Hard Musical Truths

“My simple thought for today…In playing music one of the most difficult things to do is learning how to hear yourself objectively.  This is a common problem with students but it’s not just relegated to students.  Professionals too can have a difficult time hearing how they sound…honestly.  Some don’t want to hear it and others can’t.  There are levels of maturity, humility and objectivity required to hear how you truly sound.

It’s easy to get caught up in the love and adulation from contemporaries which can make looking over problem areas easy.  Often times too this contemporary love doesn’t come from those that play the same instrument or they aren’t on a level where they are informed enough to offer constructive and helpful critiquing.  Why zero in on weak points when you’re getting the love from those you respect and admire?  A teacher’s job isn’t just for filling the students’ coconut with compliments and praise.  You have to tell them where it isn’t working too and this is potentially where problem areas pop up in disposition.

In drumming some suspect areas…time.  That’s front and center.  Many can’t feel how their time fluctuates which of course affects how the song feels.  Repetition of ideas.  Really common.  It’s easy to excel in one tempo and feel but when diversity is called for problems are revealed.  Technique.  Your technique can actually hinder positive forward movement if not refined and developed.  These are just a few examples.

One of the biggest competitors now to teaching is YouTube.  Students see a lot of these videos and feel they are getting what they need.  YouTube doesn’t offer engagement or interaction.  You can’t ask questions and there’s no one to tell you your technique is working against instead of for you.  For many students it doesn’t matter.  They have their mind made up that they can do it.  More power to them.  I’ve always said if you have 10 students you might be able to reach about four of them.  The others find excuses or are just lazy or simply don’t want to put in the necessary work.” – Jae

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