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FAQ suggestion :"Age as an issue in Musical Education threads" - thanks to Steve!!

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by Bruce Lindfield, Dec 3, 2002.

  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I thought the following post by Steve Lawson, in a recent debate, really deserved a wider reading as it states very clearly and in a non-patronisng manner, how the age of posters can have an impact on what they are saying.

    I think that this maybe needs to be part of a FAQ on this subject - explaining the issues like this, may lead to less acrimony in debates where this comes up. Here's the post :

  2. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I think that this is a good idea - however, part of the problem in these threads is that some young 'uns DON'T take the experience of older players into account, and some older fellows DO patronize and play the age card. IMHO that is what starts all of the problems.
  3. Hell, I play the age card, and I just turned 20! ;)

    Of course, I have the advantage of having been 15 recently enough to remember in gruesomely specific detail exactly how stupid my methods of thinking really were.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The same thread produced another very lucid statement about age and musical education - well Ed copied something which I think again deserves wider exposure :

    This was posted by Ray Parker in another thread over in DB, but I think that it's relevant AND well written -
    Just to keep the wound bleeding here a bit I'll throw in my piece. I'm doing this from the perpective of being the spawn of a great player and teacher, and after having taught for many years myself.

    In my experience, and I think it covers a good cross section of humanity, the ability to play music is a pretty common thing. A standard bell curve, if you like. The ability to play music takes a number of skills and each student will have different strengths and weaknesses. This covers the raw talents needed -- raw technical ability, ears, and time -- as well as personality type, commitments to real life, etc.

    Throughout my teaching experience, I've had students with moderate to low raw musical skills that have excelled and students with incredible raw musical ability that never went anywhere, where most fall in the middle somewhere. It has always been my father's opinion, and I agree, that the biggest difference between the left and right of the bell curve is the student's desire. The next difference would be what Ed talks about when he is on about the 'smart' practicing.

    I've also found that students that have a very strong raw musical talent can often be difficult to teach as you have trouble getting them disciplined enough to work on their weaknesses. For example, getting someone with really strong ears to learn the math behind harmony, or someone with fast hands to slow down and get a good sound.

    The rarest of all are the Bachs, Mozarts, Charlie Parkers, etc, who have huge sums of all of the raw tools AND the drive. The coolpart is that you never have to worry about being one of those. If you were one of those, you'd have known it before you knew it, ya dig?

    Now -- after all of this, the only other ingredient is access to knowledge. In the world today, this is a lot easier than it was 40-50+ years ago with all of the recording -- and at high quality -- that was available before. Recording is only a picture of what happened, though, so it can only be used as a guide. If live performance is what you're after, then recordings will fall short of giving you what you need to know about playing. Organizing and using information in music is actually a bit more difficult than it would be to teach yourself something like mathematics in that you have the whole physical and aural aspects to contend with as well. (I'm going to cut short here a bit as I have to run out the door in about 5) In short -- you have to find yourself a teacher to fill in what you are missing in the recording and printed literature for music. You couldn't learn to play football in a vacuum either.

    I have strong hands, decent time, average ears, good creativity, reasonable luck. I've been a professional musician my whole life, not because I came from a musical family, but because I get the thing out of the bag every day and do it. I have had great teachers and am persistent to learn all of the time.

    He has a newsletter, too.
  5. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Older doesn't necessarily mean wiser - you can grow old and jaded instead. Personally, I pay very little attention to what age people claim to be on the internet - I'll read what they say and try to use what wisdom I've gleaned to interpret it appropriately.

    I'll also look at what else I know about the person. If they fire off hundreds of badly worded requests or opinions, or if I never see them take part in constructive conversations, I'll treat what they say lightly. I'll pay more attention to someone like Steve because I've known him in person for a number of years - I've got much more evidence to estimate his 'wisdom' than somebody who has just turned up on the forum posting from Outer Mongolia... even if they claim to have been playing professionally for years.

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog...

  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I don't think either of those posts are saying that - it's not a case of saying older is wiser - I'm sure there are thousands of working Jazz players, younger than me who could teach me a huge amount.

    What Steve is explaining is why a 15 year old cannot have the experience necessary to teach others - well this sounds a bit patronising which is why I liked Steve's post as it is not patronising but explains all the issues - it's not about "age" as in older - but rather in being too young.

    I'm sure Steve's younger than me, but far wiser in every respect, especially in this context!! ;)

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