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Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's like learning a language--music is a language.

Today's musicians-students-educators need quality of practice, which is of the essence. It's a life long process-. When you're twenty yrs. old, you just run off desire and youthful animal energy to practice. In the long run, the creative person needs to find a way to maintain a level of interest and aliveness in his art. This takes work and intelligence,it is not separate from living, just another aspect of it.

The concept of daily practice is an important one and is the best way to make
any kind of musical progress. Daily effort keeps you finely attuned to
continuous movement and the accumulation of effect. Practicing sporadically
causes you to lose the thread of your practice and is thus much less effective.
Through diligent , consistent daily work, a tangible musical substance is
incrementally developed. First of all, you develop physical stamina through
the repeated effort. Also , from day to day, you accumulate ideas and expand
on the themes of your practice. If you are working Major chords; the first day
you might just work on arpeggios, the next day you might see some connection
with other musical sources, such as songs, or through or whatever is interesting to you. By continuing to work with focus on the same things from day to day, you will find that your level of proficiency has risen and expanded to include all these other sources. Your practicing every day results in the acquisition of
technique, musical intelligence, improved tone, and stamina. Just the quest to continuously find something to practice will increase you creativity.
There are so many variations of scales melodies, and melodic patterns. So many sounds to make, articulations, songs to learn, music to listen to and analyze, technical
problems to sort out. The only limitation is your focus and creativity.
For example: let's say that you have adequately practiced your horn and now want something else to work on. You could sit down at the piano and transcribe a song, learn a song by ear that you may have previously learned by wrote.
This , is one of the most beneficial practices you can do. Ear training, learning songs, listening to other players, hearing bass lines, melodies or whatever. Ok. Now you've spent a few hours and learned a tune the way its supposed to be played. You know the tune inside and out, in essence a great organizational mind skills study too. However your mind works. Don't overload-otherwise nothing sticks. Your capacity will increase after you have spent more and more time. It's amazing how connections are
made,they seem to occur in a fashion which is beyond the conscious ability to
plan and organize.

Daily practice also allows me to imprint the material in my mind until it
becomes instinct. One long practice session will not do this. For
most players, useful techniques can only be acquired through repetition. I
always try to work new materials into songs, lines and grooves that I like.
For me it's sort of like upgrading my musical mind so that my playing becomes
reoriented in the directions I choose. Increasing familiarity with they materials is a good thing. It's like learning a language--music is a language.

DON'T FORGET I'M AT 2012 NAAM THIS YEAR ALSO.
Look for me at Theo Wanne booth, and concerts.
Theo Wanne Mouthpieces booth- Stop by & say hi!!

It all depends on what ya know, and what your searching for.
If you are looking for Sherlock Holmes you ain't gonna find it in Rumi, DITTO if your into Trane and find a smooth jazzer comin' up short.....hey...your in the wrong floor. LOL.

Keep listening, keep your ears open and keep playing.
Sometimes the trip is as much fun as the reward later.

BY THE WAY- If your an educator and get to me ASAP...I'm booking personal gigs/ workshops now. PLUS-If your a local Cali player and can help book a jazz gig for me- I'll get you a % or what you need in some form, even lessons. I'm out there ( Even Marty Krystall & I are FINALLY recording!!! k2B2 !!! ) And I plan to extend my stay as long as I can as I hate East Coast winters....So....gigs/ concerts...brainstorms. Get to me ASAP!!! [email protected]
NOT on this thread or forum due to the ease of personal / quicker Email etc- Thanks :)
 

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Re: It's like learning a language--music is a language.

Great post. As a teacher of German and, before that, English as a second language, I'm usually a little suspicious of the "music is a language" equation. It's true, but they aren't the same thing--in many different ways. However, you get to exactly the right point here: the importance of practice. I repeat some variation of what you say here every day in my classes: "Daily practice also allows me to imprint the material in my mind until it becomes instinct. One long practice session will not do this. For most players, useful techniques can only be acquired through repetition." This is absolutely true, and also applies to language learning. I get really frustrated by students who profess an interest in learning German, but who don't take advantage of opportunities to practice it outside of the classroom setting--including doing their homework assignments. But if they don't work on language acquisition outside of class, it isn't going to happen--at least, not in any meaningful sense (they will never become advanced speakers, for one thing).

What always seems lacking and is very hard to inspire in students is the desire to be great. So many of the students I have worked with are happy just to get by, or to be good enough. I struggle daily with the question of how to make them want more for themselves.
 

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Re: It's like learning a language--music is a language.

And you have to listen to it to learn it. Language teachers will tell that immersion is the best way to learn a language other than your own.
Throw away your 1000 gigabyte iPod and just really listen to a small number of recordings.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Columnist and Saxophonistic Art
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6,260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: It's like learning a language--music is a language.

great post. As a teacher of german and, before that, english as a second language, i'm usually a little suspicious of the "music is a language" equation. It's true, but they aren't the same thing--in many different ways. However, you get to exactly the right point here: The importance of practice. I repeat some variation of what you say here every day in my classes: "daily practice also allows me to imprint the material in my mind until it becomes instinct. One long practice session will not do this. For most players, useful techniques can only be acquired through repetition." this is absolutely true, and also applies to language learning. I get really frustrated by students who profess an interest in learning german, but who don't take advantage of opportunities to practice it outside of the classroom setting--including doing their homework assignments. But if they don't work on language acquisition outside of class, it isn't going to happen--at least, not in any meaningful sense (they will never become advanced speakers, for one thing).

What always seems lacking and is very hard to inspire in students is the desire to be great. So many of the students i have worked with are happy just to get by, or to be good enough. I struggle daily with the question of how to make them want more for themselves.
thank you
 
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