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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. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    I dont get this "the goal is to become a pro musician either you can play the music you love or not." I decide what kind of music i want to play. If that music dont pay my bills...well, then il prefer to be a happy part time musician. I want a school that teaches me to become more myself and less what the industry wants. The world dont need more potato musicians. There are to many of them already.
  2. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    This is a good point, not everybody wants to be a pro musician full time. Usually, unless you are the bandleader, being a pro musician sure DOES involve playing music you don't like. In fact, I can't think of any kind of work in any field where you only get to do what you like. Why is music so different? Why do we agree to do the crappy parts of our jobs, but whine like a little punk when someone in the crowd asks us to play a tune we don't like. Flexibility and humility are the trademark of the true pro. If your "artistic integrity" gets in the way of the many gig offers you surely get, you had better be a pretty amazing artist, or maybe switch to guitar if you want to play music. Bass is in the support role 99% of the time, and we don't always like the parts we are required to play. I knew the bass player from the Phantom of the Opera road tour. Do you think he LOVED playing the same dang thang 5 nights a week for a year? Probably not, but he sure loved making amazing money!

    In my humble opinion, playing country gigs (which I don't love) is still about 1,000,000 better than say, working as an insurance salesman (my current day job) . My first bass teacher who now plays bass in the Phoenix symphony was a huge 20th century music lover, the weirder the better, and I know he loathed the many gratuitous pop's concerts that you must endure as a PRO symphony player. However, he said playing in a symphony was better than any other 9 to 5 job that he had ever had and he was dang grateful to have his job.

    Comments like Odin70 smell fishy to me, usually they are in the "lame excuse" for not practicing category. The whole "artistic integrity" thing is BS 99% of the time and is usually the sophomoric whining of those who go nowhere and won't put in the work to get anywhere. In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza "you aren't artistic, and you have no integrity"

    BTW, all those gigs that you turn your nose up at, because you don't LOVE the music, just give them my number will you?
  3. Gab124

    Gab124 The path is greater than the destination

    Dec 30, 2006
    Not that I want continue with this topic - but i do not understand the meaning implied by 'potato musician'. It seems so simple, a good artist is very cool and a well educated artist is even cooler and much more capable.
  4. Eminentbass


    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    I think it's been stated before but even if a person's goal isn't to end up as a jazz musician, jazz is probably the most harmonically complex music in the non-classical/modern world. The benefits of studying it would be to understand and have the ear development, not to mention other skills needed to just be a more efficient all round musician. Most contemporary session or touring work for a bassist(in my field at any rate) doesn't require you to play to your full ability most of the time but being educated means being equipped to handle just about any musical situation that comes your way.
  5. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Well..I have studied music at conservatory level for five years. I have studied with some of the finest teachers in my country. (hell..some of them have even had J. Berlin as their teacher) I have been practicing for hours a day for almost 25 years. I have been working as a full time musician / teacher for years.
    So please...my thoughts/comments are not lame excuses.
  6. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    :) A potatoe can be used with almost anything, but lacks its own personality. Sorry, i thought that expression was universal. English is not my first language (as you may have noticed)
  7. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    The subject of this thread is "Jeff Berlin Discussing Music Education". If you wish to play as a hobby or play genre specific music that does not require extensive music training, there is no problem with that. That is what the majority of players do and plenty of people are happy with that.

    One of the main themes of this thread is that studying music academically (and specifically studying jazz music) is the best and quickest way to improve your skills as a musician that will allow you to be successful in most genres of music.

    That is not a teachable skill.
  8. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    I'm just not wired this way-I'm happy to be playing bass whatever the style-Rock, Jazz, Country, Jingles, Pop, Whatever....I do my own music with my own band these days, but being able to adapt and work in the "potato" world pays my house payment, pays my bills, and lets me focus on my creative side without wondering how I'm going to eat or where I'll live.
    It was a big lesson to me when I got to work with legendary Brazilian guitarist Tonino Horta (a big influence on Pat Metheny who worked for years with the legendary Milton Nascimento) and his request for how to play his music would have not been out of place on a Nashville record date-not too much, just enough, lay the time back, etc. I then understood how players like Nathan East, Will Lee, Michael Rhodes and Lee Sklar could sound great whether they're playing with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Kenny Rogers, James Taylor, Bette Midler or Oz Noy. You get the music out of whatever you play-if you get to solo, great. If not, playing the best bass you can and making the band, session, or whatever feel great isn't too bad....:)
  9. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    Then what are you talking about? As someone who has studied music academically, I don't know why you are bashing Jeff for suggesting bassists should study music academically. Clearly, studying music academically has help you as an "artist" so why shouldn't that help others?
  10. Plissken


    Jul 6, 2009
    Mr. Berlin,

    I've read 20 pages of this so far and being a beginner, I've read some interesting stuff (some of which I don't understand) that I'm glad I've been exposed to. Thanks for coming on the boards and sharing your experience.

    I purchased Ed Friedland's book "Bass Method Complete Edition." I worked myself through the first two and am almost finished working through the third book. I've also picked up a scales book by Bunny Brunel and Josquin de Pres' "Bass Fitness" for light exercises. After working through two of Ed's books (which I think are great BTW!) I can read notes (as opposed to reading music...I need to work on expression, dynamics, etc. TRUE reading), count, keep rhythm, and learn and work on new pieces and I have alot to improve on. This is where I am at this point. BTW, if it matters I did have musical experience playing piano and violin when I was young for quite a few years but I forgot everything that is treble clef! :bawl:

    My specific questions are:

    There are many bass teachers out there. How do you know who the great ones are? Like I said, I am teaching my self right now and I know how you feel about that. :bag: I would like to find a teacher that I know I will learn from and teach the right way.

    Know any good teachers in Washington State (Seattle area)?

    From the 20 pages that I've read so far, you seem to emphasize learning jazz not for the sake of learning it to play jazz but rather that jazz will teach you strong fundamentals and theory of not just bass but any other style/form of music. Can you confirm/clarify this?

    Thank you.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yup - that's what I was saying about the UK Jazz scene - so the guys who have honed their Jazz skills are able to fit into any musical setting and get well-paid for it, as well as playing small club Jazz gigs.

    Whereas the rock/pop musicians only seem able to reform old bands from the 80s and play the same tunes...?
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The idea of being paid for doing something you love is the goal of most musicians, whether it be in teaching, writing, or performance.
    I would say that would be the goal of most people regardless of career choice...to be paid for doing something they love.:cool:

    Because music is subjective a musician has to be adaptable, what is todays flavour may not be tomorrows, hence the fact that if you have no substance or depth to your skills you will be found lacking.
    Finding great musicians for bands/projects is easy, holding on to them is harder as everyone wants their services for whatever reasons, so their commitment is not always assured, where that of a lesser player may be.
    If you are playing for fun, part-time. or semi-pro you have a safety net, the full implications of your playing and abilities are not tested from the mental side. Most touring situations i have been in, rookies crack first in temper then then attitude then playing, it is other aspects that get them away from the music side.You have a comfort zone that protects you from the truth and realities of what a pro situation is about.
    This is why we can watch any sport and spot what is wrong and discuss how easy it is to put our team or player on the right road to success LOL...the out come and consequences do not affect us personaly, we bear no responsibility for the outcome.:)

    Music education is the same, you have responsibility for where you are in it, if you have enough bale out( you can always come back) if you need more then find it.
    I would have to say learn academia that applies to you and your situation, then expand it.
    Learning academia for the sake of it, or to gain knowledge in preference to practical experience i have seen to be a flawed idea.
    Learn, apply, grow, learn, apply, grow, learn, apply, grow etc seems to be the most effective way to learn anything in life music included.:)

    I have a great full musical education and a full practical application of what i know (and some i didn't, county music in one case brought me down to earth, so i know where Roy is coming from). After 35 years plus, i am still moving forward in the music business and the business of music. This is because i seeked out my musical education, i actively went out my way and shunned other things to get it..and still do.
    My education is my responsibility and will always be:bassist:
  13. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    My intention was not to bash Berlin. I have the greatest respect for him (at least as a bass player). Clearly he,s got his agenda going on here (nothing wrong with that), and since this is a discussion...i took the chance to express some of my views. Maybe i should have made my self clearer or be more nuanced in what i wrote. That may be..
    But anyway, i did not intend to be disrespectful, or hurt anyones feelings. Let that be clear.

    Good luck!
  14. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I never got that from your post and i think any miss-understandings will be come clear after a bit of talking.
    On this forum you will struggle if your command of English and it nuances are not strong LOL :)
  15. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Thank God this is only a bass forum and not the U.N :)
  16. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    Hi Jeff,

    this is a rather odd and complicated question:

    it deals with the fourth etude for the e flat dom7 chord. the second bar goes like this (as written):

    c-b flat-g-e flat -- d flat-a-c-b flat -- d-e flat-g-b flat -- b flat-d-e flat --

    my question is concerned with the use of b´s, #´s and ♮´s in this book. generally it seems that every note is treated for itself, meaning even if there´s a raised or flat note of the same pitch earlier in the bar it doesn´t matter, you got to play what is written. so in this case the 8th and 14th note of the bar (both d´s) would be d´s and not d flat´s. and also you wouldn´t need any ♮´s at all...

    on the other hand bar for of the studie begins with two ♮´s.

    this makes it a little hard to handle the etudes with a lot of b´s, #´s and ♮´s.

    i hope you understand what i mean:)rollno:) and maybe even find the time to look at this etude and share your opinion on it.

    btw if anyone else has something to say about this i´d be happy too...:help:

    Thanks bench
  17. engedi1


    Sep 16, 2005
    This is indeed a discussion, and I always appreciate a nice dialogue with my European bass friends. For not having English as your main language, you do pretty good! No feelings hurt here, I just didn't understand your tone or where you were coming from.
  18. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Friends :)
  19. TapyTap


    Apr 26, 2005
    There is music academia...and then there is the Beamz:http://thebeamz.com/. The Beamz makes me cringe.:scowl:
  20. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    My comments aren't really made for discussion. People don't have my experience nor knowledge and aren't qualified to debate points that they feel strongly about, but, know little about. In all instances of proper apprenticeship and learning, the students are quiet, offer practically no opinions, but ask a lot of questions. Just not here.

    Ask more questions rather than making more statements. Most knowedgeable players already know that there isn't too much quality musical education or quality music out there. My intention is to reach the handfull of guys who wish to improve, because I already know that the majority of players aren't interested in musical improvement. They wish to state their opinions, not ask their questions. Read the comments if you think that I am wrong. My thread is about music education, but too many guys go in other directions.

    The ultimate questions about anybody who has a problem with what and how I speak is this; are you happy with your playing? If you aren't then join the crowd. I almost don't know a masterful player who is happy with their playing. If you feel the need to improve, then try to curtail your opinions and start to ask more questions. Good luck to all who might wish to improve their musicality because to this minority, I am on your side.

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