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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. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The Players School deals in music not the instrument of application.
    Music applies to the bass as it does any other instrument. If you can hear and identify chords for example you can play bass in that situation. You do not need to be able to play them or use them, but at least be able to identify them.
    Even in a simple jam the ability to recognise the chord that a player uses lets you play( if even the root) the correct choice and gives you a clue where he may go next. You might even be able to offer some colour in you own choices that will let the other players work around what you are given rather than you trying to follow or keep up.... you are part of it and involved.:)
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yup - as bass player, you have the power to change the chord by playing a different note as root - as long as you know your inversions, that is!! ;)
  3. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    That actually made perfect sense. This is why I love this thread.

    Thanks Roy.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Also look at it this way for every piece of music that any solo player has ever produced, Jeff included, you can put a "bass line" to it if you want in the traditional sense. Just because the bass in the lead or prominant instrument position, and is played in an overlapping pitch area (which would be higher up on the neck than one would normaly use) that does not mean that you can't, if you wish. You can still play a simple bass line with it in what you would consider its true pitch area ( Lower notes, lower on the neck). :)

    In orchestras or brass bands, instruments often overlap, that is where arrangements and good use of instrumentaion comes in.
    The baritone and euphonium play in the same range as the trombone, but due to their designs they each have a tone and colour to offer when when they overlap.;)
  5. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    No, no value at all. If you are playing the notes that you are supposed to represent, then there is no value in saying them at the same time. But there is a value in counting out loud music that requires subdivision because counting it and playing it are two different actions at the same time. You can't do this unless you understand how both actions work. Good luck.
  6. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    If you are learning music to participate in the real world, then you aren't learning how to play for the right reasons. Learning how to function in the real world of music inspires you to function at bare bottom level playing ability because much of bass playing in contemporary music isn't that good nor challenging. Anybody can play those parts. How do I know? Because there are loads of bands covering popular music or playing music of a contemporary style all over the world than there are great players who actually provided the origional music in the first place. Besides, the real world of music is one of the most fickle environments there is. What is popular today is not popular tomorrow. Just ask any of the players from the "hair bands" of the 1980's and 1990's who are now permanently unemployed because they didn't learn how to play properly when they had the chance to.

    We teach jazz at The Players School of Music because there is no music anywhere that applies to all other styles in regards to "hardware", that is, the pure musical realities of music itself. A G maj chord is the same chord when played by Lamb of God, or Christin Aguiera or in a Budweiser commercial, or in the music score to Avatar. But if you don't know how to function in G maj, then you won't have a music career to speak of. If you really wish to learn how to play, then we will help you with this. But if you only wish to learn enough about playing to get a gig, you've pretty much prevented your career from going anywhere. Make the right decisions about your musical life because your future resides within your decisions. Good luck.
  7. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    +1 to this. I'm an 80s Hair Band survivor (Joanna Dean on Polygram) and the only one of us that still works in the Music Business because I was a Musician before I was a (wannabe) Rock Star....
    My checkered past-I'm the guy with all the hair and the Tobias 5 string....
  8. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    Great video Roy! I just love the 80's you. (not that you don't look great now, but MAN! Such Hair) :p
  9. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    There are not many like Roy, guys who started out in music but managed to stay. In fact, the roadside is littered with the bodies of ex-working musicians and the music industry will continue to spit out all those guys who aren't qualified to hang around and provide a musical service. Hard words, but true words! And no metronome will change your musical future for you, nor will tab, nor anything else that one might rely upon for musical improvement, that is, except music itself.

    Academic music is THE number one methods to generically provide the fertile musical soil to grow one's music. If you don't go in an academic direction, then you had better hope that you are born with genuine musical talent or that you find that Lottery-rare moment in music where your fame is laid out for you based only upon the work that you have done in music by yourself, without a school, without a teacher.

    The problem that I run across is this generation's idea that they know what they are talking about in regards to learning how to play. They do not.

    Players who wish to remain in this unstable business had better get serious about playing because so few players ever rise above what they have right now in terms of playing ability or gigs. Most fade away when musical styles change but they haven't learned how to play well enough to change with the new styles..

    I don't want this for you. I want players to get serious and learn how to play even while you are pursuing your art. You can do both you know! Meanwhile, stop confusing learning with art. I find it remarkable how separating and identifying both concepts as totally different is hard for most on Talkbass and other websites to do. Read odin79;s comments again. He is far from alone in this thinking.

    odin70 Registered User Join Date: Dec 2007Location: Oslo, Norway

    Is the Players school a "jazz school"? Imo if you are not aspiring to become a jazz musician and/or a bass soloist, chord tones are not that important. It may seem very important in a classroom setting, but out there in the real word...who cares? Most musicians that i have met are looking for whole other bass qualities than being able to play inversions of c major. Imo you should of course have a basic knowledge of chords and scales, but i think people here are going bananas over an issue that is only one part of what makes a musician able to play and make good music with/for himself/others."

    Odin79’s comments are appropriate for this generation of players who cannot separate art from academics. He didn’t do anything wrong. He fit exactly within the same borders that most players of this era fit into, a non-musically motivated and totally artistically motivated group. But, again, art and academics are different and need different kinds of attention. What interests me is that this point of musical thinking is harder to communicate to people than any other point I've raised. The overly sensitive are easy to get a rise out of. All I need to say is that, say, England generally provides a low academic instruction or that metronomes do not provide good lessons in time. These guys will leap up to comment every time. But no one resonds to the idea that academics and art are separate because almost nobody understands this concept. Many simply cannot grasp what I am saying. Until you guys understand the difference and deal with them differently, many will not improve as players the way that you wish to. Actually it is easy to improve in two areas if you just deal with them as different. A chef cooks meat differently than he cooks vegetables and so they both come out according to their individual needs. Do the same in academics and art, and you will be twice the musician you are today.
  10. bench


    Dec 28, 2007

    thanks for your honesty.... ;), made my day.

    If it was a pie, it might be sliced this way.

    25% listening (the ability to transcribe at least a 4 chord song, the ear training interval component, a developed enough of an ear, to hear & follow chord changes, to hear when a key modulated, the ability to listen to other members of a group, namely the percussion instrument, the drums)

    25% theoritical accumen (understanding the basic building blocks of how chord structures are built from scales, at least up to a 7th chord, in all 12 keys, understanding diatonic harmony and at least the 4 chord qualities, a functional knowledge of how harmony moves, how music/songs, for the most part, move in 4ths)

    50% feel (having your first instinct be that of thinking rhythmically or in a pocket/repetitive manner, a natural, or learned rhythmic awareness, the emotional/feeling component of playing music)

    From my own perspective, trying to understand the language of Jazz music, when a firm grasp of basic r&b (funk) & pop songs is not understood, is complete madness, lol.

    To operate under the notion that if one can play Jazz they can play anything is really misleading. Jazz music, to me, seemed structureless & emotionally devoid of feeling, for the most part. Anything seems to go. (I do own 1 Miles Davis & Dave Weckl cd that has a slight concentration on the groove aspect) Those 3 or 4 minute r&b (funk) & pop songs, are just as meaningful in understanding harmony & how to sit in a pocket, without running all over the place because the harmony doesn't dictate it.

    If i can take it a step further, i'd go out on a limb and say that trying to understand the language of music, from a bass guitar's perspective, as opposed to a piano perspective shouldn't be reccomended. You can't truly understand the harmony aspect by hitting 1 bass note at a time. You can try to chord on the bass, but it just seems like futility to understanding the harmony aspect, as a chord 's personality can't flourish this way, imho.

    Unless you were born with a natural instinct/proclivity to be rhythmic/percussive, i think the bass will frustrate a person who indeed has a geniuine & earnest desire to make music & desires to express what is in his or her heart. The only alternative i could see is always playing with a keyboardist who has an understanding of harmony to guide you as the bass player.

    Also, Jeff, i think that many here are intimated to speak their mind, as we all fear the retort of you questioning how we are currently getting along in music, with holding on to our own stubborn and maybe false ideals, or you asking us to furnish physical proof of credentials by youtube videos or such, lol.
  12. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I didn't know we needed to respond to it because it seems like common sense! I agree, by the way. ;)
    In fact, I think it is the most important point in this whole thread that it bares repeating:
    Academics and art are separate
  13. CoffeeJanitor


    Jun 4, 2009
    Jeff, I wish to become a proficient jazz bass player (I have played for around a year now and have begun writing my own lines, while studying Rufus Reid's "Evolving Bassist" with my teacher). However, I also would love to study the physical sciences in college. The most I'm going to delve into music is (at most) a jazz studies minor. Maybe.

    Do you think that this is an attainable goal seeing as I will not be attending music school? I'm currently trying to get lessons with one of the more well-known bassists in the area, and practice around 3 hours a day (includes transcribing, writing, etc.).

    I know that you do not know me as a musician, but from this text could you give me any advice on reaching such a high level of playing?
  14. whocaresnotme


    Jun 21, 2009
    This is the absolute truth! I bought the 7 because I am curious and I have the cash to do so. This had absolutely NOTHING to do with music itself. I withdraw on the "challenge" statement and hereby replace that word with "curious" which will never make me a better musician.

    I love the five I play and Jeff's recommendation was to play and LEARN (music) on the instrument that I love. I accept that recommendation.

    Again, most of what I have always played is on the original 4 strings regardless of the number of strings present on the instrument. So why don't I go back to 4? I like the bass I have.....
  15. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Teachers pet... are we? :)
  16. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    Let's keep it civil now, a smiley face doesn't make a rude comment nice...
  17. sedgwick1489


    Dec 29, 2009
    Hi Jeff,

    I'm wondering, from you as a teacher, where in a students progression do you introduce scales and how do you present them for study?

    I recently have been taking some of the melodic minor modes and using them to find passing tones and approach notes for the chord tones of those scales - kinda ala' "chord studies for trombone". Wondering if I'm on the right path with my thinking.

    Thank you,
  18. Chansey


    Nov 25, 2007
    Hi Jeff,

    In light of the current discussion on music academia/art/80's hair metal musicians, I wonder if you can shed some light on one of your B3 touring partners Billy Sheehan. He seems to achieve quite a bit of success despite being a player that doesn't follow the whole academia route (not much knowledge on theory, flashy techniques etc). I understand of course that he pretty much sticks exclusively to the rock circuit, but I am curious about what makes him "the world's best rock bassist" (in your own words). Does he actually know more than he's letting up on or something? I am hoping that you can offer some insight from your time touring with him. Thanks!
  19. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Everything in music is separated if you look at it in that manner.

    Music through its evolving nature has added to its learning many things, so why is art or the demands of performing excluded?

    Pitch, rhythm, notation, scales, keys, triads, harmony, vocal, transposition, ornamentation, composing, etc. In each of the groups there are many sub groups that deal with the business of music and how it works.

    So why seperate art from academia, when we do not seperate any of the others?

    In perfomance schools this is recognised and catered for, turning out functional musicans with the ability to earn while they continue to grow and learn in the music business.

    In music schools music is delt with to produce musicians, if you want you can go to a performance school when you have completed your training.
    If you do not learn and understand the business of music you will will not survive it. That is not about fame or fortune but understanding your product, market and how to earn money from it. Money the be all and end all of the argument that seems to separate academia and art.

    In Jeffs case, correct me if i am wrong, issued an open invitation to producers of some of the worlds leading artists to let him put a solo on one of their songs? Now i'm sure an artist like Beyonce Knowles for example does not need the likes of Jeff to sell her records so thats a no brainer, but Jeff would get such credability and open up many new markets for him, all with a financal return dispite the fact he openly criticises this side of the business of music. :confused:

    Music business is the markets that the major record companies have developed and invested in through the past decades since the 50s.
    This is a multi million pound world wide industry and those that get the chance to work in it need to do so with there eyes wide open if they are to survive it.
    Earning money in it is easy, holding on to it, well thats a different matter.

    The business of music involves everyone that looks to play and earn money and everthing that affects this. From putting on a show/gig that people will come and see through showmanship and presentation, to selling your Cds and T-shirts, publicity etc is all the business of music.

    Music encompases all that overlaps or touches it, ignore it at your own choice, because ultimately it is your career.:)

    Having an A-one music education is great idea, but who pays for this?

    How do you live, pay bills and look after family when you pursue this idea?

    Academia is part of music so it is part of the business of music, which is a learning ground for the Music Business where anyone and i mean anyone has a chance to make money.......maybe to pay for that A-one musical education they wanted? ;)
  20. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    While understanding the business of music is important if you are to make a living at it, it is that much more difficult to survive in the profession without the necessary music skills (musical knowledge). Studying music academically will allow you shop around a greater quality product: yourself, the musician.

    No doubt, there are are other important facets to being a professional musician, but without the actual music skills, you're relying a lot more on luck!

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