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When music starts to lose it's meaning...


Gimmegroove

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Hello fellow lowdowners

 

I have not been the most avid poster on this forum, but I read the posts regularly..

 

I seem to have hit a wall, when it comes to making/playing music.. As i have said before, in august i started in a music school, which is far away from "home".. Sadly, what feels like too much professionalism has deprived me of the will to play music.. To me, music stands for what is beautiful and free in the world, and I feel like I'm giving that up by trying to live up to the teacher's demands when it comes to practice, skills and so on.. Basically, I feel like it isn't MY music anymore..

 

So I'm hoping for some sort of advice, because at the moment, I'm heading out of the life of music.. And that is not something that I am happy to have to do..

 

Thank you beforehand

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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Learn the skills, study and practice like crazy. Then when you play music (rather than practise) forget it all and just play.

Keep on with it because this kind of thing (provised the teaching is sound) will pay off).

 

Yes, music is an art form, but look at how great writers, atrists and sculptors have studied their craft before creating great works. I think you are already one step above many of your fellow studenst as you realise that the inspiration from great music/art comes from outside music as much as or usually more than from it.

 

I was speaking to a friend who teaches at a music academy who shared similar thoughts. He teaches guitar and he thought that too many of the guitarists were coming out of college trying basically to be clones of other players. No-one was really helping musicians to create something new. This guy is a fine and individual musician but he would be the first to admit that his formal musical education was of massive benefit to his ability to be individual.

 

Learn the skills, do the drills but make sure you also watch movies, live a life, check out paintings or literature or poetry or spirituality or whatever you're into and let yourself be inspired by the latter.

 

I know that music school schedules are very tight but maybe find time to play/create your own music too!

 

As for living up to your teacher's demands, amaybe your like me and are very perfectionist about yourself, but I've discovered recently that if you occasionally give yourself a break, drop your high standards of yourself etc, the world does not collapse.

 

The other thing I just thought of would be to find a member of the staff to talk to about this. This is just the kind of issue music educators love to discuss.

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Thanks for your input.. I am going to talk to my bass teacher about it, and see if there is something he can say, that will help.. I guess time will tell what will happen.. I've given myself the promise to stick with it, at least until the end of the year..

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

 

Sure, music is art...but it is also a craft. Do yourself a favor and keep studying.

 

The worst that will happen is that you will be a more well-rounded player.

 

The only ones that get brainwashed in music school are the ones who have no real ideas in the first place.

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Hello "Dansken",

 

If you quit that school and go to another one, you will soon feel the same resistance. That´s just these feelings you get at school or work. Try to bite together and go thorugh with it, but don´t push yourself to the topgrades. They will be there if you find the motivation again and you can pass with grades that are not the highest.

 

Now that you´re in music full-time, you might need to go out for a nice time with girls and other friends to balance the burdon "work". Just be careful with the Carlsbergs and Tuborgs. Also playing your own music with some friends at nights is a good idea to let off some steam.

 

If you have a school counseller (kurator), go and talk about your concerns with this person, since he/she has probably helped many guys with similar issues. If you jump off that school now, you´ll regret it for the rest of your life.

What ever...
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I know some people who have attended one of the major music schools in the Northeast of the US. Some have come out of it with even more insight and capability, while others have just become mimics. I wound up playing with one graduate of this school who played so much like Eric Johnson that it was kind of ridiculous. But my bass teacher? He took away a great deal of ideas, technique and insight that he was able to pass along to me. The basic story being that you're going to take out of music school what you put into it.

 

I may actually have something of a parallel you can draw upon if you've got the time. There was a movie that came out several years ago called Searching for Bobby Fischer . It's the story of a child chess prodigy. Josh learns to play in the cutthroat environment of NY's Washington Square Park. His parents recognize his talent and get him a proper teacher and want him to play a more disciplined form of chess. The teacher takes him a great deal of the way forward, but he hits a wall. Why? Because he wants Josh to move away from the form of street chess that got him started in the first place. Josh only realizes his own style when he's able to embrace both forms. That of the chess he played in the park and that of the classical chess training his teacher has provided.

 

This may not be the exact situation that you're dealing with, but it may be an interesting study in the balance that you seem to be searching for. The most important thing that I think anyone here can offer is that you still have to be you from a musical standpoint. The teachers are merely trying to impart more tools, techniques and ideas to you so that you can more easily be yourself and learn how you might grow as a musician.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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Some very good advice passed on here....

 

Music, like all arts, is a constant struggle...and a discipline which is never mastered. I remember some years ago watching a 60 minutes interview with "the Maestro", Andres Segovia. The interviewer, who I believe was Mike Wallace, asked the then quite old musical legend if by now (his late 70s) he had "mastered" the instrument for which he had, during the course of the 20th century, fairly written the book on its application and craft (having begun his professional career at around age 7...). Segovia listened to the translation, smiled and chuckled a bit and replied in broken english as he picked up his guitar that there is not a day when this thing teaches him something new, and not a day goes by when he is not humbled by it as it kicks his butt and shows him how little he actually knows.

 

The struggle, the conflict and the never-ending questions of one's own talents and/or skills are what makes music both so demanding and rewarding. I had a music teacher when I was younger, and was somewhat a prodigy...and fairly full of myself thinking I was oh so good...., who told me something which humbled and sobered me---and something I have continually reflected back on throughout my career and studies:

"If something is easy for you to do, you are probably doing it wrong."

 

Yes, it is difficult--there are constant physical and technical challenges---and these never end. You never "master" music, and every day there is a universe of things to learn (sometimes from the most unexpected of sources!). Music is its' own reward, and pushing yourself beyond what you may percieve to be your own physical, technical, emotional or intellectual limits is what makes you a better player (and in the microcosm of synchronicity, can make you a better person as well...)

 

There is an adage among jazz musicians which describes the first ten years of playing as learning about the instrument; how to hold it how to react to and with it; the second ten years is spent learning about the functions of music: notation, harmony, etc. The third ten years is spent learning how to play...how to react withother musicians and how all the studies of the previous twenty years are applied. And, the fourth ten years is spent forgeting about all you have learned so that one can play freely, "without thought". It is a lifelong affair......

...and your dilemma is not unique. We all go through it....more often than we care to think about.

 

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Put simply, you have to have the necessary tools to build something. Music school is supplying the tools (your knowledge and skills)...you have to supply the creativity and inspiration to create something new.

 

HTH,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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my advice? learn everything you can but keep the "school" seperate from the "art." in other words, the stuff you will learn (the practice habits, techinical skills, theory) are all important but if you try to hard to apply it then you start to lose the art as you are discovering.

 

case in point: an ex of mine was a photographer. we met when she was just starting out in an MFA photography program at a top 5 art school. her work at that point was brilliant. it was striking and you could tell it was cathartic for her. then her school work turned into art-by-numbers and it was meaningless. she couldn't separate her own work from her school work and it drove her crazy and broke up our relationship.

 

but hey, at least she's got a degree.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Enough good stuff above that I don't feel much needs to be restated or added. Just think of some of it as work that needs to be done, and discipline. It's human nature to balk at that sometimes, but it's unbalanced to get tangled up in what it all means. Just do the work, nurture your inner flame, and find opportunities to integrate the two. And THAT will become more natural too.
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Wow, nice with this much feedback :) thanks..

 

One of my frustrations is that up until now, all my learning has simply been trial and error (what happens if i play THAT OTHER NOTE instead) whereas now I suddenly find myself in a school environment.. To me, the WOW you get from hitting that wrong note, but realizing that it's a pretty darn nice note, that doesn't show itself as frequently..

 

But i try to practice.. have actually played most of the day :) no commitment playing, just fun and inspiring

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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My years in Music school were some of the most intense years of my life. I pretty much did nothing else other than study music and practice from 8 am to midnight every day.

 

You will learn things that will temporarily take you away from the music that you love. But in the process you will may learn to love other kinds of music. You will also learn skills which will make your own music better in the long run.

 

I studied counterpoint and orchestration from a strictly classical standpoint. But years later I was able to write horn charts for a band while sitting on a plane. The charts sounded pretty good when the band played them...I hadn't realized how much I learned in those classes which seemed sort of dry and academic at the time.

 

Classical music has a feature that jazz doesn't have.....you actually have to play every single note in the piece. You can't say, "this is my style" and play it your own way.

 

And the surprising thing is that after you learn every note in a difficult piece of music you actually can play it your own way.....you do have choices of phrasing and expression.

 

I actually studied classical music instead of jazz because I wasn't interested in the kind of jazz that was being taught those days. Of course I was just a teenager at the time, what did I know. Not that I was more interested in classical music, I thought I was going to be the next great singer-songwriter rock star.

 

But of course learning classical harmony and counterpoint and studying eartraining turned out to be extremely useful for every kind of music. Things just are named differently but that shouldn't be that big a deal.

 

Just hang in there.

 

I've never met anyone who regretted going to music school.

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Practice by yourself and just do your own thing. Make your own basslines, be creative. There is always that excitement of what will happen when experimenting basslines. Then show your class the next day. Just have fun, don't get technical.

"All things are possible through Christ." (Matt 19:26)

 

My band: http://www.purevolume.com/fadingsilence

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Ah, to study music in Aalborg ... how wonderful that would be!

 

Part of my family came from nearby Gudumholm, generations ago. It would be great to visit someday. I still have relatives in Denmark, but I don't know where offhand.

 

Music. I studied something "safer". I did take some music classes at university, but not much. So I have a day job and I find that I don't have enough time to devote to music instead.

 

University itself isn't exciting all the time. I'd say a fair number of us had second thoughts of completing at one time or another. For some people it makes sense to change the program or the school. For most people, though, I think it's just a matter of following through to the end.

 

Will you regain the magic of learning as an accountant? :freak: Will transferring to Vienna cause a transformation? (Well, looking for a school that fits you better may actually be worthwhile.) But chances are that they will teach the same things in a similar fashion, and you will be no better off than you are now. If you seriously need/want to transfer, the sooner you do so the better off you will be.

 

Before you go making any drastic changes, though, heed what Phil W and Swed_bass said about talking with somebody at your current school. They may be able to help you better than any of us can through the internet.

 

My advice would to be talk to someone first, then maybe look at some other schools, but don't make an obsession of it. Remember, if you do transfer you may lose some credits, so make sure it is well worth it.

 

My biggest mistake at university was not considering what jobs were available in my field upon graduation. Try talking with some local professional musicians about their careers. Your professors or school should be able to steer you towards some recent graduates. Your placement services center should be able to tell you which companies hire graduates in your field. (Who knows, maybe more than the local symphony is hiring musicians?)

 

If you really can't see yourself living the life of a musician, don't just make a snap decision and go with your backup plan. Take time to take a career/skills test at your career guidence center. They can suggest something that you would do well at that you may not have considered before.

 

Best of luck to you!

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The option of taking the same course in another place is something i have considered, and in hindsight, part of my problem could simply be that the city is so small (only about 10.000 live here in Holstebro, I actually don't live in Aalborg anymore)... Tomorrow I will talk to my teacher about the possibility of moving to a bigger town, where there actually is more activity in the public music scene...

 

So that is my primary goal at the moment, considering that I don't really want to just throw everything overboard..

 

Again, thanks for all your sincere help on the subject, nice to know that LowDowners stick up for each other :)

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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