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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop


Those of you who know me know that my current main teacher is not a musician. He, nonetheless, continues to teach me more about improvisation, life, music, and how they all go together.

Today, he repeated one of his favorite instructions to his students and it really took on a whole new level of importance in life, so I’ll share it with all of you:

“Learn to do this in a way that you will enjoy doing it.”

Here’s a hint…. Don’t get hung up on figuring out what “this” is; it could be anything. Also, don’t get hung up on what makes it enjoyable; we all know on a visceral level what we do and don’t enjoy. Just learn to do things in a manner that you will find enjoyable, in whatever way or for whatever reason, when the time comes to do them; DON’T learn to do things in a way that makes them a hassle or like work when the time comes to actually do them.


Babu Mon, 10/18/2021 - 05:52

We play music. Enough said.
I think the word we use, play, tells a lot. For me it's like a kind of playing ball as a soccer player for instance. To make sure he will do the right things on field, he has to play a lot with the ball, to giggle all day long, and it's impossible to do that without having fun. I noticed in teaching that my best students always find funny things to do with guitar, and mastering the instrument has to pass thru this essential step, and i noticed that the main difference between me and and the others musicians i know of my age and who did'nt achieve a full musical career is that i love when i have time to learn or re-learn technical stuff on the instrument, when they always told me it was a pain in the ass for them. No pain no gain ? How forget the pleasure you get when you reach your target ? With fun, pain becomes very lighter... Think about what endure women with their beauty things. If pain were bigger than the joy of feeling great when beautiful, i highly doubt they would do all that stuff.
I remember what once my drummer said. We were in my car back home after a difficult gig full of bad surprises and without a lot of so good music, speaking about all that and he finally said : man i enjoy to do my job...
For me fun is the basic element of all the processing of music. Without it you cannot go far, and/or somehow it shows. I don't care if i'm a good musician or not, but i love to play music, in all his aspects. For me two hours of scales well played can be as rewarding as a good concert. I know it's a key point. And all my experience confirms.

tonymiceli Thu, 10/14/2021 - 21:37

so.... just explain to me how hard work fits into this saying. I assume it's their, I just can't see it.

I think it's great to figure out what 'this' is. and I think of the saying no pain no gain which I believe in. Maybe it's all there?

Randy_Sutin Fri, 10/15/2021 - 16:56

In reply to by tonymiceli

If hard work is what you enjoy, then that is how you should approach it. Speaking from a personal perspective, that is one element that I definitely am drawn to about playing music. I like the applying my persistence and dedication to a pursuit of this nature and I get a lot of joy from the entirely personal expression that results.

Bottom line, if you are doing something in a way that your are not enjoying, then it won't be an accurate expression of you. That may be fine if you are building bridges or making widgets in a factory. If you are learning to play music or, as in the case of my teacher, developing a personal asana practice, then it really won't be successful. It certainly won't be epic and stand the test of time over the long haul.


What instruments does this pertain to?