Supporting   special needs music

Linking thinking to a note or sequence

DavidUK

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If you want to. But having both skills is surely beneficial? FWIW I think learning one song by ear has a positive effect on learning further songs by ear. For one, you've got the experience of learning one song by ear. You're telling yourself you're capable of doing it. I think there is a lot in that.
I don't think I have much hope of doing it, so sheet music will stay. BUT... by nannying myself with sheet music am I holding myself back in the quest for "think it, play it" expertise?

To play unknown pieces I'd still need to continue to read sheet music or be able to memorise new songs quickly.
 

JayeNM

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I don't think I have much hope of doing it, so sheet music will stay. BUT... by nannying myself with sheet music am I holding myself back in the quest for "think it, play it" expertise?
To play unknown pieces I'd still need to continue to read sheet music or be able to memorise new songs quickly.

I don't think you are asking the right question, honestly.

Why do you insist that 'think it-play it' - as you have described it in your OP - is of great importance for a musician ? It isn't something which most players can commonly do. I will extend myself to say it probably isn't something most players necessarily strive for.

If I hear a song or phrase I wanna play, I am perfectly OK with stumbling over it a few times before I get it under my fingers and figure out all the right notes...perfectly OK to then jot it down on paper.....and also perfectly OK with having to practice it and figure out where I can eventually insert it into my playing.

Ain't that good 'nuff ????

Or does that make me 'lacking' as a musician ?
 

Halfers

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I don't think I have much hope of doing it, so sheet music will stay. BUT... by nannying myself with sheet music am I holding myself back in the quest for "think it, play it" expertise?

To play unknown pieces I'd still need to continue to read sheet music or be able to memorise new songs quickly.

I think the most important thing is playing your horn and enjoying what you're playing, whether it's using sheet music or not.
 

DavidUK

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I don't think you are asking the right question, honestly.

Why do you insist that 'think it-play it' - as you have described it in your OP - is of great importance for a musician ? It isn't something which most players can commonly do. I will extend myself to say it probably isn't something most players necessarily strive for.

If I hear a song or phrase I wanna play, I am perfectly OK with stumbling over it a few times before I get it under my fingers and figure out all the right notes...perfectly OK to then jot it down on paper.....and also perfectly OK with having to practice it and figure out where I can eventually insert it into my playing.

Ain't that good 'nuff ????

Or does that make me 'lacking' as a musician ?
As I said, in a lot of cases "think it, play it" would put a player at a disadvantage when asked to play a tune he'd never heard before, e.g. in a band or orchestra situation. And this whole thread is theoretical in any case. But what I mostly do is to be reminded of a song I know well on the radio and think I'd like to play it. I then tend to go down the route of searching out the sheet music, stumbling around with the notes, and eventually playing it.
You're halfway there with writing down what's in your head after checking you're notes on your horn. But you don't do that when you're talking? You go from thought straight to speech, or to song.
If you had to write down whatever you wanted to say, no, that wouldn't be good enough (although most politicians seem to do it).
What I'm getting at here is an alternative way of playing what you can sing in your head without sourcing the sheet music, or writing it down.
I would say somebody who could play any tune I mentioned straight off, so long as they knew it, would have my complete admiration. If that came from having played it a thousand times that's slightly different but in a way similar to having said "good morning" a thousand times.
 

JayeNM

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As I said, in a lot of cases "think it, play it" would put a player at a disadvantage when asked to play a tune he'd never heard before, e.g. in a band or orchestra situation. And this whole thread is theoretical in any case. But what I mostly do is to be reminded of a song I know well on the radio and think I'd like to play it. I then tend to go down the route of searching out the sheet music, stumbling around with the notes, and eventually playing it.
You're halfway there with writing down what's in your head after checking you're notes on your horn. But you don't do that when you're talking? You go from thought straight to speech, or to song.
If you had to write down whatever you wanted to say, no, that wouldn't be good enough (although most politicians seem to do it).
What I'm getting at here is an alternative way of playing what you can sing in your head without sourcing the sheet music, or writing it down.
I would say somebody who could play any tune I mentioned straight off, so long as they knew it, would have my complete admiration. If that came from having played it a thousand times that's slightly different but in a way similar to having said "good morning" a thousand times.
Isn't that because verbal speech and playing music are two different things, tho ?

Looking at your example, what 'disadvantage' is a player really placed in if someone in an audience asks him/her to play a tune in a band situation which he/she does not know/hasn't played before ? It really isn't anything bad. One simply says "ah, good tune ! but I don't know it".

Or, if one were smitten by the person who asked...at breaktime they could figure it out offstage, have a rhythm section player figure some quick chords...then come back in next set with a two-minute version and completely sweep the requester off their feet,

....ostensibly.

IMHO the 'sourcing of sheetmusic' is probably a step which...in time...you would be able to dispose of completely.
 

DavidUK

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Year or two in my case :)

Jx

Yes, that's the point. Although "think it, play it" would itself take years to master, and may even be down to having perfect pitch or some other talent, it would mean instantaneous playing and so the requester would swoon at the impressive display (and never hear their song choice anyhow!).
 

trimmy

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There is a sax musician from Manchester Ed Kainyek who first started to make a name for himself whilst busking, he's known as 'jukebox' as you can ask him to play a tune and its there in his head.
A very good player too
 

Wade Cornell

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I've refrained from joining this as it unfortunately seems that some can't imagine that there are musicians without perfect pitch that can play what they hear. I can assure you that the saying "hum a line and I'll play it" is a reality. I know of lots who can do this and play whatever tune they have heard whether they've played it before or not. If it's not too technical (fast) I can usually manage. It sounds like jbtsax and others can as well. Yes, it takes years and not everybody will be able to. Sorry, that's reality. Shouldn't stop you from trying. If you can hear music in your head (like a singer) it's a matter of making the sax your voice. My father was a pianist. You could hum him a tune and he'd play it back in a full arrangement. It has nothing to do with perfect pitch. Ears + Talent (aural learning) + lots of hard work.
 

DavidUK

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I've refrained from joining this as it unfortunately seems that some can't imagine that there are musicians without perfect pitch that can play what they hear. I can assure you that the saying "hum a line and I'll play it" is a reality. I know of lots who can do this and play whatever tune they have heard whether they've played it before or not. If it's not too technical (fast) I can usually manage. It sounds like jbtsax and others can as well. Yes, it takes years and not everybody will be able to. Sorry, that's reality. Shouldn't stop you from trying. If you can hear music in your head (like a singer) it's a matter of making the sax your voice. My father was a pianist. You could hum him a tune and he'd play it back in a full arrangement. It has nothing to do with perfect pitch. Ears + Talent (aural learning) + lots of hard work.

Do you think there's a different track toward being able to do this, or is it something which comes with time? If not every sax player can do it I imagine it requires a certain type of playing education, or is it just down to an individual's strong wish to be able to do it and their realisation they need to embrace techniques which will lead to its mastery in time?
 

JayeNM

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I've refrained from joining this as it unfortunately seems that some can't imagine that there are musicians without perfect pitch that can play what they hear. I can assure you that the saying "hum a line and I'll play it" is a reality. I know of lots who can do this and play whatever tune they have heard whether they've played it before or not. .
I don't think anyone here thus far has intimated that it cannot be done, or is incredibly rare.
It just isn't super-common.


I am all for someone aspiring to achieve that goal, if for whatever reason it is really important to them.
For me, there are so many challenges and facets to playing an instrument and being a somewhat accomplished musician that, personally, that particular desire has never really been something on my radar...


Response when asked to play Baker Street.

Niiiiice.....
 
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Wade Cornell

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Do you think there's a different track toward being able to do this, or is it something which comes with time? If not every sax player can do it I imagine it requires a certain type of playing education, or is it just down to an individual's strong wish to be able to do it and their realisation they need to embrace techniques which will lead to its mastery in time?

The fourth post was your answer. Yes there is a different path which is about encouraging those who are "auditory types" (compared to strictly visual types) to make the connection between what you can hear and your instrument. It's not instantaneous. Up to you if you wish to put in the time required.
 
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Wade Cornell

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You're right Jaye NM. However there was a bit of controversy/discussion over whether it's possible to play by ear unless one has perfect pitch.

It's certainly not for everyone to try and learn to play what they can hear. If you are happy with your playing, then there's no issue. David asked if there is a way for him. He seems to be an "aural" type from what he describes. He wishes to play what he can hear/sing. This can be accomplished by some. If you wish to play/improvise by ear that's up to you to decide. Playing by ear is certainly associated with improvisation. Most are taught to improvise using "theory" and learn riffs and arpeggios to cut and paste in the 1950's jazz style. Others may wish to learn to improvise by playing what they can hear, and in styles other than 1950's jazz. Play what you love and hopefully you (and others) will love what you play.
 
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JayeNM

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You're right Jaye NM. However there was a bit of controversy/discussion over whether it's possible to play by ear unless one has perfect pitch.

It's certainly not for everyone to try and learn to play what they can hear. If you are happy with your playing, then there's no issue. David asked if there is a way for him. He seems to be an "aural" type from what he describes. He wishes to play what he can hear/sing. This can be accomplished by some. If you wish to play/improvise by ear that's up to you to decide. Playing by ear is certainly associated with improvisation. Most are taught to improvise using "theory" and learn riffs and arpeggios to cut and paste in the 1950's jazz style. Others may wish to learn to improvise by playing what they can hear, and in styles other than 1950's jazz. Play what you love and hopefully you (and others) will love what you play.
:clapping: Yup.
 

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