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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 03:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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A Musical Education

I want to applaud Guitar World for their Master Class series with Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and John Petrucci. Here is a link to the entire Satriani Masterclass: https://www.guitarworld.com/lessons/...self-on-guitar
You should see a wall of text with some musical examples and eventually a YouTube video. Once you get to YouTube, you will find videos from Vai and Petrucci. I assume most of you can manage the internet from there...

These Master Classes are good because they are thorough, well produced (both the text/examples and the videos), and something like this needed to be done. Someone needed to say "if you want to be a musician, learn music." Guitar World did that by getting Vai, Satriani, and Petrucci to essentially say the same thing, at the same time, but from their own point of view. Their job is not to convince people to be musicians, but they do have the power and the responsibility to talk about what a musician is, especially as electric guitar players. What they say will resonate with the right people and hopefully, those people have a supportive environment in which they can make decisions. In short, "the beacons are lit" how people react is their decision to make.

A Musical Education
"If you want to be a musician, learn how to play music." This really is not an outlandish idea.

How? This being a guitar oriented forum, take guitar lessons.
Where and who? Age is important. If you are an older player, I assuming you are not starting from ground zero, which means a music studio with kids is not where you want to be. You want to be in an environment where "real talk" can take place. That might be your home, the teachers home, etc. A place where you can crank a tube amp, ask questions about gear, play different guitars because those are important elements of learning the guitar. A good teacher will not say "Buy gear" but they will say, "You need a new guitar" if you do in fact need a new guitar. Depending on your age, the goal will likely be to enrich your playing, not overhaul everything you have learned up to that point. It's usually pretty fun.

For younger players, more doors are still open to you. This means more practice will be required if you want to go through one or more of those open doors. Take lessons from a jazz player if you want to learn jazz. Take lessons from a country player if you want to learn country. Take lessons from a theory major or composer if you want to learn music theory or composition. Focus on a specific area and find someone who is an expert in that area to teach you. It will be rewarding.

A Music Degree
"If you want to study music in college, study music in college." There is no other method of learning that comes close to that experience. Even better, if you realize music is not what you want to study, you will know within the first month and you can easily switch majors. However, if you realize music is what you want to study, you are in the right place and that "want" becomes a "need."

This actually becomes rather difficult to talk about. Music is inherently abstract and personal preference is inherently subjective. Subconsciously, people perceive this as being true which creates the illusion that anyone's opinion about music is valid. There are objective concepts in music where opinions do not apply, only facts. For example, genre and style are two different concepts, but "genre" has become a catch-all word to define all stylistic differences. Genre refers to the medium, or musical forces being used: string quartet, piano concerto, jazz trio. Style refers to the sound of the music being played: serialism, late romantic, bebop. Another example is the difference between tone(s) and noise. A periodic sound wave is a tone and an aperiodic sound wave is a noise. The two extremes are a sine wave and "white noise." Stockhausen figured this out in the 1950's using measurement equipment in a French electronic studio. The problem is most people are unaware Karlheinz Stockhausen ever existed.

Perhaps the paragraph above illustrates the "need" I mentioned earlier. Studying music in college fuels and expands that "need."
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Last edited by Formerly Given To Fly; 02-23-2018 at 03:03 AM. Reason: Added a bit at the end.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-22-2018, 12:53 PM
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Re: A Musical Education

Leave it up to Satch to create a "lesson" from a mag that is actually accessible to all players of any level. What a major improvement that master class page is over stuff the mags used to run like the 10-hour workout (great for CTS & repetitive stress injuries) or the generic "how to play like ABC XYZ" (many tabs in wrong positions). Good to see.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A Musical Education

Perhaps a music degree is not in the cards. That is understandable. There other ways to learn, but I need to stress that the internet is not one of those ways. The internet provides a wealth of information which can be used to learn from, but it rarely teaches musical concepts effectively. Studying with a private teacher can turn this wealth of information into knowledge. The more you know about music the more you will understand your own music and the music of other people. This a good thing.

Bottom line is good music comes from good musicians who know a lot about music. This is how it works (for the most part) and honestly, I do not think there is a surplus in musicianship. There might be a surplus in talent but without musicianship, talent plateaus indefinitely.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 09:46 AM
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Re: A Musical Education

Dumb question but what meaningful employment does a music degree - in and of itself - allow ? Seems really limited to teaching or hired performer but i'm really honestly asking.

You can surely study music without the goal of having a musical degree but can you really learn "musicianship" in school? Seems like something really gained by taking an innate gift/ability and cultivating it with lots of prior listening & playing a lot with others. In an age nowadays where many HS grads "study" for two degrees (often before trying to get a job) don't you wonder if "studying music" (left brain activity) actually hurts musicianship?

The bigger (unanswerable) question is what is "good music"? You don't need a music degree to create "good music" AFAIK.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 01:40 PM
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Re: A Musical Education

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Dumb question but what meaningful employment does a music degree - in and of itself - allow ? Seems really limited to teaching or hired performer but i'm really honestly asking.

You can surely study music without the goal of having a musical degree but can you really learn "musicianship" in school? Seems like something really gained by taking an innate gift/ability and cultivating it with lots of prior listening & playing a lot with others. In an age nowadays where many HS grads "study" for two degrees (often before trying to get a job) don't you wonder if "studying music" (left brain activity) actually hurts musicianship?

The bigger (unanswerable) question is what is "good music"? You don't need a music degree to create "good music" AFAIK.
Didn't Satch drop out of a music degree?

I think that a music degree can help you write "complicated" music, but whether it can help you write "good" music...
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 03:02 PM
 
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Re: A Musical Education

Unless you have cash and time to burn, I think music degrees and most other degrees are useless. The only ones I'd ever pursue are STEM related. Business school only makes sense if you're going to a top tier school, if you don't, the yield isn't really justifiable, especially in the US where school costs an arm and a leg..plus maybe a few fingers too.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-26-2018, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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Originally Posted by jemsite View Post
Dumb question but what meaningful employment does a music degree - in and of itself - allow ? Seems really limited to teaching or hired performer but i'm really honestly asking.

You can surely study music without the goal of having a musical degree but can you really learn "musicianship" in school? Seems like something really gained by taking an innate gift/ability and cultivating it with lots of prior listening & playing a lot with others. In an age nowadays where many HS grads "study" for two degrees (often before trying to get a job) don't you wonder if "studying music" (left brain activity) actually hurts musicianship?

The bigger (unanswerable) question is what is "good music"? You don't need a music degree to create "good music" AFAIK.
Good questions.
I think your description of how "musicianship" is gained is entirely accurate. I use the term "studying" as an all-encompassing term to describe "what we do at music school." Reading books about music does not make you a better player if you never play. Practicing and performing are a given. However, reading books about the music you are playing usually helps you play it better. I have never met anyone who became a worse musician because they studied music.

In and of itself, a music degree does not shepherd anyone into a specific job, especially outside the realm of music. While not common, I do know people who got their bachelors, masters, DMA/ Ph.D. and went straight into a professorship position. I would also wager a good bassoonist is never out of work of any type and a "hired performer" covers just about everyone in every music performance related job. Geographic location makes a difference too.

You are right, you do not need a music degree to create "music." Qualifiers like "good" and "bad" only apply to your own personal experience.

Last edited by Formerly Given To Fly; 02-26-2018 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Because
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 10:39 AM
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly View Post
Perhaps a music degree is not in the cards. That is understandable. There other ways to learn, but I need to stress that the internet is not one of those ways. The internet provides a wealth of information which can be used to learn from, but it rarely teaches musical concepts effectively. Studying with a private teacher can turn this wealth of information into knowledge. The more you know about music the more you will understand your own music and the music of other people. This a good thing.

Bottom line is good music comes from good musicians who know a lot about music. This is how it works (for the most part) and honestly, I do not think there is a surplus in musicianship. There might be a surplus in talent but without musicianship, talent plateaus indefinitely.

Very true... but some of the groundbreaking musicians of our time are self taught. Music born of a sheer desire to share what they feel musically with others... without the hindrance of what is proper or acceptable. Sometimes this can be excruciating (we have all heard that one person), but in very rare cases it can change the musical landscape indefinitely.


I fall in to your first comment... I already have a career, but live for music and always have. So a musical education or degree is not in the cards for me, but I learn bits and pieces of music theory... why this works with that, using the free info from the internet world. Although, like you mentioned, it does not teach me effectively! Lots of fractured knowledge without anything to bind it together in a cohesive manner, which is why I still struggle to learn anything at age 49!! I get frustrated and think sometimes that a basic music theory class would benefit me greatly... but I really only play guitar for my own enjoyment, by myself, with nobody listening. That being said, I really would like to speed up the learning process with a better understanding of the fundamentals... I just don't have the extra time to take a local community college class. Are there legitimate comprehensive on-line music theory classes that would work for getting the fundamentals down?


PS - I sure miss Southern AZ winters... I'm from Safford.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-27-2018, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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Very true... but some of the groundbreaking musicians of our time are self-taught. Music born of a sheer desire to share what they feel musically with others... without the hindrance of what is proper or acceptable. Sometimes this can be excruciating (we have all heard that one person), but in very rare cases it can change the musical landscape indefinitely.


I fall in to your first comment... I already have a career, but live for music and always have. So a musical education or degree is not in the cards for me, but I learn bits and pieces of music theory... why this works with that, using the free info from the internet world. Although, like you mentioned, it does not teach me effectively! Lots of fractured knowledge without anything to bind it together in a cohesive manner, which is why I still struggle to learn anything at age 49!! I get frustrated and think sometimes that a basic music theory class would benefit me greatly... but I really only play guitar for my own enjoyment, by myself, with nobody listening. That being said, I really would like to speed up the learning process with a better understanding of the fundamentals... I just don't have the extra time to take a local community college class. Are there legitimate comprehensive on-line music theory classes that would work for getting the fundamentals down?


PS - I sure miss Southern AZ winters... I'm from Safford.
Ironically, it is supposed to snow tonight.

To your first point, you are right, especially about the "hindrance of what is proper and acceptable."

I think you have identified the problem (fractured knowledge) and the solution (music theory class). Unfortunately, there is a time commitment that needs to be made and "fundamentals" needs to be defined. I am not aware of any "legitimate comprehensive online music theory classes" but I have not been actively looking. Clarifying confusing concepts is what makes a teacher so important. I can say the two primary skills you need are understanding how the keys of the piano are organized and being able to read treble clef and bass clef (grand staff).
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 11:09 AM
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly View Post
Ironically, it is supposed to snow tonight.

To your first point, you are right, especially about the "hindrance of what is proper and acceptable."

I think you have identified the problem (fractured knowledge) and the solution (music theory class). Unfortunately, there is a time commitment that needs to be made and "fundamentals" needs to be defined. I am not aware of any "legitimate comprehensive online music theory classes" but I have not been actively looking. Clarifying confusing concepts is what makes a teacher so important. I can say the two primary skills you need are understanding how the keys of the piano are organized and being able to read treble clef and bass clef (grand staff).

Snow? I had better watch out in a day or two... Seems like we get similar weather a couple of days after AZ. My folks have been getting some good winter rain lately. Should be a good year for the desert flowers.


I have often thought that I would understand music theory a bit better had I started on a piano or keyboard, where everything is laid out in a linear fashion. Just to lay the foundation in a way that is easier to visualize and mentally organize. I actually just got a keyboard, mainly to use for recording, but maybe by having it set up in my music room I can use it for a reference tool when learning theory.


This post regarding music theory was on my mind yesterday and I did some searching online for music theory classes. There are quite a few out there that are free, some from reputable sources like Berklee, etc... (Costs $50 if you want a certificate for completing the course) I may give one or two a try, as it can't hurt at this point. I'm too late to make it a career, but anything I can do to learn and grow musically is helpful. With a more concerted effort to learn some theory, like scales and modes, I have learned more in the last 2 years than the previous 30 years of just learning songs. Thanks for the insight!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-28-2018, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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I have often thought that I would understand music theory a bit better had I started on a piano or keyboard, where everything is laid out in a linear fashion. Just to lay the foundation in a way that is easier to visualize and mentally organize. I actually just got a keyboard, mainly to use for recording, but maybe by having it set up in my music room I can use it as a reference tool when learning theory.
If a student has 1 year of piano before they start another instrument, they will have an easier time with everything related to music. That is why music teachers strongly recommend it. It is less about playing the piano and more about learning how to accurately turn notation/ideas into sound on an instrument. Your keyboard should come in handy!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-01-2018, 03:55 AM
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Re: A Musical Education

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If a student has 1 year of piano before they start another instrument, they will have an easier time with everything related to music. That is why music teachers strongly recommend it. It is less about playing the piano and more about learning how to accurately turn notation/ideas into sound on an instrument. Your keyboard should come in handy!
And if a student has two or three years of piano... it's even better.

Not keeping up with my piano studies because piano "isn't cool when you're a teenager" is a big regret.

I personally feel like piano is also the "root language" of modern music and no instrument is as usefil when I was in bands, for being able to convey a musical idea or to establish communication musically.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: A Musical Education

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Dumb question but what meaningful employment does a music degree - in and of itself - allow ? Seems really limited to teaching or hired performer but i'm really honestly asking.

You can surely study music without the goal of having a musical degree but can you really learn "musicianship" in school? Seems like something really gained by taking an innate gift/ability and cultivating it with lots of prior listening & playing a lot with others. In an age nowadays where many HS grads "study" for two degrees (often before trying to get a job) don't you wonder if "studying music" (left brain activity) actually hurts musicianship?

The bigger (unanswerable) question is what is "good music"? You don't need a music degree to create "good music" AFAIK.
I have answers. If we remove the word "meaningful" and just stick to "employment," music degrees do not guarantee employment but are required for most music-related jobs that do exist. Symphony orchestras are a good example. A hired performer can be a 3-hour background music gig or a 1 hour concert. Musicians do not talk about money because we are stupid, but also because it is hard to talk about with any level of consistency. Concert fees range from $1000 - $10,000 - $75,000 (this is the highest I have heard mentioned). Teaching covers so much ground. High school girls take guitar lessons for different reasons than middle age men. Adults are generally looking for a new perspective or experience. Some adult students want to play the guitars/amps their hero's played and play them loud! Great! Then your next student brings a ukelele to their guitar lesson. How fast can you learn how a ukelele works? Teaching can sound limiting but in reality, working with people one-on-one broadens your perspective on just about everything. Lastly, many companies that deal directly with music do not allow musicians to be employees because if you can't "code" or "market" what can you possibly offer? I will admit, I can not write algorithms of any sort. Shazam uses an interesting algorithm to identify songs. It takes an audio snapshot and matches it with the recorded song. Once matched, Shazam reads the metadata to identify what it heard and what it matches with and then informs the person holding their cell phone in the air. No person can do what Shazam does. However, Shazam requires accurate information in order to identify a song. That seems reasonable by most standards. After two years of studying music, something clicks (or snaps) and unreasonable expectations become normal. One night, my brother called me, played a melody on the piano, and asked me what song it was. I said I'm pretty sure you are thinking of this Mandolin Concerto by Vivaldi. I was right.
I have no idea what my brother actually played. None of it matched the Vivaldi Concerto except the "long - short - long- short" rhythm of the piece. He believed I would recognize what he played and I had to figure out why. Music school teaches students how to figure out and comprehend abstract concepts. For example, B and Cb are enharmonic (same pitch) but different notes. This has a functional purpose and sometimes Cb is the correct note and B is the wrong note, even though they are played on the exact same key on the piano creating the exact same pitch. If you can come to terms with why this is true, more practical applications, like spotting bad ideas, are not far behind. I think the trend of not including hardshell cases with some pretty expensive guitars, but having them available for an extra $200 is one of those bad ideas. It suggests the company does not care about your guitar. Even worse, it suggests they do not really care about the guitars they build in the first place.

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Didn't Satch drop out of a music degree?

I think that a music degree can help you write "complicated" music, but whether it can help you write "good" music...
"Complicated" is never a compliment when it comes to music. A degree in composition does not encourage complicated writing, quite the opposite. However, some music in its simplest form is still incredibly hard to grasp. Particle physics is the same way. A "Higgs Boson" is not easy to comprehend, explain, or provide clear evidence of its existence. A music degree can potentially teach you how to "polish and display" any "good" music you might write. (I am a terrible composer, which is why I let other people write the music and I do my best to perform it.)


Anyways, just some vaguely coherent thoughts on the matter.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 05:28 AM
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Re: A Musical Education

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"Complicated" is never a compliment when it comes to music. A degree in composition does not encourage complicated writing, quite the opposite. However, some music in its simplest form is still incredibly hard to grasp. Particle physics is the same way. A "Higgs Boson" is not easy to comprehend, explain, or provide clear evidence of its existence. A music degree can potentially teach you how to "polish and display" any "good" music you might write. (I am a terrible composer, which is why I let other people write the music and I do my best to perform it.)


Anyways, just some vaguely coherent thoughts on the matter.
Knowing a Cb is not a B is complicated, knowing why is even more so! I'm sure that there are loads of songs that were written regarding "that note" as the 4th fret on the third string from the top

A musical education can teach you to write "complicated" music because it gives you access to a deeper understanding of what is considered "acceptable" and thus access to a more complicated but still "correct" set of building blocks, a greater vocabulary if you will. A complete lack of musical education makes it harder to work out why some of the notes are black and some of them are white and why there's not a black one between every two white ones I remember in high school there were some kids who couldn't tell the difference between notes that were a semitone apart!

I'm not saying complicated is supposed to be a "compliment" but to arrange music in a way that might involve harmony as well as melody, or to be able to write it down in a way that more than one person has access to it, benefits from education. if you want to compose and score for a symphony, you need some form of education.

What I'm trying to say is that writing a piece of symphonic music for a full orchestra is harder than writing a three chord blues jam for one guy on a guitar. Whether either one of them is "good" is up to the listener.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-17-2018, 05:33 AM
 
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Re: A Musical Education

There is a further layer of abstraction to unpack here.

ANY recognisable degree obtained from a reputable institution no matter what the subject attests to a potential employer that the recipient is demonstrably capable of obtaining maximum benefit from a program of structured learning, it shows that they are diligent, capable, intelligent and myriad of other desirable personal qualities.

This means that you can drop a successful graduate into a demanding role and reasonably expect them to get the hang of it within a realistic timeframe if the right training and support is provided.
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