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Why Jeff Berlin should be president of all music education

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by John Wentzien, Nov 10, 2009.


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  1. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    There's some videos on youtube.
     
  2. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I'll bite. Nothing wrong at all with transcribing rock lines. Thing is after a point it's pretty easy. I get work cd's 90 percent of the time to learn material so part of my job is tracnscribing lines. I can do quite a few a week, tack on those that I teach kids to transcribe (yeah I teach jazz but I will teach a kid transcription of their stuff till they get that) so I'm doing a LOT of rock type transcription. The next level though is the more difficult jazz tunes and bass lines. OF COURSE there is really hard rock stuff. If I remember right Red and Larks Tongues took a little bit of work!
     
  3. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Jimmy M asked me:

    Roy, you're a highly respected player who's done great things, so let me ask...when you teach, do you go by Jeff's 16 points to the letter? Do you believe that the only type of music you can learn anything from is jazz? Do you publicly trash others who don't believe what you believe?

    I look at Jeff's 16 points as more about the process of learning Music. They are not technique exercises per se, for example. However, you can take a Victor Wooten or Marcus Miller transcription and utilize what he's talking about (practicing slowly without a metronome until you get a feel for what's going on, etc.) and you'll learn the material faster. Chord tones are very powerful tools-I tell my students that trying to think about what scale to play against each chord of a tune is like trying to think about riding a bicycle-you'll fall over in seconds in either case. So, yes I do teach Chord Tones first along with modes, but modes are just ways to connect the high value target notes (that would be R-3-5-7 for starters). You can find this strategy in players as diverse as Jaco, Victor, Charlie Parker, and Jeff.
    I have my students study the Motown transcriptions for sightreading and bass line concept purposes, but we look at these from the context of chord tones as well.
    You can see how the process of learning can make anything easier. Just slowing down, taking your time, and playing through ideas only as fast as you can understand them for starters will help.
    I have transcribed bass lines from some of my favorite Rock players (Roscoe Beck especially), but I believe that's to get to the WHY of what they played and not just to copy. You have to have a good grasp of harmony to make that work.
    If a student can hear Jazz changes and create a credible bass line and solo on the spot, their ears and hands will serve them well when they have to create a line in another style. Whether they Slap, Tap or play with a pick is a matter of Style. Whether they play one note or a million is a matter of Taste. Music, then, steers technique rather than vice versa, IMHO.
    BTW, I was the transcriber for Bass Extremes and have been a good friend of Vic's for some time. I don't see any contradiction in Jeff's approach and Vic's at all. It's like the difference in Rabbath and Simandl for String Bass (a great way to start an argument among Classical Bassists, BTW). Which one is right? Both. But, it's a matter of which technique rather than which Music.
     
  4. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    I think Jeff's 16 points are about the process of learning music, rather than a specific technique. If you slow down and practice a Victor Wooten or Marcus Miller transcription until you've got the right notes and then play it in time you will learn it faster.
    If you study Jazz and develop the harmonic knowledge and "ears" needed to play it it will be easier to have the "ears" you need to play Rock, Funk or whatever. You still have to learn the Styles, but harmonic awareness doesn't care about style. It's just information, not Music. If you take that awareness to any style you'll learn it much easier.
    I was the transcriber for Bass Extremes. My harmonic awareness made it easier. I certainly couldn't play any of Vic's lines but by using Jeff's approach of working through the material slowly I'm getting closer. I'm good friends with Vic and feel that somehow there's validity in both approaches. Remember, studying the style of a particular Artist (say Jeff Berlin) should be a door into learning the nuts and bolts of Music to create your own style. We don't need another Victor Wooten, Jeff Berlin or Roy Vogt. We need a Jimmy M...Learning how music works will give you and us that gift.
    For the record, chord tones and approach tones are used by musicians as diverse as Jaco, Charlie Parker, Victor, Herbie Hancock, and Bach. It does tend to work. I compare it to the framing on a house. You can hold up a roof with just that and add sheet rock (scales/modes) and paint (chromatic notes). Neither sheet rock or paint will hold up a roof, but framing will.
    I do transcribe and study Rock lines, but it's with a view of trying to get into the process of why the player chose to create that line rather than the technique of the line. Once again the 20% rule comes into play. My personal favorite to study is Roscoe Beck-I just dig his ideas.
     
  5. Toronto Bassist

    Toronto Bassist

    Jan 9, 2008
    Toronto
    He also has a DVD of him playing Blue In Green and Oleo - with Pat Martino, no less.
     
  6. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    The Locrian mode is historically avoiding because the tritone is hard to sing, and it would typically be very out of tune in older systems of a temperament.

    Stravinsky...
     
  7. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    I LOVE Stravinsky!
     
  8. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    And Zappa!
     
  9. nortonrider

    nortonrider

    Nov 20, 2007
    15,652 views

    does anybody know what thread has the highest view count?
     
  10. hopefully this one stays on track and sets some records
     
  11. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    It's probably that "Pics of Chicks at shows"
    thread...:smug:
     
  12. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Kinda shows the priorities around here! LOL!
     
  13. Billnc

    Billnc

    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    I've tried to find the question in this long thread, I just couldn't get through everything. Someone asked Jeff soemthing on the lines of "How do you keep the solos in different songs from all sounding the same?" Some advice I've gotten from the likes of Jim Hall and Mick Goodrick. Take bits and pieces of the tune's phrases and use them in sequences and as motifs for various choruses. Utilize the words to come up with rythmic phrases. A drummer I played with always based his solos on the songs melodic rythm.

    In the spirit of the thread I hope this helps.
     
  14. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    +1

    I actually got hip to this notion from (gasp!) my Dad ...because when I was a kid getting into jazz and I made him take me out to clubs (Jeff, do you remember Richie Hohenberger & Jacki DePietro? I used to go hear their band a lot back in the '70s) my old man used to turn to me three choruses into someone's solo and ask "what tune are they playing now? I can't tell!"

    So now I am always thinking about context, and if I'm blowing over "Autimn Leaves" you bet yer azz I'm thinking more about the melody of "Autumn Leaves" and the motifs and intervallic cells that melody uses rather than the chord changes. Otherwise you run the risk of creating undifferentiated solos.
     
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually, the world has already spoken and decided the other way. But hey, I make a decent living at it, so I can't complain.

    You make some great points. If you think about it in those terms, it makes much more sense and makes it seem more inclusive. Won't get any argument from me about the value of a jazz background. I can play some good meat and potatoes bass through your basic standards, that's about it. But it greatly helped me in everything I do, even the stuff that's 20% for me and 5% for you.

    +1 for Roscoe Beck. That guy's a machine, but he's got a ton of heart as well. Well thank you very much for giving us the "nice" version, Roy. You sound like a teacher who likes his students to work hard but they have fun doing it. Jeff's message at the core is a good one. I just let folks who are so dismissive about what I do get the best of me and take away my fun sometimes. I've worked very hard to be a few points above average ;)
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Which one? The 7th or 8th one? Listen, jazz background or no, there's a lot of good things to learn in that thread (as well as a handful that we could all do without) :hyper: :hyper:
     
  17. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Roy,

    Nice to hear from you .. it's been too long

    Mike
     
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    According to a friend of mine with a background in theology, the Locrian was actually banned by the Church in the middle ages.
     
  19. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Good to see you on here as well, Mike. I've enjoyed your book. One of my students is preparing a review of it for Bass Frontiers. :)
     
  20. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Yea, back when pianos, well, harpsichords, were intonated by P5s it would have, but the Pythagorean comma has been around since, well Pythagoras, so it's not like it's a new thing. The locrian mode and the tri-tone were avoided even past the stages of the Gregorian chants and strictly music for the Church simply because it was such a dissonant interval.

    Besides, even if what you're saying is entirely true, which it isn't, you're simply proving my point further. Even if older systems of temperament were the sole reason for avoiding the locrian mode and the tri-tone, the fact that pianos and keyed instruments are intonated by octaves now instead of P5s shows how musical "fact" and standards change over time, proving there are no FACTS, which is my entire point.

    You're right, my bad, got my Russian composers mixed up; thanks for pointing that out.
     

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