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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Here's an example: The chords going down chromatically near the end of the progression of Autumn leaves. It's common to play something along with each chord going down (arpeggios etc), Emi, Ebmi, Dmi, Db7. At some point I thought why not just keep the improvisation pretty much in the Emi blues scale during that section? It sounds less contrived and more natural IMO. Neither approach is wrong - let your ears be the guide.
    Sure, but not every time, right? Ever heard someone just "blue boning" all over Rhythm Changes, but like, in every chorus?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Ah, you're talking about comping, I thought you were talking about ignoring passing chords when improvising against them...
    Why would there be a difference?

  4. #103

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Why would there be a difference?
    Because if comping, presumably you only have the chord chart and / or the bass player to ignore, which is easier to get away with than an accidental in some chord being played under your generalized tonic improv. Experienced players will force different stuff over things and sound great (George Benson comes to mind), but I wonder if I'd give this advice to a novice or even intermediate players. I can remember, in my early Jazz learning days, playing over Autumn Leaves and discovering that I could pay the same stuff over the minor 2 - 5 - 1 that I did over the maj 2 - 5 - 1. Haha, I also remember congratulating myself for finding this "hack"! , and being encouraged by this, I set about looking for other hacks, or shortcuts that would make jazz improv easy, like rock improv is! ...

    Of course, I'd listen to Sonny Rollins, Cannonball, Hubbard etc and realise their ideas were miles beyond mine, and I resolved to get good at expressing the changes better. And yes, I swallowed the old dictum that you should be able to improvise un accompanied and a listener should still be able to hear the changes in your playing. All my favourite players could do it, so it seemed like a lofty, but important goal to work towards.

    Now, I can tell you that I went from happy go lucky let's just have fun eyes closed just wing it play what you think you hear , to the exact opposite! Years of hard work drilling devices and vocab, scarcely allowing myself the reward of "just blowing" for fear of slipping back into my old lazy habits. Now I can outline changes like a changes running machine, and am only recently allowing myself the luxury of freewheeling every now and then, which is the other thing the greats could do (Rollins in particular).

    Here's the thing - while the freewheeling yields the odd surprising gem, it's still far too imperfect, or just a bit shite in too many bits to feel like I can get away with it. I probably now need to devote years to doing mainly this, whilst not losing the measured, contrived chops.

    So to your point - I totally get why to tell a Jazz student to loosen up and try and hear music as music and not a maths challenge, but this should not be a "one size fits all" slice of advice for all your students. Some will want or need more discipline to achieve their goals, and others will need encouragement to get off the safety rails more often. Some might benefit from being pushed to the edge of the cliff of spontaneity from the get go, whereas others need to stop their bad noodling habits cold in order get some serious chops that only hard core shedding will give them.

    But you're a teacher, so you'd know this, right?

  5. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Sure, but not every time, right? Ever heard someone just "blue boning" all over Rhythm Changes, but like, in every chorus?
    Never heard the expression but I'm guessing it has to do with playing "Blues" licks

  6. #105

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    Never heard the expression but I'm guessing it has to do with playing "Blues" licks
    ja

  7. #106

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Because if comping, presumably you only have the chord chart and / or the bass player to ignore, which is easier to get away with than an accidental in some chord being played under your generalized tonic improv.
    It's the same either way. Comping and soloing is a continuum anyway.

    This is why comping is an art and listening is important. If I amp for you, I listen to what you play and try and complement it, and vice versa. It's not always true that that listening means pitch choices.

    Let me give you one of my favourite examples. Have a close listen to just the head of this, and what the pianist plays underneath and how he plays it:



    What do you notice?

    Experienced players will force different stuff over things and sound great (George Benson comes to mind), but I wonder if I'd give this advice to a novice or even intermediate players. I can remember, in my early Jazz learning days, playing over Autumn Leaves and discovering that I could pay the same stuff over the minor 2 - 5 - 1 that I did over the maj 2 - 5 - 1. Haha, I also remember congratulating myself for finding this "hack"! , and being encouraged by this, I set about looking for other hacks, or shortcuts that would make jazz improv easy, like rock improv is! ...
    Novices need to get into the habit learning music by ear.

    They should also not be expected to improvise fluently, but encourage to appropriate and adapt material, and listen as much as possible

    Things like chord tones and scales are great practice for fretboard knowledge, but the importance of vocabulary and melodies should be stressed when it comes to music. You can obviously explore how the two relate.

    They should also be encouraged to learn plenty of tunes, including melodies, and be playing in groups as soon as possible.

    Of course, I'd listen to Sonny Rollins, Cannonball, Hubbard etc and realise their ideas were miles beyond mine, and I resolved to get good at expressing the changes better. And yes, I swallowed the old dictum that you should be able to improvise un accompanied and a listener should still be able to hear the changes in your playing. All my favourite players could do it, so it seemed like a lofty, but important goal to work towards.

    Now, I can tell you that I went from happy go lucky let's just have fun eyes closed just wing it play what you think you hear , to the exact opposite! Years of hard work drilling devices and vocab, scarcely allowing myself the reward of "just blowing" for fear of slipping back into my old lazy habits. Now I can outline changes like a changes running machine, and am only recently allowing myself the luxury of freewheeling every now and then, which is the other thing the greats could do (Rollins in particular).
    It's great to outline changes. It's also great to understand that you don't need to outline the changes.... I see no reason why we can't start that journey as soon as the first progressions are mastered.

    Here's the thing - while the freewheeling yields the odd surprising gem, it's still far too imperfect, or just a bit shite in too many bits to feel like I can get away with it. I probably now need to devote years to doing mainly this, whilst not losing the measured, contrived chops.
    No I'm not advocating randomness of any kind. The opposite. Probably less than a lot of jazz pedagogy.

    I think that actually it's the FRAMING that is the thing I am concerned with. And it is a bit fucked up in a lot of theory/improv books to be honest.

    So;
    'don't play the 13th on the iim7 chord because it gives away the sound of the V7. For this reason it is an avoid note.'
    as opposed to how I'd put it:
    'if you play 13th on the iim7 chord, you are basically playing a type of dominant sound - listen'

    So, the language you use as a teacher.

    Right, OK... learning to outline chords. Great that's a positive thing. So, we've learned to outline a chord progression. What can we use it for? How can we develop this idea?
    As opposed to - 'make sure we play the chord tones in our line so that we can hear the changes.' or 'don't play this note on this chord or it will be a clam.'

    Am I making it a bit clearer?

    There's also actual bullshit as well, like 'playing over chords' - junk that, and replace with 'playing into chords.' Teach student to phrase correctly instead of playing disconnected lines. This should be easy if they are learning actual jazz music, because that's how it works, and there are simple exercises to sort it out.

    So to your point - I totally get why to tell a Jazz student to loosen up and try and hear music as music and not a maths challenge, but this should not be a "one size fits all" slice of advice for all your students.
    If student has been taught well this shouldn't be necessary. The problem is the FRAMING.

    Some will want or need more discipline to achieve their goals, and others will need encouragement to get off the safety rails more often. Some might benefit from being pushed to the edge of the cliff of spontaneity from the get go, whereas others need to stop their bad noodling habits cold in order get some serious chops that only hard core shedding will give them.
    I think this dichotomy is synthesised if you get the framing right.

    But you're a teacher, so you'd know this, right?
    It's very difficult for people such as you and I to admit that some things we learned are not necessary or even harmful to learners. It is the responsibility of the teacher to reflect on their teaching practice to see where things could be changed. That's not material per se - but how the teaching is delivered.

    Good teachers do this. I'm not trying to say that this is some new shit. It's rather - the good shit - at least that I have found so far.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-05-2020 at 03:35 PM.

  8. #107

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It...


    It's very difficult for people such as you and I to admit that some things we learned are not necessary or even harmful to learners. It is the responsibility of the teacher to reflect on their teaching practice to see where things could be changed. That's not material per se - but how the teaching is delivered.

    ....
    Sure, every teacher would not want their students to waste time on stuff they feel they wasted time on themselves, and the temptation is to want to become the ideal teacher you wish you had coming up. Problem is, of course, that not every student may agree they need to learn what you think they need to learn, and they won't even know they disagree with what they are being taught until many years later! Maybe they don't even know yet that they don't wanna be a cool, off the hip Bopper. Maybe they wanna be a fusion licks monster, or a composer of Bossa type tunes, or a really good reader, or a Freddie Green clone, or a soulless Maths Jazz Computer...

    So yeah, as for spending years learning what we later realise were the "wrong" things, it's as much the student's fault as the teacher's. Teaching anything is a huge responsibility, but teaching Jazz guitar is such a micro niche discipline without any real established pedagogy, where the expectation is an ever evolving moving target, constantly being re evaluated amidst an endless sea of confusing options, all in an ADHD world where people think that 6 months is a long time to spend learning anything...

    Ah, but I'm sure you'll have the odd student that managed to pick up a trick or two and didn't blame you for ruining their promising career as a professional musician.

  9. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Sure, every teacher would not want their students to waste time on stuff they feel they wasted time on themselves, and the temptation is to want to become the ideal teacher you wish you had coming up.
    You are looking for problems that do not exist IF the teacher has their eyes and ears open and reflects on their practice. Which is a big if TBF. Blind following of this or that method, however promising is much more dangerous. Reflection is actually the most important thing...

    It might interest you to learn for instance, I don't teach most jazz students Barry Harris stuff. It just doesn't work for them. I try to extract what is powerful about Barry's approach and abstract it for more general use.

    One aspect I think is powerful, and universal is chunking. Another is not being overly concerned with playing 'the right notes' on chords but actually focusing on creating compelling lines.

    However, it's actually by having to teach students who are not like myself might need that I started thinking this way. Even more when I started thinking about the implications of the very 'scientific' and rules based way we seem to teach improv. (And how those rules are taken often as prohibitions or laws almost.)

    Anyway, ttheory fucks students up in various ways. I see this again and again. The people who persist are the nerdy people, but it messes them up if they can't get out of that rabbit hole and start making music. I think contact with good educators is essential for this. e.

    Problem is, of course, that not every student may agree they need to learn what you think they need to learn, and they won't even know they disagree with what they are being taught until many years later! Maybe they don't even know yet that they don't wanna be a cool, off the hip Bopper. Maybe they wanna be a fusion licks monster, or a composer of Bossa type tunes, or a really good reader, or a Freddie Green clone, or a soulless Maths Jazz Computer...
    They have to do what they want to do. I have no desire to tell a player what sort of a player to become.

    I just want them to trust their ears, get into the music they have an emotional connection with deeply, and work on having a clear, clean process.

    If I had a student who was really good, but whose playing I didn't actually like that much, I would consider that a success. OTOH usually people end up picking stuff off you because a lot of the learning is them listening to how and what you play, as much as what you say, if not more.

    It's not even relevant whether or not they play jazz really. We have the exact same problems in blues and rock guitar. Even worse if anything.

    So yeah, as for spending years learning what we later realise were the "wrong" things, it's as much the student's fault as the teacher's. Teaching anything is a huge responsibility, but teaching Jazz guitar is such a micro niche discipline without any real established pedagogy, where the expectation is an ever evolving moving target, constantly being re evaluated amidst an endless sea of confusing options, all in an ADHD world where people think that 6 months is a long time to spend learning anything...
    Hal Galper said something about educators over-specifying or over-codifying the pedagogy. That is so true. Really pedagogy itself has got to go and be replaced by something more student directed. There's nothing more depressing to me than someone telling me they were forced to study bebop at college. Fuck that shit.

    Most of the problems I identify above come from a type of teaching and jazz writing that is overly controlling and specific in nature, and not sufficiently student directed. (You have to give the student confidence to play something as if they mean it at the very least - quite a lot to improvisation is a confidence trick anyway.) I think this is historical. In the 70s jazz courses had to make their case, set out their stall as an academic subject. That's why they are so old fashioned and clunky from a teaching standpoint.

    (I mean avoid notes... seriously? Tell your student to avoid playing the avoid note. SMH.)

    Now, education has moved on... higher education is moving towards different models as the internet obviates the need for many more traditional teacher roles. One of the most important remaining roles is to cultivate a community or practice and act as a mentor or guide to the student. Everything else can be learned online.

    In fact as a teacher I have to HOLD BACK on giving out knowledge all the time. I have to be extremely careful not to get drawn into theoretical conversations that eat time and reduce the amount of actual musical application in the lesson. It's to be as transparent and simple as possible.

    Ah, but I'm sure you'll have the odd student that managed to pick up a trick or two and didn't blame you for ruining their promising career as a professional musician.
    Good students take what they need and move on; which is as it should be.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-05-2020 at 04:32 PM.

  10. #109

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    Can I ask, how long have you been teaching Jazz guitar? And how have you changed your approach over that time and why? Finally, have you had any students for a long enough period to see them be shaped into happening Bop players?

  11. #110

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    Can I ask, how long have you been teaching Jazz guitar? And how have you changed your approach over that time and why? Finally, have you had any students for a long enough period to see them be shaped into happening Bop players?
    ive been ‘teaching’ jazz guitar on and off for as long as I’ve been playing it, but I’ve been an actual teacher of guitar for about fifteen.

    What’s tending to happen is my teaching is getting a lot less technical and more music oriented. I’m trying to talk a lot less, which needless to say I find a challenge haha, especially when drawn into some theoretical discussion.

    with the jazz students what tends to happen is the accomplished ones do a few lessons on Barry Harris or whatever and get on top of it under their own steam. They just need the raw materials.

    They tend to go from teacher to teacher taking what seems useful to them.

    So those players can certainly play good or great, but I don’t think I can take credit; they are very self directed, sometimes at a very young age.

    With less accomplished students who are maybe starting to learn jazz, they need more input. The biggest issue with these students is getting them to use their ears and stop talking about theory.

  12. #111

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    OK, it's a shame jazz students don't tend to stay with one teacher for long, it must be frustrating not being able to see long term progress under one's tutelage. OTOH, you can see why students would wanna "sleep around" ...

  13. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    OK, it's a shame jazz students don't tend to stay with one teacher for long, it must be frustrating not being able to see long term progress under one's tutelage. OTOH, you can see why students would wanna "sleep around" ...
    Well it’s a funny one... I’m used to it now. I don’t care about teaching people for a long time I just like people to stay in touch. But then I’ve hardly been great at doing that myself, so I can hardly moan.

  14. #113

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    I.e. all students are bastards... they never call!

  15. #114

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    love this thread....

    singers that play and players that sing what they play...perhaps not in performances..but just about every keyboard and guitar player I have met along the way does this ..
    it may not be consistent or have any way to follow it outside of the player..
    Glenn Gould "sings"..on the Goldberg Variations by Bach...(and catches hell for it...)
    Jimi Hendrix did this alot..and many blues guitarists do also..

    going beyond..theory..harmony..melody..

    the Kind of Blue album to me and many others is a turning point in jazz in particular..
    the predicable chord changes you could hear coming and what played over it was gone..
    improvised solos over very wide harmonic structures gave the players freedom to incorporate many melodic ways to solo unchained from set chord patterns

    the tune All Blues is just that..its using ingredients from blues structures..major and minor..in a "3" feel..
    I have taken the tune and pushed the chords off the chart..so to speak...
    the simple melody is moved and reintroduced in minor thirds and the resolving chords device is moving in a ascending chromatic movement back to I7
    I play altered notes from London Bridge and the first five notes of Giant Steps over the I7 vamp and make the IV7 vamp descend back into the I7
    I sing it in my head..and scat sing it away from the guitar...

    I think every musician not only jazz players..reach a point where they take a large leap away from a tunes chord structures and experiment without a net..so to speak..and just see what happens
    and many find an open door to a new direction in their playing..and hearing..I like Joe Diorios phrase..."stretch your ears.."

  16. #115

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    I have the impression that some people want a singable line a lot more than others.

    So, if I hear a lick being recycled (e.g. playing it in different keys against a series of chords to create different harmonic juxtapositions) I'm not likely to consider that singable. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross might see this differently. Not a criticism. That style can be thrilling.

    When I hear something that immediately sounds like it could have a lyric that it wouldn't take LH&R to sing, I think of it as a singable line. My goal as an improvisor is to work in this way.

    Obviously, there are gray areas. It clearly depends on the harmonic sophistication of the "singer". How complex a line can you imagine sung?

    If anybody is interested, I just posted two solos in the Recording and Music Software section of the forum that are examples of what I'm trying to do. There are two separate single-chorus solos. My next step is to try to create a singable line that increases the level of harmonic interest.

  17. #116

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    I'm not sure, but surely audiating is hearing something in your mind that is clear enough for you to "copy" it to your instrument, no? I prefer to do this rather than to sing it out loud for 2 main reasons: First my singing range is such that I can't get low or high enough for nearly every phrase I like to play. Secondly, even if I had the range, I can sing fast enough!

    But honestly, only the novice learner is perhaps not "hearing" what he/she is playing. Once you get to the point where you are improvising against jazz type changes, you can't just be "noodling" like you can against 99% of rock, blues, folk or country music. Of course if you're just running arps, patterns or licks, then you're probably not really improvising, which might be part of what Christian is on about. Those of us who do / did a little too much of that need to work in a little more horizontal freewheeling, more music, less maths...

  18. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    I'm not sure, but surely audiating is hearing something in your mind that is clear enough for you to "copy" it to your instrument, no? I prefer to do this rather than to sing it out loud for 2 main reasons: First my singing range is such that I can't get low or high enough for nearly every phrase I like to play. Secondly, even if I had the range, I can sing fast enough!

    But honestly, only the novice learner is perhaps not "hearing" what he/she is playing. Once you get to the point where you are improvising against jazz type changes, you can't just be "noodling" like you can against 99% of rock, blues, folk or country music. Of course if you're just running arps, patterns or licks, then you're probably not really improvising, which might be part of what Christian is on about. Those of us who do / did a little too much of that need to work in a little more horizontal freewheeling, more music, less maths...
    My experience is that my lines come out differently when I actually sing out loud. Rhythm and melody. I can get close to the same thing by focusing on the idea of singing, but without actual vocalization. If I don't do either, my playing is more likely to fall into well worn patterns.

  19. #118

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    Just a relevant quote from a paper I'm reading for an essay based on interviews with older professional jazz musicians.

    "....Also, the three non-drummers did not initially find it necessary to be aware of the nomenclature that the “literate” musical community assigns to various harmonic structures (for example, Eb9) and their melodic counterparts (Dorian mode, bebop scale, etcetera) or the names given to standard harmonic progressions (such as ii-V- I) in order to function effectively with other performers. It was of greater importance to understand the structures aurally, particularly through constructing an intuitive knowledge of their relationship to one another within a given tune. Eventually, Thompson, McMurdo, and Fair learned the various theoretical nomenclature that has been assigned to jazz harmony, but not before this aural/intuitive process had occurred."

    Paul Louth, Lifelong Learning and the Informally Trained Jazz Artist (2006)

    This is basically the point I'm trying to make.

  20. #119

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    It's a lovely paper actually - do check it out if you are interested in jazz edu.

    I particularly like these lovely network map thingys of musicians. This is an academic who GETS jazz IMO.

    The horizontal approach-screenshot-2020-06-09-10-28-13-jpg

  21. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Just a relevant quote from a paper I'm reading for an essay based on interviews with older professional jazz musicians.

    "....Also, the three non-drummers did not initially find it necessary to be aware of the nomenclature that the “literate” musical community assigns to various harmonic structures (for example, Eb9) and their melodic counterparts (Dorian mode, bebop scale, etcetera) or the names given to standard harmonic progressions (such as ii-V- I) in order to function effectively with other performers. It was of greater importance to understand the structures aurally, particularly through constructing an intuitive knowledge of their relationship to one another within a given tune. Eventually, Thompson, McMurdo, and Fair learned the various theoretical nomenclature that has been assigned to jazz harmony, but not before this aural/intuitive process had occurred."

    Paul Louth, Lifelong Learning and the Informally Trained Jazz Artist (2006)

    This is basically the point I'm trying to make.
    One needs to collect intereviews and write/read academic essays to understand that?

  22. #121

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    Some people refuse to accept it. It is presumably helpful to back up one's case. TBH, people are so confused about this stuff. I see it every day.

  23. #122

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Or his solo on Lady Be Good. For instance, he plays in the second bar, B over what would normally be a C7 chord. He doesn't seem to care, so he's obviously to interested in playing the changes per se. 'Never tell me the changes' he used to say....
    My old teacher Marshall Brown hung out with Pres (anyway, claimed to).

    One of the stories/quotes he regaled us with was from Pres:

    'I never let the changes bother what I play'...

  24. #123

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Some people refuse to accept it. It is presumably helpful to back up one's case. TBH, people are so confused about this stuff. I see it every day.
    Many musicians I know are confused when I try to explain what music is for me...

    Strange... and such an academic form convinces people?
    Is it worth efforts?


    I mean it is like saying: we made research between various social group of adult people and found out that 99% of them think that the moon is yellow. Therefore we come to conclusion that blue moon - a very rare meteorological phenomenon - in the lyrics of this song is most probably a poetic metaphor involvong also the meaning of blue in English associated with sadness. Also 56% of interviewed people confirmed that when they cry the moon may seem a little blue through the tears especially in the Northern regions with bright summer nights...


    You see we do not need to interview people to find all this out...
    If people need this to dig poetics they should not get into poetry at all...

    And I believe we (poets!) - if we still want them to be converted - must find artistic ways to get them convinced.


    If we want to know the social opinion and statistics for some weird purposes then yes...

    but not to confirm that hearing goes first.

    If people need that kind of 'scientific' confirmations they would rather do something else... not music

  25. #124

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    My old teacher Marshall Brown hung out with Pres (anyway, claimed to).

    One of the stories/quotes he regaled us with was from Pres:

    'I never let the changes bother what I play'...
    Haha... nice.

  26. #125

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    I met a guy - graduate from college - teaching already... nice capable pro jazz guitarist.

    I discussed Pete Bernstein with him... and he said: oh this guy plays such a complex stuff...

    I was surprised.. I never thought of Peter's playing as complex.. genuine subtle, deep - yes, but not complex.. it is actually very clear and relatively simple.
    Holdsworth or Stowell or sometimes Abercombie can be described as complex in my opinion but not Peter Bernstein...

    So I asked him what was so complex in it?
    From his explanation it seemed to me that being musical is already very complex.... and even unachievable. The rational unexplainability of some things made simplest natural phrases very complex for him...

    So these guys do study and then play music professionally and in fact they do not even start playing what I think music is... this is scary...

  27. #126

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    The rational unexplainability of some things made simplest natural phrases very complex for him...
    But if they really are just 'simple natural phrases' they'd be completely explainable.

    graduate from college
    There's his problem right there :-)

  28. #127

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    You know the old joke?

    BA - MA - PhD - MAD

  29. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Many musicians I know are confused when I try to explain what music is for me...

    Strange... and such an academic form convinces people?
    Is it worth efforts?


    I mean it is like saying: we made research between various social group of adult people and found out that 99% of them think that the moon is yellow. Therefore we come to conclusion that blue moon - a very rare meteorological phenomenon - in the lyrics of this song is most probably a poetic metaphor involvong also the meaning of blue in English associated with sadness. Also 56% of interviewed people confirmed that when they cry the moon may seem a little blue through the tears especially in the Northern regions with bright summer nights...


    You see we do not need to interview people to find all this out...
    If people need this to dig poetics they should not get into poetry at all...

    And I believe we (poets!) - if we still want them to be converted - must find artistic ways to get them convinced.


    If we want to know the social opinion and statistics for some weird purposes then yes...

    but not to confirm that hearing goes first.

    If people need that kind of 'scientific' confirmations they would rather do something else... not music
    Haha, you're overthinking it. I have an essay to do, was reading the paper, so thought I'd post up that little quote because it nicely illustrated what I was talking about.

  30. #129

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    I met a guy - graduate from college - teaching already... nice capable pro jazz guitarist.

    I discussed Pete Bernstein with him... and he said: oh this guy plays such a complex stuff...

    I was surprised.. I never thought of Peter's playing as complex.. genuine subtle, deep - yes, but not complex.. it is actually very clear and relatively simple.
    Holdsworth or Stowell or sometimes Abercombie can be described as complex in my opinion but not Peter Bernstein...

    So I asked him what was so complex in it?
    From his explanation it seemed to me that being musical is already very complex.... and even unachievable. The rational unexplainability of some things made simplest natural phrases very complex for him...

    So these guys do study and then play music professionally and in fact they do not even start playing what I think music is... this is scary...
    So yeah it is complex only in the sense that we try and apply tools which are not appropriate to the task.

    Again, Michael Polyani's division between tacit knowledge and formal knowledge isn't just academic. It's of vital importance. Most sensible educators have some concept of this distinction. Kenny Werner talks about left brain/right brain for instance.

    That said, anyone who finds Peter's lines complex in the formal way hasn't worked out that half of the time he's playing lines directly from chord shapes sliding around chromatically. If anyone tries to relate this to chord scale theory, they are going to get the impression that it's super complicated. It's like that hilarious analysis of Lester Young above. Some people are so dogmatic in their approach. They are like 11th century monks or something.

    There's tons of workshop videos of Peter demonstrating this and explaining his disarmingly simple concept. And yet jazz guitarists seem unwilling to engage with what he is saying. Sunk costs, maybe, intellectually and also financial (what I spent thousands studying jazz and the shit they taught me isn't the real deal?) But actually I don't think it's that simple. It's actually a deeply ingrained thought processes. We are training jazz students to engineers or something rather than musicians.

    Polanyi was a fucking chemist, which makes it more absurd.

    Of course to make what Peter does sound good requires much more than a postivist, mechanical understanding. You have to, basically, be good at playing jazz to pull it off, and this is of course tacit, unexplainable knowledge that comes from, listening to loads of jazz and being on stage every night with the best in the business. So... pedagogy fails. It can't do anything but fail.

    People seem to be looking for pedagogical solutions for things that are best learned experientially. But this is actually really well understood and described in the academic education literature. Much more so than jazz edu materials.

    It is useful to me in my line of work that I can justify this fact (that is obvious to anyone who has been around the music) to people who don't have a clue about jazz. Which is a lot of education people to be frank.

    OTOH for jazz people to reject what has been learned about learning and education just because it is 'academic' is equally dumb. Academics understand the limitations of pedagogy better than a lot of 'practical' jazz musicians. If this stuff was obvious to educators this thread wouldn't be contentious in any way.
    Last edited by christianm77; 06-16-2020 at 11:09 AM.

  31. #130

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    Actually I was having a convo with a friend of mine who teaches improvisation and jazz at a university, and in fact is doing a PhD... and we are both like; screw pedagogy. 'Teacher leave them kids alone!' haha

    The more you learn about education, the more you realise the limitations of your role, and your ample opportunity to mess people up.

  32. #131

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    I use the horizontal approach a lot:

    I hardly get out of bed...

  33. #132

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Actually I was having a convo with a friend of mine who teaches improvisation and jazz at a university, and in fact is doing a PhD... and we are both like; screw pedagogy. 'Teacher leave them kids alone!' haha

    The more you learn about education, the more you realise the limitations of your role, and your ample opportunity to mess people up.
    I am prejudiced against any academism...the best teachers I knew were pushed out and ostracized by the system because of that: they did not make publications for the sake of publications, in their (sometimes fantastic) essays they did not follow the conventional academic form, they did not know up to date method books and terminology teaching from personal experience....
    The only way for them to keep on was to gain authority which seems to be just a matter of luck...

  34. #133

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    Yes. It's worth being skeptical of what gets published... but that's what they are meant to teach. Be skeptical of everything. Read critically.

    In practice it's not quite like that in reality, there are bandwagons people like to jump on.

    Also, after sitting through many a tedious lecture on what's wrong with education and how to fix it, I find myself thinking, it would be nice if more education experts actually embodied their beliefs.

  35. #134

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    Actually I loved languages and linguistics, I was at the best university in the country, I was promoted by professor to the second year without exams after 2 months in my first year, I never learned anything, it was very easy for me... and in my 3rd year I quit for the army... and never came back. I just stood up in the middle of the class, went out and never returned. I did not even collect the documents.
    I just could not stand it.

    And until now I am not sure if it was a strong (and stubborn) character or a terrible compromise?

  36. #135

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    So, at risk of triggering Jonah again, this is a quote that I think sums up why dogmatic approaches to learning jazz have been so terribly successful:

    "If educators as a group have an inferiority complex about their professional status, then music educators, who work in a field of “soft” knowledge in an era of shrinking budgets and disappearing programs, seem to have even more to prove. Unfortunately, professional aspirations that manifest themselves in this manner push the music education profession toward a mistaken view of knowledge as unified and discoverable in its entirety."
    Music Education’s “Legitimation Crisis” and its Relation to One-Dimensional Thinking, J Paul Louth (2018)
    http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Louth17_1.pdf

    In this quote I think I can really see the difference between someone like Reg, who uses chord scales as improvisational Praxis, and what chord scale theory has become - a unified and discoverable body of knowledge that can be applied to the analysis of music.

    This unified analysis approach is, of course, not in fact always helpful (again see the Lester Young analysis above) because improvisers historically have used a diverse set of approaches, but it doesn't matter, because it helps legitimise jazz as a serious field of study, rather than an open ended creative pursuit. As Rick Beato put it 'they had to come up with a syllabus.'


  37. #136

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    So, at risk of triggering Jonah again, this is a quote that I think sums up why dogmatic approaches to learning jazz have been so terribly successful:

    "If educators as a group have an inferiority complex about their professional status, then music educators, who work in a field of “soft” knowledge in an era of shrinking budgets and disappearing programs, seem to have even more to prove. Unfortunately, professional aspirations that manifest themselves in this manner push the music education profession toward a mistaken view of knowledge as unified and discoverable in its entirety."
    Music Education’s “Legitimation Crisis” and its Relation to One-Dimensional Thinking, J Paul Louth (2018)
    http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Louth17_1.pdf

    In this quote I think I can really see the difference between someone like Reg, who uses chord scales as improvisational Praxis, and what chord scale theory has become - a unified and discoverable body of knowledge that can be applied to the analysis of music.

    This unified analysis approach is, of course, not in fact always helpful (again see the Lester Young analysis above) because improvisers historically have used a diverse set of approaches, but it doesn't matter, because it helps legitimise jazz as a serious field of study, rather than an open ended creative pursuit. As Rick Beato put it 'they had to come up with a syllabus.'

    In the US the accreditation agencies push relentlessly for schools to turn every single educational claim or aspiration into a quantifiable objective. I consider clergy training not unlike musical training. There is indeed a body of knowledge, historical, literary, etc. and a body of "technique"--public speaking, leading public worship, etc. But none of this alone makes for a genuine clergy person who will engage a religious community and lead them toward a richer faith and deeper life. The unifying element of "formation" is the real goal of an institution like mine, and that is impossible to quantify and assess. But the pressure from accreditation bodies is so enormous that we invest most of our energy into the quantifiable things.

    I've often said our mission statement might be "This school exists to be assessed and to conduct self-assessment. In order to do this, we must offer a few classes..."

    Maybe music programs have been under the same pressure. It's not just social pressure, it's economic and institutional.

  38. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    You know the old joke?

    BA - MA - PhD - MAD
    BS = Bullshit
    MS = More Shit
    PhD= Piled high and Deep


    John

  39. #138

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    This unified analysis approach is, of course, not in fact always helpful (again see the Lester Young analysis above) because improvisers historically have used a diverse set of approaches, but it doesn't matter, because it helps legitimise jazz as a serious field of study, rather than an open ended creative pursuit. As Rick Beato put it 'they had to come up with a syllabu
    Who needs legitimize jazz as a serious field of study? A bunch of avademics who earn their PhD's, compete in the faculties, hunt for grants...

    Same thing happens on HIP... you find the topic, overemphasize it, overload it with scientific details and frame properly .. and you own it and establish a trend ( like it was with tacitus or partimenti). Mediocre players eat it because it is easier for their meritocracy than open ended creative pursuit.
    Early music musicologists seek for I known average composer of baroque and try to convince everyone he is forgotten genius...
    Even gifted people seem to get stuck in scientific approach

  40. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah
    Who needs legitimize jazz as a serious field of study? A bunch of avademics who earn their PhD's, compete in the faculties, hunt for grants...
    This is what happens when there aren't enough gigs, maybe? But - there are many fantastic educators in formal education. The interesting thing is that their teaching is poorly represented to the wider world.

    No it's easy to blame the people. There's something about academies, books and so on that shapes the way people frame their thoughts. I remember exactly when it was in a Barry Harris class that the full weight of jazz as an oral tradition, a community, a shared memory hit me.

    Same thing happens on HIP... you find the topic, overemphasize it, overload it with scientific details and frame properly .. and you own it and establish a trend ( like it was with tacitus or partimenti). Mediocre players eat it because it is easier for their meritocracy than open ended creative pursuit.
    Early music musicologists seek for I known average composer of baroque and try to convince everyone he is forgotten genius...
    Even gifted people seem to get stuck in scientific approach
    You can be the king of your own little corner of performance practice because you have knowledge and pull down others because of it. I see a lot of this actually. I find it mean spirited and egotistical, and all too tempting...

    Anyway, we are stuck with these formal education institutions, jazz in particular is intimately bound up with them now. The path forward is find ways to make them better.

  41. #140

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    This is what happens when there aren't enough gigs, maybe? But - there are many fantastic educators in formal education. The interesting thing is that their teaching is poorly represented to the wider world.

    No it's easy to blame the people. There's something about academies, books and so on that shapes the way people frame their thoughts. I remember exactly when it was in a Barry Harris class that the full weight of jazz as an oral tradition, a community, a shared memory hit me.



    You can be the king of your own little corner of performance practice because you have knowledge and pull down others because of it. I see a lot of this actually. I find it mean spirited and egotistical, and all too tempting...

    Anyway, we are stuck with these formal education institutions, jazz in particular is intimately bound up with them now. The path forward is find ways to make them better.
    I do not dig the problem, Christian...

    Probably I would prefer to stay alone and away from it all, rather than trying to find paths in the system...

    Academies of Greeks or Renaissance and Baroque made sense...
    but today it is just dead formalist routine hostile to creativity and spirit of living art...

    I guess I am not interested.

  42. #141

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    My experience is that my lines come out differently when I actually sing out loud. Rhythm and melody. I can get close to the same thing by focusing on the idea of singing, but without actual vocalization. If I don't do either, my playing is more likely to fall into well worn patterns.
    This is something Herb Ellis stressed. That the way you sing (or grunt or hum or whatever) is YOUR VOICE. Even you do that while playing scales it will feel different to you than playing those scales without doing it. It somehow enlivens what you play, even if it is a familiar phrase. (Think of the different ways the phrase "I love you" can be sounded, and make you feel.)

    Frank Zappa once said of Elmore James that he played the same slide lick in every song but Frank felt like he meant it. Which was a way of saying it worked rather than sounding rote even though it WAS rote. ;o)

  43. #142

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Anyway, we are stuck with these formal education institutions, jazz in particular is intimately bound up with them now. The path forward is find ways to make them better.
    Shades of Heidegger and ‘In der walt sein’ (for you academics). No need to be stuck. Some aren't stuck or tied up by theory. I always rejoice in the fact that some people are fortunate in that they are almost intuitively very good at what they do and love doing it. Sometimes they can make a living from it. I know a lawyer who has a fearsome reputation as a cross-examiner – a concept he tends to take literally – but he was happy to tell me that he is almost always just winging it, with no preconceived plan or strategy and had no interest in learning more about what underpins his technique. A first-class sax player who I have been very lucky to have played with has no academic or theoretical knowledge of improvisation and doesn’t want to know either. He is also pretty much useless at everything else. A head-teacher once said of him, ‘Marvellous player but once he puts that sax in the case, he is of no further use to mankind’. He was fortunate to have stumbled upon music.


    I see no harm in delving into the theory of anything. You never know, we might stumble upon something we can actually do relatively intuitively at a high level.