Can Creativity be Destroyed by Extensive Instruction

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Dee Wurthy, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. The subject of this post got me thinking...
    Considering that a great number of creative and innovative bassists (edit: as stated in the thread above :rolleyes: <-----he's looking up) seem to have minimal training on their instrument (had not taken lessons for the majority of time), perhaps there is a point where you are trained so much that you learn to play like everybody else and have a harder time finding your own personal voice. (If you are gifted with such.)

    What does everybody think about this?

    Do lessons make you play like your instructor and therefore, influence your playing to the point of mediocrity?

    EDIT: Those of you who are avid bass 'instructees', please do not be offended. I am not saying that you lack in anything. This is not my personal opinion BTW.
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I think that if you have a creative energy, no amount of training can ever dissuade that, but there are some people, that just like playing, they might not be very creative per se, or have a lot of fresh ideas to speak of, but they like to play ya know?

    hmm, Mark Levine Prefaces his 'the jazz theory book' with this "A Great solo Consists of: 1% magic, 99% Stuff that is; Explainable, Analyzable, Categorizable, Doable. This Book is mostly about the 99% stuff. "

    Additionally, The goal that one should probably be shooting for, is not to assimilate everything verbatim, but rather, as gabu puts it "think outside the box, but not at the expense of the box"

    you learn all your theory, your jazz heads, your standards, your techniques, scales, chords...etc. so that you have (levine again) "an available pool of notes[and ideas] to pull from" How you use it all is up to you.
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I'ma be honest here. 95% of the people I hear making that kind of statement do so as a way to rationalize the fact that they don't want to practice. "All those scales are cramping my style, man...."

    This is certainly not a personal attack- you clearly are raising this topic as a valid question. Though I will argue your point that "clearly... many of the most creative and innovative bass players have had minimal training on their instrument." The most creative, innovative, and talented musicians that come to my mind, especially bass players, have had extensive training. Is this true in every case? No. But I think your blanket statement is incorrect, or at least needs some serious support. ;)
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Depends on the instructor, IME.

    A poor one will tell you how and what to play.

    A fine one will give you the tools that allow you to create.
  5. Markdezy


    Jan 24, 2004
    Yet another VERY well said post.
  6. Hmm. I am mildly offended with your presumptions to my intent in this thread - I would rather that you take the word "clearly" out of that quotation by the way.- I did not say that... That was mearly a statement that I made as a result of another particular thread. By reference, it seemed that many innovative musicians that I appreciate were sayed by others to have not officially taken lessons. That is the support you were speaking of.

    Also, I did not completely justify or believe in that statement. I questioned that statement and posted it for the consideration of others. By no means did I impose a personal oppinion.

    As for my own experience, I have been versed in music theory for several years and while I have had no lessons for bass guitar individualy (saxophone, rather), have studied recordings and made observations of other bassists technique. It is obvious to me that I have no need for that blanket. I'm to busy staying up all night practicing. (Insert appropriate smiley here)

    Please read more carefully next time.
  7. I completely agree that theory is a must. I dont think a musician could ever be influencial (in a non-fieldy way) without actually knowing about music methodically.

    It is the instructor that is in question. It seems that one becomes what one is exposed to (in all parts of life). I am just questioning whether or not having an instructor will not allow you to find your own 'voice' over time (especially in the early days of musical training).

    However, looking back at the statement you made implying that one has or does not have that creativity makes me think again. Perhaps it doesn't matter because true creativity can not be detered. Or can it!?
  8. This really could be the conversation ender here.
  9. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000

    You seem to have missed the part where I said: "This is not a personal attack- you are clearly raising this topic as a valid question". As I stated, I was speaking from the experiences I have had with other players concerning the topic at hand.

    Please read more carefully next time.
  10. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    In addition to my previous post- if you did not say "clearly", I can understand some of your irritation. I seem to recall that being in the unedited post, but I will admit that I could be wrong. I have a tendency to read things very fast.

    After reading through the linked thread, though, I will still disagree that there are even a good fraction of "self-taught" bass players that are held in any kind of regard. That thread produces quite a short list, some of which isn't even accurate. So, to answer your question, with the above evidence, I will so that no, a teacher will not inhibit your creativeness, etc.
  11. Haha!
    (This is all for the sake of good conversation by the way. No anger on this side.)

    It was hard for me not to take it personally considering that some of your statements seemed to label me as lazy, incapable, and self-conscience about my playing/practicing abilities. It just seemed that you were making assumptions before really knowing.

    I understand that it is hard to know what tone people are speaking in when it is in typed form. I just wanted to make myself clear. I am sure that if we were in the same room talking about it, there wouldnt be such a misunderstanding.

    Anyway, back to the convo.
  12. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    It's all good. I thought I had phrased my intent well enough in my original post, but, as you said, sometimes these things don't convey well over the internet. I was merely making a point, and hardly meant it to be at your expense. :)
  13. I was probably the Keith Horne comment (I have a thing for left handed bass players [being one, ya know]), and my admiration for Ryan Martinie.

    Heh heh.

    It is still a credible topic IMO.

    BTW, The unedited post did not suggest that I personally supported that statement. I could, however, see where somebody could have read it that way.

    (Jeez, whats with me and all the stupid edits anyway! It's mostly my fixation with proper grammar and spelling...Maybe I should check before I post!)
  14. I think in some ways, extensive instruction can hamper creativity. For example, someone might only play the stronger notes in a walking bass line and not experiment with others. Then again, that can be fixed. A good bass teacher will encourage experimentation and teach him various things he can change. I think the good outweighs the bad, however.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head! I agree 100%.
  16. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Music is a language. A good instructor teaches vocabulary and syntax. It is up to the student to come up with content. Content is a product of many things, and a great instructor might be helpful here as well. All IMHO, of course.
  17. I suppose that instruction might take control of your musicianship only in certain areas. For example, with saxophone lessons, I found myself emulating my instructors tone. It has made me wonder if I ever could have sounded different without him. I've also started picking up some soloing habits from him as well. Same situation with soloing. But the more I debate this with myself, the more I realize that learning it from somebody (allowing you to be original or not) will ultimately make you a better musician in the long run. I have always figured that was not completely true with bass. I'm still wondering.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I think it's a gross overgeneralization.

    I can think of plenty of untrained players who have no personal style, and plenty of highly trained players with highly personal styles.

    When I hear statements like this I always see them as excuses for lazy musicians.
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree that this is a vast generalisation and over-simplification - we need to define who we're talking about here and what you mean by creativity and innovation?

    So - somebody like Jeff berlin is a very creative and innovative bassist who advocates musical education, same with Gary Willis and many others I could name - lots of creative and innovative bassists admit to studying Jaco's bass lines - but it doesn't mean they sound anything like him when they are playing!