SYOS

Improvise For Real

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Sure why not? Points 1 to 5 would not exclude learning your scales, taking a bit of coaching on phrasing, a bit of advice on what goes with what, and Dick's yer uncle Bob, you know a bit about improvising. The rest is up to practice. Much the same as any other way of doing it.

I know a method for guitar where you dont have to know a single scale, just where to find the 1-3-5 of the major triad in three different patterns. You can find any note you want from this, just like learning the scales. It works but its better to learn the music, you will have learned so much more at no extra cost.

Just my thoughts,
Best wishes
Mike
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,955
Sure why not? Points 1 to 5 would not exclude learning your scales, taking a bit of coaching on phrasing, a bit of advice on what goes with what, and Dick's yer uncle Bob, you know a bit about improvising. The rest is up to practice. Much the same as any other way of doing it.

I know a method for guitar where you dont have to know a single scale, just where to find the 1-3-5 of the major triad in three different patterns. You can find any note you want from this, just like learning the scales. It works but its better to learn the music, you will have learned so much more at no extra cost.

Just my thoughts,
Best wishes
Mike
Lute tablature is just a map of the instrument and it tells you where to put you fingers and a single line of notes (called flags) provide the rhythm. Doesn't avoid needing to be able to play the thing!

I find the third bullet on the splash page a tadge worrying since it seems a contradiction in terms to me ("Understand music without endless theory and formulas").

Do you need a lot of theory to enjoy or understand music? Not necessarily, but it's useful and you will reach a point where it's difficult to progress without some understanding.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
A couple things worth mentioning:

Talk about truth in advertising. He's not kidding when he says that you'll be "Improvising for Real", because you sure as heck won't know what you're doing. :)))

He's coming at it from a purely intuitive point of view, which isn't necessarily bad. How well that works for a given individual will indeed depend on the individual. Some people may take to this method better than others.

I have a good idea what he's talking about. I have a video by Pete Sears that addresses playing the piano in a similar style. Although Pete goes into the theory behind scales fairly extensively. At least in terms of interval steps and playing against various keys. So there is some "music theory" behind Sears method for blues piano.

I just read the article pointed to by the OP, concerning the Bass guitar in the "Free Stuff" section. Here's something that he said:

Making music

When you have mastered both half steps and whole steps, you have all the tools you need to create tonality. In other words, you can now play the major scale in all twelve keys all over the entire range of your bass. To do so, all you need to do is combine what you have learned in this article with an understanding of the basic geography of the major scale.

"You need to combine what you have learned in this article with an understanding of the basic geography of the major scale"

So in other words, you're not going to get out of learning scales anyway. So if learning scales is part of "music theory" then he's not doing away with music theory completely as he had promised to do!

~~~~

I have no clue what his actual program is like. I imagine that it would have some value, and how well it works for a given individual can indeed depend upon them, and how "intuitively" they can solo just using scale patterns. Some people can do that better than others.

In the end, it's not going to replace a good understanding of scales, modes, keys, etc. But it might serve to get someone jamming rather quickly and off to a good start. I'm always a big proponent of just playing music to get used to the instrument, you can always learn more theory later. So using this method certainly isn't going to hurt you.

I just wonder if you can't get the same kind of information on youtube for FREE?

~~~~

One thing I will say for this guy is that his web site is laid out in a nice orderly fashion. If he lays out his lesson plans as orderly he may actually be a fairly good teacher. Like I say, you can always add more theory later. This could potentially be a ticket to get up and playing simple improv rather quickly. But don't expect it to send you into stardom-ville overnight. That's not likely to happen, unless you turn out to be one of those people who takes to scale patterns like a fish to water and can just naturally find phrases to fit the harmonies without really thinking about it. Such people do exist, and these kinds of courses would be just the ticket for them.

Does he address the saxophone specifically in any of his courses?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
A couple things worth mentioning:

Talk about truth in advertising. He's not kidding when he says that you'll be "Improvising for Real", because you sure as heck won't know what you're doing. :)))

That raises the question, does one need to know what one is doing when improvising. Always used the "Let yourself go" method, as otherwise it is likely to be rigid. Someone once said, "Laws are for the guidance of the wise and the absolute obedience of idiots." >:)
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
That raises the question, does one need to know what one is doing when improvising. Always used the "Let yourself go" method, as otherwise it is likely to be rigid. Someone once said, "Laws are for the guidance of the wise and the absolute obedience of idiots." >:)

From my personal perspective, to think of "music theory" as nothing but a bunch of "laws" is a misguided notion to begin with. It really has absolutely nothing at all to do with "laws". Although, someone could view it in that way if they wanted to. I'm sure it's often taught that way too which is a real shame.

I think of music theory far more like a "Map".

Say you want to go somewhere. Would having the knowledge of a map in your mind hinder your creativity in choosing where you'd like to go? Would it dictate where you need to go? Or would it simply provide you with a clear means of getting to where you'd like to be?

If you think of music theory as being "constricting" in any way, then all I can say is that it's a serious shame that someone had introduced you to music theory from that perspective.

Having said that, I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if you had been introduced to music theory in precisely that way. Music theory books, and classes, are often quite horrible. That is a terrible shame. I'll be the first to agree with that. ;}

Music theory is kind of like mathematics in that way. Most people have a phobia of math, not because ,math is hard, but because schools traditionally make it hard via their lousy teaching methods.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Well, there's improvising and improvising. Like what me teacher does, and then like wot I try to do. But to get going as quick as you like with poppy and bluesy type music, I think you can do it with just B minor pent, D major, A major on tenor, and from there you can move out sideways and up and down. Its what I am doing right now. How much easier can it get than learning a few scales either one by one as you need them or all at once. I did the whole lot of the major scales together, up and down and inside out every day for about six weeks and though I cant go straight to any place in any scale I can put a bit of anything together if I know whats coming up. I cannot see any plus points in learning anything other than conventional music theory. There is no short cut just alternative ways. And any other way is learning something that will place limits on you.

Golly, bet I wont be able to make such searing, penetrating sense in about 12 hours time.

All the best
Mike
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
"Golly, bet I wont be able to make such searing, penetrating sense in about 12 hours time.............................."


For I shall be fast asleep and dribbling from both corners of my mouth at the same time.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I cannot see any plus points in learning anything other than conventional music theory. There is no short cut just alternative ways.

I agree. Besides, what this guy is actually teaching is music theory. It's just being taught in a very informal way, approaching it from an intuitive side. There's no getting around it. "Music Theory" is really nothing other than an explanation of what works and why it works. Is it necessary to know it? I think that all depends on how versatile a person would like to become.

And any other way is learning something that will place limits on you.

Well, I don't know if I'd go as far as saying that it places limits on you. It's simply going to be an incomplete picture, and in that sense it will be limited knowledge. But it doesn't actually "place" limits on a person. They can always move forward from there.

In fact, sometimes these kind of programs can actually help a person understand music theory better in the long haul. For $14 it's probably a worthwhile book to read. It might actually spark someone into learning more about music theory in the long haul.

A person can never go wrong with learning to recognize scale patterns on their instrument. That's actually a foundational thing to know for music theory anyway. So this "course" could actually serve as a preliminary course to music theory actually.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Appen you are right, but is there any need for a prelim course to music theory? Is there a prelim course for reading and writing? I guess the alphabet, but its part of the same thing. Where else would you begin? You got to start somewhere, that's a fact.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Appen you are right, but is there any need for a prelim course to music theory? Is there a prelim course for reading and writing? I guess the alphabet, but its part of the same thing. Where else would you begin? You got to start somewhere, that's a fact.

Well, I actually agree with you. It's not the music theory that truly turns people off, it's the lame way that it is often taught. It's just not taught in an intuitive way often.

The same is true of mathematics. When I was in high school I used to love math, until I got to algebra. When I was introduced to algebra everything came apart at the seams and I just didn't understand it. It was just a bunch of rote rules and regulations that needed be remembered, and they didn't make a lot of sense to me. That was really frustrating for me because deep inside I really loved math. But I just couldn't handle the formal axioms and rules of algebra. I actually dropped out of high-school altogether I was so distraught over it.

It wasn't until I learned electronics that algebra really started to make sense. Not as a bunch of axioms and rules, but as a genuine intuitive understanding of the relationships between actual physical quantities and measurable characteristics. After I got an actual intuitive handle on algebra I got a GED and went to college. I ended up majoring in physics and mathematics. The rules started to make sense then because I actually understood why they had to be the way they are. I had an actual intuitive understanding of the math.

I think the same thing can apply to music theory. For some people it just appears as a bunch of rules. And they don't understand where the rules came from or why they are the way they are. Therefore the rules make no sense. They just have to be memorized for no apparent reason.

So learning music in this more intuitive non-axiomatic way can help someone to see how things start to fit together. Then all of a sudden it will all start to click and they will start to realized that the "rules" of Music Theory aren't just arbitrarily made up, but instead they are what they are because that's what music IS.

So sometimes it's just a matter of having the right perspective on things before they can begin to make sense.

Sometimes these kinds of music courses that are aimed at the intuition can actually be just what a person needs to break the ice of "music theory". Like I say, what is this guy ultimately teaching? SCALES in every KEY!

That's the basis of music theory. It's all about how to play scales in keys. Music theory just gets into it so much deeper with concepts like modulation, etc.

~~~~

Just like you say,..."Is there a prelim course for reading and writing? I guess the alphabet, but its part of the same thing. Where else would you begin? You got to start somewhere, that's a fact."

Well think of this course as a Sesame Street introduction to the musical alphabet. That's really all it is. It's an introduction to scale forms in terms of patterns on instruments (instead of dots on sheet music), and it's an introduction to ear-training for playing over harmony by having the student listen to the music and SING over it intuitively. Then try to find those notes on their instrument using the scale patterns that they have learned.

Reading the dots is far easier for those of us who can do that. But for people who have a phobia of dots, doing the same thing by ear can seem like "freedom". And it can't be freedom for those who can't read dots. They can actually play if they toss out the sheet music, learn scale patterns on their instruments, and learn to play anything they can sing. If they can hum the tune they can play it! What could be easier?

And that's what this course teaches a person to do. Hum the tune and then play it on the instrument.

But I AGREE with you,.... they could be learning to read the dots at the SAME TIME with no loss of effort really.

That much is true.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,955
Once upon a time, before mensural notation was devised, all music had to be learnt by rote. There were two main groups who did this: monks in conventual orders singing the prescribed chants for services; bard and 'troubador' type musicians. In both cases, they learnt from a master and served a long apprenticeship (usually 7 years). Everythign was performed from memory.

Initially, notation was used as an aide-memoire as it did not provide pitch information, nor rhythm (mensural) information. The neumes were eventually attached to a stave and gave rise to at least relative pitch. This development took place in the Frankish Empire, probably in C8th/C9th. Guido Arrezzo is credited with it, but he was writing it down once it had already become a practice.

Around the late C12th we finally get mensural notation which means both rythm and pitch are being written down. This becomes after some evolution our present day staff notation (the neumes such as the longa, puncta and virgilla etc evolve into the note symbols we use).

Once this happens, a very powerful thing occurs: you can put a piece of music in front of someone and even if they've never seen it, provided that they have the requisite skill, they can perform it.

Music is suddenly democratised and accessible.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Getting back to the OP's original question, my guess is the answer is "no". :)

Which question? The question, "Has anyone tried this?"

Depends on what you mean by "this".

If you mean this "specific book", then no, I haven't read it.

But if you mean this "general method", then yes, I actually have at least two videos that address these kinds of approaches to music. This method certainly isn't new. As tenorviol mentions, similar methods existed long before written "music theory" ever came to be. People sang music long before they could right it down on paper or had a clue why it works. And that's precisely why this method works for simple tunes.

None the less, any instruments that existed back then were quite simple too. Becoming proficient on today's modern complex instruments and understanding today's modern musical patterns, etc, can actually be made simpler via an understanding of written music theory.

Do these intuitive approaches to learning to play music work? Absolutely! In fact, for someone who can't play at all they can do wonders. The person can potentially advance so rapidly that they will think it's a miracle. However, it won't be long before they realize that it has extreme limitations. Not limitations that will ultimately "limit" them. But limitations in the sense that even though they can play some stuff intuitively they will soon realize that having a deeper understanding of music theory and learning to read the dots will open up quite a bit more to them.

I say go for it! For $14 you can't lose! You can always learn more about music later.

Moreover, it wouldn't hurt to learn to read the dots whilst learning to recognize scale patterns on the instrument. May as well do that at the same time, otherwise you'll just need to go back and re-visit it later. Why not kill two birds with a single stone while you're intuitively learning and practicing the scales?

Like Jeremy suggested, it's just the musical alphabet. If you merely learn to play it on the instrument but refuse to learn to recognize in the written form that would be like learning to recite the English alphabet but refusing to look at the letters. You'd be able to recite the alphabet, but you still couldn't read it. Why not learn to read it whilst you recite it?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,051
My point is that opinions by those who have not actually read the new improvising method book are merely speculations based upon one's own knowledge and past experience. While these opinions may hold some validity, they are no substitute for first hand experience with the method itself. Should we draw straws to see who buys it and writes a "scholarly" review based upon what is actually contained in the method?
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
My point is that opinions by those who have not actually read the new improvising method book are merely speculations based upon one's own knowledge and past experience. While these opinions may hold some validity, they are no substitute for first hand experience with the method itself. Should we draw straws to see who buys it and writes a "scholarly" review based upon what is actually contained in the method?

Well, don't look at me. I just bought a new trumpet. I don't have any room left in my budget for this book. :)))

I wouldn't mind having a copy though. If someone buys the book I'd be glad to review it. ;}

I'm willing to bet it's pretty good actually. For what it is.

Like I say, I have two videos along similar lines. I would highly recommend either one of them. Even for people who already know music theory.

Here they are:

Learning Piano with Pete Sears:





And Victor Wooten's Groove Workshop (aimed at bass guitar)



Actually if someone did one of these aimed at saxophone or trumpet I might be tempted to buy them especially if they are done as well as these two.

I can tell from the excerpts and articles in the ads for the book pointed to in the OP that it's going to be along similar lines. I imagine it's worthwhile information.

Anyone up to buying me a copy so I can review it proper? :thumb:

Don't forget to include the backing track CD so I can review it in depth. ;}
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
TV,
You forgot to mention that two non key related systems are still in use, tonic so fa and American shape notes.

Is it possible to improvise using these and what does that prove?>:)>:)>:)
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,955
TV,
You forgot to mention that two non key related systems are still in use, tonic so fa and American shape notes.

Is it possible to improvise using these and what does that prove?>:)>:)>:)

Thank you for your wisdom - tonic sol fa still seems popular with a certain type of choral trainer (I did encounter it a bit at school) but it's not widely used (I do have some older music scores with the sol fa (solfege?) noted above the music). I have to plead ignorance with regard to American shape notes...
 

Staff online

Top Bottom