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Thread: A Different Way of Practice?

  1. #16
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    On the subject of books/DVD's. I have to say I have never found any of them to be of any real use to me.

    Early on I bought a Joe Pass transcription book. This was way before I was even close to having the technique to even learn them. That book got shelved. A couple years later I invested in Pat Martino's Creative Force. An interesting video however, as an improviser, once you are ready to play with that kind of intensity or let alone simply understand what he is trying to say. The video becomes redundant.

    These guys can talk about scales and techniques all day but at that point its meaningless. Once you are comfortable with your scales and modes/ knowledge of harmony. It becomes clear how little these guys actually conform to strictly playing modes and scales.

    I may be contradicting myself a bit here because I do emphasize the importance of learning these fundamentals when I post. This stuff is simply a stepping stone though.

    Anyway, I'm preaching to the choir I'm sure. The point I suppose is that once you have your head around the harmony. The rest is up to your ears.

    "Learn from the teacher, NOT his teaching". Not sure who said that, words to live by none the less.

    On another note. I agree with everything else being said. On Chris's mention of using backing tracks and metronomes. I have said this before, but I always recommend at least some portion of improvisation(in the shed) to be played solely to a metronome for 2 reasons. It absolutely help your time in ways a backing track wont and it also forces you to bring out more of the harmony in your playing.

    When you have a backing with chords behind you, it can be easy to rely on the harmony to make your lines sound good. On the other hand, If you can make good lines(that clearly spell the harmony) with no backing what so ever, you are likely to play even better with a group.

    .2c

  2. #17
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    Mick - you may be entirely right in all you say re. books/dvd's and using a metronome etc. Really .

    I wouldn't even seriously contest what fingerpickin says when he tells us about his natural talent. Maybe he is naturally that good, I just can't know about that.

    But just as a matter of me understanding you - do you mean you never had to learn from books, videos or DVD's? What at about private teachers, did you learn from them instead? ... only, I suppose the teacher was explaining stuff he'd got from books anyway, right? Or alternatively, if guys learn everything from other more knowledgeable band members, I guess that still boils down to the same thing again ... I mean, the more knowledgeable band member must also have got his expertise from somewhere, right?

    I know that many people swear that they learned everything from listening to favourite records and copying by ear. But I don't think that ability can be anywhere as common as people would have us believe. For example - most people I know started playing guitar because they heard some famous guitar record, and they wanted to play like that. But in my experience it's very hard, if not almost impossible, simply to get your first guitar and learn a favourite song just by listening and finding those several thousand notes on your new guitar, and somehow also getting the timing & phrasing anywhere near right etc. That's a phenomenal task (unless your favourite song is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!)

    At any rate my experience was that I bought a guitar aged 13, I had no idea how to play it, and I wanted to play the songs from Clapton's Beano album and Hendrix Are You Experienced. I found that impossible even to know where or how to start on any of it. I only learned what to do many years later after finding TAB sheets for the songs. And it only started to make any further sense many years after that, when I discovered that everyone was using scales to make chords and to play in key!

    I learnt all that from books, and later from videos, and then from DVD's. And much later, I only began to make more sense of it all from reading JonR's posts on this forum.

    IOW - I think 99% of us have to learn that way from known teaching material, whether that's in books and DVD's, or else from teachers explaining the same stuff. Otherwise it seems to me you're left in the almost impossible position of trying to re-invent the wheel ... ie discovering how to play complex sounding tunes, and discovering scales and arpeggios etc. for yourself merely from listening to records ....

    ... I suppose there might be the remaining 1% of guys who can somehow just do that with no other help, but I never met anyone who really did do that.

    Ian.


  3. #18
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    No of course you are right. I must not have explained myself very well.

    The point I was making was not that we shouldn't take lessons or learn from books. Just that once you have a thorough understanding of harmony/modes/scales/time signatures. You can read all the books in the world about developing melodies or how to shred ect.. ect.. but at that point, nothing will benefit you more than simply listening critically to the musicians you admire. Transcribe, Copy, Impersonate, Manipulate and let the creative forces within you do the rest. All the while listening with intensity.

    Once upon a time there was very little resource for students to learn about harmony and scales. Even as little as 50 years ago in the era of some of my favorite musicians. All they had to go on was gigs, records and maybe occasionally getting to sit down with a better musician than themselves and learn a thing or two in person.

    So yes, I studied music(on paper) and still do. I still like to think however that any significant achievement's I ever made. Were more to do with just sitting with a great album and giving myself headaches trying to play what was being played on the CD by ear.

    Both go hand in hand. It just seems that now days some people are constantly chasing that one DVD with all the answers of 'how to be the next yngwie' I was probably once one of them. Even now when I get frustrated with myself I find myself wondering If there is another book I should consider reading. Yet, I resist the urge and just keep working on what ever it is that is giving me a pain in the neck and eventually it sorts itself out.

    anywhoo

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
    I wouldn't even seriously contest what fingerpickin says when he tells us about his natural talent. Maybe he is naturally that good, I just can't know about that.
    Fingerpickin posted a few sound bits some time ago in this thread:
    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...t=15300&page=2

    I find the piano bit (the first one) to be very good, but they are all ok for a learner i progress.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    No of course you are right. I must not have explained myself very well.
    Nah, I think you probably explained it just fine. I think I was probably going off at a bit of a tangent (as usual).

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    The point I was making was not that we shouldn't take lessons or learn from books. Just that once you have a thorough understanding of harmony/modes/scales/time signatures. You can read all the books in the world about developing melodies or how to shred ect.. ect.. but at that point, nothing will benefit you more than simply listening critically to the musicians you admire. Transcribe, Copy, Impersonate, Manipulate and let the creative forces within you do the rest. All the while listening with intensity.
    Yep, all understood.

    I'm not sure I'm really at that sort of level, or that I ever could be (just dunno!) ... but my professional science background probably means I'm biased towards books and technical self-learning stuff, and maybe also conditioned to look for specific tangible/practical methods of improvement, as distinct from listening to more music or watching great players and thinking I will absorb important knowledge that way ... I might absorb it, but maybe I'm naturally putting up defences to that.

    It's not that my educational and professional background is purely academic science theory ... I actually started off in art ... but more simply that I know how effective objective/scientific approaches are ... so maybe I rely too much on that, without giving more subjective "arty" approaches a fair chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    Once upon a time there was very little resource for students to learn about harmony and scales. Even as little as 50 years ago in the era of some of my favorite musicians. All they had to go on was gigs, records and maybe occasionally getting to sit down with a better musician than themselves and learn a thing or two in person.
    Well that's exactly what it was like when I first started trying to play as kid in the late 60's ... couldn't find any sheet music for the lead guitar stuff that I wanted to play. For me, trying to copy Hideaway by ear from the LP, was just as impossible as giving me a violin and a Vivaldi record and saying "there you are just copy what you hear!" ... I mean that literally ... maybe the classical violin would have even been easier for me (classical piano certainly would have been, I think).

    But in complete contrast, the tutorial DVD's and books today are just fantastic ... the change is like night into day ... it's relatively easy now to learn almost any piece anyone wants, given a bit of serious effort. I think that's brilliant, and I'm really grateful to guys like Scott Henderson for taking the time and trouble to explain & demonstrate how they learned to play.

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    So yes, I studied music(on paper) and still do. I still like to think however that any significant achievement's I ever made. Were more to do with just sitting with a great album and giving myself headaches trying to play what was being played on the CD by ear.
    See, that's where I still find it very difficult ... ie just to listen to a record, and transcribe it. For me, my achievements, such as they are, have come 99% from tutorial stuff in books and DVD's ... well, I say that, but there was a first decade or so of playing where I never leant anything from any books (& there were no videos or DVD's then), and I guess I must have learned something there (since I played in several bands on & off for most of that time).

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    Both go hand in hand. It just seems that now days some people are constantly chasing that one DVD with all the answers of 'how to be the next yngwie' I was probably once one of them. Even now when I get frustrated with myself I find myself wondering If there is another book I should consider reading. Yet, I resist the urge and just keep working on what ever it is that is giving me a pain in the neck and eventually it sorts itself out.
    anywhoo
    Yep. Well, of course I don't suppose there can be any single DVD or book that will give us everything. If it comes to that, even the best private teacher can only help a student so far ... in the end the student still has to practice everything, perfect everything, and learn everything by their own hard work ... so in the final analysis I think they can all say their success (or failure) is 99% down to their own efforts.

    Well, just my 2:cents on all that stuff .

    Ian.

  6. #21
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    I saw a programme recently in which they did an Experimented with people using Music.
    They let people listen to heavy rock music before setting them a task ie puzzle.
    Those who listened to the music just before the puzzle performed better than those who did not.They said the music stimulated parts of the brain which in turn actually made the person perform better.(smarter)
    They then said it didnt have to be heavy rock music it could be any music.
    They agreed it would be a good idea fo someone to listen to music before a test though turn the music off while actually studying.
    Maybe listening to a tune a few times over before you start transcribing will make us better alert to the puzzle, but then we have to turn it off to study it ie, play that part then turn it on again etc! lol bit of a vicious circle really. ME personally I collect things so books and Dvds will always be an expanding collection while my finances permit! or untill the better half ventures into the secret room at the top of the stairs and i am busted.

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