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Music education: should art and performance be taught in schools?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JimmyM, Apr 19, 2010.


  1. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    Thanks! You make me motivated to practice/ learn and to be a better teacher.
     
  2. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    That is great to hear! You will be a great inspiration to these guys. Let me know how it goes.
     
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Public school music instruction in the US is hit-or-miss, because there is minimal centralized control of education. Two adjacent cities could have completely different programs.

    Here in Madison, we have an instrumental music program that is optional. Kids can start strings in 5th grade and band in 6th grade. Music teachers are generally trained to provide basic instruction on all of the school band instruments. In a neighboring town, a friend of mine teaches middle school band, and she has time during the week to give individual lessons on her instruments, which are reeds.

    I'm lucky to live in a town that has strong support for the arts. My kids are in the Suzuki Strings program, which is easily the most widespread program for small kids. Some start as young as 4. The kids get private lessons, a group lesson, and a "theory" class that starts out pretty basic. There are regular recitals. Even the absolute beginners participate in the recitals, just playing open strings if it's all that they have learned.

    Interestingly, the kids who are playing violin at age 6 are also the ones who are mopping up in reading and math at school.

    I see where Jeff's going with separating "academics" and performance, but I think that for the little kids, the recitals are a nice thing -- they get a reward and lots of attention and support for the work that they are doing. In addition, these low profile "gigs" are a good venue for learning how to deal with things like stage fright.

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no such thing as public school instruction for the bass guitar. The only chance to play BG in school is the jazz band, and you're on your own to figure out how to play it. Often, the bass "chair" goes to a kid who has studied a bass clef instrument such as cello. That's how I got started on BG. It was literally: "You can read? Get a bass. You have until September to figure it out."
     
  4. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    This! My mission in life. I've got a 12 year old kid who signed up for lessons in September after buying a bass with his own money. His only concern was playing. He can play a couple of Sigmund Herings trombone etudes, read first position, locate where to play dominant 7th chord tones up and down the neck. He's solid on R5 so he can play Blue Bossa, Song for My Father and basic blues walking lines. He auditioned for praise and worship band got it and it looks like jazz band will be in his future when the time comes.
     
  5. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Simple jazz instruction, Bill will change his life. Reading reading reading reading. And finally, don't forget reading.
     
  6. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    (off topic) Jeff, since you started out on the violin. Have you ever tuned your bass in fifths?
    I have one bass tuned like a cello (one octave down) and its great fun to play eg the cello suites on it.
    What do you think of alternative tunings on bass in general?
     
  7. I think that only the rules makes an attorney, not a musician. I think that only playing makes a slopy musician. I think that using music education in its truest form is the path to a true musician.

    One must have a desire to play music.
    One must learn all of the fundamentals of music.
    One must learn all of the fundamentals of the instrument that they are going to play (voice, strings, brass, percussion, reeds, etc.).
    One must learn all of the rules, roles, and responsibilities of a musician on an instrument and then, hopefully, be able to use all of this information to transfer the musicality to ANY instrument that a person wishes to play.
    One MUST have live performances to help cement all of the practice. There must be musical, and hopefully artistic moments in those performances.
    If the goal is to just learn the academic side of the art then we should become ethnomusicologists or music historians.

    You get the point. I think.

    Musicians require all of the education: scales, theory, history, composition, performance, and the art of music to be a well rounded musician.

    Just my thoughts
     
  8. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Pedro, I think you may have misunderstood me (or maybe we are implying the same thing here) I had a guitar student who had done the relevant work for the lesson. When we were wrapping up I asked what he was listening to lately and he found something on his iPod. The tune had a 3rds lick moving around. I wrote the 3rds out up and down the first two strings as an exercise. Then the lick. 2 birds with one stone. Major and minor thirds are relevant to learning music, and he learned a song he likes.

    Another is into singer songwriters. I'd tell him what key the tune was in, have him tell me all the chords in the key, play them and listen to how they relate to the I. He was getting the changes to the tune at a far better rate than pure chance, and is a beginner. So he got the basics of music and again the benefit of a tune he likes.

    These basics for the styles they like along with reading assignments are the basics of jazz too. They may or may not move on but the stuff is relevant to all music. Each new tune will not be a new event for them.
     
  9. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I never did this because I always looked at music as enough of a challenge without having to tune my bass differently. Beside, when you have a master like Michael Manring, it is best to leave this to guys who will always do it a million times better than I ever will. But the real truth of the matter is that my imagination never went to changing the tunings, but it always went to finding new things to play on standard tunings.
     
  10. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Thank you Bill. You were right I did misunderstand what you were saying. My bad.
     
  11. Eminentbass

    Eminentbass

    Jun 7, 2006
    South Africa
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Amps and Sandberg Basses.
    Jeff, regarding transcribing or more so, the purpose of transcribing, would you class it as academic or artistic or as a bit of both? I'm trying to get inside jazz academically but my playing of even simple stuff is clinical to my ear. Would you say that transcribing is a way to analyze harmony but also a way to examine phrasing and expression?
     
  12. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009

    Pure academia! You are identifying someone else's musical inspiration and you are learning from them. 100% classroom inspired work. But I do agree that I get excited when I begin to understand the inner workings of these genius players which really does feel like an artistic caffeine rush as you see yourself improving through this exercise.

    Analysis is my weak suit! I never really felt that I would understand music much better because of it. And yet, I totally support its being taught.

    In my case, transcribing was sufficient to acquire four things from it:

    1. to see what the guy that I transcribed actually played and write it out (maybe the best ear training in the world)
    2. to play those ideas (maybe the best practice material of all)
    3. to learn more about melody as a bass player
    4. to continue to hone my ear and my reading skills

    Transcribing is the Motherlode of all academic event. But it is hard, and it won't help the newer players to improve as bassists or musicians. But it will explode the minds the inspiring musicians0 imagination if they have already gone past the more elemental forms of practice.
     
  13. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    Do you stilll transcribe, Jeff?
     
  14. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Not for about 8 months. But, yes, my desk is filled with four bars of this and 8 bars of that. Phenomenal stuff, just unbelievable. It is as if I am sitting on the greatest pile of musical gold on Earth!

    P.S. What country do you live in? What city?
     
  15. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    I agree. Transcribing is great fun and usefull. I once transcribed a couple of your solos from Pump it. I played them when i applyed for the conservatory. I was accepted, so i guess i must give you credit for helping me in. Thanks
     
  16. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Aren't you coming to The Players School of Music's One Week Intensive in September?
     
  17. odin70

    odin70

    Dec 26, 2007
    Oslo, Norway
     
  18. pedro

    pedro

    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    I'm pretty sure transcribing and playing solos, etc. is still a major part of any jazz student's required studies. At least it was for my son.
     
  19. engedi1

    engedi1

    Sep 16, 2005
    Nashville
    I hope so! Budget and work have to allow!
     
  20. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Ah, sorry! I thought that you were booked.
     

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