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DiMarco

Teachers and music

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Is it just me or... Do a lot of teachers (not all of them!) forget to make music when they're playing? I do not mean to offend anyone.

Me I am fairly limited and just trying to enjoy playing as much as I can. Sometimes on rare occasions a jam will really take off and the music starts playing you rather then the other way round. The feeling this gives you can not be described. I wonder if this still happens to those of us who have been studying and teaching music over great lengths of time.

Where I live, there's a bunch of really skilled people teaching playing, singing techniques and theory to others, who are often just starting out or trying to improve their playing.
These teachers also show up on the local jam sessions sometimes and it is fun for me to watch and listen to humans with such a huge musical vocabulary. They come up with very interesting stuff.

But I am afraid this stuff is only interesting to other players. The teachers at times seem to have forgotten why way back in time they started to want to play music, and they now are completely caught up in the technical side of playing correctly rather then enjoying the one thing music does: Be an emotional tour of wonders while making it. I say this because I seldomly (if ever) see them losing themselves inside music and playing in any emotionally inspired way.

Is getting caught up in techniques and theory a possible pitfall the more skilled you get?
Or are these people simply on a different plane and needing musically much more interesting input before their spark gets lit. I do not know.

So I wonder what is it like to have much more horsepower then most musicians at a session? Does it make you 'play safe'?
Are you still able te get loose and lose yourself in music?

Can any of those here who consider themselves a teacher elaborate on this? We always seem to discuss the technical side of music but this question has been in my mind for quite some time now.

 

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It sounds like its just you and you've had bad experiences with poor music teachers. Without picking through the entirety of the long post, phrases like "caught up in the technical side of playing" suggest they are not very good teachers, in that they have fundamentally not balanced out having fun, making music, being creative etc alongside a solid understanding of theory and technique.

Having said that, teaching adults in a complete PITA, occasionally you'll get a "can't learn won't learn" situation.

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On 22/05/2020 at 10:41, DiMarco said:

Is it just me or... Do a lot of teachers (not all of them!) forget to make music when they're playing? I do not mean to offend anyone.

Me I am fairly limited and just trying to enjoy playing as much as I can. Sometimes on rare occasions a jam will really take off and the music starts playing you rather then the other way round. The feeling this gives you can not be described. I wonder if this still happens to those of us who have been studying and teaching music over great lengths of time.

Where I live, there's a bunch of really skilled people teaching playing, singing techniques and theory to others, who are often just starting out or trying to improve their playing.
These teachers also show up on the local jam sessions sometimes and it is fun for me to watch and listen to humans with such a huge musical vocabulary. They come up with very interesting stuff.

But I am afraid this stuff is only interesting to other players. The teachers at times seem to have forgotten why way back in time they started to want to play music, and they now are completely caught up in the technical side of playing correctly rather then enjoying the one thing music does: Be an emotional tour of wonders while making it. I say this because I seldomly (if ever) see them losing themselves inside music and playing in any emotionally inspired way.

Is getting caught up in techniques and theory a possible pitfall the more skilled you get?
Or are these people simply on a different plane and needing musically much more interesting input before their spark gets lit. I do not know.

So I wonder what is it like to have much more horsepower then most musicians at a session? Does it make you 'play safe'?
Are you still able te get loose and lose yourself in music?

Can any of those here who consider themselves a teacher elaborate on this? We always seem to discuss the technical side of music but this question has been in my mind for quite some time now.

 

Interesting post though I think entirely subjective I’m afraid...


How do you know they’re not losing themselves in the music? Is there a single way that one should do this? Perhaps you don’t really like the music that they’re playing and therefore aren’t able to engage with it? Different styles / genres come with different approaches to performance and musical approach - obvious signs of ‘losing it’ might be head-banging, jumping around etc but that isn’t always appropriate / relevant. Perhaps by focusing, being in the moment playing complex stuff is another approach to ‘losing yourself’, just not one that works for you and is less obviously sign posted to the audience? 

Let me turn it around - I’ve done loads of gigs where I’ve looked out to see arms folded, grumpy faces and not much vibe from audience members. Yet often these individuals are the ones who come up after the gig, buy loads of merch and rave about it. They certainly didn’t ‘lose themselves’ in the music they way I wanted to but it worked for them....

So it’s all personal and subjective. Find out what works for you and go listen / watch that and don’t worry to much about what other folks are doing! :)
 

 

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Interesting thought. Hadn't given that much thought myself. Could well be a mixture of focus and composure keeping the joy purely happen on the inside and not shining though much on the outside.

I myself can not hold still or stop smiling when a jam just works and is exciting. Of course this is different for every person. Shoe gazing while playing is an art performed by many, and it does not say much about how much fun they are having, just how much of it they are allowing to show.

Thanks for your insight!

 

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On 22/05/2020 at 10:41, DiMarco said:

Is it just me or... Do a lot of teachers (not all of them!) forget to make music when they're playing? I do not mean to offend anyone.

Me I am fairly limited and just trying to enjoy playing as much as I can. Sometimes on rare occasions a jam will really take off and the music starts playing you rather then the other way round. The feeling this gives you can not be described. I wonder if this still happens to those of us who have been studying and teaching music over great lengths of time.

Where I live, there's a bunch of really skilled people teaching playing, singing techniques and theory to others, who are often just starting out or trying to improve their playing.
These teachers also show up on the local jam sessions sometimes and it is fun for me to watch and listen to humans with such a huge musical vocabulary. They come up with very interesting stuff.

But I am afraid this stuff is only interesting to other players. The teachers at times seem to have forgotten why way back in time they started to want to play music, and they now are completely caught up in the technical side of playing correctly rather then enjoying the one thing music does: Be an emotional tour of wonders while making it. I say this because I seldomly (if ever) see them losing themselves inside music and playing in any emotionally inspired way.

Is getting caught up in techniques and theory a possible pitfall the more skilled you get?
Or are these people simply on a different plane and needing musically much more interesting input before their spark gets lit. I do not know.

So I wonder what is it like to have much more horsepower then most musicians at a session? Does it make you 'play safe'?
Are you still able te get loose and lose yourself in music?

Can any of those here who consider themselves a teacher elaborate on this? We always seem to discuss the technical side of music but this question has been in my mind for quite some time now.

 

Interesting question. 

Some good answers too.  I tend to agree that players express themselves in many different ways. 

In my experience of playing professionally and teaching for over 25 years, I hear ‘emotionally charged’ playing from all standard of players but there isn’t really one particular way this is expressed visually. 

The question you ask about whether technique and theory gets in the way of playing is often asked by players inexperienced in these areas. Once you have a good understanding of these two areas, you know that they always enhance your playing. That said, mastering these areas doesn’t always mean you are a great player. 

The short answer is learn as much as you can, play as much as you can, and don’t worry about other players and their musician journeys. 

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On 24/05/2020 at 23:02, greghagger said:

The short answer is learn as much as you can, play as much as you can, and don’t worry about other players and their musician journeys. 

THIS THIS THIS THIS :)

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Posted (edited)

There are other variables that we need to consider when watching people play. What is the setting? Is the player comfortable with the situation? Does he/she feel comfortable with this genre or this tune? Is the loud drummer pissing on his picnic? Is the guitarist being a bit of a git? Is it his or her gear or are they borrowing something? Do they want to be there? Are they a little bit whizzed or a whole lot whizzed off? Are they nursing an injury? (I know of one bass teacher who cannot play more than a couple of songs before it becomes too painful - great player and a great teacher but he cannot gig). I think that judging players by any standard is problematic. I have a lovely story about a name player who nearly lost his greatest gig because, when the band who were checking him out with another band, he was oblivious and was just 'playing the gig' which did not require any grandstanding so they thought he was nothing special. I remember a player I had played with several times hearing me with another band and saying 'I never heard you play like that before' - he had only ever hears me with his band which was a fixed thing that would not have sounded good with me being me. So much of it is context. 

 

Oh - and there is one more thing. Not all teachers are great players. In my experience, some of them have no business calling themselves teachers.  

Edited by Bilbo
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Playing is not the same ability as instructing. A good teacher does not have to be a brilliant player. Many excellent players are not so flashy teachers. In other words, a teacher (a pedagog) is able to describe you how to play something. A musician can create music, but may be unable to turn the music to talk.

"How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb? One hundred and one. Steve Gadd does it and one hundred others start a lifelong discussion about how he did it."

A professional player can practically play anywhere and in any circumstance. Mortals, like me, have to do a lot to get reasonable output in complex surroundings. A funny amp, or a boomy place, or a loaned instrument: "I know I should be able to make it happen, but that pro just walked in and did it."

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Posted (edited)

Echoing some of the points above - not all great players are even mediocre teachers. I’ve learned (or rather, not learned) the hard way - taking a run of eye wateringly expensive lessons with a big name player. 

Monster live player with global gigs, and although in person he was a great hang - I learned hardly anything.

Teaching is a hugely underestimated skill. To twist the old adage, just because someone can do, doesn’t mean they can teach. 

Edited by Drax
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On 08/06/2020 at 05:29, Drax said:

Echoing some of the points above - not all great players are even mediocre teachers. I’ve learned (or rather, not learned) the hard way - taking a run of eye wateringly expensive lessons with a big name player. 

Monster live player with global gigs, and although in person he was a great hang - I learned hardly anything.

Teaching is a hugely underestimated skill. To twist the old adage, just because someone can do, doesn’t mean they can teach. 

Agree completely with this.

One recent example - I just bought a much awaited tuition book from a world class bass player (he shall remained unnamed) and whilst some of the content is excellent the overall 'journey' of the book, the way it is laid out and the ideas put across is impressively poor. Educationally it's all style over substance. 

I know I'm not a world class bass player by any stretch but I know how to teach and develop students that's for sure....it really is a very different skill set.

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It's been covered well in this thread that good players don't make good teachers & vice versa. 

The way I would look at this is the more you learn and understand music theory and technique the less you have to think about while actually playing.  Unfortunately the teachers you seem to be seeing perform have quite gotten to this stage yet. 

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9 hours ago, Crawford13 said:

It's been covered well in this thread that good players don't make good teachers & vice versa. 

The way I would look at this is the more you learn and understand music theory and technique the less you have to think about while actually playing.  Unfortunately the teachers you seem to be seeing perform have quite gotten to this stage yet. 

I think it would be more accurate to say good players don’t necessarily make good teachers and vice versa. 
 

Some are great at both. 

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7 hours ago, greghagger said:

I think it would be more accurate to say good players don’t necessarily make good teachers and vice versa. 
 

Some are great at both. 

Sorry you are 100% right, that is what I meant to say, should have read the post first before I posted. 

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Interestingly, I know of teachers who are very self conscious with regards to their public profile and who stay away from social media and jam sessions in order to 'protect' themselves and their reputations as TEACHERS, as opposed to players. They are often employees of Music Services or Universities/Colleges etc and, young people being what they are (i.e.often full of fosters and vinegar) they need to be cautious when out and about. 

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