Thoughts on my daily routine

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Starkly, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    We are posting about practice and creativity.

    Starkly, are you interested in bumping your practice time up to two to three hours this summer? (Hint--we learn the most during the third hour.)
     
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    BUT NOT to create from a new. Sorry Dr.Mark. I am not buying it. Adaptation does not equal inprovisation in the true sense of the definition.
     
  3. Starkly

    Starkly New Friend

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    Ideally I would practice 3 times for an hour each.
    But as of now my endurance allows for only about an hour and a half in all.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Endurance comes with many low impact repetitions. Try adding Clarke in and below the staff to the end of your session. Investing in endurance pays big dividends.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    It isn't that you didn't respectfully ask - you did. I think that the issue arose when we were "informed" about what we supposedly didn't know about playing. Your last statement in the thread, that you aren't sure what we are talking about, is an indicator that you might have a lot to learn, and may not even yet be aware of what you don't know and have yet to be exposed to. That's ok though - we're actually here to help one another and lift people up, but sometimes that can also mean that someone is shown their place, which right or wrong, is what happened to you.

    With all of that said, I would encourage you to continue to post and participate. Yes, ask questions, but keep in mind the advice you are getting and the wealth of experience that is answering. There are a lot of us who are working players, and a few who are true pros, so there will be some great general take-aways - good practice habits, good advice about equipment, great advice about a general approach to music and musicianship, etc. And also keep in mind that everyone is still learning - I certainly don't have all the answers, which is why I'm here - I'm carefully considering the things that folks like Rowuk, Gzent, Vulgano Brother, Dr. Mark, gmonady Big Dub, etc, (just to name a few) have to say because I can always still learn and take things away from this forum to apply to my own playing.
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi Gman,
    We've had this discussion before and didn't agree. I see improvisation as an outgrowth of the melody. Without a link/melodic association to the melody, a piece has a good chance of loosing it's continuity with the piece itself.
    What does this suggest? Improvisation has rules Basically, use the melodic structure first by tinkering with it using a little of the harmonic structure and then, explore the harmonic structure using less melodic strucure. Think of it as a reversable 80/20 set up. In the beginning, lots of melody (80%) and (20%) harmony in the improv that shifts to using lot of harmony (80%) and (20%) melody. Now is this a true breakdown of the proportions, No. But it gives and idea of floating from one section of the piece to the other as the piece grows logically.
    Here's a little something that will not convince you but it's still worth a read.
    It's Lee Konitz's 10 Gradients
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    Each of Konitz 10 gradients should be worked on individually for a while. Here's a concise yet detailed explanation of each step :
    - 1st Gradient -The tune's melody, as is. (This one's a "no brainer" really...)
    - 2nd Gradient -Slight variation on the original : identify "target notes", the most important tones of the melody. Connect them together, when you can or wish, with simple musical devices (passing tones for example).
    In this step, the focus is on the important tones. Remember that these can be shortened in duration to allow passing tones to happen.
    - 3rd Gradient -More notes added to the line. Using new devices such as : neighbor tones (mostly diatonic), change of direction and skips.
    The "target notes" are still present on strong beats but there's more flourishes around them. (Similar to second gradient.)
    - 4th Gradient -While it may be hard to tell the difference between Step 2 and 3 ("what should I play now...?"), Step 4 is really straight forward :
    Imagine a stream of 8th-notes (and occasional triplets) that simply uses the "melody notes" as guide-tones. That's the "big picture" of step 4.
    Every improvised lines on guide tones before? Check this out.

    - 5th Gradient -Same as Step 4 (the line is a stream of 8ths and triplets) but adding two new devices :
    -Neighbor tones (now more chromatic) and arpeggiation of underlying chords.
    -Rhythmic displacement of "target notes"
    (they don't always fall on downbeats anymore.)
    That's where the line really starts to develop into "its own thing".
    - 6th Gradient -According less importance to the melody : target notes still appear in their respective bars but may become subsidiary to the other ones (rhythmically, melodically and in phrasing/emphasis).
    In other words : the ornaments can "take over" and get more attention now. The improvised line should also be built from higher and higher chord tones (extensions such as 9ths, 11ths and 13ths).
    - 7th Gradient -Same as sixth gradient but Lee Konitz is using even more "higher" extension and altered chord tones such as b9, #9 and others. This one is a bit more "out" and chromatic than step 6. It depends on the tune, the player and where the line wants to go.
    - 8th Gradient -Original melody and/or intervals may still be present but they're totally "ingrained" in the improvised melody (barely noticeable, or not very obvious).
    This is probably where most "classic solos" stand : a great improvised line that stems from the original melody but that is never too obviously quoted from the original.
    Listen to Jim Hall, he's a master at using the melody subtly like this.
    - 9th Gradient -Almost no reference to the original target tones anymore (but the improvised line is still very anchored in the harmony of the tune and has grown from the original melody.) Lee Konitz may well be the only one to fully grasp this "gradient" of improv. I must admit, I don't really get it ... yet!
    To me, this is mind over matter...
    - 10th Gradient -An act of pure inspiration.
    ----
    Notice the structure. My instructor was a serious advocate of this type of improvisational development and this was how I was taught. I was taught to never go to level 10 before touching on 1 thru 9 first. I use to just "take off" when it was time to solo and he would say ( I remember two of his sayings):
    "Well, that was nice but how did it relate to the song?"
    "You came in too hot too fast, Now what are you going to do?"
    Dr.Mark
     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Am I GMan or is someone else?

    Aside from that though, I'm sure Jimmy Hendrix was thinking gradients 1-9 when he was performing. Scratch that - pretty sure he skipped 1-9 and went directly to 10. Whether he was aware of what he was playing and how it fit in based on the "rules," I believe his approach to be a much more pure approach.

    One of the things I have learned from my son (almost 20) following him through his musical endeavors, is how stunted most classically trained players are when it comes to truly connecting to the music. The problem is we tend to over-think it way too much, and as a result, I've become very drawn to the kinds of stuff he listens to because these guys are playing from the gut more than anything else, and it translates through as genuine expression. In the meantime, we're thinking in our brains, "ok, mf through here, crecendo poco a poco....," etc.

    If you think you can stomach it, take a listen to this and you'll hear what I'm talking about, particularly in the drumming and singing. Granted, it's a bit "in your face" and doesn't have a great deal of nuance, but without a doubt those guys are all playing and singing right from the gut, and as a result it's true musical expression.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwEqgBLjmtY
     
  8. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi trickg,
    You're now Gman? Oops I may have sent the post reply to you instead of him
    You stated:
    "Aside from that though, I'm sure Jimmy Hendrix was thinking gradients 1-9 when he was performing. Scratch that - pretty sure he skipped 1-9 and went directly to 10. Whether he was aware of what he was playing and how it fit in based on the "rules," I believe his approach to be a much more pure approach.
    ---
    Not so fast! Let's take a quick listen to the Woodstock performance The Star Spangled Banner and then Purple Haze which is right after. I think you'll hear what I mean.
    Dr.Mark
     
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Nope - you and I are hearing it totally different ways. Yes - it can be broken down and classified in a technical way. I seriously doubt if Jimmy was thinking that as he was playing it.

    My friend Scotty and I have discussed his guitar soloing before and when I ask him what he's thinking about when he plays, he says he really doesn't know - he simply hears the line in his head the split second before he plays it, and his hands automatically do it. He's not thinking key, he's not thinking target notes, he's not thinking melody notes as guide tones, or altered chord tones, etc - he's hearing a MUSICAL LINE in his head, and he plays it.

    That's what I'm talking about when I say that classically trained players tend to be musically stunted - we can't get out of our heads and out of our own way. We know a lot about "music," but we don't know nearly as much about music, and if you don't get that, there's not much I can do to help you. And believe me, the former is much more important than the latter.
     
  10. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi trickg,
    You stated(in bold):
    Nope - you and I are hearing it totally different ways. Yes - it can be broken down and classified in a technical way. I seriously doubt if Jimmy was thinking that as he was playing it.
    ---
    Well gosh, of course he didn't think that way. I don't think about structural stuff either when I play. I worked on it years ago and now it's just a part of how I do things.
    ----
    My friend Scotty and I have discussed his guitar soloing before and when I ask him what he's thinking about when he plays, he says he really doesn't know - he simply hears the line in his head the split second before he plays it, and his hands automatically do it.
    ----
    That's because he put in the time working on this process (improving) However, my guess is that it does what I'm talking about. If not, then it can be a great solo but what it gains in notes it looses in continuity to the song.
    ----
    He's not thinking key, he's not thinking target notes, he's not thinking melody notes as guide tones, or altered chord tones, etc - he's hearing a MUSICAL LINE in his head, and he plays it.
    ---
    EXACTLY!! The musical line IS the melody. Try this the next time you get together with him. Have him to play a song with an improv. Tell him during the improv that you're going to raise your hand at that time he will revert back to the melody line. Betcha he can do it. You say he's good so I have no doubts and when you describe to him what we're talking about, he'll say he doesn't think about it but does what I'm talking about.
    ---
    That's what I'm talking about when I say that classically trained players tend to be musically stunted - we can't get out of our heads and out of our own way. We know a lot about "music," but we don't know nearly as much about music, and if you don't get that, there's not much I can do to help you. And believe me, the former is much more important than the latter.
    ----
    Oh yes, I agree, I've given master classes on improvisation about how it's necessary to be musical and part of being musical is to not focus on mechanics so much and "sing". Any piece that's performed honestly and free of the class room/ exercise book riffs as a filler has my vote. Heck, I even listen to Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum and Varese.
    Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree
    Dr.Mark
     

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