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  1. #51

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    I think that absolute masters relate to their own playing similarly to many lesser musicians.

    Namely, you're generally focused on developing a new skill more than congratulating yourself on the already acquired skills. And, that's even though if, say, you gig regularly, you're perfectly aware that you have to have reached a certain level of ability to get those gigs.

    I don't think great players are commonly thinking "I suck", but I'm confident that they're aware of their boundaries.

    One well known player, after a show by Guinga, said, "I felt like studying music all over again from the beginning".

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  3. #52

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    "One well known player, after a show by Guinga, said, "I felt like studying music all over again from the beginning"." RP


    Thanks, RP for the Guinga reference. I don't know how I've missed him all these years. I have always said the one element missing from many American Classical/Classical-Style Guitarists is what I call the emotive quality of playing. We ,and many Europeans, seem so focused on speed and technique that we loose the real reason to play: to communicate the human experience. This, for me, is not exhibited in the frenzied runs of sheets of sound but rather in the deep and personal expression of notes and phrases that imitate ,if not duplicate, the heartfelt emotions of a speaker to a listener. I do believe it comes naturally, for some, but I also believe some will never get it since it can be explained/taught but, in some cases, never ingrained for a myriad of biological/genetic/psychological reasons. Over the years, I have had the pleasure to play with some fine emotive musicians and I have also played with some great technicians/musicians. But the difference between the two is real and deep. Generally, I can listen to a couple bars of any music and tell you, in my opinion, if it's going anywhere musically, artistically, emotionally. For me, the chasm is that great. And, it is present in the highest levels of mechanical competence. Here's Guinga speaking personally with his big sound and lush phrasing. Good playing . . . Marinero


    https://youtu.be/nA5iWG2avyw

  4. #53

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    Flaws?

  5. #54

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    Relating to the OP; the better you get the more you hear.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Relating to the OP; the better you get the more you hear.
    So true. I spent a really long time as a young person not being able to hear really why my playing wasn't happening. I knew it wasn't happening, but, I couldn't really articulate why and I didn't know how to fix it. That's where a teacher will really come in handy, because you can pay them to tell you what isn't working about your playing.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald
    So true. I spent a really long time as a young person not being able to hear really why my playing wasn't happening. I knew it wasn't happening, but, I couldn't really articulate why and I didn't know how to fix it. That's where a teacher will really come in handy, because you can pay them to tell you what isn't working about your playing.

    Hi, P,
    This can also be a double-edged sword since the term "teacher" is relative. Our universities, in my opinion, are producing hordes of music machines who after graduating perpetuate another generation of music machines. They teach technique, theory and practical application of Music(concert bands/orchestras). Studying with a teacher of this ilk will only get you to be functional but when expression is not taught, at least in its elements and theory, it puts the average student on a path to mediocrity and music as a trade rather than an art form. And, if you are so unfortunate to be duped by this type of myopic teaching, you'll have a long, hard road to run to get back on track.
    When I was writing horn parts for Jazz/Rock big bands, I used exclusively college/college-educated players in my horn section(s). They could read well, understand dynamic markings and had a clean sound but none of them could improvise. So, if I wanted a particular type of solo, I would write it for them and they were fine. But, if I ever nodded for them to solo, they were in terror. Why? Because they were never encouraged to interpret or play with musical lines during their education. Even among Classical Musicians, good teachers encourage their students to experiment with ideas and improvise with glissandos, trills, and melodic inventions.
    So, as in all matters of purchasing services . . . Caveat Emptor. Good playing . . . Marinero

  8. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, P,
    This can also be a double-edged sword since the term "teacher" is relative. Our universities, in my opinion, are producing hordes of music machines who after graduating perpetuate another generation of music machines. They teach technique, theory and practical application of Music(concert bands/orchestras). Studying with a teacher of this ilk will only get you to be functional but when expression is not taught, at least in its elements and theory, it puts the average student on a path to mediocrity and music as a trade rather than an art form. And, if you are so unfortunate to be duped by this type of myopic teaching, you'll have a long, hard road to run to get back on track.
    When I was writing horn parts for Jazz/Rock big bands, I used exclusively college/college-educated players in my horn section(s). They could read well, understand dynamic markings and had a clean sound but none of them could improvise. So, if I wanted a particular type of solo, I would write it for them and they were fine. But, if I ever nodded for them to solo, they were in terror. Why? Because they were never encouraged to interpret or play with musical lines during their education. Even among Classical Musicians, good teachers encourage their students to experiment with ideas and improvise with glissandos, trills, and melodic inventions.
    So, as in all matters of purchasing services . . . Caveat Emptor. Good playing . . . Marinero
    I think it really depends on teachers. There are also many great musicians teaching younger musicians in their own way. It doesn’t need to be in classrooms. I’ve met many great musicians by stopping by their gigs at clubs, restaurants... once I started hanging out with a great piano player, he invited me and my girl friend who’s also pianist to his studio so we had a session together. It was so valuable lesson for me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #58

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    Bill Frisell:

    Sometimes it’s uncomfortable or you want to fall back on stuff you know. And you also have to be okay with making mistakes. Mistakes can be amazing if you don’t panic when they happen and are open to checking out what they actually are. Sometimes the “mistake” itself can be something beautiful that you hadn’t thought of, or it can just be something you’re going to have to deal with and you’re going to learn from trying to make it right. That approach only really works, though, if everyone you are playing with has the attitude that it’s okay to make mistakes, and you’re looking out for, and not judging, each other. So, if somebody goes off the rails, you either go with them or you rescue them by somehow making it sound good.

    ...

    I often think of Sonny Rollins, who for me is such a master, with incredible wisdom, and also humility. I was just listening to an interview with him, and here you have one of the greatest musicians that’s ever walked the face of the earth, but he doesn’t think so. All he’s doing is trying to learn how to get better. Every word out of his mouth is so amazing, but it always comes down to something like, “Just practice, and don’t worry about all the other stuff.” He also said, “The music is happening too fast for you to be thinking about it. You can’t think about music and play it at the same time.”

  10. #59

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    Record what you do. Put it away for a week. In the meantime listen to other stuff, good jazz. Then get it out again. Believe me, you'll hear what's wrong with it.

    One problem is: we always think what we're doing at the moment is the bees knees but we're too close to it. It needs distance and perspective.

    Some of the stuff I used to do I thought was lovely. Now, maybe years later, it's awful and cringeworthy. What bugs me is that very likely other people saw it right away without the waiting. That definitely bugs me. It's just not fair

  11. #60

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    Sometimes I hate stuff at the time and listen to it a few months later and I don’t hate it.

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Sometimes I hate stuff at the time and listen to it a few months later and I don’t hate it.
    Sometimes, it takes a long time before I can hear the music and not just the errors.

  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Sometimes I hate stuff at the time and listen to it a few months later and I don’t hate it.
    That too, though a lot less frequently. It's a question of objectivity, not negativity. Some of my early stuff is great, much better than the more current efforts.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Sometimes, it takes a long time before I can hear the music and not just the errors.
    I think it's got a lot to do with what kind of ears you have and by what criteria you're judging it. It's never a matter of 'how does it compare to something by Joe, Wes, Jimmy, etc' but 'does it touch the right spot with ME'.

    If it pleases you as the listener then it's good. But, as I say, sometimes we see it at the time but often not. And vice versa. I suppose it's a bit unpredictable really.

    (edit)

    I've just looked in my files and I did about 30 versions of Naima before I felt enough was enough. Probably out of them there are maybe a couple I'd rate. It's not an easy thing.

  15. #64

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    I remembered one more thing.

    Do not practice until its OK. Practice until it makes you feel awesome (whatever it is). Then even the flaws are allowed. Some even welcomed

    Edit: I mean the reasoning is very simple. Though pristine flawless jaw-dropping performances have rightfully their own high place, but there are lots and lots of examples when flawlessness is not so important at all... eep.. pandora's box.
    This includes even timing. Sometimes.


    But if they say you're timing is bad.. better work on it, of course
    I had the same case long time ago. People complained about my timing. I couldn't see what was wrong. Now, I practice important things with metronome or some groove tracks until it makes me feel good. Would feel like cheating to record something that is mildly alright.
    Still don't always get it right. But at least I know now how to deal with it.



    Anyway, to end with a jolly input, here's something extreme to illustrate my point.

    Although completely wrong, he got the audience singing along because he himself enjoyed it so much That's the reason I believe.
    Last edited by emanresu; 07-17-2020 at 02:05 PM.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks


    But the more subtle stuff, the timing, the intonation, the phrasing. If somebody is just telling you how to do it, and you can't hear it yourself, how much mileage can you really get out that?
    If people had the ability to listen to themselves critically, 95% of the jazz guitarists on Youtube wouldn't post their own playing.

    Then you try to politely tell them and they go bat-sht-crazy.

  17. #66

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    Sometimes constructive criticism just isn't going to be constructive for someone, especially if other people are telling them they're great. Thinking of a very specific example right now of someone who posted a video of a jazz standard and played it with awful timing - I mean, being unable to count 4 to a bar and cutting bars randomly short, speeding up and slowing down - I'm not talking rubato here, I'm talking about not being able to keep basic time - and yet tons of listeners commenting how great it was. If I were their music teacher I'd tell them to play very slowly with a metronome... but I doubt they'd thank me.
    Last edited by Matt Milton; 07-21-2020 at 11:17 AM.

  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Milton
    Sometimes constructive criticism just isn't going to be for constructive for someone, especially if other people are telling them they're great. Thinking of a very specific example right now of someone who posted a video of a jazz standard and played it with awful timing - I mean, being unable to count 4 to a bar and cutting bars randomly short, speeding up and slowing down - I'm not talking rubato here, I'm talking about not being able to keep basic time - and yet tons of listeners commenting how great it was. If I were their music teacher I'd tell them to play very slowly with a metronome... but I doubt they'd thank me.
    They say, "I'm playing freely."

    People always ask me why I am the way I am. I say, because I can't play the way I want to play, so I want a wave of new guitarists to blow my mind.

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Yes, I record. That's how people were able to tell me my time stinks.

    Yea, thinking something sounds good in real time and then bad after listening to the recording, that's a completely different thing.

    I agree with all those that argue for recording and listening carefully afterward but to deal with the time issue (to correct it) pare back what you are doing to a bare minimum and work with a metronome to lock in your time. What worked for me was taking some of the chordal exercises in the Ronny Lee Jazz guitar Method (showing my age here) and playing them dead slow with a metronome. All I did was strum 55 bpm at 4 to the bar. Often it was simply moving the same chord form up a fret until you hit the 12th fret then back down. It was boring as hell but, with nothing else to concentrate on, the focus was on locking in with the metronome and playing as evenly as possible. I worked my way through the book like that over about a month and after that I was fine. The other thing is to play with good recording of tunes you like but work on both soloing and accompaniment. Record that and listen back then try again. Metronomes are great but real music breathes a bit time-wise in a way similar to loud-soft dynamics.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny
    Listening to recordings of yourself is definitely helpful, but I find that it's more helpful if you wait a while first. I'm sure there are benefits to immediate listening too but, for me, I find I'm too emotionally connected to it if I listen to it right away. A month later I can be more objective.
    sounds a good advice. I would also add, do not overrepeat, overlisten the very same own recording, because you may get used to your particular mistakes, and they will not seen as mistakes anymore, with other words you internalize them even more, which is exactly the opposite the goal.

  21. #70

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    I'd say record yourself, but make sure you're unaccompanied. That means no metronome or backing track. Play a song or a transcription you're really familiar with. Play back the recording and see where your fluff up some notes or phrases, where you dropped the time or lost a beat. Then you can go back with a metronome and iron out the kinks.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by jobabrinks
    Thanks again for the response.

    How long had you been playing guitar, or at least playing jazz, when you started that group combo?

    I was living in NYC for a while, so I've been in combos/classes like that. One I was in was mostly kids (and was when I myself was relatively young, now 40s). There's a similar thing for adults that meets around here, but they're filled. In NYC, probably easier to find people at your level to jam with but not easy.

    It's a little bit of a unique endeavor, getting 'decent' at real jazz, if you know what I mean. It's a world only a small amount of people are involved in, yet the bar is quite high. It's tricky...

    I agree with you though, probably essential to play with good players for many, many hours to even approach decent.

    Damn, if there wasn't a pandemic, maybe we could have met up. Are you still in NY state?

    If you want, I have a lot of time on my hands we could Skype and have a joint discussion/practice session. No hidden costs. Looks like you really want to try, I wouldn't mind having a talk with you.

  23. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by kjangguitar
    I think it really depends on teachers.
    Best thing I did, from the first, was to assume, adopt,
    and pursue the self learning philosophy that music is
    a teacher, because music is inherently self revealing.

  24. #73

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    Yea Joba.... most players have lousy time in some way or another and it's usually from just "Not being aware of what time is".... and how it changes with different contexts.

    You can't develop complex time understandings and skills without understanding and being able to perform basic pulse. Generally developing feeling and understanding pulse comes from understanding subdividing.

    Learning subdivision... from understanding, practice and developing feel which becomes internal... takes organized practice.... just like all the other BS. Very few just have it.

    Most develop bad pulse and habits... the old trial and error approach, some may get there or develop into time followers , they have great time as long as it's implied by someone else etc... results in being in time sometimes and out the rest....

    Great time means... creating a sense of repeat whether played or not... all the time. Performance great time comes from understanding larger contexts of which time is being used.

    That context also has harmonic, melodic as well as dynamics aspects etc...

    Most jazz performance requires being aware of larger amount of time, space where there is a functional rhythmic pattern which also includes harmonic, melodic and dynamic parts. Then there are expanded... more layers of organization which influence attacks. There are differences between playing behind the and of "4" or anticipating beat "1". An offbeat attack or an anticipation of coming attack.

    These subtle and often difficult to describe and notate aspect of having good time need to be understood and organized. Most just label these aspects as "Feel", right. But that's where many of the difficulties come from.... without understanding what creates "feels"....

    The end result is.... you need to be able to hear and understand.... different players and styles of "feel".

    If this sound like something you might be interested in.... we can get into more details.

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Yea Joba.... most players have lousy time in some way or another and it's usually from just "Not being aware of what time is".... and how it changes with different contexts.

    You can't develop complex time understandings and skills without understanding and being able to perform basic pulse. Generally developing feeling and understanding pulse comes from understanding subdividing.

    Learning subdivision... from understanding, practice and developing feel which becomes internal... takes organized practice.... just like all the other BS. Very few just have it.

    Most develop bad pulse and habits... the old trial and error approach, some may get there or develop into time followers , they have great time as long as it's implied by someone else etc... results in being in time sometimes and out the rest....

    Great time means... creating a sense of repeat whether played or not... all the time. Performance great time comes from understanding larger contexts of which time is being used.

    That context also has harmonic, melodic as well as dynamics aspects etc...

    Most jazz performance requires being aware of larger amount of time, space where there is a functional rhythmic pattern which also includes harmonic, melodic and dynamic parts. Then there are expanded... more layers of organization which influence attacks. There are differences between playing behind the and of "4" or anticipating beat "1". An offbeat attack or an anticipation of coming attack.

    These subtle and often difficult to describe and notate aspect of having good time need to be understood and organized. Most just label these aspects as "Feel", right. But that's where many of the difficulties come from.... without understanding what creates "feels"....

    The end result is.... you need to be able to hear and understand.... different players and styles of "feel".

    If this sound like something you might be interested in.... we can get into more details.
    I agree that the reason for someone sounding bad is often an issue with their time. In line with these distinctions in where one can be on the beat, I have found it helpful to record myself soloing and/or comping against a backing track (but without the metronome/click) in my DAW (GarageBand). I then listen back with the click/metronome on, while looking at the actual waveform scroll by. Doing that, I can actually see where my playing is against the beat, and it becomes easier to understand why something sounds bad or out of time, and also understand better what ahead/behind/anticipation really sounds like (as opposed to just losing the pulse). I've been doing a lot of that lately (on account of not having any humans to jam with ...), and it has been quite instructive.

    John

  26. #75

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    I think recording yourself playing in groups is a terrific thing to do, maybe the best thing.

    But there are some details within that. Who is in the band and what music are you playing?

    If you're trying to critique your time, you want to be playing with musicians who have excellent time and you need to be playing material you know well.

    I doubt that it's possible to play with good time with a bassist or drummer whose time is wobbly.

    Similarly, if you're reading, particularly an unfamiliar chart, a significant part of your consciousness is reading, not listening and reacting.

    How do you get players like that to play with you, if you're not at that level?

    You can hire them to do lessons.

    You can hire them to play gigs -- if there are any (not around here, due to Covid).

    You can invite them to jams. In these Covid days, a lot of players aren't playing enough and just might show up.

    Outdoors, distanced, masked and in accordance with local ordinances. Bell covers for the straight horns (panty hose material has been recommended).