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  1. #1

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    This may not be terribly interesting to everyone, but I thought I'd post it up as this is the tighter and referenced version of what I've been saying on the forum recently. Those with a background in education will probably find it most of interest.

    Miller_Christian_TTM EP7-2_2019-2020.docx - Google Drive

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    So jamming with more experienced players is helpful? That's what I thought, but I'm just one data point.

    Practice playing music with your instrument, you'll get better. Doing it in conjunction with others with the same goal (making music), will facilitate the process.

    As Pierre Richard (God Bless You, Sir, wherever you are) said every day on this very forum:

    Time on the instrument.


  4. #3

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    Thanks for posting... interesting, but like most one liners... obvious to some and BS to others.

    I remember JP... and loved his one liner. The obvious being all the time one has doesn't always have results.

  5. #4

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    Christian,
    I really enjoyed reading this. For what it's worth, I thought the writing was quite clear and the ideas well fleshed out.

    I am not familiar with modern formal or institutional jazz education, but what you say makes sense to me, including the "legitimacy crisis" you have when trying to participate before you really have your stuff together. It probably goes without saying, but I would think one big difference between the learners described by Berliner (in the 40s-60s) and today is familiarity with the material from listening. If you grow up hearing this stuff on the radio all the time, you obviously have a better sense of what it's supposed to sound like even as you just begin learning. Not so for an 18-year-old kid today, obviously. (It's interesting that prodigies like Chris Potter and Pat Metheny apparently started listening to this music intensely as kids.)

    Again, probably obvious, but listening to this stuff all the time seems an important part of the puzzle for new learners.

  6. #5

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    I tried to open the link and got:

    "This site can’t be reachedThe webpage at Miller_Christian_TTM EP7-2_2019-2020.docx - Google Drive might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address.
    ERR_TUNNEL_CONNECTION_FAILED"

    John

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Thanks for posting... interesting, but like most one liners... obvious to some and BS to others.

    I remember JP... and loved his one liner. The obvious being all the time one has doesn't always have results.
    Eh?

  8. #7

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    Interesting read, thanks for posting it.

    I'm not familiar with the Lester Young "memorably said" quote, what was it?

  9. #8

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    What's the difference between "chord scale" approach and Barry Harris scale basics?
    Nuances?

    "We play our scale to the 7th."
    Play the scale up.
    Play the scale down.
    Play the scale up and down.
    Play the scale down and up.
    Play 12345, 34567, 567.
    Play 76543, 54321, 321.
    Play it in 3rds.
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the 3rds.
    Play it in triads (also pivots).
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the triads.
    Play it in 7th chords (also as pivots).
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the 7th chords.
    PLAY the 54321 Phrases
    Half step rules
    Play the Barry Harris form of chromatic scale for the scale

  10. #9

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    I live halfway between Boston and NYC. You can't be involved in jazz without being tangled up with folks from academia. I've been very plugged in for a couple decades, even though I'm not an academic myself. Between my playing circumstances and having a couple kids taking music education up to the college level, it's hard to escape the circle of professional music influence it wields.

    My perspective is that academia yields two kinds or jazz musicians. Basically trained craftsmen, and unrelentingly self motivated artists.

    The folks that were meant to be great jazz artists will find a way to do it, put in the sacrifices regardless of the obstacles, and academia can be a wonderful tool. But, they will find their way without school if that is their only path.

    Craftsmen need academia, because they can't do it on their own, but, if they totally depend on academia for all the tools they need, they will be lacking. Only the self motivated will really learn jazz.

    This is the reality in the 21st century. There aren't enough real jazz gigs anymore to learn it all on the street and the bandstand, or even have a thriving community. This is really what we all lament.

  11. #10

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    Craftsmen need academia, because they can't do it on their own, but, if they totally depend on academia for all the tools they need, they will be lacking. Only the self motivated will really learn jazz.
    Worth remembering that Allan Holdsworth not only didn't particularly want to be playing guitar and only took it up because he couldn't find a saxophone, but that he invented his own scales which he named according to their application to the harmony he created. Sounds like nothing was going to stop him from becoming some sort of musician.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    Interesting read, thanks for posting it.

    I'm not familiar with the Lester Young "memorably said" quote, what was it?
    ”tell a story”

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    I live halfway between Boston and NYC. You can't be involved in jazz without being tangled up with folks from academia. I've been very plugged in for a couple decades, even though I'm not an academic myself. Between my playing circumstances and having a couple kids taking music education up to the college level, it's hard to escape the circle of professional music influence it wields.

    My perspective is that academia yields two kinds or jazz musicians. Basically trained craftsmen, and unrelentingly self motivated artists.

    The folks that were meant to be great jazz artists will find a way to do it, put in the sacrifices regardless of the obstacles, and academia can be a wonderful tool. But, they will find their way without school if that is their only path.

    Craftsmen need academia, because they can't do it on their own, but, if they totally depend on academia for all the tools they need, they will be lacking. Only the self motivated will really learn jazz.

    This is the reality in the 21st century. There aren't enough real jazz gigs anymore to learn it all on the street and the bandstand, or even have a thriving community. This is really what we all lament.
    (well a conservatoire course isn’t exactly academia. It’s not quite the same thing. Conservatoire training was always geared towards producing artisans, not intellectuals. And I think that’s right.)

    but yes, I briefly made that point in the essay. I don’t get the impression that anyone goes to NYC anymore with an aim to be a jazz musician without a music degree, and one reason seems to be networks.

    what I didn’t really touch on in the essay, is regardless of what you do in academia, musicians still learn in the manner described by Lave and Wenger - on the gig as it were. There’s still a general feeling that recent music graduates don’t know the ropes of the job, and they have to be apprenticed for some years. Unwritten stuff. Professional conduct. Learning to play music for an audience, and so on.

    Also, another area I did not explore is the ways in which jazz courses are a situated learning environment beyond the actual pedagogy. Most musicians I have spoken to seem to regard the pedagogy as essentially secondary in importance to being in an environment with peers and mentors with opportunities to play.
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-27-2020 at 05:11 AM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Gainly
    Worth remembering that Allan Holdsworth not only didn't particularly want to be playing guitar and only took it up because he couldn't find a saxophone, but that he invented his own scales which he named according to their application to the harmony he created. Sounds like nothing was going to stop him from becoming some sort of musician.
    yeah Allan represents the way musicians used to be.... much more like Berliners young hungry learners. They still exist, but the environment has changed.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    (well a conservatoire course isn’t exactly academia. It’s not quite the same thing. Conservatoire training was always geared towards producing artisans, not intellectuals. And I think that’s right.)
    Perhaps lost in translation. In US, conservatory means music school, and colleges and universities might also call the branch teaching music as "school of music"....or "conservatory " as you call it.

    In northeast US you can go to the Julliard Conservatory and get a masters in jazz, or you can go to University of Massachusetts, Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Yale, UConn, New School, NYU, URI, and 50 other places. The lines between academia and conservatory are much more blurred here, so I'll just forget I read your essay, as I'm not really interested in how Europeans teach jazz.

  16. #15

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    If I understand you correctly, I might be an exhibit in favor. I was introduced to jazz via the chord-scale concept and I ran scales over chords for years and years and hated my own playing. I stayed with jazz because I enjoyed chord-melody solo playing, but my line playing was horrible. I basically gave up on that facet of jazz guitar.

    Then out of the blue on this forum some of us started the Jimmy Raney/Jamey Aebersold Vol. 20 study group, just learning these bebop solos composed by Raney. Creeping along 4 measures per week, just learning the solos. Then I learned a bunch of Robert Conti's solos, much more basic than Raney's to be sure. Then recently I've been working on playing Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee" from the Omnibook, using the book to get the notes and the recording to get the time and feel.

    The result is not as dramatic as I might hope, but the last 4 years or so I have been enjoying my "line" playing. I love finally hearing my own guitar sounding like the players I admire. And from time to time, I put on a backing track of something that's very familiar like "Satin Doll" and I actually improvise over it. It's rough as raw meat, but it isn't scale-running. It's got some vocabulary, some phrasing, a little of Jimmy Raney's "stagger" and Charlie Parker's "swagger." Maybe not ready for playing out, but I don't hate my own playing any more.

    I have learned more and become a much better musician by playing and learning "off by heart" great solos in the style I love, which is bebop. I suspect I am ready to analyze a bunch of those solos now that I have the sound of them deep in my mind and under my fingers. I imagine the theory would mean something. But actually I'm having so much fun playing this material, and "playing with" this material, that the energy to dissect it theoretically just isn't there.

    I enjoyed your paper and liked the overall perspective. It's a lot like I teach archeology, which is a very communal and praxis oriented, but also possessed of a heavy load of theory and cognitive content. But you can't be an archaeologist unless you take your trowel and get down in a square and start moving some dirt.

  17. #16

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    By the way, what are some ways that a beginner like me can "organically expand the learned melodies"?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Perhaps lost in translation. In US, conservatory means music school, and colleges and universities might also call the branch teaching music as "school of music"....or "conservatory " as you call it.

    In northeast US you can go to the Julliard Conservatory and get a masters in jazz, or you can go to University of Massachusetts, Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Yale, UConn, New School, NYU, URI, and 50 other places. The lines between academia and conservatory are much more blurred here, so I'll just forget I read your essay, as I'm not really interested in how Europeans teach jazz.
    Nah it’s pretty much exactly the same, but we say Conservatoire cos french = posh.

    But in theory at least a music performance degree teaches you to play music, not to think.

    An academic music degree on the other hand - so one focussed on musicology etc - is more of a humanities degree, right?

    (in practice we might not have as much a divide between these two things. I have in mind the spirit of argumentation which you have at Oxbridge even at the undergrad level, but I suspect in reality it’s much more diverse. Also the elite UK unis (one of the few things we are good at globally) are quite geared around producing people who can argue the toss about anything whether they believe it or not, think of Andrew Neill and so on. That has a negative side as well as a positivist side.

    but that’s not true of just anywhere of course, it’s a real old school elitist thing in many ways..... class system.

    i don’t really have the cultural knowledge to compare that to US Ivy League institutions. My general impression is people in the US (used to be) much more concerned about civility and so on.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 02-28-2020 at 04:42 AM.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Howzabopping
    By the way, what are some ways that a beginner like me can "organically expand the learned melodies"?
    The simplest way is rhythmic variation. Learn to play anticipations and so on.

    You can add in extra notes, passing tones embellishments and runs. You can repeat motifs from the melody, and so on.

    IIRC Hal Crooks ‘how to improvise’ talks about this, but it’s quite an expensive book so don’t have it to check.

    perer Bernstein advises you just play the melody 100 times. Eventually you will learn it and then get so bored with it you will have to improvise.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    What's the difference between "chord scale" approach and Barry Harris scale basics?
    Nuances?

    "We play our scale to the 7th."
    Play the scale up.
    Play the scale down.
    Play the scale up and down.
    Play the scale down and up.
    Play 12345, 34567, 567.
    Play 76543, 54321, 321.
    Play it in 3rds.
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the 3rds.
    Play it in triads (also pivots).
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the triads.
    Play it in 7th chords (also as pivots).
    Play the chromatic approach note to each of the 7th chords.
    PLAY the 54321 Phrases
    Half step rules
    Play the Barry Harris form of chromatic scale for the scale
    I do not understand. What is the the difference? Above mentioned suggestions, are they all "Barry Harris", is it what he teaches?
    IMO, they are just common sense. Once you know scale (or group of applicable notes), you try various things with them, don't you? What's the big deal there? Or, I am supposed to wait for someone to tell me what to do?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    I do not understand. What is the the difference? Above mentioned suggestions, are they all "Barry Harris", is it what he teaches?
    IMO, they are just common sense. Once you know scale (or group of applicable notes), you try various things with them, don't you? What's the big deal there? Or, I am supposed to wait for someone to tell me what to do?
    Is this on the right thread?

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Is this on the right thread?
    Well, christian77, if nothing else, you are literate. There is my my post, there is quote ...
    Please, feel free to repeat the question to correct address.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladan
    Well, christian77, if nothing else, you are literate. There is my my post, there is quote ...
    Please, feel free to repeat the question to correct address.
    Well it's a good question but I don't want to answer it on this thread (I know, rich coming from thread derailer in chief) - maybe it's on rintincop's thread?

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Well it's a good question but I don't want to answer it on this thread (I know, rich coming from thread derailer in chief) - maybe it's on rintincop's thread?
    You mean, you do not want to answer my question? I do not remember asking you anything. My question was to the one I quoted.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Eh?
    Sorry wasn't clear... learning to play jazz isn't that complicated. And having educators and the accreditation process create guidelines for what it is and how to teach as the answer.... is obviously not the answer.

    It can be a great environment and source for learning skills, and be very helpful as part of the process.... yada yada.
    It was great for me... but I didn't go to college to learn how to play jazz.

    Anyway, my point was, the essay is like a One Liner and makes obvious academia points to some and is BS to others. (or personally... both)

    Academia is about $ and justification of. If one wants to play jazz tunes and teach etc... who cares, make a living with meaning. Being a jazz musician... is typically not a good living, wasn't before me, when I was a kid and isn't now. Most need to make more more $ somewhere else, or live the life. I'm not saying it can't be fulfilling and all that BS. My view to teaching jazz is... get your technical skills together, then ask how to play in a jazz style.

    Just to help ... CST is not an approach to playing, it's a source for note organizations, help one organize and expand what they want to arrange, compose and play. BH is an approach.

  26. #25

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    I wonder how the formal guitar teaching/education folks think about this:

    Chords are made of pitches, but pitches are not made of chords - so which should be taught first before the other?

    I get the sense that when guitarists pursue formal education they already know how to play "the basics", kind of like by the time a guitarist is playing on stage... melody lines (if only riffs and licks) and chords (even if simple). I'm suggesting that any advantage or damage to learning one or the other first is already done before formal lessons.

    I learned soloing first (because I liked it) and addressed chords about two years later to find them rather transparent and pretty effortless because they were made of that with which I was already familiar - comprised of single pitches (which I had melodically been learning first). Constructing chords and navigating voice movements, etc. seemed very natural after having played lead lines.

    Single pitches are the stock of beginning piano lessons, why not on guitar? The usual approach on the guitar is to start with the first position chords, right? But what if it is more difficult to be melodic after learning chords first?

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    ... The usual approach on the guitar is to start with the first position chords, right?
    I do not think so. As far as I know, it is notes on individual strings, simple melodies .... then C major scale in open position ... things like that.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Sorry wasn't clear... learning to play jazz isn't that complicated. And having educators and the accreditation process create guidelines for what it is and how to teach as the answer.... is obviously not the answer.

    It can be a great environment and source for learning skills, and be very helpful as part of the process.... yada yada.
    It was great for me... but I didn't go to college to learn how to play jazz.

    Anyway, my point was, the essay is like a One Liner and makes obvious academia points to some and is BS to others. (or personally... both)

    Academia is about $ and justification of. If one wants to play jazz tunes and teach etc... who cares, make a living with meaning. Being a jazz musician... is typically not a good living, wasn't before me, when I was a kid and isn't now. Most need to make more more $ somewhere else, or live the life. I'm not saying it can't be fulfilling and all that BS. My view to teaching jazz is... get your technical skills together, then ask how to play in a jazz style.

    Just to help ... CST is not an approach to playing, it's a source for note organizations, help one organize and expand what they want to arrange, compose and play. BH is an approach.
    You didn’t read the essay.

  29. #28

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    Getting in here to snip it short before it becomes another thread about note choices.

    The essay is about something a bit different. As I say it may not be of interest to a lot of people on the forum and that’s fine, but I thought I’d put it up in case it was as it was requested.
    Last edited by christianm77; 03-03-2020 at 07:05 PM.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo

    This is the reality in the 21st century. There aren't enough real jazz gigs anymore to learn it all on the street and the bandstand, or even have a thriving community. This is really what we all lament.
    Truth.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    Truth.
    Perhaps there is a different type of community. I mean we’re all here?

  32. #31

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    Rant on.

    I started playing in 1963. My teacher was a jazz player and soon got me into playing jazz. I liked it, and listened to it more than anything else for a few years.

    I was fortunate enough to then take lessons from a young jazz player who was acquainted with Chuck Wayne's approach and taught me some of that.

    I hung out with guitar players and we would "do a tune". That was what we called a two guitar jam.

    I heard precious little about how to construct a jazz solo. It wasn't until later that I learned about tonal centers, juxtaposing one chord over another, or almost any other theoretical consideration. I guess I did know that you could play an arp over a chord, and I was taught major scale related arps.

    I doubt that my experience was unusual at the time. Out of it, came some excellent players. They got gigs and advanced. The rest of us did not progress that way and became dedicated amateurs or abandoned the effort.

    This hasn't changed so much, even with all the information out there. The pros recognize the guys with real ability and they advance. The rest of us, not so much.

    What has changed is that there are institutions which will enroll you, give you a specific course of study and cash your checks, whether or not you have any chance of becoming a pro.

    Here's something I saw a few years back. A friend of mine had a son who played jazz guitar. He was 19 or 20. He had a trio gig outside a restaurant in my town so I went down to hear him. They were playing Oleo when I arrived. Nothing interesting about their version. I knew that he would never be a pro, if, by that age, he couldn't play more impressively.

    Despite that, he then attended the New School at full fee for several years, studying jazz guitar. At some point, a professor told the father that the son wasn't going to make it as a pro jazz guitarist. My friend said, "he told me the same thing you said two years ago". The young man didn't give up right away, but he eventually went in a different direction in life.

    I don't know if the New School people led him on, didn't correct his overestimation of his prospects, or if they might have leveled with him and said, "you're unlikely to make it as a pro jazz guitarist, but if you want to study jazz guitar, fine". The only observation that I'll make is that it's a too-rare gift when someone with expertise tells you the truth.

    My point is this. Back in the day, there was an informal selection process that worked. Now, we struggle with "how to teach", partly for good reasons and partly, I suspect, because we're trying to teach something to people who don't have the kind of talent required to rise up in the old days. The idea that we're teaching "this scale over this chord" and giving grossly different scale names to changes of a single note bothers me. Seems to me this should all be learned by ear and labeled later for those who benefit from labels.

    Key elements: Ear training. Listening. Focusing on time feel. Repertoire. Reading skills. Performance skills. Some mechanism to acquire the technique you need to play what you hear.

    Rant off. Don't ask me to defend any of this tomorrow.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Rant on.

    I started playing in 1963. My teacher was a jazz player and soon got me into playing jazz. I liked it, and listened to it more than anything else for a few years.

    I was fortunate enough to then take lessons from a young jazz player who was acquainted with Chuck Wayne's approach and taught me some of that.

    I hung out with guitar players and we would "do a tune". That was what we called a two guitar jam.

    I heard precious little about how to construct a jazz solo. It wasn't until later that I learned about tonal centers, juxtaposing one chord over another, or almost any other theoretical consideration. I guess I did know that you could play an arp over a chord, and I was taught major scale related arps.

    I doubt that my experience was unusual at the time. Out of it, came some excellent players. They got gigs and advanced. The rest of us did not progress that way and became dedicated amateurs or abandoned the effort.

    This hasn't changed so much, even with all the information out there. The pros recognize the guys with real ability and they advance. The rest of us, not so much.

    What has changed is that there are institutions which will enroll you, give you a specific course of study and cash your checks, whether or not you have any chance of becoming a pro.

    Here's something I saw a few years back. A friend of mine had a son who played jazz guitar. He was 19 or 20. He had a trio gig outside a restaurant in my town so I went down to hear him. They were playing Oleo when I arrived. Nothing interesting about their version. I knew that he would never be a pro, if, by that age, he couldn't play more impressively.

    Despite that, he then attended the New School at full fee for several years, studying jazz guitar. At some point, a professor told the father that the son wasn't going to make it as a pro jazz guitarist. My friend said, "he told me the same thing you said two years ago". The young man didn't give up right away, but he eventually went in a different direction in life.

    I don't know if the New School people led him on, didn't correct his overestimation of his prospects, or if they might have leveled with him and said, "you're unlikely to make it as a pro jazz guitarist, but if you want to study jazz guitar, fine". The only observation that I'll make is that it's a too-rare gift when someone with expertise tells you the truth.

    My point is this. Back in the day, there was an informal selection process that worked. Now, we struggle with "how to teach", partly for good reasons and partly, I suspect, because we're trying to teach something to people who don't have the kind of talent required to rise up in the old days. The idea that we're teaching "this scale over this chord" and giving grossly different scale names to changes of a single note bothers me. Seems to me this should all be learned by ear and labeled later for those who benefit from labels.

    Key elements: Ear training. Listening. Focusing on time feel. Repertoire. Reading skills. Performance skills. Some mechanism to acquire the technique you need to play what you hear.

    Rant off. Don't ask me to defend any of this tomorrow.
    indeed

    i think you have read my essay :-)

    but you know what? I think we could do more to make people feel it a bit more, get more connected to the right things. And that would make better jazz amateurs and appreciators, and I think that is important.

    its also worth bearing in mind that today there are basically no (or very few) full time jazz professionals playing jazz music to live audiences. (This against a very high baseline of technical competence.) There are opportunities but they have shifted. (The music education establishment is of course being terrible in keeping up with this.)

  34. #33

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    You know as an educator the real job is not in teaching the super hungry and able students. That’s easy.

    The question ‘why’ I think can be answered by focussing on the importance of the process. The ‘talented’ know how fulfilling it is and are prepared to engage with it. I sometimes think talent is nothing more or less than an intuitive grasp of how to work on shit. Certainly on the guitar, an instrument that eats time on the basics.

    Teaching them not to be the noodler, or the person who practices the same thing for 20 years and never improves...

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    You know as an educator the real job is not in teaching the super hungry and able students. That’s easy.

    The question ‘why’ I think can be answered by focussing on the importance of the process. The ‘talented’ know how fulfilling it is and are prepared to engage with it. I sometimes think talent is nothing more or less than an intuitive grasp of how to work on shit. Certainly on the guitar, an instrument that eats time on the basics.

    Teaching them not to be the noodler, or the person who practices the same thing for 20 years and never improves...
    You know what they say... "One percent inspiration, Ninety-nine percent perspiration...."

  36. #35

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    Thanks for sharing, Christian.

    "One fundamental difference between Berliner’s learners and today’s jazz learners is that they are far less self-directed."

    Might this be phrased more precisely as "... Berliner's learners and Meadow's learners..." ? Consider that a ten-year-old who sees jazz band as another activity, like soccer or video games, might be less self-directed than a young adult who is pursuing music seriously with the intent of making it their career.

    How did you happen to choose NYJO as a case study instead of, say, Berklee College of Music? Was it a practical consideration, such as already having access to Meadow, or something else? The NYJO site seems to indicate no minimum age for participation but a max age of 25. It must be difficult to generate conclusions that apply equally to everyone in a study group that contains such wide variations in age and intent.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Thanks for sharing, Christian.

    "One fundamental difference between Berliner’s learners and today’s jazz learners is that they are far less self-directed."

    Might this be phrased more precisely as "... Berliner's learners and Meadow's learners..." ? Consider that a ten-year-old who sees jazz band as another activity, like soccer or video games, might be less self-directed than a young adult who is pursuing music seriously with the intent of making it their career.[

    How did you happen to choose NYJO as a case study instead of, say, Berklee College of Music? Was it a practical consideration, such as already having access to Meadow, or something else? The NYJO site seems to indicate no minimum age for participation but a max age of 25. It must be difficult to generate conclusions that apply equally to everyone in a study group that contains such wide variations in age and intent.
    I think you are a bit confused as to the context of all of this. I was never going to go to Berklee to observe classes cos, obviously, I don't like in the US. I live in London.

    So here's some background that might be helpful, but had to be cut out of the essay for length. I regard NYJO as very representative of the mix of jazz edu students here at least: here's why.

    FWIW NYJO itself is one the premiere jazz institutions in the country. It consists U25 jazz players in UK (well, London) who are either professionals or studying at the top conservatoires. Players in the band who go onto The BBC big band, session careers etc. One ex member you may have heard of, Amy Winehouse.

    It's relationship with the NYJO Academy which I was investigating may be... complicated, but a significant fraction of the graduates of the programme are pretty serious about jazz. They become members of NYJO proper. I got quizzed on career advice etc by parents (god help them). The Academy jazz ensembles sound really really good actually, pro level ensemble playing in the advanced groups. So those students exist in the mix. The age range is from 10-18. Pretty varied.

    The function of the Academy training is unofficially, get the students to a point where they can pass an audition for conservatoire. Not every student does this, but they can if they want.

    So to get to that point, you have to get good enough to get into the advanced ensembles, and I was really just sitting on the lower level one, which is a much more mixed group. But it was clear you had some able and motivated students who had eyes on the prize and some for whom it was as you say, something to slot in next to 'soccer' (whatever that is) and had just been sitting in that lower group for some time without getting much better.

    The thing is - everyone now even the really motivated and talented players have the educational contact with jazz first, unless they come from a jazz family. I know for a fact that this is how it worked for Jacob Collier and it's how it worked for Gwylim Simcock (Metheny) to name two big UK jazz exports, as I know the people who turned them onto jazz.

    Anyway, you don't have to teach people like that - just light the blue touch paper lol. They weren't NYJO Academy - Collier was Junior Royal College, for instance, so actually a very classical institution but not dissimilar in many ways to NYJO Academy (Jacob's mum is a classical musician) but he had the good fortune to meet my friend who plays and teaches jazz and improvisation there, and she was able to point him in the direction of various jazz musicians that she knew, which was what he needed.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    indeed

    i think you have read my essay :-)

    but you know what? I think we could do more to make people feel it a bit more, get more connected to the right things. And that would make better jazz amateurs and appreciators, and I think that is important.

    its also worth bearing in mind that today there are basically no (or very few) full time jazz professionals playing jazz music to live audiences. (This against a very high baseline of technical competence.) There are opportunities but they have shifted. (The music education establishment is of course being terrible in keeping up with this.)
    I gave the essay a hard skim. I went out for groceries yesterday, so life could be short.

    Here's a (possibly) extreme view. I don't quite subscribe to it, but I think about it.

    The better players emerge very early. My guess is that they emerge well before they're versed in the usual theory that college related jazz programs teach. Somehow, they acquire good ears and good time feel, and they acquire these things early.

    If you put a young player with a really strong foundation in a college program like Berklee, they're likely to be able to use the material and advance. That's why, I think, that a lot of pro players studied there. Or, the talented people are drawn to be there. Chicken or egg?

    But, if a player doesn't have that kind of ability, becoming encyclopedic about theory isn't going to help. You get a frustrated player making mediocre music, at least arguably.

    All that said, I think it's fine to give anybody a chance to study anything they want. OTOH, if a high school senior with C's in math and a poor SAT math score asks his guidance counselor about studying math in college with the hope of being a rocket scientist, I'd hope the guidance counselor has some useful feedback to offer.

    One last point. Some people think that jazz is dying or dead or interesting only to a few people. But, every time I hear a rock solo, or a funk band improvising, or a Grateful Dead style jam, I think of jazz. Not because the vocabularly is the same, but because it's improvised. It's an offshoot of jazz. If it weren't for swing bands playing jazz, we wouldn't have improv in rock. You can hear the transition in the late 40's jump bands to things like Bill Haley.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I gave the essay a hard skim. I went out for groceries yesterday, so life could be short.

    Here's a (possibly) extreme view. I don't quite subscribe to it, but I think about it.

    The better players emerge very early. My guess is that they emerge well before they're versed in the usual theory that college related jazz programs teach. Somehow, they acquire good ears and good time feel, and they acquire these things early.
    I don't think I disagree with this. There are exceptions (Wes is one, Vijay Iyer another IIRC) but we usually remember them because they are exceptions.

    A good musician is a good musician. IIRC Gwilym Simcock had already aced his exams in French Horn and Piano with the highest marks in history. Then someone (a jazz educator) introduced him to Keith Jarrett in his I think mid or late teens, and here we are.

    Which kind of proves your point, but you don't have to be regurgitating the Omnibook at age 12 to have a bright future in jazz. Although those guys exist too.

    If you put a young player with a really strong foundation in a college program like Berklee, they're likely to be able to use the material and advance. That's why, I think, that a lot of pro players studied there. Or, the talented people are drawn to be there. Chicken or egg?
    To compare the UK conservatoire thing to Berklee is not comparing like with like. Funding works differently. Also the colleges here are a lot smaller. There's like 1 guitar place at the Royal Academy, for instance, sometimes they won't take guitar. I think maybe some of the NYC colleges are more like that?

    Again, these are pre college players. Really you want someone to be able to play jazz well by the time they reach conservatoire auditions, because that's the level. I know this as a teacher. OTOH if they have a bad day...

    Again I use the example of Gwilym because he is a UK jazz musician who has truly reached an international level. It's hard to compare to the US, because, there are simply more high level players in US and jazz education works quite differently, but I don't think there's a huge gulf between something like NYJO academy and youth programmes run by Berklee, for instance.

    But, if a player doesn't have that kind of ability, becoming encyclopedic about theory isn't going to help. You get a frustrated player making mediocre music, at least arguably.

    All that said, I think it's fine to give anybody a chance to study anything they want. OTOH, if a high school senior with C's in math and a poor SAT math score asks his guidance counselor about studying math in college with the hope of being a rocket scientist, I'd hope the guidance counselor has some useful feedback to offer.
    Well OTOH I always loved playing jazz, but I had always dismissed it as a career until I got some encouragement from a pro jazz guitar player after about 10 self taught years. (I still have had less than ten jazz guitar lessons in my life. Each of them terribly important, though.)

    Came later in my life, I started guitar late, at 15, started into jazz about 18... No-one liked jazz at my school (well there were two fellow dweebs who also went into music). None of the teachers knew anything about it. I'm not from a musical family (although my parents love music). I had no idea what it was to embark in a musical career. I got zero encouragement from anyone. And I was shit so the jazzers didn't want to play with me either. And yet I carried on with it.

    I find it amazing that I play gigs with - am booked by - musicians who were out playing pro jazz gigs with their pro musician parents at an age I was learning how to go from C to G and are 10 years younger than me to boot. So make of that what you will. I guess we've been doing it for the same number of hours.

    One last point. Some people think that jazz is dying or dead or interesting only to a few people. But, every time I hear a rock solo, or a funk band improvising, or a Grateful Dead style jam, I think of jazz. Not because the vocabularly is the same, but because it's improvised. It's an offshoot of jazz. If it weren't for swing bands playing jazz, we wouldn't have improv in rock. You can hear the transition in the late 40's jump bands to things like Bill Haley.
    Sure. I was on a bill at a festival with the surviving members of the Comets, the drummer and the sax player, a few years back, and they were 100% jazz guys. Charlie Christian, too, of course.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I think you are a bit confused as to the context of all of this. I was never going to go to Berklee to observe classes cos, obviously, I don't like in the US. I live in London.

    So here's some background that might be helpful, but had to be cut out of the essay for length. I regard NYJO as very representative of the mix of jazz edu students here at least
    Thanks for the context. Quantities like "today's jazz learners" weren't qualified as pertaining to the UK only; seems like an important constraint to omit. Statements ostensibly made about all of jazz education are thus extrapolated from a very small subset of all educators, institutions, and students. This caught my eye, as a number of statements about Meadow's program do not reflect my own experiences as a university music major here in the US. Which is another point you made in your last response: apparently, jazz education in the UK differs from that of the US. I should point out that I have no experience with jazz education in the UK, and that I got my jazz performance degree decades ago, at a time when the jazz scene was healthier in the US (and probably everywhere), recent health scares notwithstanding.

    Your recommendation that the pro players and advanced players participate more directly in the improv classes is spot-on. Frequent interaction with pro players in just about every class was a valuable feature of the music program I attended. It's an institutionalized form of mentorship. Being able to work directly with a pro player in a workshop, ensemble, or private lesson setting is invaluable for developing conception and technique; it's the difference between having a map and stumbling through the woods on your own. You may eventually get there without the map, but having it can help you cover more ground faster. Even with the map, there's still an aspect of blazing your own trail that is part of every musician's journey. Your teacher can show you something, but you still have to internalize the understanding, motor skills and aural perception to be able to realize it on your instrument in real time.

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    something to slot in next to 'soccer' (whatever that is)
    It's what you Brits refer to as "football." What Americans refer to as "football" is a different game, played by members of the NFL (National Felons League).
    Last edited by starjasmine; 03-23-2020 at 01:30 AM.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I don't think I disagree with this. There are exceptions (Wes is one, Vijay Iyer another IIRC) but we usually remember them because they are exceptions.
    l with the surviving members of the Comets, the drummer and the sax player, a few years back, and they were 100% jazz guys. Charlie Christian, too, of course.
    Vijay started violin at age 3 and reportedly studied for 15 years.

    Wes is widely reported have started guitar at 19. But, he started tenor guitar at age 11 or 12. And, his older brother, Monk, was also a fine musician.

    These guys were exposed to some music. The foundation is feeling rhythms, the more complicated the better, same for harmony and hearing lots of tunes. You can give all that to a child just by playing music of various types. I believe, without proof, that if you start early, the child will retain the learning throughout life. Akin to speaking a language without an accent. You have to start before age 10 or so.

    Some of the players with the best time feel have a history of playing drums in their early years. Chicken and egg again, but I think it probably helps.

    I had very little of that. I think it makes playing more of a challenge. There's a bunch of stuff I'm better off working around than trying to play.

    As far as Berklee goes, I have the T-shirt. That's not a metaphor. I actually have the T-shirt. I never studied there. The best player I've ever seen up close studied there. But, I also know some players who are intermediate at best who studied there. My impression is that the stronger your foundational skills, the more the theory can help

    I know nothing about jazz education in the UK, so no comment about that.