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- Thought I'd see if anyone was interested in a general disscussion on technique vs. ear training. It seems that dilligent ear training leads to clearly hearing melodies and harmonies in your mind, just like thinking, and that technique is your ability to actually play the melodies you hear in your mind on your instrument, in real time. Thoughts?
 

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- It seems that dilligent ear training leads to clearly hearing melodies and harmonies in your mind, just like thinking, and that technique is your ability to actually play the melodies you hear in your mind on your instrument, in real time.
I think that is the perfect approach to improvisation!
 

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As someone who can read extremely well and has good technique, I say it's good ears.
I get so frustrated improvising as I can hear this incredible lines in my head (hell, I can even sing them) but getting them to come out on my horn is a whole different story. Unfortunately, I don't have the time that is needed to sit down and develop my ears as much as I'd like. It frustrates me to the point where I've declined solos just so I don't feel like an ***.
 

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IMO Ears.

However, you have to know how to apply the right notes at the right time.

The two are pretty much inseparable.

B
 

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We've all heard solos that were the musical equivalent of listening to the reciting of a complicated technical manual or a filibustering politician reading a phonebook. The musical/artistic aspect, which is the point, comes from having something thoughtful to say first, and having the facilities to express it second. Both are important, but balanced. Like our diet, we shouldn't do an 'Atkins' all or nothing mentality.
 

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Ears, definitely. I have a friend who is technically much more fluent than I am and who reads much better than me, but, compared to me, he doesn't hear the changes and can't really come up with anything creative. he just doesn't know what to do when he needs to improvise. In a way, he's more of a technician than an artist. I also had a teacher who is technically very proficient but when he played a note and called it a Bb and I said, "no, that's not a Bb, it's a C" he was amazed at how I was able to hear and identify the note.
 

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"Ears" mean nothing unless you understand theory (harmony, composition ...). Knowledge does not come down from the sky...
 

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We've all heard solos that were the musical equivalent of listening to the reciting of a complicated technical manual or a filibustering politician reading a phonebook. The musical/artistic aspect, which is the point, comes from having something thoughtful to say first, and having the facilities to express it second. Both are important, but balanced. Like our diet, we shouldn't do an 'Atkins' all or nothing mentality.
Good ears will save you when your technique fails.
Good technique won't save you when your ears fail.

Both are important. But the ear is more fundamental.
It's the where, when, and why. Technique is only the how.
 

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Star Dust. Now that's a great tune.

Yeah, to me technique is more important, as it's good to be able to get around your instrument. If you are listening and digesting music....ensuring that your technique has roots inside of the music that you want to interact with...you'll be fine.

Ears.....

Get around good musicians that kick your *** constantly. They'll let you know what kind of ears you have. And ears can always be developed. I bet if we call up Lee Konitz or Sonny Rollins they'd talk about how they are still developing haha.
 

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My feeling currently is that doing technical work can help develop your ears faster. When I work on scales, appregios, licks and so on, my ear recognises these sounds much clearer, and I can pick them quicker when I hear them being played on recordings or in performances. Learning the vocabulary is definitely something that needs a lot of technical work. We don't just wake up one day and start playing bebop phrases, any more than we could suddenly wake up speaking swahili, if we didn't learn the language beforehand.

I'm also realising the importance of solid technique. Without a good facility on the instrument, it is hard to improvise to any degree of competence. Lines don't just appear by themselves, we have to be able to translate them to our instrument fluently. Often, what may seem like a hearing problem could be actually a lack of technical competence.

The ears provide the finishing touches to tie all the elements together, and are indeed the master conductor/record producer. But we can't just get on the podium and conduct the orchestra, if the players haven't already spent years shedding the scales, appregios, long tones and other technical stuff.
 

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IMHO You can't separate the two. If you don't have ear training you hear the lines. But without the Technique you can't play what you hear.

but if I had to choose between the two I would choose good ears over technique, to me it takes much longer to develop good ears than it does technique, but again that's only IMHO.
 

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- Thought I'd see if anyone was interested in a general disscussion on technique vs. ear training. It seems that dilligent ear training leads to clearly hearing melodies and harmonies in your mind, just like thinking, and that technique is your ability to actually play the melodies you hear in your mind on your instrument, in real time. Thoughts?
As you define it here, probably technique. If you can clearly hear melodies in your head, but you can't translate it to the instrument, what good is it? If in contrast to that, we're talking about a generic lick machine, I'd probably opt for the latter. If on the other hand, the person with ears but limited technique is still able to play good, albeit simple, melodies a la Miles on "Kind of Blue", I might choose the former instead.
 

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on the other hand it is like asking what's more important a gun which shoots straight or being able to aim properly? I think you need both but if you really need to choose between the two the thing that is most difficult to get is the most important to have, so a good ear will help you while you get the technique necessary to deploy it and having a good straight shooting gun helps you with learning to aim properly.
 

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I give a slight edge to the ear. If one can hear it they should be able to play it. Technique?? an ape can be trained to wiggle fingers and blow air at the same time and left to their own devices would eventually figure out some sequence of notes that makes sense and sounds good to them.
 

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Exactly. Everything that exists came from star dust particles.

B
But can you say "conception" comes from the big bang? Isn't that the essence of humanity and art? Isn't something like "truth" or "justice" independent of any physical reality? The production of carbon atoms from a star has no karma ...
 
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