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ask for cookies

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by deepbob, Oct 30, 2002.


  1. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    once i sat in a small crowded room with a couple of now professional drummers and tried to a play drum set in front of them.

    they were encouraged by my attempts in front of such an intimidating audience (wasn't a drummer then either), but i'll never forget the words and concern of one bucket baker, who was trying his damned best to get me to loosen up a bit. bless his cotton socks.

    all throughout my classical musical training - on a trombone and various bass brass - i was always in a line or a band. i got real good at being the man to rely on for a solid bass down beat, but i rarely, if ever, really loosened up. all trained up, with nothing to say.

    flash to some 10 years later and a little success in real life affords me the opportunity to explore music the way i'd really like to, first with a drum set, then with a bass or two.

    slowly, in the privacy of my own living room, and in within the precise environment of a digital workstation, i began to understand - on drums - what loosening up really meant, while i still lack any serious chops.

    all the words from the old gurus about the Inner Game, and the relationships they would draw to things i did understand, eg skiing, or riding a bike, began to make perfect sense, and helped guide me through the process of letting it flow.

    using the same process as aikido, one understands that true control really only lends itself to those who merely guide the momentum of their playing, as opposed to trying to control and possess the entire process, or everything.

    hence the need for good habits, as this process can only be intuitive and natural. as natural as speaking your own language. but how did you learn to speak?

    never forget, the way you learned to speak is not by reciting letters and and words over and over - you learned to speak by asking for a cookie.

    and you don't need to sound like a game show host, or the Queen when you speak either. i'd much rather listen to bill hicks, john madden or george carlin.

    if you find yourself frustrated with music's deep secrets, remember to take the time by yourself and ask for a lot of cookies.

    :oops:
     
  2. Fliptrique

    Fliptrique

    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses, Taurus Amplification
    cool.
    -
    We do learn language by word and sentence repetitions. Small children - as some of you probably noticed - do a lot of "gu-gu" "ga-ga" stuff and, ocasionally "ieeeeeeeeeeee". They train and learn their instrument.
    Professional actors - besides developing the emotional side of acting - do a lot tongue-breaking excersises, to develop their pronouciation, precision.
    Many actors easly admit, that all emotions in their acting is a simple result of control of their own body - they don`t feel anything, they just know how to look like they would.

    When you know WHAT you want to play, you have to also know HOW to play it. I guess that the WHAT thing is beyond our control. I stick to the HOW part.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    To a certain extent - but not many people would be happy with the level of linguistic ability they attained "pre-school".

    So - it's only when you go into full-time education and have the benefit of teachers, that you actually achieve the level that allows you to actively participate in the world independently.

    The message is clear - without teachers you only attain the level of kindergarten - get yourself a teacher!! ;)
     
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Very cool, Bob, from one Gandhi to another ;)




    However, not everybody does. I prefer Shakespeare to just about anything else. I prefer John Pattitucci and Ray Brown and Marcus Miller and Chick Corea and Chris Potter and Michael Brecker.

    While there is a lot to be said for the "organic" approach, you'll never grow beyond the basics without study.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I didn't notice this before - is this a dig at Freddie Mercury!!?? ;)

    R.I.P.
     
  6. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    indeed, indeed, lads, hence my disclaimer...

    "hence the need for good habits, as this process can only be intuitive and natural. as natural as speaking your own language. but how did you learn to speak? "

    my point however is that if you are finding yourself getting bogged down int he precise nature of traditional music training - try asking for cookies.

    if you aren't getting bogged down, then learn how to ask for cookies too - because that's how you learn how to say something you really mean, instead of reciting words others want yu to say precisely (even yourself).

    ie, this is not an "Either/Or" proposition, it's an "As Well/In Addition To" notion :p and something far less thought about/discussed in the open in music education.

    western music education (and no doubt others) has a tendency to want you to know everything about the handlebars, tires, cranks, gears and frame, including their manufacture and perfect settings, before they even let you get on the bike.

    i'm from a different school which says it's far better to spend that same time "on the bike" facing downhill, learning the technical stuff as it becomes necesary/desired (so that it is understood, appreciated and retained properly, not in a by-rote fashion). but still hold the musician to the same standards.

    but irregardless of that ideological abstract, the point here is that people with terrible English comprehension and vocabulary are often deemed great speakers - and the reson for that is that they (or their PR advisors) understand *communication* , not just English.

    conversely, i've worked around copywriters who couldn't make disneyland on acid sound interesting because they are too busy minding their Ps and Qs.

    i tried minding my Ps and Qs with horn for twelve years and got so incredibly bored and uninterested in the superficial communication i gave up (because it was all about execution, with maybe one or two opportunities in total, for actual expression and even then only for the best players).

    i would argue the same is true for many disciplines at the academic level, and that this is often what pidgeon holes people who are perfectly capable but just lack the perspective to see the value in various associated activites. thus we only have politicians who can lie, business people who can manipulate and terribly uncreative teachers dominating their relative enclaves. but that's another whole subject =P

    just trying to get folks to think about things a little more =) so to ride this puppy all the way to the end...

    if it motivates you to play more, then do it. when you're tired of saying, "how now brown cow", then get up and go ask for cookies =)

    and if you want to learn how to make people throw babies at you when you do finally say "how now brown cow", then learn how to mean it by practicing asking for cookies.

    bah what a terrible metaphor :eek:
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Not where I come from - all the great speakers are able to say what they want and their command of English is such that they can say anything they think cohesively - same applies to music.

    So - just as we don't often want to hear speeches from kindergarten kids who are unable to express themselves - why should we want to hear musicians who are at the same level?

    Good speakers who get paid for this, are not only able to say whatever they want, but have something interesting or amusing to say.

    I think the same should apply to playing your instrument - only when you can play whatever you hear in your head and have something to say,that is interesting, should you be considered a decent musician!!


    [PS "irregardless" is not a word - you can have irrespective or regardless but not both!! - and is a good example of where you should maybe have gone back and paid more attention in classes!! ;) ]
     
  8. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    [PS "irregardless" is not a word - you can have irrespective or regardless but not both!! - and is a good example of where you should maybe have gone back and paid more attention in classes!! ]

    aha! perfect example.

    for the sake of continued argument (great discussion)...

    my point is to focus on communication. your point is that one cannot communicate if they are not precise in their communication protocol.

    i make the point that many traditional forms of insitutitons agree with you and prevent people form learning higher concepts until they have *mastered* the former.

    at the same time, we understand this will often discourage many, if not most, from ever touching those higher concepts, and possibly never have the motivation needed to drive the discipline to achieve technical standards later on/at all.

    in this casual forum, i don't even capitalise letters to convey that i'm speaking frankly, and unedited. i speak loosely, and i never mind my Ps and Qs. and i certainly don't spell check (that's what i do for a living). you caught me in a process error, that i never intended to process. if i were writing a white paper or a primer on this, you wouldn't have that luxury =)

    but in informal, open discussions like these, i make up words and phrases all the time, and play with punctuation's aesthetics more than their relevancy. my favorite phrase is a compound metaphor: it's not rocket surgery. gets the juices flowing a bit.

    and because of this disregard for protocol, you're telling me we should ignore the point altogether? =) of course not.

    but, isn't that the problem we face in most disciplines today? robots with little creativity for fear of breaking protocol?

    and isn't it funny how so many people who are considered prophetic communicators, are thought of as such because of the quality of the ideas they generate and their quality, and not how well they speak? eg, Tolkein, Hendrix or Buddha.

    if all you want to achieve is being an anchorperson, then i couldn't agree with you more. and i understand there is much room for that focus in music. Page was a brilliant example of both directions.

    but i think there's a lot more out there than protocol, and i think that constant desire or tendency we have as a society - to meet the needs of protocol - is exactly what kills creativity in this world, and turns so many kids out there into people who feel they have no creative ability.

    not that you are by any means trying to put forward that notion Bruce =P but i see these two seemingly distant notions as being directly tied to one another and this is why i always dig my heels in on this issue.

    i certainly don't disagree that standards are important, what i'm arguing with you about is that one necessarily excludes the other, or that one can only seek to nuture creativity some 5 or 10 years into the process of learning an axe.

    when i was learning horn, i was very good at it. the reason i stopped is because i was bored out of my mind because protocol demanded you could do very little creatively if you weren't incredibly lucky or way ahead of the game (ie understood and had access to the tech which let you work around these problems as an individual).

    i think that's why music has been so boring (or unoriginal) for the last few decades, save for the most brilliant and fortunate; and why for decades now, most of the interesting turns in music come from places far away from the protocols of the day. in places where the focus is to break the protocols.

    imho, creativity is a skill, not an intrinsic ability. and our protocols have a tough time accommodating that notion. and the opportunity cost is dire.

    woohoo, great coffee. :D
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must admit I haven't read all that last post - and in a way it is demonstrating my points - it is just too long, too rambling and this may well be a good illustration of how untrained writing can just be too unstructured to read.

    I feel no incentive to go beyond the first few lines and with many untrained musicians I feel the same - they are obviously limited,constrained and I know they are not going to say anything of interest to me.

    Whereas a good writer, speaker or musician will get my attention in a few words and "hook" me to read on....
     
  10. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    hehe, i see. skip to the last sentence if you don't have time...

    /sarcasm
    this is a forum right?

    if i was trying to write an ad, i'd expect to get paid many thousands of dollars for it and spend a lot more time than i'm spending here.

    one has to expound on abtracts and complicated ideas. so please forgive me for misinterpretting what i thought to be an invitation to discussion =) i'm a newbie here.

    never fear, i'll stick to spell-checked bumper stickers and t-shirt slogans from here on out...
    /sarcasm

    "Ask for cookies (in addition to your schoolin', not instead of)".

    :eek:
     
  11. Forgive me if I'm a bit late in chiming in here, please.

    Bruce, I must disagree with you here. If I have interpretted your posts correctly, then you are saying (to use the learning to speak analogy) that a child should remain silent until he has mastered all of the techniques and grammatical rules of spoken language?? This makes absolutely no sense. If the child learning to speak does not explore the world of spoken language as his skills are attained, then those skills can never possibly develop to the point that he can grab your attention and hook you as an audience.

    I believe that this is what Bob is saying here. While "I gotta go bafwoom" may not have the technical integrity or aesthetic of "Pardon me, but would you be so kind as to direct me toward the lavatory," it is a valid statement nonetheless and worthy of attention.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    NO NO NO - this is not what I said at all!!! :mad:

    What I was saying was that this level of learning is maybe OK for a child; but that most of us don't go to concerts of music played by children of kindergarten age!

    So - DB's ideas work up to a point, but only a very low level of learning - what I was saying was that of course children go on to be taught by many teachers, so his analogy falls down if applied to how we learn music.

    Nobody gets by on just what they learned as kids, without exposure to schools and many, many teachers - so why should it be any different when it comes to learning music?

    If you want to reach a decent standard of music then you can't necessarily rely on the methods that got you through kindergarten !
     
  13. Then perhaps I misunderstood. My apologies. I do see your point. The point that I am trying to make is that only by exploring concepts through creative expression do we learn to understand the nuances of the techniques and how to apply them to effectively communicate our point.

    While I agree that one should aspire to a vocabulary level that goes well beyond that which limits him to "gotta go bafwoom", I think that creatively using vocabulary at all stages of developement (both orally and musically) is essential and that the statements created by doing so are not invalidated by the ignorance of higher concepts. As I have never mastered even the most basic concepts of written communication, I don't know if I'm expressing myself well here, or even if I'm simply restating what you are trying to convey. If we are actually in agreement on this, then I apologize again for not grasping your point as fully as I thought I had.

    Basically my point is this:

    At the beginning stages of music education, asking for a cookie is essential. As one developes this request must, out of a true desire for progress, move to asking how to make cookies, and on up through the finest musical delicasies (I have no idea of the spelling of this word ;) ). Once those concepts are mastered, I believe the question should then turn to "how do I teach someone else to make cookies?"
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Maybe, or - can I get (anybody with cooking skills up to) a gourmet chef to teach me how to make something (many things) that I (as well as other people ) would really want to eat!! ;)
     
  15. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    DB's ideas work up to a point, but only a very low level of learning

    i think when you venture out into the upper echelons of any field, be it music, food or whatever - you're going to find passion is the more common denominator of success, vision and creativity, not protocol.

    unless success means simply maintaining status quo.

    but even more important, i think you will find far more people who have achieved the heights of their success by finding their passion (and means to sound off with it) and using that passion to *then* drive their ability to face the discipline and Pain involved in protocol.

    conversely, i think you will find very few people who have succeeded the other way around (with the exception of certain highly institutionalized fields, such as accounting and parts of the music field, eg 2nd trombone in philly harmonic, ie fields where status quo is all that matters). and those who do often lack much passion for anything other than execution (while they certainly will possess the ability to appreciate otherwise), will find the creative process overwhelming and completely unintuitive.

    the people i know of who do it this way, eg the mozarts', tiger woods' and winton marlsalis', tend also to have had extremely dominating and capable individuals working with them intensely almost all day long (a luxury very few people in this world ever have, and thus a dangerous example to follow as principle). i'v ebeen fortunate enough to run into a few of these types of educators, but never had the luxury of being able to spend 8 hours a day with them.

    i hear this complaint of lack of creativity from friends in the real music world all the time - celloists to stage drummers to band leaders/writers. i read it on these and other boards all the time.

    what concerns me bruce, and why i think this is a very critical issue in music ed. right now in particular - is that the 20th century pavlovian notion of how to teach/learn still dominates our classrooms and mindsets.

    i watched for some 15 odd years how this turned off potential virtuoso after potential virtuoso because they didn't believe they have what it takes, because unimaginative educators were more concerned about getting susy and jimmy to play a damned downbeat so he wouldn't be so embarrassed at the next NAJE convention.

    that's because after a year or two they were convinced that music had very little to do with what they got into it for in the first place.

    bear in mind tho bruce, i'm a huge proponent of excellence in execution if that's your game/goal. i also have a lto of educators as friends and happen to think educators are the most noble vocation on earth, so don't get me wrong here.

    but i know from my own education the ability to execute doesn't come without the kind of discipline that imho can only be motivated by passion.

    if that passion is to simply execute, then the passion to pursue creative ability will probably be non-existant, or even feared (because it feels so unnatural compared to one's ability to execute).

    i fail to see how one notion replaces the other here, or that the principle somehow dissipates depending on the complexity of the issue.

    consider this statement:

    "Possibility

    As so often happens language is short of many words. We need a simple word which indicates the following: "What you say is not wrong. I do not disagree with it. But it is only one possibility (explanation, perception, etc.). We need to be aware of other possibilities and even to look for them. Here is one other possibility."

    That is quite a mouthful and a simple indicative word would have a high value. Our thinking habits are so obsessed with 'right/wrong' that 'possibility' always gets insufficient attention. The reasons for this are obvious because our thinking habits are all judgement based.

    Edward de Bono nmt
    3rd November 2002
    Chicago"

    anyway, interesting discussion.
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I simply don't believe this statement :

    "i watched for some 15 odd years how this turned off potential virtuoso after potential virtuoso because they didn't believe they have what it takes, because unimaginative educators were more concerned about getting susy and jimmy to play a damned downbeat "

    You cannot possibly know this - you are just generalising and anyway, to become a virtuoso requires a lot hard work - maybe they were just lazy or felt they had better things to do with their time than practice every day for 8 hours - quite understandable.
     
  17. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Are you saying these 3 are examples of people who don't have the passion but merely the technical expertise???
     
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I don't think he's "saying" anything - but rather waffling and generalising!! ;) In a forlorn attempt to appear interesting!!

    Too much "fartin around on shrooms " !! :D
     
  19. deepbob

    deepbob

    Oct 3, 2001
    left field
    sigh, quite frankly, i'm sorry i tried discuss anything. i didn't realise a litte open-mindedness would be so offensive.

    sincerest apologies bruce - whatever i did to get on your boobies.

    anyway,

    Are you saying these 3 are examples of people who don't have the passion but merely the technical expertise???

    nope,

    i'm saying that these types are usually the only examples you find who achieve this standard of *both* excellence and creativity using this path.

    and i'm saying when you look at the reason why that is - the teachers they had from the earliest of ages (father figures cracking down on them mericilessly everyday) - it's very dangerous to assume this is the *only* path one can take to achieve either excellence or creativity.

    the converse example might be someone like flea - a little closer to a situtation that relates to *everyone*, not just folks who have a 8 hour a day tutor.

    he played **** he meant, no matter how crappy it was and taught himself from that passion much higher execution standards over many years.

    please don't confuse a serious concern for misdirected education principles as some kind of disdain for education.
     
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    I'm not offended - but I think it's woolly -mindedness, rather than open! ;)