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Brandford Marsalis on his students - made me laugh!

half diminished

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So it's not just in the UK.

Great quote.......

"We seem to be a country in a massive state of delusion where the idea of what you are is more important than you actually being that"
 
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AlanU

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Enfield, North London
Wow, I think that's what the Americans call 'telling it like it is'.
It seems harsh, but they're his students.

Over here you only have to watch X-Factor and see so many delusional contestants who claim that music is their lives, all they've ever wanted to do etc.
How many have ever formed or joined a band, taken lessons or put in the hard work needed to become accomplished? Very few.
What I think they really want is fame, money, recognition, identity and so on.
Instant gratification.

Having said that, there are a few who have worked at their craft.
In my view the greatest thing about this show is the tiny few who have an inate ability. The quiet, modest ones who don't realise just how good they really are.

I was astonished to hear Stacey Solomon sing 'What a wonderful world'.
Un-preposessing, polite, modest and instinctively good.

She may never be a star, but is a very, very good singer.
 

AndyB

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Durham, NC, USA
Two sides to every story

I know one of his students who is a really humble guy and Mr. Marsallis sounds pretty demanding from what he told me. He chose giant steps as his project piece and Branford set him up with his pianist to help him "learn" the piece. This student couldn't play it up to speed in the first session so the pianist walked out on him or something like that. First session! Giant Steps! That's expecting a lot! Unless they were just trying to shame him for picking such a hard piece.

BTW, he taught me what Branford told him were his most important daily exercises.

1) Play chromatic scales in long tones with stepped dynamics like this: p > mf > f > ff > f > mf > p

2)Play chromatic scales in quarter notes like this: natural tone > lipped-down 1 semitone > back to natural tone.
 
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Pee Dee

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See "The Choir" on BBC2 last night? Good example of what we're discussing.
Gareth (the choirmaster) wanted someone to do a short solo and he asked for volunteers. The obvious choice was a black girl who already sang in a gospel group. Several members who thought they could do it came up, but were rubbish, and the black girl stood at the back and said nothing.
In the break Gareth had a quiet word with her, asking her if she would like to have a go at the solo, she reluctantly agreed, did it, and was great!
I think he was hoping she would volunteer in the first place, but didn't want to upset the others by choosing her without hearing the others first.
I guess we all hear the masters playing and think "I could do that", until you try and copy, and find it ain't as easy as you thought. But unfortunately for some, the delusion doesn't end there, you think you've got it, and it doesn't help when family and friends, who don't know better, egg you on with words of praise, saying "you sound as good as him anyday". Unfortunately some of us believe it, until we go public, and get booed off the stage, metaphorically.
Yep, just be content that we only do it for our own pleasure, and if there is any talent there, and we are destined to go far, then it will happen.

Confuscious said "when the pupil is ready, then the teacher will appear".
:welldone
 

Young Col

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I take Brandford's point too. There seems to be a belief that students have all the talent in the World and how dare anyone criticise them, so their teachers don't. His methods may seem harsh but I wonder if his students come out all the better for a bit of self-realisation.

When I started going to a sax teacher I thought I was way better than I was technically and it was a slightly tough awakening. I still get a lot of hard, but constructive criticism - and some praise. I am sure I am becoming a far better student (I won't say "player").

To follow Pee Dees perceptive quote, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet has this to say on teaching:
"No one can reveal to you ought but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. If the teacher is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. .. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space but he cannot give you the ear that arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it. "

Gosh, there was some dust on that one on the bookshelf!
Colin
 
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half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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Location
Buckinghamshire
"No one can reveal to you ought but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. If the teacher is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. .. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space but he cannot give you the ear that arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it. "

Colin
Wozat? :confused:
 

losaavedra

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Rojales, Spain
What Colin says (and quotes) makes a lot of sense to me. In my earlier life I frequently dragged MSc students into the 'real' world of computing, on placements. One of them actually had a PhD already in something obscure (some branch of astrophysics as I remember) but even he admitted that there were only two jobs in the world he was suited for ... but both were currently occupied! It was easy for me to get these people because I was running an artificial intelligence group (oooh!) in a multinational company at the time. However, of the twenty-five or so who went through the mill, less than half actually took it for what it was (an opportunity) where the best of them did indeed end up getting a permanent job out of it, while the rest were just a pain in the ****! I ran this scheme absolutely by the book ... clearly defined task, frequent revues together with academic tutor ... and they all knew they'd have to do a full blown presentation at the end of their placement describing what they'd been doing, to every senior manager I could round up for the occasion. Aside from this activity, my company did the usual graduate interview days. I'm trying really hard to recall even one individual who impressed me on those occasions. Most of what I listened to was complete tosh ... computer sciences graduates being the absolute worst of the lot unfortunately. I suppose one shouldn't blame the students all the time ... someone must've told them what they were supposed to know. Personally, if I had any vacancies, I always went for the physics grads ... at least they seemed to have a thinking brain, although the chance of them ever exercising their knowledge of physics, in commercial computing, was going to be pretty remote. I really wonder what's gone wrong with 'education'. I was fortunate in going to mostly public schools but nevertheless managed to fail just about every exam I sat. This has never bothered me because some of the amazingly good teachers I had taught me how to enthuse about any concept or task I'd ever feel inclined to turn to, and its through that acquired enthusiasm that I was able to plunge into all sorts of supposedly 'difficult' technical areas in my working life.

At this point I'd better shut up ... its my 'happy hour' here and the vino tinto is causing me to ramble somewhat!
 
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AlanU

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624
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Enfield, North London
I agree Pee Dee, it was obvious that she was the one.
It also seemed 'staged' that they couldn't just give her the role, so we had to see some of those who 'failed'.

Surely the purpose though is to build a sense of 'community' in this place, not to find the best/experienced singers.

I'll watch how this project unfolds.
Anything that gets people into music has to be good, and if you can build a feeling of togetherness, that's even better.
 

Josh Johnson

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Rochester, Kent
Maybe Branford picked something up from Art Blakey when he was with him. I can remember having a lesson from another ex-Blakey man, Jean Toussaint. He took me into a music room (he had no sax), sat at the piano, started playing a blues (didn't tell me the key), looked over his shoulder and said, "show me what you got".

These guys are serious, no nonsense teachers.

I must admit that the experience was absolutely terrifyng, but it was a really quick way for him to assess where I was at. He was a fantastic teacher, and a guy steeped in jazz history, although not for the faint hearted!
 

Pee Dee

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Dorset
To follow Pee Dees perceptive quote, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet has this to say on teaching:
"No one can reveal to you ought but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. If the teacher is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. .. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space but he cannot give you the ear that arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it. "

Gosh, there was some dust on that one on the bookshelf!
Colin
Hey! Great quote! Inspired me to dust off my copy and have another read:)
 

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
I agree Pee Dee, it was obvious that she was the one.
It also seemed 'staged' that they couldn't just give her the role, so we had to see some of those who 'failed'.

Surely the purpose though is to build a sense of 'community' in this place, not to find the best/experienced singers.

I'll watch how this project unfolds.
Anything that gets people into music has to be good, and if you can build a feeling of togetherness, that's even better.
Yep, was staged, but makes good tv I suppose, and that's the producers first priority.
Oh for a music teacher like Gareth. He tells it how it is, but nicely tactfully.
 
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