Thursday, November 03, 2005

Musical D'inspiration and Technical Mastery

Lastly in this three-part blog entry, I wanted to mention that I have been practicing the piano for some time now almost on a daily basis. For the first time, I picked up a real music score, and I was able to look at the chords and the notes on the page and I was able to play them correctly, albeit terribly slow. But the SUPER EXCITING thing is that I was able to play it measure by measure! This is a gigantic step for me because I am beginning to understand how chords work, especially when it comes to playing a piece of music with a melody!

In the past, I would taitch out the notes (meaning, note by note, I would write down what letter it would correspond to) and I would memorize the notes by playing them over and over again. What I was memorizing were the positions of my fingers, rather than what notes were on the page. Memorizing the note positions by playing them badly over and over until my unconscious mind caught on and learned [the song, the blues progression, or the latest technique] was how I got to be the blues player I am today. However, this sight playing is quite different, as are learning the actual chords and knowing whether I am playing a diminished or an augmented chord, or a seventh; in fact, I am noticing that while my blues playing is getting worse (meaning, I am losing the natural talent and creativity of my playing which is what made my playing so special), my sensitivity to the notes is getting heightened, which means that I will be learning new ways of playing which will make the playing sound that much better.

I am not worried about losing the natural creativity, because that will be there always and it will surface once my technical playing becomes unconscious.


Rowan said...

you are very right, they say that when you learn by ear first, it is difficult if not impossible to undo. Your personal style will come back to you when technique and theory have been perfected.

It has been a while since I played my violin, I really should get to it.

Pragmatician said...

I so wish I could play an instrument, what an outlet that must be!

kimananda said...

That sounds like such a cool progression.

It's the same with learning a language. If you focus on getting more accurate, you get less fluent for a while (because you have to think more rather than just going on instinct). But then, when the accuracy stuff gets more natural, then the fluency comes back, and your language skills are just overall better than before.

Zoe Strickman said...

Thank you all for your comments. I agree with all of you 100%. I feel that this is important enough not to let it slide between the cracks. I will not let these barriers stop me from playing well. I look forward to learning to play like a real musician.