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Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 25th, 2012, 1:28 am
by NoteBoat
Cat, yesterday I'm talking to Jenny (a singer I worked with in the 70s) about plans I've got for the music school, and we were talking about technology. I mentioned your Grammy project, and the fact that you're in Oz, your drummer is in Tahiti, other folks are in the US, etc. and you're trading sound files.

She said "wait - won't that kill the magic that happens in the studio?". Now I can tell her you've got a plan for that :)

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 25th, 2012, 2:16 am
by Cat
Funny. Okay, its simple. Firstly, understand that thes places everybody lives are "homes away from home". We're all from Arizona. That's where we all met in our 20's and we're all in our 60's now...or just about. We've co-owned businesses...done more than I can say together over the decades. Godfathers to each others kids...that sort of thing. Not too long ago I collated 14 songs that I've kept tucked away. We (drums/bass/rhythm/lead) tossed out some really good...although not keeper...references last time we were together. Since then, we've looked in and out of our locked-out SOUNDCLOUD site tweaking things over the internet. No, this is not by any stretch what will go to market.

Here, in Oz, I found a gal that's up to our standard of play. And I can say that our standard is second to none...with no-one being a stranger to platinum. I have a C-24 setup here with best ProTools so we're working against these references. Actually, a day or so ago the bassist wanted to know how she was sounding. I said that I didn't want "to take the edge off of the blade" until we all are in Arizona to do the real deal...

Note...if you want to hear the reference tracks to our first pair (there are 7 pairs)...just PM to me a private addy and I'll MP3 it to you. I'm always reticent to send out stuff...but...geez...after yakking with you all these years I think you're a righteous dude! A few on GN have heard some of the stuff...and have been great in keeping it to themselves!

And, to be honest, I'd like to know what you think!

Cat

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 25th, 2012, 2:33 am
by fleaaaaaa
Actually the stuff I am trying to memorise is just a few bars long, little funk loops from a book but I am struggling to remember them till I have seen the chords to cue me or sometimes I need to look at the rhythm too to remember the bits properly. I will keep hacking away at it till its in my brain. :lol:

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 26th, 2012, 7:35 am
by cnev
Back the OP, I'd have to say I'm pretty much a visual learner I need to see the music. It might also be because that's how I have learned.

I always have a tab of the music I am playing to fall back on until I have memorized it.

My ear is not good enough to pick tab a song on my own although it's definitely getting better.

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 26th, 2012, 12:09 pm
by Crow
Recently I have had to relearn some Beatles songs (!) for a church gig & have found that a good way to nail down tricky bits is to write them down by hand. Seems to drive stuff into my brain better than just referring to a chord chart or pre-written sheet music.

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 27th, 2012, 8:00 pm
by Cat
Been reading your posts over. Ultimately, looking at all the great comments, I guess it's really The Braille Method! :roll:

Cat

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 28th, 2012, 1:08 am
by Crow
Cat wrote:Been reading your posts over. Ultimately, looking at all the great comments, I guess it's really The Braille Method! :roll:
Are you referring to my visual handicap? I find that extremely offensive.
cnev wrote:My ear is not good enough to pick tab a song on my own although it's definitely getting better.
I have tried writing out tab for other players (my wife) & it drove me nuts. But if this is the medium you use to learn stuff, maybe copying tabs by hand would help memorization? Might be worth a try.

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 28th, 2012, 3:12 am
by Cat
Crow wrote: Are you referring to my visual handicap? I find that extremely offensive.


:roll:

Cat

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 31st, 2012, 1:14 pm
by NoteBoat
I thought about starting a new thread for this, but it really kinda goes with the topic.

Yesterday I interviewed a guitar teacher looking for a job. He's been teaching even longer than I have (and I've been at it 34 years). At one point he says he teaches a lot through tab, because "kids today don't want to read".

I told him that my experience is completely the opposite. While I have a few students who are dead set against reading - mostly because of things they've heard from friends or read online - in almost every case, my students come to understand the value of reading standard notation. They may not end up with sight reading as a goal, but just about all can navigate basic melodies.

He told me that he has to teach from tab and chords or he can't keep the students interested. I found that kind of curious; I also use tab and chord diagrams, but for a purpose - I use tab to illustrate multiple ways of playing the same line (because it's faster to write the differences), and diagrams to get kids 'making music' quickly - but always incorporating other fundamentals. Basic things, like note durations, allow a student to count rhythms. Tab doesn't. Even when using chord diagrams, I write rhythms using standard symbols above the tab; if a student later wants to add reading, he or she has a leg up.

I asked him if he learned to read from the beginning. He hadn't; he learned some years later, after he'd been gigging for about four years. I asked him how he learned, and he told me his teacher encouraged him to learn. So why doesn't he encourage his students?

His answer tied it into this thread: "because people learn in different ways".

That statement is true. I really don't teach any two students exactly the same way. Not only do they have individual tastes and desires, but people DO learn in different ways. With one I'll do more demonstrating, because I've learned that student responds well to learning by imitating my movements. Another does best by intellect; I'll spend more time at the whiteboard. Some are more auditory, and want to hear explanations, or examples on the CD or MP3 players. Some are more kinesthetic, and I'll be guiding their fingers when needed.

But I also realized he and I have a different view of what music education is. Because people learn in different ways, I teach in different ways. BUT I TEACH THE SAME SKILLS!

Every musician needs to understand rhythm, pitch, duration, dynamics, timbre, and phrasing. You want to train the fingers to do, the ears to hear, and the mind to understand. Giving some students less than that because they "want to learn through tab/by ear/whatever" makes me wonder who's in charge of the lessons.

I've been thinking a lot about our conversation since then, and thinking back on the teachers I've had and known over the years. I've come to a few conclusions from my recollections.

1. Volume. I've known teachers who would dole out ideas drip by drip. They might tell themselves they're making sure the student absorbs the material, but sometimes I had the sense they were more worried about maximizing their income while minimzing their efforts. I've known teachers (and had one myself as a young adult) who did the opposite, throwing so much into in a single lesson that a student can't possibly cope with it. Finding the appropriate 'flow' of material is important, whatever the learning style.

2. Content. I've known teachers who took total control over the repertoire. I've also known teachers who will base the lesson around whatever song the student wants to learn. The first approach is good in very limited circumstances - I have a student now who wants to major in classical guitar in college (which for him is about 18 months away); we're doing all the Sor and Giuliani studies, because that's probably what they'll ask for at audition time. Once he settles on a school, we'll tailor it further. The second approach gives immediate gratification, but often at a huge cost - if the kid wants to learn "Through the Fire and Flames", and comes in knowing three chords, it's going to be frustrating for both sides of the music stand. Better to map out an approach that starts with power chords, tackles some easier tunes in the genre, and introduces some drills against a metronome. If you just 'teach the song', the student isn't really learning, but imitating. While you can absorb a lot of stuff by osmosis, it's really a teacher's responsibility to organize it so you can use it in more than one context - which brings up:

3. Fundamentals. Teachers should use songs in lessons for a purpose, not an end. It doesn't do a student any good to learn a syncopated rhythm by rote, only to have to learn nearly identical ones for the next song, and the next. On the other hand, it doesn't keep a student engaged if they learn patterns without seeing applications. But if tackling a song includes learning to COUNT the beats and beat divisions, learning to HEAR the element of time in music, and learning to THINK about the structure of the rhythm, the student will be able to learn the next song faster. We call them fundamentals because they're basic - every piece of music builds on them, to a greater or lesser degree.

Back full circle to the OP: it doesn't matter what your learning style is, as long as you LEARN. That means a lot more than simple being able to regurgitate something, whether it's a song or a date in history. Learning happens faster when a teacher recognizes your learning style and adapts the presentation to it - that's "being taught". Learning can also happen when you experiment with something and find how it works for you, no matter how it's been presented to you. But either way, there's a difference between 'knowing' something (being able to repeat it on command) and 'understanding' something (being able to apply the principles to other contexts). The musician who can only read the dots on the page 'knows' something about music, as does the improvisor who can do a 12-bar blues but little else. The musician who understands the music, no matter how she or he came to do that, will 'speak' music through their instrument.

Some students succeed because of their teachers. Some succeed in spite of them. Either way, those that succeed do so because they've learned to make music, however that might have happened. In the end, your learning style isn't nearly as important as what you do with what you learn.

Re: Different types of musicians (and how they learn)

Posted: March 31st, 2012, 5:23 pm
by Cat
Nah! Ya gotta teach 'em to read. "Music teacher"? Duh! It's a no brainer...

Cat