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Stringfellow

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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #1 

Firstly, Happy New Year to all and wishing everyone a successful and musical 2008! Many thanks to the TG team for another year of hard work which is appreciated by many.

Okay, I was interested in knowing if Ted every focused for a day/ week/ month/ year on any particular player or musician (non guitarists too)?? I was surprised to read somewhere on the site that Ted did little transcribing for his own personal development, as this is highly recommended by most players. So, did Ted see no real value in this area or was he just so busy 'keeping up the plates'?

Would be very interested to hear anyones views and ideas on this realm of musical development.

As always, many thanks,

Tris



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Stringfellow

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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #2 

Many thanks Leon. This is an interesting reflection! Transcribing in real time in your head!! I wondered if you could elaborate on your thoughts here?

Do you mean Ted would listen to a melody/ solo and 'know' the exact notes being played as they flew by - or did he get a general gist of the phrases (i.e. that was a lydian dominant run ending in a diminished arp which dragged the pulse etc etc.)??

Also, what I was really keen on learning was whether Ted specifically allocated a set amount of practice time to focus on a particular musician? Or did he follow a regular balanced routine which included some work on the analysis of specific players?

No worries if time is tight - maybe someone else could add their dollars worth here.........many thanks anyway,

Tris




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LeonWhite

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Reply with quote  #3 
This is a fascinating subject, at least to me, right now.  I think its because I'm missing him especially. - anyway -

I can't claim to know what was going on inside his head, but I think most of those familiar with him personally would say, he'd hear something and play it right back if asked to. 

And if you were both listening to something and you said "whoa, i really like that change with the melody there" he'd say "oh, yea, the Gmin/maj7 over B with D# in the melody - the Herbert Spencer dark night monster sound.  You also hear that dissonance in Bach's chorale for cat and dog . . ' (OK, so the specifics are made up but many of his students had conversations like this.) 

This has always led me to believe that it was real time, one-pass brain work.  I'd say he did NOT make a rough 'Lydian sound, then figure it out' kind of activity, most of the time. 

However, with Ted, exceptions were the rule, and there were occasions when we'd be sitting around and I'd play some recording or movie cue and he'd grab a guitar (I usually kept a super 400 acoustic non cutaway out for this) and he'd seem to play it while listening to what he was playing to see if he had it right in his head. And occasionally he'd get incredibly intense over one phrase and would play the recording repeatedly until he knew that he had it figured out. (this might take a whole minute or two ..).

I believe Barbara would have more detail, but from what I've heard anecdotaly: There were times, especially in the late 60's (?) when he honed in on and immersed himself in one style, like bebop or west coast jazz (Wes et al).  And there were times when he seemed to have given himself an assignment to work through all the chorales (not where the cows live) or some such thing, but usually while working on other things.

See what I mean - he was complex, diverse, and had capabilities that were both wide and deep on subjects. 

Regarding practice, I would say he advocated that specific students try certain routines in practicing.  And I would say there were specific periods where he worked on a subject, but I would not say I ever saw him follow a real practice regimen.  In later years he'd refer to the fact that he had to 'warm up' more before starting to really play - and we'd kid about old age - but I'd say he was NOT regimented - organized? yes, rigid? no. 

Think of Leonardo Davinci - highly skilled, with deep knowledge, active across a broad range of disciplines, but incredibly creative and receptive to events around him. And able to bring enormous focus to the task at hand.  That kind of person doesn't seem to fit the 'regimented' learning model. 

Disciplined?  Yes.
Organized? incredibly.
Regimented in his own practice routines? I'd say No. It needed to be musical and enjoyable.
Belief that organization accelerated learning? yes.
Did he change over time? probably.

Listening to the audio tapes of lessons that were posted last year, you'll hear how he worked and communicated.  That was pretty much the way he was.
And he would definitely tailor his coaching to what he thought the student needed, so there were probably exceptions to everything I've observed.  I mention the way he taught as well as the way I think he worked on things for himself, as I imagine you're trying to figure out what approaches he 'used.'  In that sense you're sort of like a student of his, so I thought those comments might apply.

As always, these are my remembrances and conclusions - others may vary - void where prohibited by law - do not operate heavy machinery while reading this.

I too hope others chime in. These are great questions. I Hope some of this is helpful.

L



Stringfellow

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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #4 

What a fantastic reply Leon! Many thanks and yes, it has helped shed some light on this area. I'm just interested in Ted's approaches to certain musical difficulties/ potential areas of study so I can combine it with other approaches in an effort to get more 'bang for my buck' during practice time and to pass to my students etc. (Maybe if I spent more time practising and less time browsing the web I would improve more swiftly still!)

 I do consider myself a student of Ted via his books, videos and, of course, this website. I find his approach to music fascinating - his books always worked well for my way of thinking.

To have that level of listening expertise I wonder if he invested huge amounts of time in extensive ear training work and development? This is the main area that I find many guitar players are weakest (including myself).

Once again, many thanks for the replies and I am sorry that you continue to miss him,

Tris




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String
DanSawyer

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Posts: 289
Reply with quote  #5 
Although Ted may not have done a lot of transcribing, he was always analyzing every piece of music, so that he could tell instantly if the tune changed keys or the guitar player just played a minor 9th over a sus chord. It was pretty hard to stump him. He did transcribe Wes and could play VanEps and the Kings verbatim. I don't know if he ever wrote that stuff out or just had it memorized.

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Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
WilliamPerry

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Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #6 
It's not often that I "completely" agree with Leon, but this comes about as close we get.  Man, Leon that was thorough too.  Shouldn't you be at work? Barbara, Leon, Dan, and I, often see the same traits from different vantage points.  Fun. 

But, the one thing that I must add is: because of Ted, it seems that I have spent many hours telling students who won't, and don't want to hear, that there are NO shortcuts, and NO special, or secret ways to accelerate the process of playing "great" guitar.  (I was stupid enough to offer this help on the Jimmy Bruno website.  I've had to hire security.)
 
I don't know how this sounds to those open to this idea, but that IS the good news.  We can all now relax and just enjoy the PROCESS.  Ted often would say that learning "Jazz guitar" was a ten year process (a very optimistic man).  Ted, "Just tell them your at year five man".
 
Additionally, it would bother Ted greatly when people would call him a genius (for many reasons) but one of those reasons was it discounted, and ignored his enormous investment of time and effort that he spent with his beloved music and wood.  None of us will live THAT long.
klasaine

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Posts: 176
Reply with quote  #7 
I have nothing to add to that other than ...
Taking a lesson from Ted was like getting  theory, technique, history and 'common practice' - with performed examples - of the last 1100 years in music. Condensed into about an hour. As most of you know it was awesome to behold. I can only assume that he was constantly "doing the work" in head.

And happy new year to all and thanks for this site! - KL

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ken lasaine
barbarafranklin

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Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #8 
Greetings All,

Everyone that responded covered this topic very well. However there is one aspect I would like to stress:
What led to Ted's incredible ability to hear "everything" was his devotion, total dedication, to Ear Training! Ted knew this was the key to understanding and analyzing every facet of music.
From the incipient stages of his learning until the last days on this planet Ted worked on ear training, to the extent of knowing what key the tone quality of a person's speaking voice centered around!
In much of the lesson material Ted suggests doing the exercises in other keys
-DO IT!
in every key, every inversion. Ted did this and stored such a wealth of knowledge that when he heard a seeming complex orchestral piece, he just reached inside and matched what was stored mentally to what he was listening.

In the February 2007 Newsletter I wrote about the importance Ted placed on this and included his answer to the question: How did you first learn to hear?
Go to the archives and read this again! (or for the 1st time some of you)

Yes, Ted was constantly doing the work, either actively or in his mind, but to Ted of course, it wasn't "work" it was desire and love of learning.

Barbara

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Barbara Franklin
LeonWhite

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Posts: 455
Reply with quote  #9 
So right Barb!  

Interval recognition can be a good place to start.  While at college I had a music instructor who suggested memorizing the first two notes of a series of popular/common songs.  His list contained a tune for each interval -  like 'somewhere over the rainbow' for the interval of an octave, and the wedding march for the interval of . . .
I mentioned this to ted and he pulled out a similar list and said it was a perfect place to start.  I did and it seems to have helped.
Numerous beginner students (weren't we all?) experienced the very early Ted question "Ok, what color is this chord?" (strum ...)
If no answer was forthcoming he'd prompt 'Ok ... is it major, minor, or dominant?'

I mention this only to ensure that those who did not have direct interaction with Ted know that he really, really, really believed in ear training and listening... Get those barbara pages and get started.

And now I'll change the battery in my electronic tuner ...

L
YoungBlood

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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonWhite
So right Barb!  

Interval recognition can be a good place to start.  While at college I had a music instructor who suggested memorizing the first two notes of a series of popular/common songs.  His list contained a tune for each interval -  like 'somewhere over the rainbow' for the interval of an octave, and the wedding march for the interval of . . .
I mentioned this to ted and he pulled out a similar list ...


In the "Jazz Theory Book," by Mark Levine, one of the first chapters talks about this. He lists standards/popular jazz tunes by various people to do this. He'll use "Blue Monk" or I think "Confirmation" is another.
I certainly think it helps.

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EXPERIMENT. Patience and determination are key.
markjens

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Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #11 
Here are the basic interval prompts that my theory prof gave us:

P-1 (unison) Jingle Bells
m-2 Doe a Deer
m-3 Michael Row The Boat Ashore
P-4 Here Comes The Bride
P-5 Star Wars
m-6 My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
m-7 Theme From Fantasy Island (for those who remember it)

Please feel free to add or change according to what might be more recognizeable to the members here.  Hope it helps.


Mark
klasaine

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Posts: 176
Reply with quote  #12 
My personal favorites ...

minor 2nd - Jaws
b5 - Maria (west side story)
b7 - Theme from star trek

and Backwards ...

M3 - summertime
P5 - Feelings
Octave - Willow Weep for Me


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ken lasaine
barbarafranklin

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Posts: 940
Reply with quote  #13 
Here is a partial list Ted made. I'm not sure how easy this will be to read.

Attached Images
jpeg Ear_Training_song_list.jpg (276.86 KB, 183 views)


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Barbara Franklin

Bob

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Posts: 145
Reply with quote  #14 
Hi Leon,
 I've been running pretty hard lately and hadn't had a chance to read this thread. It's a great one. Your description of Ted's musical gifts, from my experience , is so beautifully accurate. Ted didn't transcribe much simply because he did not have to.

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Bob Holt
jazd

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #15 
Levines' book is great...(teaches in Berkeley?)
got it after talking melodic minor with a piano/violin/ player; really helped understand Altered, etc.---dittoed from 'chord chemistry' a booklet with all the shapes for viMin7b5, IV lydian dom, bIII lydian aug, ii Susb9, IminMaj7, viiAlt
almost finished first time thru
alright Barb!!

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