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  1. #51

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    I'd argue the 'everything you need to know is on records' bit.

    The music is there and we can transcribe it and make observations, but there's a whole lot more to a learning process. One simple example is just how to efficiently turn our observations into practice room activities. A good teacher will have insight into this that the 'beginner' (not really a fair designation, but in context hopefully it works) might not.

    I had a little epiphany many years ago that was that we "can't hear what we can't hear." I remember somebody asking for advice about techniques Wes Montgomery used, and one response was "it just sounds like he's playing scales and approach notes." Well...that's correct, he's playing notes from scales and notes that approach the notes in the scales chromatically...but anybody who's done more in depth transcription and analysis knows there are a lot more techniques being employed. But the person responding couldn't hear those yet or didn't have a sense of how to organize all the other things he was hearing.

    I can transcribe something and make observations about it, but somebody much more experienced than myself might be able to look at that same transcription and provide much more astute and useful observations, things that provide a more direct path to improvement.

    All the music is there but it takes special skills to know how to turn listening into music-making abilities.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    I'd argue the 'everything you need to know is on records' bit.

    The music is there and we can transcribe it and make observations, but there's a whole lot more to a learning process. One simple example is just how to efficiently turn our observations into practice room activities. A good teacher will have insight into this that the 'beginner' (not really a fair designation, but in context hopefully it works) might not.

    I had a little epiphany many years ago that was that we "can't hear what we can't hear." I remember somebody asking for advice about techniques Wes Montgomery used, and one response was "it just sounds like he's playing scales and approach notes." Well...that's correct, he's playing notes from scales and notes that approach the notes in the scales chromatically...but anybody who's done more in depth transcription and analysis knows there are a lot more techniques being employed. But the person responding couldn't hear those yet or didn't have a sense of how to organize all the other things he was hearing.

    I can transcribe something and make observations about it, but somebody much more experienced than myself might be able to look at that same transcription and provide much more astute and useful observations, things that provide a more direct path to improvement.

    All the music is there but it takes special skills to know how to turn listening into music-making abilities.
    From what I've read, Wes began by learning CC note for note. Then, he learned on the bandstand. I've never read about Wes studying with anybody (maybe his brothers?).

    And, there's my overused example of Andres Varady. No theory whatsoever and sounds great.

    So, I do believe that records can be enough, for a player who has the ability to learn enough that way.

    I don't think the records-only approach is going to work best for most people. And, I can cite even more great players who did have formal education.

    What all the great players have in common isn't theoretical knowledge. Rather it's big ears and great time.

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    One of my friends takes this position: "everything you need to know is on records".

    That's hard to argue with, if you're capable of learning everything you need to know that way.

    Most of us, including some of the greats, learned from teachers too.

    I don't know how to recommend one to somebody who is already a player. I'd need to know what their goals are, what they know, what they're good at, what needs work, what resources they have to play with other musicians etc. etc.

    For a beginner who wants to be a "well-rounded jazz player" I'm still not sure who I'd suggest, but at least I'd have an idea about what should be covered.

    After 56 years of playing, I'm pretty sure it would be a good idea to include a lot of ear training early on. Best from records, but anything that works. The goal would be to hear somebody play a wrong chord and know what it was and what it should have been.
    The big blind spot with almost every discussion I've heard is that it reduces the whole thing to
    1) teachers
    2) self study with records...

    That ignores...
    - community

    which itself includes
    - going to gigs and listening
    - hanging with other players
    - get together and 'plays' with others
    - mentorship relationships
    - playing gigs (of course)
    - and - practicing together... This is something that doesn't happen enough, actually.

    All of these things are terribly important. Learning to play can't be done in isolation. It's the community that drives the whole process.

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    From what I've read, Wes began by learning CC note for note. Then, he learned on the bandstand. I've never read about Wes studying with anybody (maybe his brothers?).

    And, there's my overused example of Andres Varady. No theory whatsoever and sounds great.

    So, I do believe that records can be enough, for a player who has the ability to learn enough that way.

    I don't think the records-only approach is going to work best for most people. And, I can cite even more great players who did have formal education.

    What all the great players have in common isn't theoretical knowledge. Rather it's big ears and great time.
    I want to be careful because I know it's easy to misinterpret an implication in these discussions, so I'll just try to clarify what I'm saying and not saying:

    - I'm not commenting on whether I think that learning from records is bad or that it is good

    - I'm not commenting on whether I think music theory is better or worse than not knowing music theory

    - I'm not commenting on whether I think having a teacher is better or worse than not having a teacher

    - Was not saying that it was impossible to become a great player without a teacher

    I was responding to the "everything you need to know is on records" statement; we can learn a lot from records, but I'd disagree that 'everything we need to know' is there. As you said, the records-only approach probably isn't going to work best for most people.

    So if somebody starts a thread saying "where are the good teachers/lessons" then I think it's worth sharing that there's a lot to be learned (maybe even the most?) from listening and working with recordings, *and* ("and," not "but") there are a lot of other resources available that *can* help with our development as well. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - if someone likes the way they play and is happy with how they are improving, they don't need to change course. If they aren't, then it's "problem solving" ...what's going wrong, what's going right, how to fix it, dig into the details, etc. A teacher can definitely help with that. (A teacher can also make things worse! ) I just think "everything you need to know is on records" is an oversimplification...and it sounds really nice and avoids us coming off as nerdy or too cerebral, but if a student/player says "I don't know how to solve X" then sometimes listening is the best answer, but sometimes not.

    And I agree with Christian that there doesn't need to be this binary self study vs teacher study thing, our process of improving and gaining musical awareness is multifaceted

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci

    I was responding to the "everything you need to know is on records" statement; we can learn a lot from records, but I'd disagree that 'everything we need to know' is there. As you said, the records-only approach probably isn't going to work best for most people.
    learning how to play jazz is not going to work for most people.

  7. #56

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    I take private lessons from Ted and he is an incredible teacher, and also an unbelievable player. He just started doing “Guitar Chats” on YouTube, which are basically mini lessons to explain different ideas on playing and gear and whatnot. So far he’s covered ii-V resolutions, motivic development, and also chord melody. The lessons are not really geared towards any specific level. Beginners through advanced players can definitely benefit from these mini lessons. I’ve benefited a lot from them so I thought I’d share them here: