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Why are some people so reluctant to learn to read?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassyBill, Apr 7, 2010.


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  1. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    gotcha. the chord is actually an element not to be interpreted, how do you feel about a phrase, or a piece in entirety?
     
  2. jarrhead

    jarrhead

    May 23, 2009
    My questions have been answered. I am doing nothing wrong with my metronome.
     
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    bassybill, aged 14...

    [​IMG]

    But at that time, I didn't play bass. :bag:
     
  4. jarrhead

    jarrhead

    May 23, 2009
    Got enough guitars?

    Let me guess, you're just right of the singer?
     
  5. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I look at academic principles as unmovable. But a phrase of music or a piece of music again most often falls into Art. The indestructable elements in music academia will stay with your for life. This is how lots of guys got better during their formative years. Guys have often pointed to Jaco Pastorius as a guy who never took a lesson. Actually he took tons of them from loads of guys who showed him things about music that he never knew. He did this for years because he also knew that the facts of music are eternal, indestructible, without flaw or weakness. What would happen to players if they attempted to learn music that simply could never let them down.
     
  6. nic salsus

    nic salsus

    Mar 16, 2010
    You've said this before and like a lot of people who came up married to the metronome it's taken me a long time to really "get" what you've been saying....not just understand it intellectually but in a from the gut musical way too. I don't add the distraction of mechanical time to most of my practice anymore until I'm at the point where I really have a good grip on something and want to work up the speed...and truth be told that's almost never.

    Lately though I've found my old wind-up mechanical metronome and use it quite a bit to play tunes I know with because I like the organic sound of the thing as accompaniment.
     
  7. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
     
  8. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I am the singer. I also played keyboards with the band shortly after that pic was taken (I'd had piano lessons since I was five). The guy on the bass is my stepbrother - 'twas he who got me into bassing, first upright then BG.

    Them were the days...
     
  9. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Why not! Have fun! Your time won't come from the click, but, jamming along with it....Cool!
     
  10. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    My background as well (just without the tux.)
     
  11. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    :D
     
  12. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I used to go and play orchestra concerts wearing a suit. I was Concertmaster for a couple of years until I got into bass and let my violin go to the wayside. Good memories all!
     
  13. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Well, I guess it had to come to this. I need to clean up in here a little. Back in 5.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Okay, done - for the last time. Next time it stays closed, I'm way too lazy to keep sorting this stuff out. Please, play nicely, okay?
     
  14. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    here's something else reading music provided for me

    16 years old, in annecy france. fully funded 10 day trip to france switzerland and italy gigging everywhere from the streets of chamonix to the top of mt blanc.

    (i took this pic so i'm not in it.)

    wqx5kp.
     
  15. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I walked away from my computer for a few minutes and just got back. Did things get hairy? Is that why my post got deleted?
     
  16. JackANSI

    JackANSI

    Sep 12, 2006
    PA
    :eek: I didn't see that one...

    You know that in traffic signs the shape is defined by a governing body allowing people recognize them at a quick glance (because of faster speeds), if the driver doesn't have perfect vision (rain, fog, etc), or without needing to learn to read the native language..
     
  17. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    Without reading the whole thread, my personal response to being reluctant to learn to read comes down to a pretty simple reason: I don't need to.

    I'm not a professional. Even if I was, I have had several 'acid test' gigs that demonstrate to me that my ears are far more useful to me than reading ever will be. I don't play classical (though I have, and I learned to very painfully and slowly read well enough to play things like Mussorskgy's "Pictures at an Exhibition" among others. I can READ, I just don't do it very well, and I don't retain that ability for long after I have built it up.

    I can pretty quickly learn a song by ear, so much so that for example I had the latest Rush album the other day and I kept getting very intrigued by the part for "Bravest Face." I came home and picked up my bass and pretty much played it right off the top of my head, though I'd never even attempted it before.

    So, I don't have much of an incentive to learn to read. I can teach someone how to figure out what's on a staff, but I am so much, much more proficient at simply taking a tape and sitting with it for 5 mins that I balk at spending hours and hours poring over the near-hieroglyphic picture sheet music paints for me. I am not a session player and in fact I almost NEVER play songs not written by me. My main activity as a musician is performing in my own original band in clubs.

    THAT being said, I don't think readers are some inferior lot; obviously if your material is written down such as in an orchestra, you can hardly expect to get 40 people to sit down with tapes and try to suss out their parts by ear. That's insane. My ability to quickly pick out bass parts was honed on rock and roll music of a fairly specific genre. Other genres might not work.

    Scrolling through the thread I also saw a statement to the effect that it's like learning to read English if you want to speak it. I have to differ with that statement because for #1 I have a degree in English literature (minored in Music, thus my orchestra/reading experience now almost 20 years past). Music is heard. Always. But very rarely do people sit down and TALK like James Joyce (just try to read that stuff out loud! I dare you) and so reading one or the other author is not the same as reading scores by composers -- a score is just one way to record music for later performance.

    So I think it's perfectly valid for someone to experience and learn music only with their ears because at the end of the day what people hear is all that matters about music. I also think that reading is an extremely valuable skill. I just personally haven't had a good reason to develop my reading chops to where I feel they are at all useful. When I did have those skills and was fairly close to being almost able to kind of sight read, I did learn loads of useful things from my shaky reading ability, and the theory lessons I had over the years were absolutely foundational.

    Today? I have a unique challenge of trying to get good-sounding material out of a band that are all fully-employed IT professionals who can meet for 2-3 hours a week at most. I have pared down the complexity of my music to fit into that, with extremely rewarding results. Writing my stuff down or reading it would be silly -- it's so simple. I think more about the energy we give to our performances on stage, and how functional as a unit my band is.
     
  18. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Fascinating .....

    It's always interesting to read through these "reading notation" threads and see the wide range of opinions and rationale used to firmly cement one's position on the subject. Reading is a fundamental I was taught at a very young age, and any successes I've had in my musical career have been directly attributable to my ability to read. Without it, I firmly believe that my sheer pleasure of being a musician would be dramatically less than it is today.

    Musical education comes in many forms, from structured learning to street learning, and everything in between. I feel the need to absorb it all, and due to that pursuit for knowledge, I believe that I become very well rounded for just about any musical situation I'm presented with. It's sort of hard for me to understand why someone would want to limit themselves following a career/hobby/whatever that they profess to love.

    That said, there are avid baseball card collectors that cherish every original unblemished card they can find, and there are casual collectors that are thrilled to find any Mickey Mantle original card regardless of condition. In that light, I believe that a huge number of board members here fall into the casual category and are not willing or motivated to do the work to find the "unblemished card" or learn to read notation.

    I'm cool with that .... if it weren't for the vast numbers of casual bassists places like TB wouldn't exist. The large numbers of bass manufacturers and gear suppliers wouldn't exist. There is a place for the less-than-motivated hobbyist here in the bass community, just like there is a place in the card collection world for those less-than-motivated collectors.
     
  19. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Okay - I'm enjoying the slight derail to stroll through yesteryear.

    Here I am on a different sort of gig. I'm in the middle, to the right is my Dad (drummer and bandleader), to his right is my sister (singer). The red thing you can see on the far right of the picture is the very front of a Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer as this was a gig for the British Ferrari Owners' Association. I was about 18 or 19 at the time. No reading - no gig. :D

    [​IMG]
     
  20. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Yup. All sorted. Carry on... and keep smiling, everyone...

    By the way Jeff, I posted a page of a transcription of one of your parts (Joe Frazier) earlier in the thread. I hope you don't mind.
     

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