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  1. #1

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    O.K. One of my pet peeves--how does one consider themselves a musician if they can't read music? I occasionally surf Youtube for songs/players/ideas and occasionally take a look at some of the guitar "lesson" sites. Some guy has a 45 minute video showing each chord/note for a song that could be played in less than a minute with the SHEET MUSIC. Who could possibly sit through this madness? How long does it take to gain proficiency this way? There is a difference between a musician and a performer. A musician reads music. A performer does not. Period. Good playing . . . Marinero

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    O.K. One of my pet peeves--how does one consider themselves a musician if they can't read music?
    You mean like Wes Montgomery?

  4. #3

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    Being a musician has nothing to with reading or not reading. It has to do with making sounds. Plenty people can read music who are not musicians, and plenty are musicians who cannot read. Being able to do so will probably get you more work in some areas of music, though.
    Last edited by Rob MacKillop; 06-10-2020 at 02:19 PM.

  5. #4

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    Both music and poetry predate any sort of writing/recording on a medium. As Rob says, more sophistication (for better or worse) and marketability of your skills (mostly for better) comes with the ability to read and write music.

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    Again with this stuff? We all just recently endured a long thread best summarized:

    "I spent all this time learning to read music and now I'm furious that people who didn't are succeeding musically!".

    How does one consider themselves a musician if they can't read music*?

    I imagine it's easy if everyone that knows you, the venues, the bands, the people you play with, and the audiences you play for all consider you to be a musician.

    *Disclosure statement: I've read music for over 50 years on three instruments, but I have never used sheet music, tab, charts, or books for guitar.

  8. #7

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    Chet Baker, Roland Kirk, Django, Errol Garner and the aforementioned Wes all disagree w/you

  9. #8
    Hi, W,
    Not true of Chet. Played in H.S. Band and in the U.S. 298th Army Band. Good playing . . . Marinero

  10. #9

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    It depends on the musician. A phenomenal musician can wear "not knowing how to read music" as a badge of honor. The less they now about the notes on their instrument, the better. For the more mortal musicians, it doesn't have the same effect

    Like Steve Jobs can wear sneakers on the stage and look cool. If the presenter from the public relations department gets on the stage with sneakers, he is just a dork.

  11. #10

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    I'll take someone who knows two hundred tunes over someone who can sight-read at a performance level.

  12. #11

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    Good playing, yes, Good reading?, not so much.

  13. #12
    O.K.,
    So, lets distinguish between a performer and musician. The above mentioned players: Wes, Django, etc., were great, talented performers and,I believe, prodigies. And, that's how they should be described. However, here's the distinction I see and I would like honest feedback from those who disagree since I think there is a point herein. Beginning in Europe, there was a tradition of "trades": glassblower, mason, machinist, etc. In order to become a "master," one had to traverse levels of competency before moving on to the next level. After many years, an apprentice would become a "master" in which he could pass his well-earned skills to other potential candidates. This tradition carried on the the US and is still with us today. So, let's take a union electrician. He learns the skills necessary to perform any task on a job including the ability to read electrical wiring diagrams/schematics. He can walk on a job, without supervision, and perform. He is a complete electrician. However, what about the case of a man skilled in the functional mechanics of electrical work but needs constant supervision and help if he has to work off a schematic? Would we call still him an electrician with, say, limitations or lacking complete knowledge? So, getting back to music. If you are a complete musician, should you be able to walk on a job "cold" and read the charts for a successful performance? Or, should the bandleader give you the music to learn at home before the gig? If you can't read the gig, in my opinion, you're not a complete musician. What about learning a new piece of music? Do you need a recording of the music or the tune in your head to figure out what to play? Or, can you sit down and read the music and learn it immediately. How could Jazz big bands or Classical symphonies exist if everyone was an ear musician. How long would it take to learn, say, a symphony? So, when I make this distinction, it is not a criticism of a performers abilities/talents but rather the fact that they are limited in their skills. A case in point: at 12 years old, I was playing paid jobs on the guitar in the Chicago area in Soul/R@B groups. At 15, to complement guitar, I began the study of saxophone and after a few months, knew the keys, could read simple lines, and had a passable sound. And, in my arrogance and stupidity, since I had "good ears," I stopped studying formally and played for the next 6 years as an ear musician on guitar and saxophone. Then, one day, I got a call that Baby Huey and the Babysitters--a great, touring R@B/Soul band needed a tenor player and I was invited for an audition at the Holiday Ballroom on Chicago's NW side. There were about ten other players at the audition and the first thing Huey wanted was to hear everyone improvise. I was the last to play and when I finished,luckily, he said, "You got the gig." He then said, "O.K., we've got a gig tomorrow. Here's the charts for the horn section." We all walked to the stage, placed our charts on the music stand and when he kicked it off, I froze. I couldn't read the charts and I lost the gig. The lesson was hard taken and it was then that I returned and studied formally at the American conservatory of Music to repair my deficiencies. It was then, I believe, that I was no longer a performer, but a musician. Good playing . . . Marinero


    Here's Baby Huey and the Babysitters:

    Last edited by Marinero; 06-08-2020 at 01:15 PM. Reason: addition

  14. #13

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  15. #14

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    Person makes sweeping binary statement, ends up tortuously justifying statement in the face of many exceptions.

    internet, why won’t you learn? :-)

    in general, if you can’t read, you have to have pretty badass ears. Jimi, Wes, etc all did. Oh, yeah Glenn Campbell...
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-08-2020 at 03:02 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    O.K.,
    So, lets distinguish between a performer and musician. The above mentioned players: Wes, Django, etc., were great, talented performers and,I believe, prodigies. And, that's how they should be described. However, here's the distinction I see and I would like honest feedback from those who disagree since I think there is a point herein. Beginning in Europe, there was a tradition of "trades": glassblower, mason, machinist, etc. In order to become a "master," one had to traverse levels of competency before moving on to the next level. After many years, an apprentice would become a "master" in which he could pass his well-earned skills to other potential candidates. This tradition carried on the the US and is still with us today. So, let's take a union electrician. He learns the skills necessary to perform any task on a job including the ability to read electrical wiring diagrams/schematics. He can walk on a job, without supervision, and perform. He is a complete electrician. However, what about the case of a man skilled in the functional mechanics of electrical work but needs constant supervision and help if he has to work off a schematic? Would we call still him an electrician with, say, limitations or lacking complete knowledge? So, getting back to music. If you are a complete musician, should you be able to walk on a job "cold" and read the charts for a successful performance? Or, should the bandleader give you the music to learn at home before the gig? If you can't read the gig, in my opinion, you're not a complete musician. What about learning a new piece of music? Do you need a recording of the music or the tune in your head to figure out what to play? Or, can you sit down and read the music and learn it immediately. How could Jazz big bands or Classical symphonies exist if everyone was an ear musician. How long would it take to learn, say, a symphony? So, when I make this distinction, it is not a criticism of a performers abilities/talents but rather the fact that they are limited in their skills. A case in point: at 12 years old, I was playing paid jobs on the guitar in the Chicago area in Soul/R@B groups. At 15, to complement guitar, I began the study of saxophone and after a few months, knew the keys, could read simple lines, and had a passable sound. And, in my arrogance and stupidity, since I had "good ears," I stopped studying formally and played for the next 6 years as an ear musician on guitar and saxophone. Then, one day, I got a call that Baby Huey and the Babysitters--a great, touring R@B/Soul band needed a tenor player and I was invited for an audition at the Holiday Ballroom on Chicago's NW side. There were about ten other players at the audition and the first thing Huey wanted was to hear everyone improvise. I was the last to play and when I finished,luckily, he said, "You got the gig." He then said, "O.K., we've got a gig tomorrow. Here's the charts for the horn section." We all walked to the stage, placed our charts on the music stand and when he kicked it off, I froze. I couldn't read the charts and I lost the gig. The lesson was hard taken and it was then that I returned and studied formally at the American conservatory of Music to repair my deficiencies. It was then, I believe, that I was no longer a performer, but a musician. Good playing . . . Marinero


    Here's Baby Huey and the Babysitters:

    How can you call yourself a complete, competent troll if you can't use paragraph breaks?

    John

  17. #16

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    Oh dear ... It's one more of those, I hate people that are not like me threads


    More seriously those "slow" youtube vidoes are awful for me and you, but they are not aimed at us. They are aimed at beginners. You know those millions and millions of people that bought a guitar for the heck of it


    If you want something more advanced may I recommend someone like Christiaan Van Hemert? Or if that is too slow as he still walks you thru the parts then you can always go Francois Leduc for noting but sheet music .. Tho Francois does provide TAB notation with the staff music .. and that probably disgusts you as well?

  18. #17
    O.K. Boys and Girls(?),
    My purpose in this post was not to adjudicate the concept of what is a musician for posterity(although you can see I have my beliefs), but rather to understand how others feel about this subject. This is a real issue among performers/potential performers and a real roadblock ,for most, who play or who aspire to play unless you're a natural-born musical savant. And, when C says "you have to have pretty badass ears" to be in the game, it IS the problem in a nutshell. Most don't. So, for those of you who don't read, how do you learn a piece of music? And, how do you retain this knowledge if you don't play a piece for a long while? Does anyone have an answer to this question? And, if this is trolling, then we might as well eliminate all intellectual discourse that doesn't agree with the majority consensus or, as in this case, perhaps the consensus of this group. I really think this is a fair question among those who play music. Good playing . . . Marinero

  19. #18

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    You're trying to justify your efforts as a reason to claim you are better than someone else. There is no discussion here. Just "I can read music so I'm A MUSICIAN, you're just a preformer." This attitude right here, it's why people don't like jazz.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    You're trying to justify your efforts as a reason to claim you are better than someone else. There is no discussion here. Just "I can read music so I'm A MUSICIAN, you're just a preformer." This attitude right here, it's why people don't like jazz.
    Your statement, Allen, is completely absurd. Asking questions about music/musicians is not justified on a music Forum? And, where did I make any claims in my response about being better than others? That's your mental leap and it's unfair. I think the musician/performer dichotomy is valid since it doesn't presuppose any inferiority in performance/talent/sound . . . merely a difference in how the music is learned. And, your final remark/sentence makes no sense whatsoever.
    Good playing . . . Marinero

  21. #20

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    Well, here is another exception for you but I sense that you will also recategorize it to justify your binary statement: There are many blind musicians (except blind singers and whistlers) who have to use their hands either for braille reading or playing/holding their instruments and they manage with lots of extra studying (listening, braille etc) and/or big ears. They can't watch YouTube, they can't read tabs either. Yes they are musicians and they pay the higher price than sighted musicians (as with most else in their lives) to fulfill the role.

  22. #21

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    Maybe I'm mistaken, I thought your rant was people who can read music are fundamentally better than those who don't read.

    Musician being the preferred title over performer. It's all nitpicking to me, but like I have said before I didn't go to jazz school so I don't know all the rules maybe putting down others is a legitimate part of jazz.

  23. #22
    Hi, Med,
    Thanks for your reply. And, yes, I would consider a blind person a performer. However, as I stated earlier, this does not diminish his/her talents and ability as witnessed by gifted blind performers like Ray Charles, Jose Feliciano, Diane Schurr, George Shearing, Andrea Bocelli, and Terry Gibbs. And, it does not preclude them from "Artistry" which is the result of their natural gifts and hard work. Good playing . . . Marinero

  24. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by AllanAllen
    Maybe I'm mistaken, I thought your rant was people who can read music are fundamentally better than those who don't read.

    Musician being the preferred title over performer. It's all nitpicking to me, but like I have said before I didn't go to jazz school so I don't know all the rules maybe putting down others is a legitimate part of jazz.

    No. Good playing . . . Marinero

  25. #24

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    Just don't be content to be crap? Always be improving, developing your skills....

  26. #25

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    Marinero as a pro musician all my life, I understand what you are getting at. But the real issue is a newer generation of musicians who never played 6 night a week in the club's, playing on the road, doing jingles, etc to make a living at it.

    This is where you truly learn your craft whatever it may be. Even Tommy Tedesco, Howard Roberts, etc. They all played constantly in different situations and adapting to work to make a living.

    We now are in the age of ultimate narcissistic of selling yourself as a musician, producer, song writer, personality, and of course influencer,LOL!
    What a load of CRAP! I never did this as a hobby or part timer, weekend warrior, YUCK!

    But this is the new age of ENTERTAINMENT, and I have checked out. I still do gigs that are actual playing. But no longer am I chasing work or venues to play. And I'm glad to be done with having to play entertainer stand up comedian to the drunks.

    I do remember when the older Jazz generation telling me almost the same story when I started out as a teenager in the 1970's. And now that it's my turn, I totally get it! Best of luck to you and all who actually play music!

    By the way now that most music lacks any kind of Soul or Groove that I can relate to. I'm glad I don't have to play with what's termed as Jazz nowadays.

  27. #26

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    Interesting discussion ...

    The terms "musician" and "performer" are maybe not the best to be using here ... Maybe musician vs. "instrumentalist" (i.e., guitarist, singer, drummer), but even then, we'd have to qualify things a lot.

    About 10 years ago, when I lived in California, my band (foolishly) opened for Larry Carlton at a club. We got to hang out with him during the sound check, and he was the coolest, most gracious and humble cat ever! After we played, we got to hang and watch the real show, and after just a few tunes, I was thinking: "There's no question this guy is the Best of the Best, and man, what a performer!!" He was all over the stage, interacting with the audience, taking us wherever he wanted to go, and we were eating it up!! Larry was putting on a show, and all the while playing some of the best music out there! He was being a true professional, and there wasn't a disappointed ear in the house.

  28. #27

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    Let's just let jads and marinero talk amongst themselves.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, Med,
    Thanks for your reply. And, yes, I would consider a blind person a performer. However, as I stated earlier, this does not diminish his/her talents and ability as witnessed by gifted blind performers like Ray Charles, Jose Feliciano, Diane Schurr, George Shearing, Andrea Bocelli, and Terry Gibbs. And, it does not preclude them from "Artistry" which is the result of their natural gifts and hard work. Good playing . . . Marinero
    Yeah I would consider them all "performing musicians" (as distinct from studio musicians, jingle writers, conductors etc). They don't have to be separate entities.

    I disagree with your definitions utterly and completely if it excludes someone like Stevie Wonder from being a musician (wikipedia says he is one " American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer.").

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Littlemark
    Let's just let jads and marinero talk amongst themselves.

    Don't like to be challenged intellectually, LM? Think outside your box? Consider others views? It's certainly a more comfortable and predictable mindset.That's why I enjoy these conversations because I want to know what others think . . . especially the younger players who are, in many ways, so different from my generation of musicians. I don't seek to demean their views but merely challenge their ideas much as my ideas were challenged during my formative/later years by many great musicians. And, for the record, I don't like much of contemporary Jazz, R@B, or even the one chord vamping they call Soul Music. It is predictable, uninspiring, and musically naive--with pre-programmed electronic music replacing musicians and screaming female vocalists who should be singing on Star Search for the mindless crowds of audience voters. However, I didn't feel that way about the Big Band musicians who were my predecessors and created a universal and lasting music we still play today. And, the level of musicianship during their era was among the highest level Jazz musicians, en masse, have ever experienced. However, we had performance opportunities that don't exist today. Every neighborhood bar had a pianist, trio or small band on the weekends and it was standing room only. Every hotel in the city had live music every weekend. And, there were 5-6 Jazz clubs operating at any time. And we had ballrooms--the Aragon, Trianon,Milford, State Theater, Auditorium Theater, Holiday etc. that featured big bands-- many with dance floors. Yes, that was the 60's and 70's. However, by the 80's, Disco reared its ugly head and the writing was on the wall for many who played regularly and the only opportunities were with big names on the road, Vegas, studio work and supply/demand killed performance opportunities for all but the best and lucky. Today, we have internet musicians who play in the comfort of their homes, play with pre-recorded rhythm sections or electronic generated instruments, edit their playing to the max, and for many, don't have a clue what it is to play a steady gig or to play with other musicians on a regular basis--LIVE. So, sorry for the diversion, but I'm still curious about this madness we call music and what is involved to perform. Musician? Performer? What do we call the generation of "Bedroom Musicians/Performers" we have today . . . sad. Good playing . . . Marinero
    Last edited by Marinero; 06-08-2020 at 08:27 PM. Reason: addition

  31. #30

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    Are you competent at making music? You're a musician.

  32. #31

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    No you're not a MUSICIAN because you're competent! There isn't that much demand for musicians any longer. Basically Marinero we have a bunch of wannabes who like to play dress up as a musician. Sorry fellas but the harsh reality is most of you just suck as musicians, and never would have made the grade. I'm not just being mean to put people down. But it's the truth, just like I'm no good at many things as well.

    We now live in a Virtual Reality where you can pretend to be whomever you wish.
    Even President of the United States.
    I for one would rather deal with the reality of knowing where I stand. And in no way am I in the league of Larry Carlton, Joe Pass, Jaco Pastoius, etc. But I was good enough to work for 45 years and make a modest living. It's what I did for a living like any other job.

  33. #32

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    Guitar players get a pass in R&B. It comes down to use of space and knowing how to stay out of the way. The gig can probably go on without you. Your job is to draw attention to singers and vocalists.
    Before I worked for serious musicians for the first time I hung out with a girl group for 3-4 months and listened to them sing. We didn't read music. They wanted me to listen to intervals. Then we had a couple rehearsals with a full band. I think these guys were probably schooled.

  34. #33

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    I couldn't read it all. Apparently, we're arguing about the definition of "musician".

    I won't go there, but I will share this.

    I think of my experience as having been a guitar player for 35 years before I became aware of what it meant to be a musician (my internal definition).

    And, I learned to read from the beginning. Reading was not my problem.

    It was that long before I had an opportunity through group lessons (where I usually had the privileged position of being the worst player in the group) to see and hear up close the range of skills involved in making music at a high level -- in this instance, for American and Brazilian jazz.

    Here are some things that I saw which caused me to realize what it meant to be a musician.

    1. In a combo performance with multiple instruments playing loud, the leader stopped me because he couldn't hear the Eb in my F13 at the first position. My finger was on it, but I wasn't pressing down hard enough.

    2. If I played a wrong chord, it seemed like everyone in the room knew what I played and what I should have played.

    3. The teacher sang a melody line to a vibes player -- who couldn't remember it. The teacher sang it to himself while looking upward and then said, "it's a descending Abm9b5 from the 9th". First time I had seen that done -- but it's something good musicians can do.

    4. New sheet music on the stands: the horn players read fly shit on staff paper without changing the bored expressions on their faces.

    5. Guitarist plays an absolutely brilliant chord melody on a standard. I say, "what was that?" and he doesn't know. Instead he proceeds to play a completely different one, just as brilliant. (Warren Nunes).

    6. Guinga (Brazilian fans know who he is) spontaneously plays a chord melody on Here's That Rainy Day in Em. He uses his harmonic concepts on guitar, which often put half steps on adjacent strings using open strings and scary looking stretches. Makes it sound like he wrote the tune and nobody else should ever play it. It's all open strings, thumb in front of the neck on any string, wild voicings. If you know his work, you know what I'm talking about. When he's done, a singer in the class says "I'd like to sing that in Bbm" and Guinga plays it again in her key, with the same quality of harmony, again employing open strings throughout. Doesn't bat an eye.

    7. All kinds of stuff with sophisticated time. Great time feel, accurate note placement, no rushing, no dragging, triplets are triplets, grooves feel great etc etc etc.

    8. Drummer like an exposed nerve -- exquisitely sensitive to everything going on in the band (Smiley Winters).

    9. It wasn't just the World Class players who could do this stuff. Guys with day jobs playing music as a hobby could do a lot of this stuff too.

    So, when all this started to dawn on me, I started doing formal ear training exercises. I learned to play multiple hand percussion instruments. I spent more time trying to learn things from recordings. That is, generally do things to try to keep up. It's a work in progress.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-09-2020 at 02:06 AM.

  35. #34

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    They would have lost a ton of reading gigs

    Musician or Performer(?) Rant-wes_montgomery-jpg
    Musician or Performer(?) Rant-500x500-jpg

    If what this thread means is that it is imperative to be able to read to make it in this business.. it's kind of a dated prerogative, today people interested are more likely to have a masters degree at the least

    Can't say it's for the best, judging from the music I prefer to listen to..

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    O.K. Boys and Girls(?),
    My purpose in this post was not to adjudicate the concept of what is a musician for posterity(although you can see I have my beliefs), but rather to understand how others feel about this subject. This is a real issue among performers/potential performers and a real roadblock ,for most, who play or who aspire to play unless you're a natural-born musical savant. And, when C says "you have to have pretty badass ears" to be in the game, it IS the problem in a nutshell. Most don't. So, for those of you who don't read, how do you learn a piece of music? And, how do you retain this knowledge if you don't play a piece for a long while? Does anyone have an answer to this question? And, if this is trolling, then we might as well eliminate all intellectual discourse that doesn't agree with the majority consensus or, as in this case, perhaps the consensus of this group. I really think this is a fair question among those who play music. Good playing . . . Marinero
    How do you learn a piece of music?
    I play by ear; I listen to "how it goes" which is my best way of describing an abstract phenomenological internal representation. I hear in my mind's ear the sound of the song; the form, the melody, harmony changes, rhythm... hear and recognize these without naming them. I'm the one who says, "Don't tell me the key or the changes, just go".

    How do you retain this knowledge?
    Learning a piece of music by ear shares many of the same mental operations used in composing - it is very active and centered around how it sounds. If you have composed music you will have noticed that you pretty much recall it easily forever.

    "You have to have pretty badass ears" to be in the game, it IS the problem in a nutshell. Most don't.
    I do not subscribe to what seems to be the popular modern belief that "most people can't hear music". Maintaining this belief and all it entails as a musician is a serious problem.

  37. #36

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    So, if you ask for a chart to read down Route 66 or Autumn Leaves, should we consider you a Musician?
    Ive seen this happen. From memory, the bandleader didnt use the word "Musician" in his response to the sideman that asked for charts, he used a lot of other derogatory descriptors instead.

  38. #37

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    Reading is a great skill to have, and as guitarists it's what we are weakest at. I can't tell you how many gigs, Broadway Shows, sessions, I lost because of being a weak reader for so many years.
    Certainly some great musicians that have already been mentioned were not readers, but they were not called for certain gigs because of it. And back when work was abundant you could do that. Not anymore, unless you're very lucky!

    The main point to remember is nowadays unless you're a lucky specialist. You need to have many viable skills to work. And being younger is extremely helpful in selling the product to the current crowd. If you can sing well that's another really important skill that will get you work as well.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Don't like to be challenged intellectually, LM? Think outside your box? Consider others views? It's certainly a more comfortable and predictable mindset.That's why I enjoy these conversations because I want to know what others think . . . especially the younger players who are, in many ways, so different from my generation of musicians. I don't seek to demean their views but merely challenge their ideas much as my ideas were challenged during my formative/later years by many great musicians. And, for the record, I don't like much of contemporary Jazz, R@B, or even the one chord vamping they call Soul Music. It is predictable, uninspiring, and musically naive--with pre-programmed electronic music replacing musicians and screaming female vocalists who should be singing on Star Search for the mindless crowds of audience voters. However, I didn't feel that way about the Big Band musicians who were my predecessors and created a universal and lasting music we still play today. And, the level of musicianship during their era was among the highest level Jazz musicians, en masse, have ever experienced. However, we had performance opportunities that don't exist today. Every neighborhood bar had a pianist, trio or small band on the weekends and it was standing room only. Every hotel in the city had live music every weekend. And, there were 5-6 Jazz clubs operating at any time. And we had ballrooms--the Aragon, Trianon,Milford, State Theater, Auditorium Theater, Holiday etc. that featured big bands-- many with dance floors. Yes, that was the 60's and 70's. However, by the 80's, Disco reared its ugly head and the writing was on the wall for many who played regularly and the only opportunities were with big names on the road, Vegas, studio work and supply/demand killed performance opportunities for all but the best and lucky. Today, we have internet musicians who play in the comfort of their homes, play with pre-recorded rhythm sections or electronic generated instruments, edit their playing to the max, and for many, don't have a clue what it is to play a steady gig or to play with other musicians on a regular basis--LIVE. So, sorry for the diversion, but I'm still curious about this madness we call music and what is involved to perform. Musician? Performer? What do we call the generation of "Bedroom Musicians/Performers" we have today . . . sad. Good playing . . . Marinero
    Disco wasn't so bad;


  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    And back when work was abundant you could do that. Not anymore, unless you're very lucky!

    The main point to remember is nowadays unless you're a lucky specialist. You need to have many viable skills to work. And being younger is extremely helpful in selling the product to the current crowd. If you can sing well that's another really important skill that will get you work as well.

    That is the thing and what is important, isn't it? Can you get work?

    There will always be guys that have enough charisma to make a living on a limited technical skill set, but that was easier back in the day. But why you'd want to point fingers at those guys is beyond me

    I don't get Marinero's post .. Anyone that manages to make a living involving music should be praised for it

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    I never did this as a hobby or part timer, weekend warrior, YUCK!
    Genuinely interested in what's yuck about doing this as a hobby or part-timer?

    Cheers
    Derek

  42. #41

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    I make music, so I'm a musician. I have played with as many above average musicians that couldn't sight read as those that could. Goal: to make good music. Much of a whole generation of highly productive, quality R&B, pop and classic rock composer/musicians had little reading skills.

    A great ear is a very valuable asset, and I've played with good sight readers that weren't sure if their popular music charts had errors (they can), because they couldn't rely on their ears.

    But, it's hard to deny that being able to sight read is one of the more beneficial and efficient skills a BUSY musician could have. It does save a ton of time if you are trying to get a lot accomplished. Many circles it is essential.

    Imagine trying to acheive full participation on this forum if you couldn't read or write English...

    Ironically, I believe music would be dead if it totally depended upon trained musicians.

  43. #42

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    Yeah, anyone who makes music is a musician. That might be a bit wishy has hippy dippy for some, but it's the case.

    OTOH to be a professional requires an understanding of where you fit in the musical ecosystem. Different people have different skills, and the pro musicians require skills that can be monetised, hence the professional bit.

    The landscape is changing. 20-30 years ago it was a big deal to be able to sight read flyshit as a guitarist. Now, not so much because more players are good readers. In addition, the reading and session gigs are fewer because pit bands are getting budget squeezed and plugins are slowly replacing session players in a lot of areas in the recording industry.

    The ground is shifting.

    What I predict is a lot of these skills that musicians value so highly because they are hard for humans to do - reading, playing precise parts to a click etc will be taken over by machine learning algorithms because they are relatively easy to automate. What will remain is the stuff that AI can't do. Live performance will be one. Creativity will also be very important. Sight reading - less so.

  44. #43

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    Paul McCartney: "As long as the two of us know what we're doing, i.e., John and I, we know what chords we're playing and we remember the melody, we didn't actually ever had the need to write it down or read it.”

    Reading is a skill some musicians need and others do not.

  45. #44

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    I really don't care what you call me, as long as you call me for the gig. Read or fake, no problem. I was lucky enough to come up starting with the folk scare of the early 60s, where I got LOTS of good work with name folkies because I could read, and they often brought the arrangements from their recordings; if not, a listening session to their latest recording was usually all the prep needed to do the job (either on upright bass or guitar).

    Moving on to early R 'n' B show bands, reading was less necessary until I realized there was income from arranging the horn parts. Getting into a jazz organ trio demanded less reading but more sophisticated listening; the 6-nights-a-week schedule took care of that in short order. Delving into classical guitar demanded reading, and starting to get calls for studio and pit work was the result of reading better and better, but also the fact that I could read with the right feel from my experience with ear gigs.

    Reading gave me the opportunity to work with Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, Sergio Franchi, Carol Channing in Hello Dolly! and Robert Goulet in Man of La Mancha, etc., etc. The combination of reading and improv allowed me to be a guitarist on a handful of million-selling pop recordings as well. I also got to share the stage with George Coleman, Tommy Flanagan, Chuck Israels, Jack Sheldon, Laurel Masse, Ray Brown, Laurindo Almeida, Tommy Tedesco, Dick Johnson, Alan Dawson, Arti Dixson, Jim Cammack, and a host of other fine jazz players. Reading music may not be necessary, but it sure is a way to expand your musical universe. I have been a content and happy "journeyman" musician for decades; it beats working for a living.

  46. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    They would have lost a ton of reading gigs

    Musician or Performer(?) Rant-wes_montgomery-jpg
    Musician or Performer(?) Rant-500x500-jpg

    If what this thread means is that it is imperative to be able to read to make it in this business.. it's kind of a dated prerogative, today people interested are more likely to have a masters degree at the least

    Can't say it's for the best, judging from the music I prefer to listen to..
    Hi, Alter,
    The answer is "No" to your first question. Good playing . . . Marinero

  47. #46
    "I don't get Marinero's post .. Anyone that manages to make a living involving music should be praised for it" Lobomov


    Hi, L,
    I never said non-readers shouldn't be praised. Can you refer me to where I wrote that in a response? Good playing . . . Marinero

  48. #47
    "The ground is shifting.

    What I predict is a lot of these skills that musicians value so highly because they are hard for humans to do - reading, playing precise parts to a click etc will be taken over by machine learning algorithms because they are relatively easy to automate. What will remain is the stuff that AI can't do. Live performance will be one. Creativity will also be very important. Sight reading - less so." Christian

    Hi, C,
    This thought is Orwellian . . . but I believe it will be the way the Herd gets their music in the future with one exception . . . creativity will decline to the lowest common denominator. How else will they be able to enjoy it? Good playing . . . Marinero

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    "The ground is shifting.

    What I predict is a lot of these skills that musicians value so highly because they are hard for humans to do - reading, playing precise parts to a click etc will be taken over by machine learning algorithms because they are relatively easy to automate. What will remain is the stuff that AI can't do. Live performance will be one. Creativity will also be very important. Sight reading - less so." Christian

    Hi, C,
    This thought is Orwellian . . . but I believe it will be the way the Herd gets their music in the future with one exception . . . creativity will decline to the lowest common denominator. How else will they be able to enjoy it? Good playing . . . Marinero
    Is sight reading creativity? Is playing music you hate because it pays the bills?

    Anyway, it's going to happen whether we like it or not.

  50. #49
    "Is sight reading creativity? Is playing music you hate because it pays the bills?" Christian


    Hi, C,
    Double negative. Sight reading is a tool . . . playing music you hate is spirit killing. I once took a Polka gig on the sax to make some extra money when things were slow. They had a play book(sheet music) on the music stand for their show. I walked off the stage during the first "set." The music was unbearable and no one played in tune. True story. Good playing . . . Marinero

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    "Is sight reading creativity? Is playing music you hate because it pays the bills?" Christian


    Hi, C,
    Double negative. Sight reading is a tool . . . playing music you hate is spirit killing. I once took a Polka gig on the sax to make some extra money when things were slow. They had a play book(sheet music) on the music stand for their show. I walked off the stage during the first "set." The music was unbearable and no one played in tune. True story. Good playing . . . Marinero
    If no one played in tune, that included you. Or did you mean everyone except you were out of tune? Maybe the play book was not on the stand for the show, but just "for show"... (the wrong book)?

    In the music world there are few rules, but I kind of think one of them must be that a musician does not walk out of a gig.