Thursday, January 27, 2011

Selection from "The Music Lesson" by Victor Wooten

To play Music, good technique is a must. You can know all the notes in the world. You can have the best ideas in the world, but you need good technique to get them out. Your technique can even be unorthorthodox, but if it is inadequate, you will not be able to express yourself freely; you will frustrate yourself instead. Good technique allows you to use all the other elements of Music at will.

Your technique should be at such a high level that you can forget about it. Eventually, you will even forget about your instrument. Only then can you remember how to play Music. Think about talking. When you talk, the words are your notes. Your tongue, diaphragm, mouth, teeth, lips and so on are your instruments. How you use them to push air across your vocal cords and through your lips to form words is your technique, but you rarely think about that...When you were a baby your technique was not adequate enough to allow you to speak like everyone else. You would babble on an on trying to work it out and be understood. Not having the proper control of your instrument caused you to cry.

When learning Music, we think we need to concentrate really hard on something until we achieve success. We also think we should lock ourselves in what we call the 'woodshed' for at least a few hours a day and focus on what we are doing. We practice our scales, modes, and techniques over and over until they become second nature. This, we think, is the only way of attaining the level of master musician. I propose a different path.

The elements of Music are the individual parts that make up Music as a whole. Many musicians like yourself struggle because you are not familiar enough with all the elements. You rely mostly on one or two of them when you play. Doing that is a great recipe for frustration.

The Ten Elements of Music: 1) Groove  2)Notes  3)Articulation/Duration  4)Technique  5)Emotion/Feel  6) Dynamics  7)Tone  8)Phrasing  9)Space/Rest  10) Listening

(*Pages 36-37, and 78-79*)

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