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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. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Hi Guys. I am back from doing a broadcast on ESPN for Teddy Atlas. Great gig, great food, lots of movie stars, world class boxers. I sat next to Gerry Cooney and Iran Barkley and we chatted about lots of stuff. How's the discussion going on bass.
  2. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    This makes sense. OK. No more bombs. But learning music isn't that hard and many guys complicated really easy principles. You won't learn much in a forum. But you will learn a lot via good studies and a discipline and even a love for learning for its own sake.

    But, no more bombs.
  3. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
  4. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    True that. It seems the "New School" approach is based on if a it feels good, do it, nobody is wrong, everybody wins, you are ENTITLED to everything, want it now GET IT NOW mentality.

    I blame Sesame Street for this. It has ruined critical thinking. If you wait long enough, the correct answer is always given to you.

    I think Jeff Berlin is an amazing musician, I don't care what instrument he plays because it doesn't matter. People go to his school and spend their money with him because they believe that he has more to offer than a Victor Wooten clinic or a guitar teacher who plays bass too experience. You might not like what he has to say (scales, metronomes), but maybe you should shut up and listen because you might learn something, even if it means going against something you've always thought was The Truth. Especially when he's offering it up for free.

    Thanks Jeff.
  5. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    This is PRECISELY what it is. I always knew that there were some guys who didn't confuse this simple principle. As I mentioned, I write for guys like yourself who wish to embrace some solid musical constant and not dismiss it or question it. When one pays a school or a teacher to learn, they are paying to put themselves into somebody's hands, believing that they would come out the better for it. You don't argue with the guys who you pay to learn from. You ask questions of them. Well done OnlyClave!
  6. what do you think of the slow down machinery.....i'm working out a pc solo and some notes just don't seem to appear .....
  7. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    I'm not sure what that is! Is it a machine that slows down music so that you can hear the individual notes?
  8. softwares and tascam bass trainers etc.....slows without changing pitch
  9. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Should be fine if the pitches are still correct. Some guys can transcribe at regular tempo. If you need this to slow down to hear the notes, it is fine. It's still ear training and it's still a solo for you to practice.

    If some notes aren't appearing, maybethey aren't there because some guys ghost some notes. If they aren't, what i do is to see the line for what it is and imagine what they meant to play. They I put an x on the note on the music to show me that this isn't what they played but what I think that they meant to play. It doesn't matter because you aren't going to publish anything. You are going to use it to learn from. Good luck because transcription is THE way to improve as a musician.
  10. thanx jeff
  11. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    Music for me is not a complicated point, but I have found that many make it so. People question answer as if the answers don’t make sense. But, to musicians who have learned how to play properly, there is no confusion and no difficulty in understanding that music is best learned in a narrow manner, as everything that is learned well is learned that way.

    Spanish lessons are specific. The grammar for the week is exactly these words learned exactly “this way.” All language lessons are organized like this. In law school or medical school, lessons are specific, narrow in content, to the point. Dance schools, cooking schools, art schools all specify direct to-the-point lessons and homework.

    Only in today’s “new school” does this logical approach not exist. And so I write to tell players that if musical skill is their goal, they won‘t acquire that which they wish to have if they learn in a broad “everything is good to learn from” principle. Actually music is far from many players’ interest; gigging and performing is the main focus. But gigs and performances have always been the result of acquiring musical skills to be able to qualify to play. Today’s musicians are confused by the term “music”; they question answers that children learning in conservatories or young adults in, say, Juiliard or the Manhattan School of Music have no problem with. Musical education is a shortcut to playing any style of music that one is interested in learning. My classical background served me when I went to Berklee when I was 19. I auditioned and was immediately placed into the top jazz ensembles. And I couldn’t even play a note of jazz. But, they figured that I could learn how, because my musical skills were on a high level, and that I listened to my teachers’ advices and followed their instructions.

    Nobody in those days had as much trouble with musical questions as some on Talkbass have. Our teachers told us what to do, and we did it. Thank goodness that we did, because from this fruitful lesson environment sprang players such as Vinnie Colaitua, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Steve Vai, Mike Stern, Keth Jarrett, Bill Frisell, Mick Goodrick, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Esmerelda Spaulding and on and on and on. The list is long of players who had no confusion about comments and lessons, who didn’t ask over and over what the teacher meant, who didn’t confuse the goal nor the method to acquire it.

    This is why I say to all of you here, DON’T ARGUE WITH ANYBODY. It is so easy to spot guys who talk the talk. Your website is for you, to use to ask questions to upgrade your playing with no confusion and over analyzation. I will work on my attitude if it has bothered some people. I have no problem with toning it down if some have felt bothered by my direct approach. As I mentioned earlier, no more bombs. But I will still be straight because I know my subject, and no naysayer will tell me that I don’t. I won’t be an angel, but I won’t be Lestat either. If you guys are OK with this, then I would be pleased to chat, because before I left for my ESPN gig, you guys were ignoring the complainers and we all got to the music. If the complainers would change their ways and start to seek out music, then things here could be fantastic. Let’s hope so. P.S. Listen to Roy Vogt. He knows his stuff.

    P.S. I have to enter a last comment, something that I dismiss entirely. Some fellow commented that I disrespect Victor Wooten and have said to not study with him. Victor never comes into my comments because I am discussing a principle, not an individual. Steve Bailey and I have disagreed about music education since day 1, and I will never disrespect him. I disrespect principles of learning that many have embraced and I tell people to learn music instead of non-musical ideas. If Victor, or Obama or Jesus Himself teach in that manner, then I would tell them all to upgrade their teaching methods because players go out and practice what they have learned. But, you will never ever see me pointing a finger at any one guy. Victor and I hung! We broke grouper sandwiches together. He taught me how to float off the ground, that same trick that David Blaine does. How can you disrespect an individual who taught you how to float off the ground like David Blaine.
  12. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Hi, Jeff, maybe this question is a bit silly but: have you ever done session work for metal bands/artists (bonus points for bands with ultra-downtuned guitars) and if yes, did you enjoy it? Also what do you think of metal in general? Seeing how it can sometimes be technical but is usually pretty simple harmonically, I'm curious how you feel about it.
  13. JeffBerlin

    JeffBerlin Guest

    Jan 10, 2009
    As a preference in music, I don't like it! But, my son, perhaps yourself, and 20,000,000 other fans seem to love it. This is an artful preference, this, and every style of music. If it makes you happy to hear it, then enjoy it.

    There were two times in my career when I was called to record bass on two records that everybody here has heard, for two bands that everybody here knows. One of the stipulations was that I should never reveal the names of the bands nor the records that I played on. I never will, ever! Say what you will about me; I'm a man of my word and I have never broken an agreement. I learned this from my father. He simply didn't have it in him to make an agreement and then go against his word. I learned this from him and it is a strong part of my ethics.
  14. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Cool, thanks for the reply! Now let me have a listen to a couple songs by famous metal bands and check if the bass player sounds like you. :D

    I'm actually not that much of a metal fan but my band's music is based on the style (too bad all the other bands I've had on the side that did different music eventually split up while that one seems indistructible for some reason). As a bass player I find doing the metal thing (i. e. doubling the guitar to get that huge wall of sound) sometimes frustrating because you really don't have a lot of freedom (and if you don't do the doubling thing that "heavy sound" can't really be had) so I was wondering what you thought of the style. On the other hand, I snuck a series of maj7/minor7 arpeggios into a quiet part of one of our recent songs and no one complained but such occasions are pretty damn rare. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate playing rockin' music but I sometimes wish I got to play more challenging music occasionally, just venting a bit, 's all.
  15. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    Paul Chambers Stuff is tough because sometimes his super woody tone (gut strings) and the recording technology of the day, make the notes really tough to pick out. Especially when he is intentionally playing "out"

    I have never tried one of the bass trainers, but it is not a bad idea...
  16. engedi1

    engedi1 Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    + 1,000
    This is really great stuff Jeff, and I think you put your finger on it! The New School, influenced by a PC culture (politically correct, not Paul Chambers:smug:) has taught a whole generation that everybody is right, there is no such thing as truth, and their OWN opinion is the only one that counts. In short, this has created a whole generation of unteachable narcissists.
    I can promise you that if I talked to my double bass teacher in college the way some treat you, then my butt would have been kicked out of his studio so fast my head would have been spinning.
    I was there to learn from him, and went to that school to learn from him. To doubt him and question his teaching would have been foolish and waste of time and money.
    Question Jeff: Do you recommend studying double bass? Double bass is a good humbler because if you don't listen to your teacher, you will get so far off base you won't be able to play anything and may even hurt your hands.
    To me it sounds like what you are really saying is that people need to be humble enough to recognize that they can learn alot from a great musician.
    As the old saying goes, "Pride goeth before the fall..."
  17. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Darn, missed him again.

    Jeff, if you see this:

    What was the scary Zappa bass line and what was it about it that gave you a hard time?

    This is a serious question because I love to listen to FZ and try to listen to his stuff all the time to catch what's going on, especially the bass lines.
  18. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    First, thanks for chiming in here - you are a real *cat*, as it were, so it's very cool to have you contributing.

    WRT to my post - don't get me wrong - I agree with a great many things you have said over the years - and like you, I have a way of... well, phrasing things in a way that doesn't sit well with everybody - - And I figure that's okay. If what you have to say worked for *everyone*, then doesn't that just mean that it's mediocre?

    Do what you do and keep being yourself - It has worked for you thus far, right?

    Again, thanks.
  19. yeah,thats a thing...if you don't get it exact,you can't really analyze it...
  20. bench


    Dec 28, 2007
    Hi Jeff,

    nice to have you back here.

    I´d like to know if there is any music available from your work with "other phrases"? there´s a short clip on youtube, but i can´t find any cd.

    thanks bench

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