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Can you teach creativity?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by belzebass, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. belzebass


    Feb 21, 2012

    I would like to know if you, as bass teachers, teach students creativity, composing, etc. ?

    Do you use exercises to stimulate creativity, usage of new patterns (rhythmic and harmonic)?
    Do you make composing exercises "in the style of"?
    Do you make exercises for composing?
    Do you give feedbacks on student's basslines?
    How do you help him get better in composing basslines and fills?
    Do you give him exercises/stuff to listen to open up his "musical mind"?
    Do you make exercises to compose cliché basslines for different musical styles?

    I would like to know just if you do it, no need to break open your "tricks of the trade" :cool:

    In general, do you think it's "teachable"?
    Can you get better with it with mindful exercises, or it just "comes" magically (or it doesn't)?
    Does it just happen, or do you make it happen?

    Disclaimer: I'm not a teacher, but a student who wants to get better in composing department :help:

    PS: If you know online bass courses that teach "creativity", I'll be happy to know them too.
  2. belzebass


    Feb 21, 2012
    As a matter of fact, I was looking for composing exercices and challenges.

    Some ideas are
    1) Write a bassline in the style of... over backing track
    2) A bassline using only certain rhythm
    3) A bassline using only certain notes
    4) A bassline with certain notes already placed, others to add

    Any other ideas?
  3. You can teach students to listen. This is the foundation of all else. A few of those will hear. In the course of time, some of those who persist will become creative. They would have gotten there with or without you, but you can save them some time.
  4. Can you teach creativity? Yes and No; exposure to extremely creative music has in my case opened up neural pathways enhancing my ability to hear music in my head (damn brainwashing by Ludwig Van).
    Now, if you speak of the neither regions from which GROOVE reproduces itself… I think that's just psychosis and shouldn't be taught at all :atoz: Imagine that you can imagine your own music!

    f n o r d !
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    I ABSOLUTELY teach creativity. Knowing where creativity comes from and how to access it is the key. I not only teach creativity on bass but present corporate, community and school presentations on becoming more creative and a more critical thinker.

    These concepts I've developed have come from 30 years of teaching, privately, at the high school and at the college level. The bass method I teach (and book I wrote about it) is a direct descendant of many years of trial. If you're interested in this, feel free to PM me.

  6. I ABSOLUTELY do NOT teach creativity! And I don't charge money accordingly… Since I was about 11 years old, THAT'S OVER 30 YEARS of imagining! I have ONLY used one sure fire method… IT'S FREE!!!!

    Here it is… I normally look up and to the right and IMAGINE what I'd like to HEAR… MAGICALLY, sounds that I like and DESIRED to hear, sound off in my BRAIN!:hyper:

    it never gets old/never have to upgrade the program,
    never cost me a dime,
    f n o r d !
  7. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    You can only IMAGINE what you would like to HEAR, if you have the ability to broaden you imagination .. or else your stuck in the same old paradigm.

    and YES I get paid, rather well, to teach it. WHY. Because many find a great deal of value in it!
  8. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Dizzy Gillespie once said "Jazz has never happened before" - he was referring to the fact that what you play, on a given night, is the culmination of everything you are at that moment. You are a different person than you were the night of that last gig.

    All too often, as performers, we rely solely on what we know, what we've done before. That is everything from the notes we chose, the rhythms we play, even the way we place our hands on the neck of the instrument. The first step to grow ones' creativity, to think "outside the box" is to first look at who built the box. The box is a representation of all our limits and expectations (those internal as well as external). In many of my hands-on-clinics the first thing I ask is for the audience to put there hands on the neck as if they were going to play in a certain key. Clearly 90% of the participants place their middle finger on the root of the key. Why? It is because that is the way everyone has learned ... play a major scale root up, with a certain fingering (2,4,1,2,4,1,3,4). When you really consider this, you begin to realize just how limiting that is. It means that you can really only play one key per position. If you're playing down on the "money position" (the first 5 frets), you can only play in 5 keys. If you put your middle finger on the root and play up from there, your leaving out all those notes BELOW the root as well. Sometimes creativity comes with a simple shift in paradigm.

    Although my methodology works for all forms of creativity and business, alike. In terms of bass playing, I start with a simple redirection of the way you approach the instrument. I impose artificial limitations to force you to think of building bass lines in a different way, to hear things in a different way, to open up the fretboard and allow your musicianship to grow from hearing things like you never have before.

    Of course ... you could always just imagine what you want to hear and it will magically happen
  9. belzebass


    Feb 21, 2012
    Actually, I'm a student looking for lessons/creative "games/composing challenges.

    What do you mean by "listen"? Analyzing, or active listening?
  10. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    I think he might be talking about the way you listen to music.

    1) Listen critically
    2) Listen and transcribe
    3) Analyze what you've transcribed and how it relates to the entire piece - the chord changes, the melody, the rythm, the dynamics of the song, the move to different sections, etc
  11. Sav'nBass

    Sav'nBass What the .............. Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Northern Va.
    I don't think that creativity can be taught. I believe that creativity is like a seed. We do not create them.. we only plant them and nurture them.

    From a musical standpoint all a teacher can do is teach you how to hear the music and translate it through your instrument. The creative part is entirely up to the individual.
  12. Wow, Mike. You get paid to give folks the "ability" to quote: "broaden their imagination?(paraphrase)" and rather well? Proud of that? Who is stuck in what paradigm?
    One can only imagine, if one has the ability to broaden their imagination?:scowl:
    I'll not drink the Kool Aid, thank you, my brain works quite well without shucking out dollars to "teachers."

    happy winter solstice,
  13. belzebass


    Feb 21, 2012
    I hear you explanation. It makes sense.

    As for magic, I think it needs help, to grow and to break out.

    And by magic, I don't mean "magic"!

  14. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If Mike provides a service, and someone thinks that service provides value, I don't see the problem with him getting paid. I never had a teacher who worked for free.

    For the record, I don't know Mike and never heard of him before this thread.
  15. Sure, Scientology provides a "service," as well. So does the Vatican. I just don't see how it serves the bassist on TB. But by all means, send money to Mike or any other who you believe can make you creative, if you see value in it.
    I warn off my TB brethren, not so much as a service but as an obligation. As a Newb, I've been served by the vets' knowledge… So, I pass it along. Sorry, Mike, can't recommend your pseudo logic to any of the brethren; seems you know just enough NLP to make you dangerous.:eyebrow:

    f n o r d !
  16. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Often times the biggest tool to being creative is being allowed (or allowing yourself) to be creative. Sometimes that is being in a creative environment other times that his just an internal thing to get the imagination jump started. Many people aren't creative because they don't get positive feedback for their creative efforts. They will blame teachers, parents, partners, band members, bar owners or general public. Get over it. Self image starts with 'self'.

    Do something creative today. Don't do something to impress the world or anyone. Just be a little creative in the way you do something you normally would do anyway. Tomorrow do something else creative. Keep going. Take all the time you need to feel good about yourself. Don't worry about anyone else's opinion, that will come in time. Just keep looking at things that are mundane and normal and try them in a slightly different way.

    Like Lennon said, "I'm taking the time for a number of things that weren't important yesterday".
  17. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Mike's written a book and has people paying him for lessons. Nobody is asking for your endorsement, but maybe someday if you accomplish as much you'll feel differently about someone taking potshots at you.

    As I said, I don't know Mike, but it always rubs me the wrong way when someone who hasn't done anything disparages someone who has.
  18. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    The problem is they will revert back to rock music progression because it doesn't sell ... it is always about what sell ... some people think they re creative because they compose "new" music but in reallity they bend what they trully hear thinking this will sell. So in the end I don't think art is really creative anymore because the moment you want to please or sell then your vision is blurried.

    but for the sake of the discussion ...

    I find that trying to play different music from different country or trying to play alll the "parts" with your bass will free you a little from the dreader "I'm a bass player who groove"
  19. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I teach creativity, but you have to broaden and re-define your idea of what teach means. I can only teach what I believe is creative based on all my experience, so since no one has my experience then I can use it as a basis to teach from. In this process I increase my creativity because I learn from the process and those I teach.

    Creativity is imagination, but the ability to express your imagination and not think it foolish, childish, or irrelevant is the key.

    Those that say you cannot teach creativity maybe suffering from a lack of it because they cannot see how you can teach it. Any teacher uses creativity when the teach, their gestures, their voice, the way they explain lessons.....if they did not then why pay for lessons when you can just read it from a book?

    I agree with Mike that it can be taught and it needs to be taught. The creative part of music is what seperates players from composers, arrangers from lyricists etc.
    But, and this is the big But, creativity is about freeing what is inside you, its not about financial gain, awards, recognition, validation, fame etc....its about doing what the creator wants and if the creator wants to be more creative then they need new experiences to draw on, and that means talking to others, and like Mike if you want my time you pay for it.

    One of my main exercises is when teaching an idea over a progression, is the next time they come back i want 12 different ways to play over that progression. So they usually ask 'what can i change to make it different'? To which i reply, "12 notes.....you have 12 notes, the same 12 notes Beethoven had, and the same 12 notes Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols, and countless thousands through the ages....so why do they not all sound the same?"

    So one lesson has 12 different outcomes if you have the imagination to see how it can be. ;)
  20. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Anyplace to hear what that sounds like?