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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop

 

This morning I was reading through Steve Kahn's analysis of a Michael Becker solo and became so ill from anxiety that I almost lost my cookies.

Do I have enough time to learn such a vast subject matter?
It's scary to think that even practicing to a sweat in a cold room may never get me there.
I hope there is such a thing as divine intervention and that He's willing to help out.

Here is the analysis:
http://www.stevekhan.com/rojoa.htm

Comments

tpvibes Thu, 08/19/2010 - 14:18

Although it tells you more about the thought processes of Steve Kahn than Michael Brecker :-).

I think the depth of this subject is what makes it worth pursuing. It's about journey and not destination. No one ever reaches the final destination, you just become the best you can.

I've had to come to an accommodation with the fact that I'm not going to be as good as the best. I get to blame it on the fact that I can only afford to do this part time, so I can't devote the time needed to get that good (rather than wondering if it's lack of some intangible like "talent"), and that helps. I get my jollies from slowly getting better and playing with guys that I respect, and who seem to respect me. When one of them says, "Wow, great solo!", I don't think that Tony/Ed/Joe/Gary... could've played it much better, I just think, "Cool!" (or at least I try to).

Hang in there :-).

Tom P.

tonymiceli Thu, 08/19/2010 - 17:49

In reply to by tpvibes

"I think the depth of this subject is what makes it worth pursuing. It's about journey and not destination. No one ever reaches the final destination, you just become the best you can."

that's it. let's just have fun and play the instrument. you know what, listen to any of the greats and you STILL hear flaws and they're as insecure as all of us about they're own playing.

i've heard a lot of great musicians express doubt in there abilities. so who cares, i think the better we play the better it is for the instrument and for music and for the world. nobody has to be a mo' fo'.

i've done this for thirty + years now. i just dig the process. i mean shit, i have to dig the process because i've never made lots of money at it.

i'm listening to messiaen and thinking the same think toddc is thinking.

i think we should make a commitment towards excellence. and not worry about attaining it, just keep heading towards it.

think of all the crap that happens to us. shit we get older, that messes EVERYTHING up. so we should just have fun and do things we love.

------------------------
Tony Miceli
www.tonymiceli.com (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
tony@tonymiceli.com
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toddc Thu, 08/19/2010 - 18:34

In reply to by tonymiceli

Tony Wrote:i think we should make a commitment towards excellence. and not worry about attaining it, just keep heading towards it.

I think that's what I'm doing. Everyday a new awareness, insight, or capability.
And I love it. Having anxiety is (can be) part of that. And hearing what people think about music inspires me to keep heading towards excellence.

I didn't say the anxiety was a problem. just that it occurred. I was excited about what I had read. So maybe my reaction was a little immature. But at this stage of the journey who gives a shit about maturity? I like being a kid again:)

In my journey today If found out:

    You can use a melodic minor scale a half step above any altered dominant chord.
    And all the other schtuff that article said too.
    Cal Tjader made recordings that I like.
    I still need to work on memorizing the changes of last eight(C part)of My Romance.
    I'm still digesting Behns comment about always thinking in minor.

Todd Canedy
Don't stop asking until you understand. Once you understand constantly confirm it.

DrBobM55 Thu, 08/19/2010 - 15:17

Stop reading analyses. Reading an interpretation of someone else's playing and expecting to get something useful out of it is analogous to reading the art critic's review of the painting and expecting to know how to paint a picture just like it. Can't do it.

Remember what Tony emphasized EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS. I have the same false belief that you have. "If I look at the music I should be able to play the music."

We don't play with our eyes. We play with our ears. My ears are the most important instrument I have. Since my ears can't make sound I have to use a vibraphone to play what I hear, not what I see. My challenge, which was made clear to me at the workshop, is that I have to trust my ears to do what God intended them to do. I have to completely change the way I think about music. I have to change the way I listen.

I, too, find it hard to accept that I'll never be a Mo' Fo,' but that doesn't mean that I'll never play good music, or that I'll never glide through the changes. I can if I work at it and it doesn't have to be 10 hours a day. At the workshop Randy Sutin said, "Learn one thing a day." Learn one thing today and tomorrow will take care of itself. I have faith that all of us have the potential to play well. There is no easier softer way, but what's required isn't a ball buster either. Keep Going.

Bob Wesner

toddc Thu, 08/19/2010 - 16:33

In reply to by DrBobM55

Bob wrote:[quote]Remember what Tony emphasized EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS EARS. I have the same false belief that you have. "If I look at the music I should be able to play the music."[/quote]

I'm not sure what I've said that implies I think that way but I assure you my ears are busy all day long. Even as I sleep. I listen almost 24hrs a day. Even in my sleep with ear buds. At work all day long. Yes there are some interruptions but music is running all the time (OK I turned off my ipod to write this). I don't listen on the drive to work or home because I'm always singing. Trying to hear the bass line and melody concurrently (sing one hear the other). Currently its the TOTM My Romance.

This may be crazy but I will never accept that I can't be a mo'fo'. It's what gets me out of bed and keeps me moving. My dad drove the word can't out of my vocabulary years ago. So I guess these fits of anxiety are just part of my journey. Whether I make it or not is not for me to decide anyway.

For me understanding how others think about music and organize it in there heads is key to developing my own understanding and organization. That's why I like the lessons from Behn so much. He's always talking about how he thinks about things; "I almost always think in minor". Wow..that's quite a statement don't you think?

When I listen to others I almost always go OH... I never thought of it that way. Cool thank you:) So when I look at the bars new patterns show up I didn't see before. When I hear stuff, even familiar stuff, my internal voice says new things to me.

Case in point: This insight from the article.
[quote] The most interesting harmonic moment occurs during bar 10 where the chord is an Ab7(#5/#9) sound. Here one might expect to see notes which would be found in the Ab altered dominant scale(Ab, Bbb/A, Cb/B, C, D, Fb, Gb), also known as A melodic minor(A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#). [/quote]

I've never seen or thought of this relationship.
Ab altered dominant scale is the same as the A melodic minor? Wow... What can I do with that piece of information? Does it help me organize sound in my head? How? Lets check it out on the vibes.... I know for a fact that I'm not really familiar with the altered dominant scale although I've used playbacks to practice it.

That's where the anxiety comes from. Knowing that there is so much to grasp, hear, see and feel and that I'm 57 and that every friggen breath is a gift.

That's why I don't buy green bananas :)
Of course I'm exaggerating hoping someone finds this humorous but a little truth is in the joke.

I'm all ears :)

Todd Canedy
Don't stop asking until you understand. Once you understand constantly confirm it.

DrBobM55 Thu, 08/19/2010 - 21:21

In reply to by toddc

The Internet is a vast new area where we can all misinterpret and be misinterpreted. I read more into your comment than I should have. Whenever I get stuck and begin feeling that what I'm doing is showing signs of futility I try to figure out where I'm screwing up. In this case I know I have spent too much time looking at lead sheets and theory texts. I won't solve this problem by looking at something, but I might if I can hear it. I'm delighted to know that you didn't throw up. The stuff gets in the resonators and is a bitch to get out.

On another matter entirely two mice once fell into the low F resonator in my M55. I hadn't been playing the M55 much because I prefer my YV3910. Actually that's not quite true. This occurred at a time when I wasn't playing much at all. One day Abby, my Golden Retriever, was sniffing around the M55. I went to check it out and noticed a really bad smell. I took the bars off and found two rotting dead mice in the bottom of the resonator. I was a mess to clean up and I was embarrassed that it had happened at all. I felt I had disrespected Clair Omar Musser himself. In my defense I do live in the country and field mice are numerous and can be hard to get rid of. I never thought of an M55 as a mouse trap, but in this case it worked rather well.

Bob Wesner

toddc Fri, 08/20/2010 - 10:12

In reply to by tonymiceli

I can just hear the mice in their dilemma:

M1: This is your fault!
M2: You're the one that wanted to go to the bars
M1: Yeah...well it was your stupid idea to ride the pipe.
M2: What do we do now man?
M1: I think we're screwed.
M2: Let's do another hit and think about it until the dog goes away.

Todd Canedy
Don't stop asking until you understand. Once you understand constantly confirm it.

tpvibes Fri, 08/20/2010 - 10:14

In reply to by DrBobM55

I heard a mouse running around in the ceiling of my practice area the other night -- I'll have to check my resonators!

Tom P.