in "making it" (happy doing it for themselves).
    Last edited by JonR; 04-14-2010 at 02:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
    I'm not sure I understand your use of words in that sentence. But ...

    How does anyone "just learn it"?

    How can anyone "just learn it" without in one way or another "finding" the knowledge and skill either "scripted in a book" or else from some equivalent source of knowledge?

    If you are learning only by listening to records, then you are learning by copying what others have already done. If you also use a tutorial book/video/DVD then you are again learning what others have done, but with the aid of a teacher explaining it to you. If you learn from a private teacher then, again someone is explaining what others have previously done.

    I don't believe anyone really learns to play electric guitar (say) in a true vacuum where there is literally nothing to guide them. In theory I think that would be possible, but the resulting sounds would presumably be unrecognisable as any "music" we've ever known before. Or if it was recognisable, then that would be a case of reinventing the wheel, and presumably taking an impossibly long time over it.

    In practice I think the best way for anyone to learn electric guitar (say) is by a combination of listening to favourite records & trying to copy those (that's probably where we all start), but definitely making that process quicker and easier by using any & all explanatory tutorial material you can get your hands on ... such as books, learning from other players/bandmates, tutorial DVD's, private teachers, or even websites like this.

    Use everything. And practice a lot.



    It's true we all talk about music in terms of "creative art" & maybe even sometimes saying "it's not scientifically measurable", but the problem with that sort of thinking is that it's likely to become so subjective, vague and tenuous that it never really means much or explains much at all.

    In the end, I think you have to use a considerable amount of rational scientifically considered logic to make sense of whatever you are trying to achieve on your instrument. People don't like to call it "scientific", because they somehow think that means they are less "artistic", but I don't think they can really get away from the fact that they are actually using a scientific approach in trying to make sense of everything they are doing on the instrument.

    I only say that because I don't want to encourage people in fanciful ideas about just siting around waiting for "creative artistic" inspiration, or ideas that they should "just play" (even when they have no idea how to play). I don't believe many/any people will ever succeed much like that.

    If you understand basic music theory, and know your scales and arps pretty well, and if you learn from copying and analysing favourite songs, and work hard on your technique (particularly alternate picking and legato), and if you practice that a lot in a dedicated way, either trying to perfect favourite songs or creating your own songs or improvising over different chords/progressions etc., then I think most people will succeed far more quickly and effectively than if they try to reject any/all of that as "scientific book learning" and attempt instead to succeed by thinking of themselves as creative artists who need no formal education/practice.

    Ian.
    you can learn grammar and spelling and even learn a little about what makes stories good or read lots of good stories, but this won't make you a great writer.

    creativity, what you want to say, the art part about it, is not found in a book.

    it is not just some recipe you could follow. music theory can be found in any music theory book. it has a limit. one can learn it all. but having learned it all won't make you the best songrwiter, nor the best improviser.

    there is creativity in there, there is the touch of the artist. you can surpass another. it is not just something linear where you just learn all there is to know and he who learns the most is best.

    it is not math. even math you could learn it all but that won't make you good creatively with math. you won't necessarily find new definitions.

    creativity is something intagible, no theory will make the decisions for you. no theory will tell you what to play. it cannot this is what a computer would do. you can program a computer with all music theory, a computer can play any tempo perfectly, any articulation perfectly. anything you program into it it can perform. all knowledge of theory it can replicate. you can put it all in there.

    but a computer cannot currently perform as an artist can. not yet. perhaps someday, but when that day comes you will be able to have a conversation with it and not realize it is a computer, it will have artificial intelligence, and it will be self aware.

    probably you won't believe me when i say that and think i'm full of it, but it would be extremely long to explain my position for that.
    Last edited by fingerpikingood; 04-15-2010 at 12:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Yes, it is "art", of course, but the "craft" is most certainly something you learn: it is scripted and it is found in books. (It doesn't come magically out of the air, breathed in by magically gifted individuals....)

    No one can teach you what you yourself want to say or do with your own music; and that's not an area where you can usefully compare yourself with anyone else - which is I think what you're trying to say.
    But that's not the issue here: we're just talking about learning the craft, the technical and listening skills. AFAIK that was the OPs concern, not any issues about self-expression or "art".
    it doesn't come out of the air magically by gifted individuals? how did the first book get written then i wonder?

    or is it the books that magically materialize out of thin air?

    you said one cannot be surpassed if they have begun earlier, and this is both untrue creatively and otherwise since different people learn at different rates. i've surpassed many people at many things which i have begun much later than others. probably including yourself. and it is not because i have practiced more hours. people are different. they learn at different rates. this counts for physical ability as well. muscles adapt at different rates, and the mind is responsible for controlling the muscles which also picks up technique more or less quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you can learn grammar and spelling and even learn a little about what makes stories good or read lots of good stories, but this won't make you a great writer.
    creativity, what you want to say, the art part about it, is not found in a book.
    it is not just some recipe you could follow. music theory can be found in any music theory book. it has a limit. one can learn it all. but having learned it all won't make you the best songrwiter, nor the best improviser.
    there is creativity in there, there is the touch of the artist. you can surpass another. it is not just something linear where you just learn all there is to know and he who learns the most is best.
    it is not math. even math you could learn it all but that won't make you good creatively with math. you won't necessarily find new definitions.
    creativity is something intagible, no theory will make the decisions for you. no theory will tell you what to play. it cannot this is what a computer would do. you can program a computer with all music theory, a computer can play any tempo perfectly, any articulation perfectly. anything you program into it it can perform. all knowledge of theory it can replicate. you can put it all in there.
    but a computer cannot currently perform as an artist can. not yet. perhaps someday, but when that day comes you will be able to have a conversation with it and not realize it is a computer, it will have artificial intelligence, and it will be self aware.
    probably you won't believe me when i say that and think i'm full of it, but it would be extremely long to explain my position for that.
    No, no worries about believing you or thinking your full of it lol ... but you are writing as if you think people who decide to understand music theory and who decide to perfect formal playing techniques (& perhaps informal ones too), are somehow barred from being just as "innately" artistic and creative as those who don't bother with the formal studies.

    Why do you think the two things are mutually exclusive?

    It might be the case that too much concentration only on formal theory and strict formal playing techniques, would divert your thinking from the more artistic goals of music ... and that might be counterproductive in terms of artistry (though that's very subjective anyway). But even in an extreme & hypothetical case like that, I can't imagine such a person could go through life dedicated to practicing and playing music, and yet never listening to and enjoying the sound of their favourite songs ... that person would still be completely aware of why they liked the sound of music in artistic terms.

    So I don't see any reason why those who choose to study music formally, should be somehow innately less creative or artistic. Perhaps even the opposite ...

    ... perhaps aspiring musicians who are especially creative/artistic, may often decide to learn as much as they can about the theory which helps to describe how music works, and to practice & perfect as best they can the playing techniques which enable them to be as expressive as possible in producing each note ... perhaps many creative musicians will choose that formal route precisely because they believe those skills will open new opportunities to express their art.

    I don't think ideas of being a creative artist are incompatible with seriously studying the subject and practicing in a dedicated way to perfect it's practical skills.

    Ian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    it doesn't come out of the air magically by gifted individuals? how did the first book get written then i wonder?
    People have always made music, they didn't have to be "gifted".
    You're right to imply that the "book" (theory etc) comes later, often much later.
    We all learn music by copying others. I doesn't spring fully formed from our brains, any more than language does. (There's an argument about whether we are all "hard-wired" for music as we are for speech, but that's beyond the scope of this thread.)
    How do we learn music? We have teachers, sure, but we also listen to records and read books. The books (and records) are a way of preserving ideas about music, making it easier to learn. We pick stuff up. We copy. That's how we find what we like, how we compile our "original" vision.
    The sooner anyone begins doing that, the quicker they will absorb it all, and the better they will be (technically at least) at a given later age.
    (I know the word "better" is contentious in art, but I'm simply talking about facility with techniques and understanding of the ground rules.)
    Quote Originally Posted by splatt View Post
    you said one cannot be surpassed if they have begun earlier,
    I don't think I used the word "cannot". (I said those who start younger will "probably" always be ahead, not definitely.)
    I think it's obvious it would be more difficult to overtake someone who started younger than you, but equally obviously it's not impossible if one works hard enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by splatt View Post
    and this is both untrue creatively and otherwise since different people learn at different rates. i've surpassed many people at many things which i have begun much later than others. probably including yourself. and it is not because i have practiced more hours.
    How do you know? Have you kept detailed records? Have you seen the detailed records kept by those you're comparing yourself to?
    If you enjoy something, you naturally put the hours in almost without thinking about it. Even when you just listen to music, you may be "working", in that you may have a different sort of attention, absorbing the rules subconsciously in a way the next person might miss.
    IOW, you may have just enjoyed music more than those you have overtaken.

    The notion that "people learn at different rates" is clearly true, but it needs to be examined to find out how it works. One can't assume there is an innate thing called "talent" that separates the sheep from the goats. All kinds of other factors come into play. Personality, character, attitude, environment (family and friends), encouragement, luck, opportunity, etc - all these things, and more, have huge impact. One may decide to take up music - and (more to the point) to pursue it - for all kinds of reasons.
    Last edited by JonR; 04-15-2010 at 09:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerpikingood View Post
    you can learn grammar and spelling and even learn a little about what makes stories good or read lots of good stories, but this won't make you a great writer.

    creativity, what you want to say, the art part about it, is not found in a book.

    it is not just some recipe you could follow. music theory can be found in any music theory book. it has a limit. one can learn it all. but having learned it all won't make you the best songrwiter, nor the best improviser.

    there is creativity in there, there is the touch of the artist. you can surpass another. it is not just something linear where you just learn all there is to know and he who learns the most is best.
    I agree with all this, but you're making too hard a distinction between the learning and the creativity.

    I do instinctively agree it takes a certain kind of person to want to be creative, to believe they can be. Many people who take up music just want to play other people's music. Eg, the archetypal orchestral player may reach a tremendously high technical standard, but never produce anything of their own - and be quite happy with that.
    Others will be wanting to make their own music when they can hardly play an instrument.

    At the same time, creativity can be fostered. People who believe they are not creative can be shown that they are, or can be. There is still a myth that most people are "not musical", and many people (even beginner musicians) believe it.

    But even people who have a creative urge to begin with have to learn how to express that, by copying others - and yes by reading books sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Many people who take up music just want to play other people's music. Eg, the archetypal orchestral player may reach a tremendously high technical standard, but never produce anything of their own - and be quite happy with that.
    I don't disagree with that. But I think there can be artistic & creative expression even when trying to perfect a copy of famous (or obscure) recordings. Whether that's something from Bach or something from Eric Clapton (or whoever).

    In the past we've often talked here about different approaches to playing "cover songs". And I know others say they don't learn the songs note-for-note, and prefer to give their own rendition and interpretation (I think you said you also did that at a recent gig with a Hendrix song). Whereas I said the opposite - I try to learn favourite songs not just note-for-note, but also with what I think is the original feeling and expression on each note and each phrase (hard to describe that, but for me it's partly what makes the rendition "musical" in the sense that it "flows" in particular way).

    That may still sound to you as if I'm describing purely technical skills in the copying, rather than any element of creative artistry. But to me it certainly feels like considerable artistry is needed to make the copy come to life in that precise way you desire, and maybe even creativity too in the way you try to achieve the desired nuances on each note a phrase.

    Of course that's not the obvious macro level artistry of writing & playing your own song. And you may say that any micro level artistry of the kind I'm trying to describe is too obscure to be relevant, especially to 99.9% of listeners, but to me that still feels very much like a genuine degree of considerable artistry ...

    ... perhaps that's why in previous discussions here, I've sometimes said I'm not really sure I even like music, nor perhaps even sure what music is. What drives me to play guitar is not music in the sense of saying here's is a jolly good catchy sounding tune (whether pop or classical), at least not only that, but really being more concerned with "artistic"(?) expression using the sound of the instrument...ie, very much focused on mastering the sounds and the playing of the instrument (rather than any more macroscopic idea about the "music" of the "song") ...

    ... perhaps I could describe it as being more focused on using the voice of the instrument & the way the individual notes sing to paint a picture, rather than the bigger picture of the overall song/music itself?

    I don't know if any of that makes sense/ (invites one word answer = "No!" lol ).

    Ian.

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