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Posts: 1,670
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,
I'm starting this post since this came to us via private emails, but the subject is one that may be of interest to many here.  Here is the original question, along with some preliminary responses from Leon White:
"Hi -  I am interested in Ted’s Baroque counterpoint lessons, but I don’t know how to approach them since they are not organized progressively.  Can you provide some advice as to which ones to start, and then progress?"
"I have never tried to work thru them progressively, so my own experience is not a help.  The starting point really depends upon where you are now.

Some background would help.
Do you come from a classical background or the traditional rock/blues/country/pop world (or both)?
Do you read music?
Do you play fingerstyle (no fingerpicks either)?
Your answers will help us get a solution.
If you don't play fingerstyle, then working on that first would be a big help.  If you don't read yet, then you'd want to see Ted on Video. (Most of the transcriptions are in notation, and TAB is hopeless for this IMHO.)  If the baroque sound is unfamiliar to you, then you might start by just listening to all the baroque examples in the lessons and videos, repeatedly.  Ted's version of baroque is not exactly true baroque in some ways, which is why you'll see him hesitate when describing it, or call it 'imitation baroque' or some such phrase.  So, if you can give us some background, we'll figure it out."

And another response from Leon:
"Based upon what you've said, I think you should look at Ted transcriptions for the baroque.  They'll be in the 'transcriptions' area. My thought is that you can hear what he played, and then read it.  
I would also prowl through the Forum threads on 'baroque' or 'classical' and see if any specific audio or video lessons get mentioned - there are some very good ones, but I can't find them easily at the moment."

Thoughts from others.....?


Posts: 293
Reply with quote  #2 
Here's how I would approach it (and I admit that I haven't yet but intend to someday): download some Baroque Ted sheets, try them out, work a lot on the ones you like.

Really, it's as simple as that.

When Ted was alive and giving lessons, he had some idea as to what sheets would be best for you.  He listened to what your interests and goals were and then gave you sheets and saw how you did with them.  But he wasn't perfect because it's impossible to be.  Sometimes his sheets really resonated with me, other times not, even when they were about topics that interested me.

For example, ear training.  He told me some great tips, like wake up in the morning and sing an E.  Right now, remembering this I just sang the open string pitches for a standard tuned guitar.  I walked over to the guitar and checked myself.  This time I nailed it.  Other times, I'm off by a half step or whole step or more.  But he also gave me some sheets on ear training that I found of no use.  For someone else, they might be great.  But for me, the sheets didn't connect.

Now Ted is not here and it's on you to find what works for you.  Even when he was here, this was the case to a degree.  But now it is definitely the case.  So please download some Baroque pages.  If there are some you really like, you can share that back here.

Personally I have been enjoying his Blues pages a lot.  The tend to be easier on my left hand than, say, V-1 stretch chords, and they sound great, and are fun.  As I get older, I want to enjoy more and kill my hands less.  But that's me.  And you're you.

Posts: 1,670
Reply with quote  #3 
Here's my 2 cents on this subject:

How to approach Ted's lessons in a progressive graded manner?  That is a good question, and specifically in regards to Ted's Baroque lessons it seems even more vitally necessary.
My initial response is that it is difficult to get an overview of the scope of Ted's lessons until they are all published/posted on the site.
What we have posted in the Baroque section is probably about a little more than half of what Ted has in his "regular" teaching archive files.  There's a lot more in his "Personal Music Studies" papers that have yet to be inventoried and cataloged. Many of those pages are little fragments of ideas, as well as almost mathematical approaches to all the possible permutations of a phrase, chord, or whatever.
In the near future we'll be focusing more on Baroque pages (hopefully!), as we are nearing completion of some of the other areas.  (I apologize that I haven't been overly attentive to posting Baroque lessons each month.)
There's also a lot of cross-over between the areas of harmony & theory / chord studies / baroque studies, so you might want to also check out those lessons.
Recently someone asked for a "Trail Guide to the Ted Greene Guitar Method," similar to what Leon wrote for his "Trail Guide to Chord Chemistry."
Well, that would be great to have, but at this time our main emphasis has been in getting the lessons posted with clear notation and translations when necessary.
I think that future generations will come up with various ways to approach the material.  For now I think that Leon gave some good advice about what to check out.  
Ted graded his students on an individual basis.  He gave each person what he thought was where the student needed to go next in his development.  So, he really didn't design his massive teachings into any type of system. 
Another thing Ted stressed was to just jump in and find something that you like or love, and then zero-in on that one thing, and expand it by making variations in keys, fingerings, chord forms, chord qualities, timing, etc. That should open some doors.  Then you move on to something else that you love.
I'm not a classical player, so others on the Forum will have a better idea about at least where to start. Ask your questions here - you'll be surprised at the high level of input from seasoned and knowledgeable players. 
Good luck on your journey!


Posts: 445
Reply with quote  #4 
Well Paul,
As you've dragged it out again, I'll confess.  I'm working on the 'trail guide' to the site.  That may not be the final title because with Ted, it isn't a small story. The size isn't finalized but it looks bigger then a guide.  I'll be including photos, letters, etc. not available on the site.  Nothing confidential, nothing violating any privacies, but info that might be fun from a timeline view, since he revisited a lot of material more then once.  And a map and guide to all the areas and topics in Ted's material on the site, of course. And recommendations on approach. Sort of how to work through them, in the style of the Chord Chemistry Trail guide, but much more detail when appropriate. And some fun stuff never seen.

It is a mammoth undertaking, but happily, I've been able to get a team of mammoths to work on it - tusks and all. (Boy they drink a lot of coffee!)

It first began with the site in fact.  We all took a stab at topics when the first pages were built with the small menus on top of the pages - back in 2005.  And no, we'll not organize it that way now, strictly. Several of the team have been working around this for quite a while, so we think we've got it sorted out. Almost. Kind of.

This isn't the official announcement, but I thought I ought to let players know it is in the works.
They've been asking these kinds of questions for a while, and we've answered them one at a time. We'll/(I'll) continue to do that.  No other information on this project is available right now.



Posts: 251
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Guys,
This is an interesting question in a general sense.

Is there a path that someone can take that will yield good results and can that path be laid out so someone can follow it?

I'm not sure. In my over 40 years of teaching I have had many many well intentioned students tell me they wanted to learn a certain thing (subject) and wanted me to give them a straight line to their goal. The usual result is that the student can't stay on a linear track, they get interested in other things along the way or there are tangential things they need to learn in order to understand the main subject and those concepts inform a reassessment of their original goal, or they get bored and just change their mind about what's important to them. I don't think I have ever had a student that went in a straight line towards a goal that was established at the beginning of their journey. I know that that's certainly not what I did. My most successful students seem to be more whimsical and intuitive even when it was frustrating or confusing to be so.  It seems to me that a human being (at least the ones I have met and worked with) aren't linear things, we don't tend to learn linearly. We tend to be what I call global learners, meaning that we get a little of this and a little of that and slowly over time assemble a meaningful construct and build on it.
Remember this is music and not a subject like history or science or some other academic subject that is being taught in order to amass information.
In our musical lives we have to embody the music and personalize it, follow our own creative impulses etc. In other words it seems to me its all very personal. One students path could be very different than another. Part of what makes us who we are as musicians is what we gravitate toward, what we "get" and what we "don't get" what we love and obsess about. What could be better for us than to wade in and experiment and not know and be confused and frustrated then find some little nugget that inspires us to continue, clarifies a dozen other seemingly unrelated things previously discovered. This happens over and over as we develop.

I have had many students who dutifully marched thru a well constructed program at a college or university and passed their exams etc., and graduated with a degree but were still very confused and frustrated that they weren't able to play to their satisfaction or that many concepts were still unclear to them, "I think we worked thru this in school but I still don't really get it." I think this is because just hearing once about a concept and perhaps understanding it at that time doesn't usually get it into our actual working knowledge base. It's almost as if its a borrowed thing that we don't own and soon will relinquish into the vastness of forgotten information. But if we work to create our own matrix which is the result of personal discoveries, that is integral to how we learn and what makes sense to us based on or own processes etc it is likely that the learning will be more meaningful and will be more likely to become a foundation for continued clarification and new discoveries. Perhaps this needs to happen even after a receiving a four year degree etc. 
Like some who remarked above, I encourage an organic lingering journey thru Ted's pages. One that is inspired by curiosity, the love of the sounds, a healthy respect for your intuition and creativity but also patience, tenacity and a good work ethic. If we keep a sense of mystery and discovery it will be a wonderful musical adventure.

I'm not writing this to discourage the further organization of Ted's material. But I do believe that even if the material is perfectly organized and guides are created, the above observations will still be true! I also think that in my experience Ted's approach to teaching respected and even celebrated the whimsical, non linear, intuitive often inefficient and messy journey of learning music. Rather than a seemingly efficient, organized, linear, logical march toward a destination conceived of prior to departure.

Forgive me if my writing irritates the more academically oriented among us. I realize as I re read the above that I may insult or even infuriate some who contribute here that I respect and admire. I apologize if it does.

harmonically yours


Posts: 1,670
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Tim,
Excellent observations.  I agree with your points.  I see no insult to the lessons as they are being presented, or to the eventual "trail guides" that will emerge in the future.
Like any instruction book that is well organized, a curious student will certainly jump and skip around to find something that clicks with him.  Ted encouraged that; George Van Eps said that is the only way to study his Harmonic Mechanisms books.
After learning "the basics" (like scales, chord construction, the chords in major and minor keys, arpeggios, etc.) then the rest of putting it all together will be a very whimsical path, directed by what we love (hopefully a lot of songs, instrumental pieces, etc.)
As a perpetual student of the guitar/music, I keep finding holes in my understanding that I missed along the way.  That's a fun and exciting process.
The lessons on the site provides ample food for the harmonically hungry.  
Dig in, but don't eat too fast - enjoy the delicious flavors!


Posts: 293
Reply with quote  #7 
Another issue that relates to this thread is how Ted himself learned.  He learned beginning fundamentals from a teacher, or two or three?  Then he was largely self taught, exploring areas that interested him, and very occasionally taking a few lessons from George Van Eps or Joe Pass.  He wrote out detailed and lengthy plans of study for himself.   Did he adhere to them or did he veer off?  No doubt he was very intensive in his study at some periods in his life and probably slacked off at other times, like all of us.  I believe he really wanted to pioneer the exploration of certain areas.  Would he have been as interested if someone else had done it before him and was just teaching it to him?  I wonder.

So yes, we all have our different ways of learning.  Music is so vast no one learns it all.

Some of us will plan.  Some of us will not.  Some of us will stick to the plan.  Most of us will not.

Let's face it.  To be good you have to spend A LOT of time.  Naturally, you do that when you fall in love.

The key is discovery.  How you discover, is itself a discovery, for you yourself to make.
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