Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 28 of 28
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    If you teach what things are difficult for you to put across and what do they find hard to grasp

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    There are a lot of things that need to be understood by a student but one of the most difficult areas to address is the use of the ear. Many students come to me with various degrees of development in technique and or theory but very few have a foundation on ear training and real time recognition of the things they hear or even the things they play.
    What students find hard to grasp is the importance and time that must be spent in good intervallic recognition, diatonic harmonic chord vocabulary by ear and understanding the chord types by ear and function.
    In short, there's a big hole in many players' command of Roman numeral harmony and melodic solfege (or numeric recognition) of notes, especially in real time.
    It takes time and there is no guaranteed time line, it just must be done. Students don't have the patience to deal with this uncertainty but once they do, the foundation it provides is invaluable.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I look at it differently. How does someone qualify themselves to say "trust me, I can teach you jazz".....for $$$.

    Knowing what jazz is and having the skills to communicate/teach it to others is rare. Most don't do a very good job. I won't take responsibility for it. It should be like a physician's creed.."do no harm".

  5. #4
    Interesting Jimmy blue note, how do you start with someone like me when I decided to move on from folk/pop to jazz. I never had a teacher by the way.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by John Tom
    Interesting Jimmy blue note, how do you start with someone like me when I decided to move on from folk/pop to jazz. I never had a teacher by the way.
    My approach differs widely from student to student because the areas of skill needed are so different from person to person. To begin with, we'd sit down and listen to the music that forms your roots, the skillset you have, discuss the approach you have to music when you pick up the instrument, what it is that makes you want to play jazz, what artists you're inspired by, and what it is you think you'd like to be able to do.
    I'd then assess your concept of intervals, so I can see how much of what you're comfortable with comes from your hands, from your ear (can you sing something back) and your connection between your ear and your hands.
    Then I'd talk about what jazz guitar is: a compositional process wherein you acquire the necessary lexicon, syntax and semantic abilities to spontaneously make something that comes from your own imagination. I'd play your a simple melody that's familiar to you and demonstrate as I explain how the improvisational process works, and how an arrangement can be made, how a solo is constructed and what some considerations would be.
    Then we'd do a little free improvisation, a dialogue of sound and awareness, so you can get a taste of just what it feels like to control the elements of creative music.

    I need to go through this process to know where to begin, to make sure you understand what I feel the rewards are and what you want to commit to in your own time.
    I'd do this all in our first encounter, and I do this with every serious student before they commit to me as a teacher, and before they start to pay me. I think it's essential we both know what is involved exactly because it's so different from the background you have.

    If you wanted to learn this, I'd have you send me an email with some YouTube clips of people you find inspiring and we'd pick a tune to begin with. I'd make an appointment and we'd begin.
    All my lessons would have an aspect of listening, of navigating the fingerboard by sight, by hand and by ear, and a concrete goal with something you can take away and have in your hands each time.
    That's how I've taught. It's different with each student, but the end goal is that I share what I know and build on what a student loves.
    Right?

  7. #6
    Jimmy blue note you just blew my mind
    Sounds superb and different from my experience. I said I never had a teacher which is true but I did try and find one some time back but those handful of people were quite full of themselves, some didn't even seem to enjoy the teaching process! I have to say that was also my school/college experience. I managed to find my path which along with everyone else is ongoing, but I think it would have been quicker had I had good counsel then.
    Very pleased to hear you start with the music rather than the theory & exercises, I'm sure that turns off so many people. Do you teach children and is that different again?

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by John Tom
    Very pleased to hear you start with the music rather than the theory & exercises, I'm sure that turns off so many people. Do you teach children and is that different again?
    I have taught children. I approach it with movement and story narrative, and it's different. It's actually what my original training is in, but it's adults I connect with the most. With adults, teaching music is part music, part philosophical revelation, part therapeutic unravelling of the unrealized creative need.
    I should also ad that finding a teacher is a dynamic and personal endeavour, and I have told students I didn't think we were a good working match when our priorities were ostensibly divergent. For example, I've had students that wanted to be taught a set of quick licks to take into a jam, but couldn't understand the value of discovering and owning their own music, nor being able to conceive of a piece as a whole, and by ear (off book).
    We all have different things we want to do. You have things you want to do. If I don't get you, I'm not going to give a student something they can embrace, and they'll lose money and interest. Bad deal all around.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tom
    If you teach what things are difficult for you to put across and what do they find hard to grasp
    that we don’t need to talk about music theory for the whole hour.

  10. #9
    Jimmy bn, i'm grateful, you sound like the teacher a lot of students would actually want - and not just for jazz guitar
    Have you always taught or come from somewhere else?

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I’m with Jimmy, it’s always lugholes that are lacking. Everyone knows theory, but get them to learn tunes by ear and, well it freaks them out to begin with but they improve FAST in my experience.

    They have to made comfortable with not being good at something. That needs a sympathetic and empathetic teacher:

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I don't think it's any different than teaching anything else. It always comes down to the teacher's ability to break things down into simple, understandable terms, and to be able to relax, and read the student. You do have to vet a student---any age---and know well his/her background, true musical interests, and learning style before proceeding. Maybe throw a little tidbit out and see what's done with it at first. Or try playing a recording by a melodic, direct communicator to inspire---and see if it does. Remember, it's in most cases new to them. And if you force anything on a person, in any subject, you're liable to create resentment or even hatred of the subject. Or contribute to or start a feeling of failure. And there are a lot of bad teachers very accomplished at that.

    So IMO there's nothing inherently difficult in the materials---especially in this information age where you now see 6 and even 2-year-olds play very accomplished things on youtube, etc. The learned it, so why not others, at least a little? It's how it's presented and the student's readiness, or lack thereof, for it...

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Two things I often see driving students away not necessarily from the guitar, but from jazz guitar, are lack of knowing the music (meaning you can't play something you haven't really heard), and just lack of commitment.

    You can play blues, singer songwriter, rock stuff, etc, but to learn to play jazz, you just have to put the time in to learn scales, arpeggios, chords, some theory.. And many students never get around that.

    For people that do, two critical things have been the focus on ear and listening, and on learning the language and jazz tradition (if that's their thing of course)..

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Jimmy Blue Note and joelf can you come to Melbourne I will pay you handsomely and reward you with my application.

    I am dedicated I put in the yards but am a hack. It is driving me mad. I assume I am learning the wrong things being taught the wrong way for me. I am pretty good at anything I do except this. Did I say it is driving me mad. Just invested nearly $2,000 in a small group (not nband a handfull of guitarists) course for the year, learnt bugger all. None of your approaches have been adopted, I thought this would be the basis for any education. Teacher asked nothing at the start of the course just continuous modes and odd meter stuff.

    Apologies if I derail thread.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Two things I often see driving students away not necessarily from the guitar, but from jazz guitar, are lack of knowing the music (meaning you can't play something you haven't really heard), and just lack of commitment.

    You can play blues, singer songwriter, rock stuff, etc, but to learn to play jazz, you just have to put the time in to learn scales, arpeggios, chords, some theory.. And many students never get around that.

    For people that do, two critical things have been the focus on ear and listening, and on learning the language and jazz tradition (if that's their thing of course)..
    Maybe - you can fake at those other things, of course to do the well it’s the same deal.

    yeah I wonder. Tbh I always assumed students not listening to jazz because they didn’t like it very much.

    although the ones that do don’t learn by ear either. So, yeah.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    After decades at the subject probably the one thing to be said as the best approach is that, always learning by ear as much as possible.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by gggomez
    I Just invested nearly $2,000 in a small group (not nband a handfull of guitarists) course for the year, learnt bugger all. None of your approaches have been adopted, I thought this would be the basis for any education. Teacher asked nothing at the start of the course just continuous modes and odd meter stuff.
    Well that is a surprise to hear that. it’s been a while since I’ve been in Melbourne, but I would have thought you would be spoilt for choices. What type of graduates are the VCA turning out these days?

    thats probably hard in a group situation to address individual needs, however, the teacher should have been up front about what was being covered ahead of time so you knew what you were getting into, or at least have a certain flexibility to adjust somewhat to the group of people the teacher had in front of them.
    cheers!

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    After decades at the subject probably the one thing to be said as the best approach is that, always learning by ear as much as possible.
    Amen

    Amazing how some people resist this idea... Some on this forum...

    You really have to find ways into it. Hopefully they trust me enough to go with it if they are coming to me for lessons.

    Sometimes they look at me, and I can see them thinking 'wut? where the modes be at?'

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by gggomez
    Jimmy Blue Note and joelf can you come to Melbourne I will pay you handsomely and reward you with my application.

    I am dedicated I put in the yards but am a hack.
    Number 1 (through number 10) STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!!

    How on earth do you expect to get anywhere with that attitude?

    Instead, embrace and enjoy the process. Never compare your work to anyone else's. A tall order, I know, and we all succumb to it sometimes---especially in the beginning stages where everyone seems like a giant in comparison, and it's awfully intimidating.

    It's taken 55 years of playing to reach it, but I'm now totally comfortable inside my own skin (personally and musically). I can enjoy what I've recorded---at least when some time has passed. I just generally don't give a f$$k! When you get to be 65, have seen friends and family die, loved and lost, etc., etc.----and you're still here---you tend to look at life a bit differently, more appreciatively of your own life and time you have left. You cherish the gifts, and, hopefully, don't want to waste time on self-doubt, jealousies, etc.

    Do I struggle with these things still? Hell, yeah---but I put them in my pocket and proceed to make music and live life to the best and fullest. And I write songs about what we all might be feeling, as catharsis---even when I feel someone crapped on me. No names used is a good insurance policy for candor.

    So cherish music, and take the 'small I' out of the picture a little more everyday. You'll see a difference...

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Number 1 (through number 10) STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!!

    How on earth do you expect to get anywhere with that attitude?

    Instead, embrace and enjoy the process. Never compare your work to anyone else's. A tall order, I know, and we all succumb to it sometimes---especially in the beginning stages where everyone seems like a giant in comparison, and it's awfully intimidating.

    It's taken 55 years of playing to reach it, but I'm now totally comfortable inside my own skin (personally and musically). I can enjoy what I've recorded---at least when some time has passed. I just generally don't give a f$$k! When you get to be 65, have seen friends and family die, loved and lost, etc., etc.----and you're still here---you tend to look at life a bit differently, more appreciatively of your own life and time you have left. You cherish the gifts, and, hopefully, don't want to waste time on self-doubt, jealousies, etc.

    Do I struggle with these things still? Hell, yeah---but I put them in my pocket and proceed to make music and live life to the best and fullest. And I write songs about what we all might be feeling, as catharsis---even when I feel someone crapped on me. No names used is a good insurance policy for candor.

    So cherish music, and take the 'small I' out of the picture a little more everyday. You'll see a difference...
    So true. Thank you.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    And I'm no angel, Christian. Just an emeritus with a Ph D from the University of Hard Knocks.

    And I worked so hard on that degree...

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    Two things I often see driving students away not necessarily from the guitar, but from jazz guitar, are lack of knowing the music (meaning you can't play something you haven't really heard), and just lack of commitment.
    Exactly. I teach general guitar and from time to time I have students that want to play Jazz. But they don't listen to Jazz. They don't know the tunes. They don't like it near enough to accept a workable level of commitment.
    Usually they are just bored and stuck in a rut.
    I engage them as best I can, but the genuine interest in the music is either there or it isn't.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Paul Desmond had an interesting take on this subject when asked about his sideline of writing. He said that creative writing is is like jazz: it can be learned, but not taught. While I have taught a lot of guitar lessons throughout my career, I never attempted to teach jazz, although I did point out to aspiring jazzers that knowledge of instrument and theory is a good first step into that world, combined with listening, both passive and active.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    Paul Desmond had an interesting take on this subject when asked about his sideline of writing. He said that creative writing is is like jazz: it can be learned, but not taught. While I have taught a lot of guitar lessons throughout my career, I never attempted to teach jazz, although I did point out to aspiring jazzers that knowledge of instrument and theory is a good first step into that world, combined with listening, both passive and active.
    Yeah depending what day it is I either agree, vigorously disagree or regard this quote as completely irrelevant.

    Today: I'm not entirely it's possible to teach anything.

    That said, maybe it's just not possible to teach me anything. :-D

    Pedagogy is certainly overrated.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I’m with Jimmy, it’s always lugholes that are lacking. Everyone knows theory, but get them to learn tunes by ear and, well it freaks them out to begin with but they improve FAST in my experience.

    They have to made comfortable with not being good at something. That needs a sympathetic and empathetic teacher:
    Reminds me of the Chesterton quote: "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
    Thing is, people can get better at this. And as you say, they tend to get better at it pretty fast. IF they do it. But if they work on OTHER things instead and AVOID it, well, years roll by and they're still not good at it. But they could be...

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    jazz: it can be learned, but not taught. ... I did point out to aspiring jazzers that knowledge of instrument and theory is a good first step into that world, combined with listening, both passive and active.
    I learned about jazz by being around New York. A lot of listening, a lot of radio, and the village. I've lived in Philly. I've lived in Boston. I've lived in Western MA and in each place there was a different idea of what jazz is, what you need to know, what you have to do to earn respect and what you need to do to gain membership in the community, and it was very different from place to place.
    My own personal take on it was given to me by musicians through the music, by playing and failing, and yes, by picking up a unique amalgamation of elements without the aid of formal teachers. The best student/teacher time was when I knew what I wanted to learn. The most valuable things I got from "the hang"; time spent before the set, and after hours. That's the reason I think it's important to know what a student means when they say "I want to learn jazz guitar." When I did study with teachers, it was actually anecdotes and examples that made it real for me.
    I was really lucky to work with the people I did. They would point me towards people to listen to, and they'd tell me how they got to where they got to, but they never told me to learn a scale if there wasn't a good reason. They never told me to transcribe if I didn't have an understanding of what an artist could have done as much as what they chose to do.
    Sure there's a place for scales, arpeggios, harmonic function, non functional harmony, voice leading, linear phrasing and rhythm, but all those things are used within a context and without context, it's just something that sounds like a duck.
    So when I teach, yeah there's a lot of it that happens aside from the technical. It's a language, and at its best, it happens when you have something to say, you know how to listen and you have a real need and love of the connection.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Long as we're telling stories:

    With me it was both 'lore' and osmosis---and formal instruction, and osmosis. I consider myself very, very lucky and rich in my education---music and music life.

    My main mentors were Jimmy Raney and especially Eddie Diehl. Raney was passing through to play Bradley's in '79. I hit on him, and we hooked up at Attila Zoller's place, where he was staying. Took 2 lessons, and it was like seeing a Zen master. And his way of teaching was 'anti-instructional': we played some, and he critiqued me. He was right on the money with what I needed, and also very supportive. It gave me needed direction and confidence.

    With Eddie there were never lessons as such, (one time there was one---just one, by my request) just a lot of hanging and playing. And we formed a trio and made a demo and some gigs. It was his amazing, relaxed swing and time feel that I loved (and didn't have then), but his ears, ideas, and 'goading' as a duo partner were equally influential. He was a natural---couldn't read and knew nothing of theory and could care less. We hooked up again down the road and I got him on some gigs at Smalls.

    Barry Galbraith was organized and had books to work out of, including his own. Weirdly, he didn't consider himself an improviser, so we didn't work on jazz much. We worked on reading and he turned me on to Freddie Green-type 3 bass note voicings that were of key importance to my concept and still are. I don't think a guitar player can swing w/o that---and I can tell right away who's mastered it and who hasn't. Plus, Barry was a class act and a hilarious raconteur. I would've stayed way longer, but his final illness knocked at the door.

    I have to mention Chuck Wayne, in my earliest '20s. He was a charismatic, persuasive character who believed anyone who didn't adopt his technique was just wrong. I was amazed at what he did, and he was the first totally dedicated artist I'd met, so that was important. But I wanted to be a good jazz player, not devote my life to the guitar as an end in itself, so Eddie and Jimmy were more right for me. But Chuck was one of the greats, and when he let me sit in at Gregory's that was sort of the night I became a man.

    Then there's composition---as important as playing to me, if not more. I had lessons here and there with great writers who weren't the greatest teachers, but I was all ear and learned. Then one day I saw Frank Griffith and James Chirillo getting into Frank's car in our old Riverdale 'hood ('95). My teacher, John Foca---a story in itself, and he was a great man---had died, and it left a hole in me. So I asked those cats where they were off to. 'Going to take a lesson with Bill Finegan'. I copped his #, and that was another mentor. It's really true the saying 'when the student is ready the teacher appears---right down the line, in every case.

    I'll try to wrap up---forgive my long-windedness, but I'm grateful to all these people. OK: CCNY got me involved with Ed Summerlin and Ron Carter----both of whom kicked my ass big-time, and did I need it! Ed was my first arranging teacher, and Ron taught me how to rehearse a band, be versatile, a lot about rhythm and rhythm sections of course---and that I was lazy and undisciplined (well, he reminded me).

    Hanging out/gigging: by the '80s there was Barry Harris's Jazz Cultural Theater, which was so important for young musicians. I was in the young house band for the jam sessions and got to play and gig with the genuine article. I got into Jaki Byard's Apollo Stompers there, another learning experience (took a few arranging lessons with him, too). I'm pretty sure he was a genius, or close. My main running buddies then were Clarence 'C.' Sharpe and Tommy Turrentine---and you know they were living the life and for the music. Through Barry I also met my other big influence, Chris Anderson. People need to know how much of a community Barry created for so many, and how he went to Europe, then emptied his pockets paying these guys to gig and teach, out his pocket. He paid us that same way.

    OK, I'm done here. If that sounded like name dropping, then I guess it did. But it really did happen, and I put a lot of stories into a planned book---but, schmuck-like, didn't back it up and my PC's hard drive crashed. But I will finish and publish it. It's too important not to.

    Thanks for the platform...

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Reminds me of the Chesterton quote: "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing badly."
    Thing is, people can get better at this. And as you say, they tend to get better at it pretty fast. IF they do it. But if they work on OTHER things instead and AVOID it, well, years roll by and they're still not good at it. But they could be...
    You know when I find something I'm terrible at in music, I exult, especially if its something quite basic, because I can get better at It, and I know it's going to make a difference. Sometimes a big difference.

    I can clobber it to death in the practice room over the course a few months and not be terrible at it any more.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    I cannot claim to have hung out with those guys - but the way I learned is the way is the same, and the way I think any jazz player actually learns. Being in the environment, playing and listening and hanging out as much as possible. And shedding to keep up.

    As I say.. pedagogy is overrated. The environment is terribly important. Which is why everyone wants to be in NYC.

    I wish I'd know what that was when I was 25. Ah well, here we are :-) The internet is changing the nature of all this... If they can kick latency with 5G (tutors talking about this today with respect to playing together online, apparently this is a thing) things will change. A lot.