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Jeff Berlin Discussing Music Ed

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JeffBerlin, Nov 24, 2009.


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  1. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Morning to all. Jon Packard correctly stopped the last thread that was going and it was partly my fault. I admit it! Some of the comment directed at me ticked me off, and when things calmed down, I was still mad. My fault. I'm only human!

    I still will not answer some guys no matter what they write. We are divorced! But I would like to start this new thread up if you are interested in continuing discussing musical things with me. Sometimes I am here, and sometimes I leave. If I am gone, ask Roy Vogt if he is free. This is a smart man and he has way better communication skills than I have.

    Here is a letter that I wrote to Jon Herrera at Bass Player magazine. I thought to show it to you guys first and get your input.

    Jeff's Letter.

    I’ve been busy touring and playing quite a lot in 2009. 2010 looks to also be a time of great musical happenings as well. Playing music is the core that keeps me alive, healthy and happy. I continue to meet so many great players on all instruments, and I get a chance to go to places and experience things that are other-worldly. Music took me around the world. It got me into these pages and it opened doors to possibilities here at home that were fantastic. For all of these opportunities, I’ve been busy touring and playing quite a lot in 2009. 2010 looks to also be a time of great musical happenings as well. Playing music is the core that keeps me alive, healthy and happy. I continue to meet so many great players on all instruments, and I get a chance to go to places and experience things that are other-worldly. Music took me around the world. It got me into these pages and it opened doors to possibilities here at home that were fantastic. For all of these opportunities, I am grateful.

    With the status that I have gained in music, one thing that I used it for was to promote great musical educational principles and the pursuit of music in its highest levels. It is a hard thing to be a good musician, and in this “instant gratification” era that we live in, it can be even harder for some players who aren’t learning correctly. And so, I argued for a higher academic standard for players to pursue. But, my tone and firm stance bothered a lot of people.

    This stops today! The world is a big place and there are lots of opportunities to try out different ways to learn. If I have a problem with these methods, it is MY problem, not yours. Therefore, I apologize to each and every teacher, school, camp, intensive, program and DVD artist that I may have blanketed into being considered lower standards of learning. This was wrong of me and I won’t do it again!

    Yet, I still hold to everything that I ever stated in regards to being solid methods of learning. But, if some don’t hold to them as I do, then there are lots of musical opportunities for you to check out to see what you can find. I still will champion the musical directions that I believe in. But, I would like to join the family of music educators instead of arguing against them, if they will let me. Again, I apologize for this method of communication. It won’t happen anymore.

    Malcolm X was asked why he was so firm or condemning in his racial stances. He answered, “My personal problem is never solved as long as the problem is not solved for all of our people in this country.” This is how I feel about music. It is hard for me to feel good about music ed as long as some players who wish to improve aren’t getting what they need in music education. But, I can’t blanket music ed as I did and I never will again. I may still say that “this is the best” but, I will never say that “this is the worst”. Those days are over. Good luck to all in your musical endeavors.

    Wow! I feel like Scrooge on Christmas morning. And it is a nice feeling!

    Love to all,

    Jeff
     
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Hi Jeff!
    Maybe this one will be more productive.
     
  3. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Jeff,
    I am a musician who offers private lessons. My stance is close to yours, I am jazz trained and it is what I have to offer, I've learned from some of the greats. Now where you and I may differ, is when a student got to ledger lines on guitar, I gave him hand written untabbed Crazy Train in standard notation. It was more interesting to him than the exercize in the Mel Bay book and kept a fourth graders interest. He is still learning jazz principles approprate to his level.
     
  4. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    The last one was starting to be great. Maybe guys here would like that to continue.
     
  5. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    What is your opinion on the musical education kids are recieving these days in public school?
    I got a pretty good basic music education when I was in school (60's-70's).
     
  6. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Once the previous thread was "taken back", as you put it, I got a lot of good information about learning music.

    I'd like to hear more about fretless bass playing (not the Jaco aspect, just the instrument it self) if that's a possible topic.
     
  7. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Heres hoping thsi thread will have no trouble, and plenty of info. :)
     
  8. FrankGravis

    FrankGravis

    Oct 31, 2006
    Endorsing Artist: Markbass Amps, ESP Basses, D'Addario Strings, EMG Pickups
    Jeff, just a little note to say hi. I saw you were on, so I couldn't resist coming up from the shadows of anonymity and greeting you. I am still playing and teaching in NYC, and most importantly, still surviving.

    All the best to you, my friend. Please give a ring if you're ever in my neighborhood. We still have to go for Italian food on Mulberry Street.

    Frank
     
  9. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Yes, I learned to read on a cheap xylophone in 2nd grade with the rest of the class, recorder in 4th grade and 7th grade covered basic solfege, again with the whole class, we'd have individual testing on the solfege every quarter.
     
  10. 4001

    4001 SUSPENDED

    :hyper:

    Hi Jeff!!

    I just want to say a BIG THANK YOU to you, for all of the great music and instruction that you have shared with us for all of these years.

    Was listening to Bill Bruford's "One of a Kind" cd earlier and currently spinning is "Vicky Samba" from your "Taking Notes" CD.

    All the best Jeff.
    Come see us in Chicago as soon as possible!

    Tom
     
  11. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    Good morning Jeff. Great letter.
    Still, you gotta stand up for what you believe in. Stick to your guns - as my grandpa used to say.

    I'm not much good at sugar coating things either. Your tone has never been an issue with me, I have always tried to take to heart your teachings.

    But Man, I just can't get into Jazz. I don't like listening to most of it and have no desire to learn it. So, with this attitude, am I just destined to never reach my potential?

    Take Slap/Popping for example. I have tried, and I believe that I just physically can't do it (my thumb just dosen't flop around like others). I have pretty much resigned myself to not being able to play thay style.

    Any advice for tailoring my musical education to meet my personal expectations/needs/wants?
     
  12. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    You know, I was thinking about this topic and I think I came up with a baseball analogy.

    If you want to be a better batter, you want to go up against a pitcher with a wide variety of pitches. Jazz will throw anything your way, fast ball, curve ball, slider, knuckle ball, even sneak in the occasional spit ball.

    3/4 in the treble cleff while playing 5/4 in the bass? You got it.
    A pentuple within a triplet? Sure.
    Chords that will make your fingers scream? Sure.
    ..and have it all happen right now!!!!

    Yes, other forms of music have this, but jazz is much more likely to have it. And you must admit that European classical music didn't have much (if any) of that until jazz became more popular there.

    Just a thought.
     
  13. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Sounds OK. You aren't using tab which I totally dismiss as a valuable learning tool. You gave your student notes to learn. Sounds like a pretty sound vitamin.
     
  14. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I really don't know anything about how they teach in schools. All I ever heard was that programs were being cut. But I don't know how true this is either.
     
  15. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    In music, one identifies a sound of an instrument with t e person who "owns" that sound. Nobody defined the piano, the guitar, the acoustic bass, the drums or the electric bass. But only one musician defines the origions of the fretless bass, Jaco Pastorius. No matter if Bill Wyman or the guy from The Band used one first, the genesis of that instrument is pointed at one guy only. For me, the fretless bass has a sound already built into it and because of this, I have never heard a fretless bass player sound origional. The sound is already established by Jaco and everybody who plays fretless comes from that source whether they know it or not. If they are OK with this, then cool.
     
  16. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Frank Gravis and I used to play with Herbie Mann's band in the 1970's He's a bass player as well (Herbie liked to experiment with different instrumentations. One band actually had Tony Levin, Will Lee and me on bass).

    Frank is a fantastic musician and a great friend of mine. Glad to hear from you Frank. Let's hang soon.
     
  17. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    A pleasure. And thanks for mentioning Vicky Samba. This was one heck of a composition, one of my deepest. I wrote every note in the harmony. This tune took me 5 months to complete.
     
  18. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I do stick to my guns, but doing this seems to bother way more people than I thought. I have no problem apologizing if I've offended anyone. I especially had at educational principles without naming any school, but it still bothered some guys. So I thought to chill with the comments about what doesn't work and try to emphasise what does.
     
  19. refbassist

    refbassist

    Mar 3, 2007
    I usually show my students How to read and get to know music fundamentals but somehow it seems that 1 out of 10 continue with the lessons as the rest find it easier to to look for tabs to play their favorite songs in a wrong way!
    so any suggestions on how to keep it more interesting and make youngsters want to learn real music?!
     
  20. bench

    bench

    Dec 28, 2007
    Germany
    hi jeff,

    great to have you back and thanks again for spending time with us here.

    i have a question regarding sightreading. i know you could read treble clef from your "violin-childhood". i´d like to be able to read bass and treble clef so i´d like to know if you think it´s better to learn one until you "have it" and then learn the other one or is it better to jump between the two??

    peace bench
     

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