Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Most Important Secret to Becoming a Monster Jazz Musician

Let's human face it, you didn't acquire into music because your best friend told you about this hip new thing called "practicing scale of measurement patterns" or "ear preparation time interval drills." You got into music because you heard something that made you halt dead in your paths and say, "Damn that sounds good." It made you desire to dance, shout, and leap around your room like a sap (or am I just weird?). There was something different about this music. You connected with it. It lit a fire in your belly, which, despite the world's best attempts to snuff out it, is still burning, or else you wouldn't be reading this email.

Then a few old age later—while trying to simultaneously larn to voice lead, drama Trane's solo on "Giant Steps," transcribe the caput to "Ornithology," channel in 7, swing at 350 BPM, understand the Lydian Chromatic Concept, drama a bossa nova, memorise scale of measurement forms #1-76 from your chain-smoking, coffee-chugging teacher's book and larn to play a 2nd instrument—you realized that something wasn't working. And to do substances worse, you haven't seen your girlfriend/boyfriend inch a month, done your wash or paid your electrical measure (hope you play an acoustic instrument). If this sounds familiar, then your values may be out of whack. In fact, you might have got no thought what a value is, allow alone what yours might be.

Your values are your precedences in life. They find what's important to you. They find what you believe, who you are and, most importantly, what you do. All great instrumentalists (and great people in general) cognize who they are and what they want. Their actions reflect it. They pattern the of import things, take the right chances, ran into the right people and experience success and great achievements.

For instance, believe about Thelonious Monk. Was he known for his ability to play at breakneck tempos? How about virtuosic pianoforte technique? Then he must have got been known for his beautiful voicings, right? Wrong. He wasn't known for any of those things. He was known for his completely original sound and approach. Cipher played beat like Monk, composed like Monk, or played as "colorfully" as Monk. He knew what he wanted his music to sound like and he played it that way. Imagine if Monk thought he had to have got chops like Art Tatum, improvise in 5/4, or drama funk. Luckily for us he didn't. He played "his thing" only and he did it better than anyone else.

Whether they thought about it or not all of the Masters played with great unity and an intense codification of values. Just believe about Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Prince Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Eric Dolphy, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Elvin Jones, etc. They all stuck to their values and played the music that was of import to them, even in the human face of intense unfavorable judgment from the audience, the fourth estate and their peers. And in doing so they became monster wind musicians. They created and transformed the art-form of jazz.

Here's a athletics analogy for you. Rich Person you ever heard of an jock who was a pitcher, catcher, outfielder, 1st baseman, shortstop, quarterback, center, goalie, fullback, gymnast, sprinter and a square dancer? Yeah, me too. We name them simple school gymnasium teachers, not human race social class athletes. Now, don't acquire me wrong. Gymnasium instructors have got a solid profession. But they don't suit into the world-class athlete category. Or the "monster" category, for that matter.

Disclaimer: it is very of import to expose yourself to a broad scope of music, drama different styles and larn different concepts. But you come up to a point where you must concentrate more than than and more on music that's truly of import to you.

"But I've only been playing wind for a year," you might ask. "How can I take my values?" Very good question. Your values will change as you larn and progress. Determining your values is an in progress process. It never stops. Your values—and then your goals, and then your actions—become clearer and clearer as you go. And when this haps you advancement faster and faster and go more than than and more productive. Choosing your values now conveys focusing to your practicing, listening and all of your musical activities. You'll change and rearrange them over and over again, each clip picking up velocity and progressing faster.

To cite the great twentieth century Negro spiritual maestro Mr. Rogers, "You're special." He was right. You are. Each of us have a alone set of experiences, dreams, ends and values. If you are true to yourself, and unrecorded by your ain codification of values, you are destined to go a truly individual and original voice in jazz. Faster than you ever thought possible.

Action Measure 1:

Write down the name calling of your favourite players. What make you like about these players? What qualities in their playing are you drawn to? What could you make to develop those qualities in your ain playing? Your replies will give you some large hints as to what's important to you. Use these replies to make up one's mind what to practice, who to analyze with and who to play with.

Action Measure 2:

Plan out your drill session before you begin to pattern (more about that in a few days). Then, as you travel down the list, inquire yourself, "Is that the most of import thing I could be practicing? Are that accomplishment of import to me? Volition it assist me do the music that's of import to me? Or is it something I believe I'm supposed to practice?" Again, usage your replies to do picks about what to practice, who to play with.

Soon your practicing will be more than than than focused, much more productive, and you'll be sprinting to the drill room with a smiling on your human face (not to advert that you'll also acquire more gigs).

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