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Another blog post: maturing as a musician


cphollis

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I've certainly *grown* as a musician, but to say I've matured might be stretching it. I'm far too enamored of patches that sound like formant munchkins and notably squirty synth brass. I'm talking something that sounds like its coming from fantasy monster lips. I'd be ashamed if I had any class about it, but that's synthesis for you. :hitt:

The internet has devolved into five giant websites,
  each filled with screenshots of the other four.
     ~  Cory Doctorow

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"And you realize you have to find a different place in hierarchy of the universe"

 

I don't have that problem musically, because I know I ain't that good. I started late, and was focused on too many things to get /really good/ at music. I got /really good/ at other stuff instead.

 

A killer organ player sat in on my rig last night. Man, he was great, and he made the rig sound fantastic. I was proud in that moment of the tech work I'd done on it. But more than a little jealous of his mad skills, I have to admit. I understood exactly how Vince felt when sharing the stage with Bruce.

 

One of my best professional years was 2008 or 2009 when I was interacting with some of the Mozilla guys who write the JS engine on a daily basis. I had been used to being the smartest guy in the room. Any room. All my life. Those guys, though, they are SMART. I went from being the smartest guy in the room to the dummest. Humbling as hell. But, boy, I learned a lot and did some really good work. That experience informs how I work to this day.

 

MBK - BTW, Benmont has some nice videos online. He can really explain how parts came to be and so on really well. I enjoy learning from him.

 

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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I could have written much of that same blog post. I'm not that good on keyboard, but on sax I can play in a way that makes others go wow. And even some of my keyboard solos get applause from band mates and audience. But I'm old and not that interested in showing off. Sure, the ego boosts are satisfying, but I'm much more interested in contributing to the overall sound - finding and playing a part that makes the ensemble cook, deepens the groove, makes people dance harder and smile more.

 

Make it interesting to listen to: audience and band members. Yeah, baby.

These are only my opinions, not supported by any actual knowledge, experience, or expertise.
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Really thoughtful.

 

Maybe this is not the thread to share some related thoughts, but then again, maybe it is. I just had an epiphany the other day when playing a few classical pieces I've been struggling to memorize basically by the "play by ear" method (notes come from the score, but memory comes from knowing the sound of each line) from Bach.

 

People really weren't kidding when, to really feel good about doing something moderately technical, even if it is a note-for-note classical piece without improvisation, how important it is to breath and relax, sort of come in from the top of the keys (where appropriate), let everything fall down.

 

Although I still take little nugget from a Richard Tee master class --play something b***s out technical little flourish run if you're sitting down to play and acclimate to the instrument and the audience. Once that's out of the way, you can improvise one of several ways that makes sense, by taking your time and organically developing.

 

Kind of OT, hijack-ish, but that's my way of saying thanks for the words, because they resonate and make sense to, I think, musicians of any stripe, or it should anyway.

 

I've met musos who are thoroughly trained in music theory, maybe not as much as I. They'll justify what they're doing as "hey, it was a mixololidan scale" or whatever.

 

Hey, it sounded like @ss, OK? Put whatever fancy name you want on it, but if it doesn't sound good, don't do it. Stop showing off, just sound good, please?

 

Preach, man! That is, of course, so right on they should put it above the practice rooms on a little plaque.

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...they were complementing my soloing techniques.

Now That would be fun.

 

Hey, you fake-typoed me. Though most people do get the 'e' one wrong.

 

There is an old joke about a rabbi golfing on the holiest day of the Jewish year, when God's assistant alerts God to it. God says, "Watch this," and the rabbi shoots a hole in one. "What?" The assistant says. "Why would you do that. You didn't punish him, you gave him a hole-in-one! On the one day he shouldn't be golfing!"

 

"Exactly," God says. "And who is he going to be able to tell about it?"

 

I have a massive humble-brag story, that I can never tell, because it is so outlandish and "up the food chain" that it either sounds like a lie or insanity. It's awful. I don't even get the satisfaction of "knowing" it's true, because it's accompanied by shame and embarrassment.

 

Even posting that I have it, as I just did, feels as bad as telling it. And posting that I feel bad about posting that I can't post it...? Same. Vicious circle.

 

Oy oy oy. I kept nothing from my Jewish upbringing, except guilt.

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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With respect to you, Chuck, very little in that blog post reads as "musical maturity." Or rather, there are a few nuggets in there perhaps, but only, it seems, accidentally.

 

Whenever I hear someone say "some people don't like me because they're intimidated by how awesome I am," well, in my experience there's another reason they don't like you, and it's not just because you're so good or your standards are so high they can't handle it.

 

Continue to strive to be excellent and to improve, chill out, and get less worried about cats whose solos aren't up to your standard (unless you're the MD), worry less about whether or not other people can adjust to your supreme uniqueness (I'm sure that, believe it or not, they have played with someone like you before), and focus a little more on collaboration.

 

To quote something I read in a blog once:

 

"Time to lose the ego thing."

 

I hope this doesn't come off as dick-ish; it's not meant to. Neither is your blog post, I think, but I read that and all I can think is, "man, that sounds like nobody I'd want to be gigging with; he thinks he knows everybody's business better than they know their own."

 

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With respect to you, Chuck, very little in that blog post reads as "musical maturity." Or rather, there are a few nuggets in there perhaps, but only, it seems, accidentally.

 

Whenever I hear someone say "some people don't like me because they're intimidated by how awesome I am," well, in my experience there's another reason they don't like you, and it's not just because you're so good or your standards are so high they can't handle it.

 

Continue to strive to be excellent and to improve, chill out, and get less worried about cats whose solos aren't up to your standard (unless you're the MD), worry less about whether or not other people can adjust to your supreme uniqueness (I'm sure that, believe it or not, they have played with someone like you before), and focus a little more on collaboration.

 

To quote something I read in a blog once:

 

"Time to lose the ego thing."

 

I hope this doesn't come off as dick-ish; it's not meant to. Neither is your blog post, I think, but I read that and all I can think is, "man, that sounds like nobody I'd want to be gigging with; he thinks he knows everybody's business better than they know their own."

 

Generously stated.

"Ghost of Christmas Present" released 12.2.22 * (Not the jolly kind of Christmas song.)

https://joshweinstein.hearnow.com/

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With respect to you, Chuck, very little in that blog post reads as "musical maturity." Or rather, there are a few nuggets in there perhaps, but only, it seems, accidentally.

 

Whenever I hear someone say "some people don't like me because they're intimidated by how awesome I am," well, in my experience there's another reason they don't like you, and it's not just because you're so good or your standards are so high they can't handle it.

 

Continue to strive to be excellent and to improve, chill out, and get less worried about cats whose solos aren't up to your standard (unless you're the MD), worry less about whether or not other people can adjust to your supreme uniqueness (I'm sure that, believe it or not, they have played with someone like you before), and focus a little more on collaboration.

 

To quote something I read in a blog once:

 

"Time to lose the ego thing."

 

I hope this doesn't come off as dick-ish; it's not meant to. Neither is your blog post, I think, but I read that and all I can think is, "man, that sounds like nobody I'd want to be gigging with; he thinks he knows everybody's business better than they know their own."

 

there you go.....I was trying to figure out a way to reply in this thread without coming off like a jerk, and I think you nailed it my man....

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Having a go at it while I'm not acting as a commercial musician, the fun of taking on a musical subject is depending on the quality of the instrument, and of the musician. If there's little variation in instruments, when everybody sounds alike, what's maturity compared to the initialisation of a new Big Bang like in music the advent of Rock spelled out a whole new range of musical popular possibilities to round off for people playing instruments.

 

If like in classical music one person after centuries of music and instrument development sits down and plays a piece on one of the world's I don't know, billion piano instruments, the perception is different probably. A new Funk record that catches on makes a lot of heads turn and could be a hip commodity of economic value in the musician's circles, depending on how upstanding they are, and how able. I don't hear any of the type of considerations that probably an honest audience can a) easily be bored but tag along for the sake of certain ideals, an/or b) have no choice to pick a real good sound and hip player (because none are around doing that, and probably c) can be trained or misled.

 

For me the integrity of a musician counts, even when falling short of being "righteous".

 

T

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If there's little variation in instruments, when everybody sounds alike

 

Yes, clearly every pianist sounds alike.

 

C'mon. Even on a digital piano, there's some variation in attack.

 

At the very least, in playing, say Bach, there are those who bother to sustain the notes which are meant to be held, even though some effort goes into doing it right. Here's a great example, in the Contrapunctus 9 from the art of the fugue, I forgot which bar, like m40 or so, when the two subjects (it's a double fugue) are put togther at one time. IMHO (it happens to be this week''s challenge for me) there are many ways to do it but only ONE way to make it work to have a listener hear both the Art Fugue subject and the Contr.IX subject at the same time. It can be done on any keyboard instrument, but it must be done,without dropping the other two voices into some perfunctory staccato.

 

Even on a spinet, like at this bar/microbrewery used to have a kind of shitty but adequate piano, and while I couldn't make it work all the time, some real musicians made it work.

 

I don't get where you coming from..

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With respect to you, Chuck, very little in that blog post reads as "musical maturity." Or rather, there are a few nuggets in there perhaps, but only, it seems, accidentally.

 

Whenever I hear someone say "some people don't like me because they're intimidated by how awesome I am," well, in my experience there's another reason they don't like you, and it's not just because you're so good or your standards are so high they can't handle it.

 

Continue to strive to be excellent and to improve, chill out, and get less worried about cats whose solos aren't up to your standard (unless you're the MD), worry less about whether or not other people can adjust to your supreme uniqueness (I'm sure that, believe it or not, they have played with someone like you before), and focus a little more on collaboration.

 

To quote something I read in a blog once:

 

"Time to lose the ego thing."

 

I hope this doesn't come off as dick-ish; it's not meant to. Neither is your blog post, I think, but I read that and all I can think is, "man, that sounds like nobody I'd want to be gigging with; he thinks he knows everybody's business better than they know their own."

 

Well, I get where you're coming from, but from my perspective it's just an off-the-cuff essay/rant with some thoughts that should probably be reinforced.

 

Not everything has to be a tight, rigorous treatise, you know.

 

Besides, for me, the more words is the better. Especially when they're generally good words.

 

I'm not seeing anger in the OP blog post, just maybe a little emotional, at worst, but basically pretty well-controlled vituperation.

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Glad I could bring some red meat to the gang here. No offense given or taken, it's all good.

 

And yes, it was a rant after a particularly unpleasant night.

 

Rant? What pissed off rant? I must have missed it. Where is the fed up to here, rant after a bad night?

 

[video:youtube]

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Glad I could bring some red meat to the gang here. No offense given or taken, it's all good.

 

And yes, it was a rant after a particularly unpleasant night.

 

Rant? What pissed off rant? I must have missed it. Where is the fed up to here, rant after a bad night?

 

[video:youtube]

 

Heh. Is that an invitation? Nah, for me I don't have many things about music to rant about, except some opinions about how it's wrong children aren't taught ear training concurrently with being good at sight reading.

 

You're a funny guy, Richard Tee and I, for one, appreciate every word you say. Really, that's true.

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Glad I could bring some red meat to the gang here. No offense given or taken, it's all good.

 

And yes, it was a rant after a particularly unpleasant night.

 

Rant? What pissed off rant? I must have missed it. Where is the fed up to here, rant after a bad night?

 

[video:youtube]

 

Heh. Is that an invitation? Nah, for me I don't have many things about music to rant about, except some opinions about how it's wrong children aren't taught ear training concurrently with being good at sight reading.

 

You're a funny guy, Richard Tee and I, for one, appreciate every word you say. Really, that's true.

 

"Funny how,,, I make you laugh? "

"I almost had him" " You may fold under questioning"

 

Couldn't resist. But on a serious note... HOW am I funny?

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5QAHzu_kAc

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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"Funny how,,, I make you laugh? "

"I almost had him" " You may fold under questioning"

 

Couldn't resist. But on a serious note... HOW am I funny?

 

No, no, it's just the way you tell the story, you know? It's funny!

 

:)

 

I'm not ragging on you, man, I just like the way you tell the facts!

 

Actually, your posts are always interesting and informative, and I appreciate them. I'm a big boy, I know what I said!

 

ETA there's always another equally legitimate, but more terse style of writing, but me, I tend to the school of "tell it like it is, and damned the torpedoes," and while I'm not pigeonholing you to that rubric, all I know is what I see I like.

 

I am but a simple caveman! I see some words I like and I point and say "good!"

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