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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I have noticed an interesting phenomenon a lot lately. When I started teaching online around 2007 there wasn't as many Youtube instructional videos around. Most of my lessons were with students that felt like everything I was teaching them was new to them. Now, 13 years later it seems like many more people are sitting in front of their computer watching video after video on everything on Youtube. You name it, they have watched it. Overtones, altissimo, diminished scales, bebop scales, chord tones, approach notes, etc......

What I am noticing happening is that adult students have a lot of knowledge from these videos. Most of the time now, when I tell them they should work on something they usually say I already know that. I say "Great! Let me hear you play it on this tune you are working on" at that point they get a worried look on their face and say "Well, it might be a little rough...." Then it usually is no where close to being good if not completely awful.

My point here is that "Knowing is not doing!" Some of these students get disappointed when I say they have to work on this topic they can't do but think they know. They want to take lessons and learn more information that they can't do instead of being directed to practice hard. It seems like it is getting worse in this Youtube era because more information is available for free to everyone. You feel like you are learning because you are sitting in front of your computer watching a cool video but at the end of the day, you should ask yourself this question "What can I "DO" today after practicing that I couldn't do yesterday?" Not, what did I learn, but what can I DO!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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I have noticed an interesting phenomenon a lot lately. When I started teaching online around 2007 there wasn't as many Youtube instructional videos around. Most of my lessons were with students that felt like everything I was teaching them was new to them. Now, 13 years later it seems like many more people are sitting in front of their computer watching video after video on everything on Youtube. You name it, they have watched it. Overtones, altissimo, diminished scales, bebop scales, chord tones, approach notes, etc......

What I am noticing happening is that adult students have a lot of knowledge from these videos. Most of the time now, when I tell them they should work on something they usually say I already know that. I say "Great! Let me hear you play it on this tune you are working on" at that point they get a worried look on their face and say "Well, it might be a little rough...." Then it usually is no where close to being good if not completely awful.

My point here is that "Knowing is not doing!" Some of these students get disappointed when I say they have to work on this topic they can't do but think they know. They want to take lessons and learn more information that they can't do instead of being directed to practice hard. It seems like it is getting worse in this Youtube era because more information is available for free to everyone. You feel like you are learning because you are sitting in front of your computer watching a cool video but at the end of the day, you should ask yourself this question "What can I "DO" today after practicing that I couldn't do yesterday?" Not, what did I learn, but what can I DO!
1000000%!! I NEVER let my students move on to new things unless they can SHOW they know the previous thing. I think many students don’t realize the insane amount of time on EACH LITTLE THING it takes to actually improve. Brecker said he had to practice something everyday for months before it would show up in his playing - and NONE of us are in the same universe as him. Imagine what us mere mortald have to do!

THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS.


Thanks for saying this Steve :)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
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So true! Everyone is after the quick fix which also fuels GAS! This new horn will make me great, or the next thing mouthpiece, etc... Unfortunately as you guys know, practice is hard and getting truly good at anything takes years to obtain.
 

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I agree with both of you. When I made the decision that I would dedicate my life to playing music, I practiced everything that I could, one concept at a time. I'd work with the Aebersold records (back when that was the only thing going), but I couldn't hear any improvements in my recorded practices. It took MONTHS and YEARS for a lot of the things that I practiced ad nauseum to be heard in my playing, mostly on pickup gigs where there was (maybe) an hours' rehearsal. Sometimes there was NO rehearsal and no chord chart.

If you want to be a musician, you have to practice, practice, and practice, and play, play, play, live.

If you want to play music, you gotta LIVE music. That's the way it is. Practicing is fine, but playing when you're on the spot is when what you have practiced shines.
 

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Truth....I'm in an online jazz learning community (as well as a physical masterclass combo) where the material is presented on a weekly basis on a single tune for 2-3 weeks and you record yourself and post for both the teacher and other players to review (in the community). You have to put yourself out there, feedback at times has been "good job hitting the chords, good tone, but watch your articulation on measures XX - YY". And you listen to yourself, become enlightened (sometimes takes longer for me than other times....), and then try it again. Musicianship is a an applied art, can't grow just through theory.

Yes, "knowing is not doing", and "there are no shortcuts". Agree.
 

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The subject line is rather limiting in scope considering the more general argument being made. Henceforth many replies are going to miss the intended point and go off about teaching improvisation... which is nice... in theory.
 

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Really interesting topic. I personally have learned an enormous amount for free, but I spend hours practicing the things that I am learning with the goal of it coming out in real music situations. I can totally see how there would be a lot of people who get the mental side of it but do not put it into physical practice and develop the connection to muscle memory.

I think this problem exists in our culture in all aspects, not just music. People living vicariously through the screen and totally out of touch with reality. There is definitely some sort of addiction or escapism involved.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #8
The subject line is rather limiting in scope considering the more general argument being made. Henceforth many replies are going to miss the intended point and go off about teaching improvisation... which is nice... in theory.
It is in regard to learning jazz improvisation as this is a site about saxophone and learning music. I guess I could have left it open so we could apply it to things like neurosurgery or fly fishing but I thought it would be better to limit the scope for the sake of discussion.
 

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Really interesting topic. I personally have learned an enormous amount for free, but I spend hours practicing the things that I am learning with the goal of it coming out in real music situations. I can totally see how there would be a lot of people who get the mental side of it but do not put it into physical practice and develop the connection to muscle memory.

I think this problem exists in our culture in all aspects, not just music. People living vicariously through the screen and totally out of touch with reality. There is definitely some sort of addiction or escapism involved.
Posers! Doing something online, in a virtual environment isn't the same as the actual physical experience. In online games, I'm a better quarterback than Tom Brady! LOL
 

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The biggest difference between adult and youth students is that for adults the clock is always ticking down. We don't have the time to practice enough hours, and on a deeper level - maybe subconscious - is the realization that someday there won't be a tomorrow. Not to mention that every time those of us over 50 forget something we wonder about permanent loss of mental facilities. My left hand is slower than my right - what does that mean?

So the challenge for you teachers of adult jazz students is to find a realistic message. Ornette Coleman's opinion that you don't get any better after age 18 is pretty pessimistic.
 

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Brecker said he had to practice something everyday for months before it would show up in his playing - and NONE of us are in the same universe as him. Imagine what us mere mortald have to do!
Diggin Deeper jazz Jeff Antoniuk said that at one of his videos at you tube (also),one of many you-tube channels i watch to learn some jazz. I am a person who hasnt spare money for teachers or books. i like taking notes from the net and then study and practice etc.
I agree knowing is not doing neff but imagine where i would be if there werent any of those youtube or this forum. I would still wonder what note Dexter played at the end of the phrase and pairs with the piano(which btw i figured it was the tonic :p hahaha) And i believe there are hundreds like me out there.
I agree with baby steps and everything else you say...
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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I agree Steve 1000 percent. I'm going back with my current flute teacher and really digging into the mix bop scale. Its something I "know" but i"m finding I've just swam over the surface of and didn't really dig in the way I'd like Its weird to come back to a topic after a few years and realize all the things within that sound I can't do "YET? So my attitude would have been haughty a couple of years ago but now I am ready to really dig in. I see the value to all my playing in learning one thing to a much higher level. K
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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The biggest difference between adult and youth students is that for adults the clock is always ticking down. We don't have the time to practice enough hours, and on a deeper level - maybe subconscious - is the realization that someday there won't be a tomorrow. Not to mention that every time those of us over 50 forget something we wonder about permanent loss of mental facilities. My left hand is slower than my right - what does that mean?

So the challenge for you teachers of adult jazz students is to find a realistic message. Ornette Coleman's opinion that you don't get any better after age 18 is pretty pessimistic.
Well, Obviously Ornette is wrong, but there is a lot to the statement.
Kids starting out mostly don’t know who the greats are and even if they’re hearing high-level playing, it doesn’t really compute as an end goal. Adult learners want fast results from a process that must be taken rather slowly.
 

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Twowheels.... I am curious.... if you are willing, could you tell us about your on-line jazz community? Is it open to others?

If you would rather not talk about it, that is ok.
 

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The majority of the people teaching jazz shouldn’t.
The converse to that is - the majority of musicians wanting to learn to improvise probably never will.

I'd be hoping that they are making a sincere effort even if the results are not apparent. You can guide them.
 

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It is in regard to learning jazz improvisation as this is a site about saxophone and learning music. I guess I could have left it open so we could apply it to things like neurosurgery or fly fishing but I thought it would be better to limit the scope for the sake of discussion.
That is absolutely ridiculous and completely misses the point.
Good luck instructing others.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #19
That is absolutely ridiculous and completely misses the point.
Good luck instructing others.
I'm so confused by your posts that I must be missing your point. You posted this:

"The subject line is rather limiting in scope considering the more general argument being made. Henceforth many replies are going to miss the intended point and go off about teaching improvisation... which is nice... in theory."

Which I took to mean that you thought I was limiting the scope of my post by applying it to teaching jazz improvisation, so I responded with why I did this:

"It is in regard to learning jazz improvisation as this is a site about saxophone and learning music. I guess I could have left it open so we could apply it to things like neurosurgery or fly fishing but I thought it would be better to limit the scope for the sake of discussion."

To which you replied:

"That is absolutely ridiculous and completely misses the point.
Good luck instructing others."

So now we are at an impasse in our discussion in that you seem upset and fed up with me and I don't seem to have any idea what you are commenting about or what your point is. If you care to go into more detail about what you are thinking than I can then understand where I went wrong and why you find my comment ridiculous. I'm sure I somehow misunderstood something you wrote but I am not sure how. Sorry if I have offended you........... Steve
 
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