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  1. #1

    Listen listen listen! Listen to WHAT?

    Hey.

    What.. how do you listen then? This advice pops up often.. yet it seems to be the most vague suggestion there could ever be.

    So, what exactly do you do when.. listening?

  2. #2
    I just sit there, tap my foot and enjoy the music.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler View Post
    I just sit there, tap my foot and enjoy the music.
    Hm. Yeah.. I sort of meant while practicing. And also not transcribing even.

  4. #4
    If you mean listening to recordings, one thing you can do is try to listen to one instrument at a time (i.e. ignore the others) and hear it all the way through a tune. It's very instructive to focus on what the bass does, or the piano, (or guitar comping if there is any), or the drums, instead of just hearing the front-line soloists all the time. Good ear-training too.

    I also found it useful to listen over and over again to how a great sax player like Dexter Gordon phrases the melody on slow ballads. It's very hard to do this well I think, so learn it from a master.

  5. #5
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    generally, the idea of listening is when you're performing with a group. listening and reacting to what's gong on is the essence of group jazz. that's what Metheny and Hall mean when they talk about listening: real time inspiration.

  6. #6
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    I like Graham's ideas, and I certainly wouldn't discount Drumbler's idea, either -- enjoyment is often what got us here in the first place (aside from money and the groupies who flock our gigs!).

    I like to find and listen to music that "tickles" my ears, where I hear something and think, "Wow - what was that?!" Sometimes it's the soloist, sometimes it's the band interacting. Whether I try practicing that or not is another thing, but my ears are open a bit ..

  7. #7
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    Listen to everything. Phrasing, time, lines, all of it. Absorb the style and feel. If you do, you should be able to play back parts of what you heard, just from memory, without transcribing. Not the entire tune, not an entire solo, but bits and pieces, a few notes, with the feel and rhythm. If you can't, you weren't really listening.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hm. Yeah.. I sort of meant while practicing. And also not transcribing even.
    In those instances I generally listen to the chord and key changes.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates
    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” - Alan Wilson Watts

  9. #9

  10. It was hard to find this video.. forgot the name of the player there.

    I've another version of this exercise. Can't postpone learning alt scale anymore so, want it faster than it took with diatonics. Picked a note, let some alt chords play me a backing track. Play the picked note, listening the next note in the head before playing. Hm, surrounding notes on the fretboard from the scale pattern. Clockwise. Seems helpful.

  11. #11
    Listen and listen until you can do this:


    The art of transcribing – Part 6 – Denis Chang

  12. #12
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    There is an app called Functional Ear Trainer which is built around some of the exercises in the above mentioned Dave Frank video. I am finding it useful.

  13. #13
    When cosmicgumbo mentioned this in that other thread, I think he may have meant that you gotta get Jazz in your blood, even in your DNA... If so, then I agree. You need to absorb it to the point where it's almost predictable (but in a cool way). If you wanna really learn French, you go to France. If you really wanna learn Jazz, then create a world where you are surrounded by it. Best way is to listen to it all the time.

  14. #14
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    Listen to stuff that makes the hair stand up all over your body. Then figure out how to play it so well that it has the same effect.

  15. Hm.
    ...

    ..

    Found a new thing to listen..

    When not in a hurry, try this - instead playing when the "pause" would get too long, let it last. See if you start to hear something, offered from the ... inner ear?

    After 20 years and millions of notes, this seems new experience to me at least

    ---
    I wonder if even inspiration is a technical feature.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hm. Yeah.. I sort of meant while practicing. And also not transcribing even.
    Anytime I'm learning a new song I listen to some jazz pros playing the song while following along with the chord progression. This helps me 'hear' how these pros approach the various changes.

  17. #17
    People don't hear the same thing when listening to music; you can tell that by the variation in the answers you are getting. A more focused version of the question might be - What do you need to hear in order to learn to play it? That you can explore by doing something I've done for a long time.

    I started doing this exercise one day a long time ago when I was hitting the wall on trying to grasp how to play something. I found that in time I gradually identified pathways through which I learn music from listening, what aspects of music I listen to, how I listen to them, the ones to which I most need to carefully listen, those that contribute most to me personally being able to play, what I need to hear in order to confirm that what I play is what I heard, etc. It works like this:

    You have a song you are working to learn, perhaps on the melody, or the progression chords, or perhaps part of a particular solo, whatever... we'll use the solo example, say the first part of it.

    Before you learn the first part of the solo, sit with your guitar and imagine trying to play it before having learned it. Of course you can't do it yet, maybe a note or two, but the point is to:

    feel what it feels like when you confront the solo that you can't play yet

    - try to imagine and pretend you are going to play it by giving yourself a lead in count, like 1 - 2 - 3 - 4...
    - look inward and try to find what is stopping you, what's missing, what it is you don't know yet
    - you want to feel and explore the feeling of what this is like before you have learned it
    - you want to form a vivid a feeling as possible to remember what this feels like
    - making a strong mental note of what it feels like is crucial because you will need to recall this later

    After doing all this, proceed to learn the first part of the solo. Get it to where you can easily play the first of it, being able to just do it without thinking about it.

    After learning the first part of the solo, now is the most important part...

    - sit again with your guitar and imagine trying to play it now after having learned it. Of course you can do it now, maybe all of it perfectly note for note, but the point is to:

    feel what it feels like when you anticipate the solo that you can now play

    - try to imagine playing it by giving yourself a lead in count, like 1 - 2 - 3 - 4...
    - look inward and try to find what was added or changed, what it is you now know
    - you want to feel and explore the feeling of what it is like after you have learned and know something
    - you want to compare what this feels like as deeply inside you as possible to what it felt like before
    - make a strong mental note of what is the difference you find between not knowing something and knowing it after having learned it, because the next time you do this exercise, it will lend clues to you the next time you are asking yourself the "before learning" questions about what you don't know yet

    What you want to do is look into your own mind and think about what has changed, how you couldn't do it before but now you can... why, how? What kind of change has happened? This is why you want to so strongly remember what it felt like before learning the thing, so you can compare that to what it feels like after. The first initial cycles of this may not seem to be giving you any insights, but eventually cycles of this process lend cumulative clues to what is going on deeply within your own personal musical mind.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hey.

    What.. how do you listen then? This advice pops up often.. yet it seems to be the most vague suggestion there could ever be.

    So, what exactly do you do when.. listening?
    Usually, same as any non-musician. Just enjoy it.

    But, there are also times when I'm listening more actively to try to figure something out.

    Often, it's trying to figure out how a band creates a groove. So, I'm listening, for example, to each individual instrument and how each part fits with the whole.

  19. #19
    After watching this I thought differently about this thread.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Hm.
    ...

    ..

    Found a new thing to listen..

    When not in a hurry, try this - instead playing when the "pause" would get too long, let it last. See if you start to hear something, offered from the ... inner ear?

    After 20 years and millions of notes, this seems new experience to me at least

    ---
    I wonder if even inspiration is a technical feature.
    I also started to 'extend' the pause in the last few years instead of always feeling like I had to 'fill the space'.

    Jimmy Raney does this well and while I knew this for over 25 years, only in the last few years have I made a mental effort to do it. I combined this pause technique along with avoiding a 95% 8th note solo!

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