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Thread: Character over practice?

  1. #126
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post
    Never practice. Play. If it's not fun, why bother? We are adults, not children. It's different to learn as an adult. Adults learn by trying things and looking for information when we get stuck. Just play, enjoy the process, you'll get better over time and at some point if you feel like you'd really like to practice scales, that's when you will do it.
    Not everyone wants to draw kiddy pictures with crayons. They can be engaging and useful for their emotional impact; just look at all those adverts where the agency uses them to manipulate the reaction. However there is a whole world of art that goes beyond the just having fun and pursues something else for the enjoyment to be found in the result and often just the learning of the craft.

    Playing and enjoyment can be limited by a lack of skills and some skills are best learned through practice, guidance, maybe apprenticeship to a master. It depends how high the wire you want to walk is. I think, as many posts here allude to, there are many kinds of satisfaction and sources of joy in music. Not all require the same skills, but those that do demand a variety of high level skills need practice, if your character is motivated to pursue that then you will be able to derive the pleasure from the pursuit. If you are not motivated by that, then it would be bending yourself out of shape to try.

    Often practice or guidance is the shortcut to satisfaction. However there is also the danger of becoming the eternal student and never letting yourself use all the skill accumulated to be yourself and truly own the music. As with everything a balance will need to be found for each person.
    Last edited by Beanzy; Jul-19-2017 at 2:31am.
    Eoin



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  2. #127

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    An amateur like me would like to be in control of their technique enough that they can express themselves without having to think about it too hard. To that end, one must practise and experience playing in public. . . . I haven't been to folk clubs much but the sight and sound of earnest middle class folk singing songs about labouring down pit, drinking, fighting and the other when they don't appear to have ever done much of any always makes me chuckle.
    Yup. It took me many years to be able to play for audiences. Worth the wait? Dunno. I just play and write because I like to play and write. It's fun when people like it, but I'd do it even if no one liked it.

    Most of the people I play music with are the suburbanites you're talking about. It kind of weirds me out, too. But they're peculiar enough or talented enough that they can overcome the disadvantage of advantage.

    An old friend had (and maybe still has) a punk band called Suburban Posers. It did sendups of common suburbia tropes, with titles like "Microwave" and "Planned Community."

    But if you go to a good folk-friendly venue (e.g. I used to go to the Bottom Line and the Speakeasy in New York), you might find the real thing.

  3. #128

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Not everyone wants to draw kiddy pictures with crayons.
    Although I understand what you're saying I didn't interpret Sbhikes statement as you did.

    The way I took it was, for adults, many times it's better to play tunes rather than drill. Learning music in context rather than not.
    I personally wouldn't say no drills at all. But learning things in context seems to be right and proper for me.
    Waaaayyy back six pages ago, I still say the answer is practice. Maybe not whip & chain drills, but daily stick & rudder time, as the pilots say. All that "character" will come as a matter of course. If it doesn't, this may not be your bailiwick. The world needs golfers and cyclists too.

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  5. #129

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Not everyone wants to draw kiddy pictures with crayons. They can be engaging and useful for their emotional impact; just look at all those adverts where the agency uses them to manipulate the reaction. However there is a whole world of art that goes beyond the just having fun and pursues something else for the enjoyment to be found in the result and often just the learning of the craft.

    Playing and enjoyment can be limited by a lack of skills and some skills are best learned through practice, guidance, maybe apprenticeship to a master. It depends how high the wire you want to walk is. I think, as many posts here allude to, there are many kinds of satisfaction and sources of joy in music. Not all require the same skills, but those that do demand a variety of high level skills need practice, if your character is motivated to pursue that then you will be able to derive the pleasure from the pursuit. If you are not motivated by that, then it would be bending yourself out of shape to try.

    Often practice or guidance is the shortcut to satisfaction. However there is also the danger of becoming the eternal student and never letting yourself use all the skill accumulated to be yourself and truly own the music. As with everything a balance will need to be found for each person.
    I learned to play by showing up at a weekly jam with an instrument, not knowing the tunes and barely knowing the instrument. They encouraged me to play anyway. I learned it all one note at a time. I'd literally get one note and wait for the tune to come around again so I could get that note again. Then I tried for two, then for the outline of the tune. Week after week, year after year, I filled in more notes, and continue to fill in more notes and make variations. I would sit out the harder tunes until I heard them enough I felt ready to attempt them. Over time, I learned hundreds of tunes this way. After a while, people invited me to more and more paid gigs, I was invited to be on a CD, I busk at the market, people want me there and are happy when I show up. All that without formal lessons or formal practicing. It was all fun the entire way through and any time I got stuck on something, I'd ask someone for help and work on it, but I never saw it in the same sort of light as "well, I gotta do a hour of scales and play these boring etudes and work my way through this book" or whatever. It was all in the spirit of fun. I'd even use the jam as a chance to experiment and try new things because as they always insisted, "nobody can hear you anyway", which is true because there are like 4 guitars and 5 banjos, 12 fiddles, 8 mandolins and a hammer dulcimer that was sent by the Devil himself.

  6. #130
    two t's and one hyphen fatt-dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    In the realm of language, do we practice our helping verbs? Do we drill the correct pronunciation of through, though, cough, bone, one, gone, etc.? When do we really practice our use of nouns and verbs? Well, we know the answer, after actually learning how to speak! I think it was after 7 or 8 years of speaking that such thoughts even appear in elementary school. Heck, it may have been 7th grade before I even knew what a helping verb meant - not that I hadn't used them.

    So, my vote is, "learn to communicate first." Just play! After 10,000 hours, you'll have the skills necessary to steer towards a specialized area of music, advanced theoretical concepts and the like. It's premature to give somebody a mandolin and start right off the bat with advanced theoretical concepts.

    Just a few thoughts. . .

    f-d
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  8. #131

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by farmerjones View Post
    Although I understand what you're saying I didn't interpret Sbhikes statement as you did. . . .
    I didn't, either!

  9. #132

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatt-dad View Post
    . . . After 10,000 hours, you'll have the skills necessary . . . .
    Or else you'll NEVER have the skills necessary!

  10. #133
    Registered User SincereCorgi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Yeah, you shouldn't be able to sing a murder ballad unless you've committed at least, say, three murders.

    There's a great book called "Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music" by Barker and Taylor that explores some of the stuff discussed in this thread, going from the earliest recorded music on to the present. Musicians and marketers have carefully cultivated 'authentic' images to sell recordings and show tickets for a really long time- it's weird that we hold middle-class folkies' feet to the fire over it when the last century of music has been more or less a pose.

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  12. #134
    poor excuse for anything Charlieshafer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by SincereCorgi View Post
    Yeah, you shouldn't be able to sing a murder ballad unless you've committed at least, say, three murders.

    There's a great book called "Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music" by Barker and Taylor that explores some of the stuff discussed in this thread, going from the earliest recorded music on to the present. Musicians and marketers have carefully cultivated 'authentic' images to sell recordings and show tickets for a really long time- it's weird that we hold middle-class folkies' feet to the fire over it when the last century of music has been more or less a pose.
    Yeah, and who says sitting on I-95 every morning for an hour isn't suffering. Maybe my baby didn't do me wrong, but that nut in the BMW sure did.

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  14. #135
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Heck, only twice in my life have I ever had whisky before breakfast.
    Fill your boots, man!

    The entire staff
    funny....

  15. #136
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    Heck, only twice in my life have I ever had whisky before breakfast.
    Whenever I have whisky, next breakfast is bound to come, sooner or later. That's not hard to do.
    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  16. #137
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlieshafer View Post
    Yeah, and who says sitting on I-95 every morning for an hour isn't suffering. Maybe my baby didn't do me wrong, but that nut in the BMW sure did.
    Well, I woke up this afternoon, I saw both cars were gone.
    Well, I woke up this afternoon, I saw both cars were gone.
    I felt so low down deep inside, I threw my drink across the lawn.

    The immortal Michael Mull, folks.



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  18. #138
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Character over practice?

    I've always come down on the side of knowing the basics before trying to fly but I've also never been known for my in-your-face-out-there-changing-the-world personality either. I also don't express "myself" through music-- that's just for fun. I express myself through words and (once upon a time) acting, where putting on an emotion is a learned skill that has nothing to do with what you're actually going through. I don't think the 'character' or 'practice' question is an either/or. I think they help each other.

    But reading the discussion of expression through music, I was minded of Hamlet's "O, What a Rogue and Peasant Slave Am I" speech which (mind you, this is without looking it up because I'm feeling lazy right now) has a whole passage about being able to mimic an emotion that has no bearing on reality and goes something like "Is it not monstrous that this player here, but in a fiction, in a dream of passion, could bend his soul so to his own conceit that, from her workings, tears in's eyes, distraction in's aspect, a broken voice -- and all for what? For Hecuba! What is Hecuba to he or he to Hecuba that he should weep for her?" so, yeah, you can provide an emotional outlet that has nothing much to do with current stimuli if you are skilled enough in the niceties of what you are trying to do. It helps a lot if you can draw on imagination mixed with empathy of course. I don't have to actually, say, win the lottery to imagine what it would feel like (although I might be wrong. I don't normally win things). And on the other other hand, I'll probably never really be able to sing the blues. Which may not be all that bad.
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  20. #139

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Well, I woke up this afternoon, I saw both cars were gone.
    Well, I woke up this afternoon, I saw both cars were gone.
    I felt so low down deep inside, I threw my drink across the lawn.
    And Kevin Neeland's bit on PHC : )

    Hey, the depth people say being born is a trauma to overcome..

  21. #140

    Default Re: Character over practice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randi Gormley View Post
    I express myself through words...
    I often feel as though I'm dwelling in a Dantean garden of earthly delights. The weight of it all, the shear corporeal magnitude, conceit and vanity, words would be so enlightening, I'm waylayed if necessary by symbolic retribution of my own making so I won't complain. I wish to travel light. There's good reasoning, and I'm no benefactor.

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