Those of us who can play an instrument well enough to get paid for it don't play as well as we'd like to play.
However, we play better than we think we do...Otherwise we wouldn't get paid.
And then there's this:
I'm not even close....Couldn't get close if I had another lifetime to try....
Nice. Joe Pass comping off to the side doesn't hurt either.
Ron, great vid. Really fun. And I agree completely. Not just about my own playing (piano/keys) but in painting as well.
The more I learn, the more I understand how much more there is that I DON'T know. It's what keeps me moving forward. (Not saying it isn't frustrating at times, but it seems to be a necessary part of the process.)
I often quote Louie Armstrong, who was once asked by some nincompoop if he thought he might be a better musician if he'd learned to read music. Louie put it rather succinctly:
"If you ain't got it, you ain't gonna get it."
Louie got it, and so did Oscar Peterson, who could make any song his own.
Insane playing. Also interesting that he used a Bosendorfer. That’s a piano that tends not to be bright, and yet his playing made it sound great on that kind of material.
That’s not what reading music does. Reading music makes communicating certain ideas more convenient. And, frankly, particularly when you play an instrument that only plays one note at a time, I don’t know why you wouldn’t learn. It’s way easier to learn than a new language.
Armstrong and a whole lot of others didn’t need it but I’ll never understand why people are so quick to celebrate musical illiteracy.
My wife, who is classically trained, and plays with great feel, or emotion if you prefer that word. She also is one of the best sight-readers I've ever met. She, however, is envious of my ability to hear something and play it by ear, after a reasonable amount of stumbling, of course.
I wish I had her ability, and yes, I wish I had formal musical training. But Louie was right; if you ain't got it, you ain't gonna get it. I know many people who are trained, but have no soul, for want of a better word. They can play all the right notes with perfect time, but they can't make music that makes you feel anything.
As one who can read music, I can tell you that I don't believe that I became musically literate until I began to listen and play what I heard as a means of expressing what I feel...
Musical literacy should not be characterized so narrowly as to confine the notion to only being able to read music...
People who 'celebrate' the musicianship and sheer artistry of those who can't read music are not celebrating 'musical illiteracy', we are celebrating that special gift of those who can express themselves through music without the luxury and benefit of having been formally taught to do so...
In short we celebrate the music and the musician not the elitist notion of musical literacy...
By the way, Oscar Peterson could read the New York Times and Beethoven's 5th Symphony:
@TC; While playing in bands as a teenager, I learned to 'read' the guitar annotations in the music 'fake book's that were pirate compilations of the sheets or the classic American "standards" that were the required repertoire for weddings and proms back then...
As a result of years of listening and fumbling, I can no longer play and sight read. The simple fact is, I never really did...
While taking lessons, I would play from the sheet a few times then play by ear what I thought the piece should sound like...
I improvised through mistakes...And was strongly admonished for doing so....
My brother, who can't play or read a lick now, would memorize the beginner's books and play accordingly...
Our piano teacher told our mother that he, not I, would be the better musician...
My brother was musically literate at the elementary level. However, as far as musicianship goes, he is just about as non-musical as he can be....
So much for "musical literacy"....
Most of the better "musical illiterates" I know, myself included, do "read" music after a fashion. Chord notations are a very useful tool, a kind of musical shorthand. So is the "Nashville System", which I also wish I had learned, since it is invaluable for transposing.
If you stick with playing long enough – most people who start don't – you discover the "code", that is to say, you learn that Western music follows prescribed tempos and prescribed chord patterns. Once you come to recognize those tempos and patterns, playing becomes much much easier.
As Kosh points out, though, following melodic line is more difficult than following chord patterns. But melodies, too, tend to follow patterns, and once you figure out the patterns, riffing becomes much easier, too.
The most important lesson I ever learned about soloing was not to be afraid of making mistake. I came to that state of mind, when I discovered, quite by accident, that if you hit a wrong note, you only need to slide one fret either direction on the guitar fretboard to turn that "bad" note into a "good" note.
Sliding a note is the salvation of all guitarists. The inside joke is to say after a boo-boo, "I meant to do that." The great Chet Atkins, as part of his shtick, would say "In this next song, I'm about to play five wrong notes. It will be your job to find them."
All that said, not all music conforms to these "rules". Jazz and classical music tend to stray from them far more than country and blues. And Eastern music is a whole 'nother smoke. Take Dizzy's "Another Night in Tunisia", which melds East and West and is veeeeery challenging for me. Or take Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" ... same story.
But I suspect I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Speaking of breaking rules, sometimes a double negative suits the "music" of words.
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