Monday, July 6, 2015

Musical Musings

I've been fooling myself for 20 years. More than 20 years I've been playing guitar off and on, even took a class at a community college. I've read books, methods, weaseled into master classes to listen but mostly I've pondered what it means to be a musician and recently, with the help of Jamey Aebersold's methods, I've concluded that a musician is not someone who pokes at an instrument to produce notes. No, that's a technician. A musician needs an instrument to release the notes in his head. This is such a fine distinction that it's rarely even mentioned in method books. 6 years in college music classes and this topic did not come up. I approached the instrument as a means to play a song and I memorized the places where I put my fingers to produce the right notes, but that's actually backwards to what a musician does. I never really internalized the notes. Maybe I memorized the beginning and the end, some fancy licks and what they sounds like, but mostly I memorized the mechanical/physical manipulations to produce the notes. I am basically pantomiming the act of being a musician, going through the motions, and memorizing all the movements requires to play a song...but there is a big difference between this and memorizing the notes, the sound of a song, and then using the instrument to produce those notes. Maybe this is something that can't be taught, but must be learned through experience, but wouldn't it help knowing that's not only the goal but knowing the mental reasoning behind it? I think it will, so I'm going to try to write down my understanding.

This is a big topic, something I've been working toward for years, so I can't break it all down in one essay, but I can give a pedagogical comparison.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.