Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 106: Inspirational Musical Transcriptions

About 4 or 5 years ago I got really into jazz. My roommates and friends during my first two years of school were into jazz and improvisational type of music. At first I thought "this music is ok but not something I will listen to". I was still into punk rock, ska, and the Deftones at that point in time. After a few years of being exposed to this type of music I began to like it. I later heard Lee Morgan play and was amazed. I had begun learning a new language of music although I didn't know I was doing it. I began to listen to jazz all the time. 

I wanted to learn how to play this type of music and didn't know how to approach it at first. Still trying to figure out how to approach it to this day. You are told that you should transcribe solos you like in order to learn the language of jazz. I later started transcribing trumpet players like Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Randy Brecker, and a few others. I became obsessed with transcribing and playing along with the record. I would transcribe all the time. What I was doing was copying the sound of the players I was transcribing. I would hardly ever practice changes but had the style down because of transcribing. 

After two years or so of obsessive transcribing I started to become bored with it. I know transcribing is essential in learning how to articulate/pronounce the sound in this style of music but I became bored. My voice wasn't there and I noticed that while improvising and still do to this day. I now see/realize/understand that this boredness with transcribing the so called 'greats' was a call for me to express me. I know how to articulate/pronounce the sound in this style so well that I can't even play classical music without sounding like a jazz player. Developing my own voice is what is needed for me to develop at this point. 

Transcribing is a great tool for developing your hearing, learning how to pronounce the sound, and learning about what is going on harmonically but I realize I have abused transcribing to the point where when I improvise I sometimes think of the player I think I am sounding like halfway through a phrase. 

My teacher in college was very motivating and inspirational. We have this class called "performance class" where students will play in front of other students and our teacher would give motivational speeches. I remember feeling very pumped up after his speeches. Feeling like I wanted to practice 10 hours a day, lol. He is very much into positive thinking and motivational type of things. He would always make me feel good about myself and every time after one of his talks in performance class I would have this huge energetic high. 

I can't remember the name of the book but I was reading this book one day that had to do with psychology and how the mind is like a computer. In this book it talked about how motivational/inspirational speeches work in the short-term but eventually run out of juice and went on to explain how this type of thinking/learning is not sustainable because the car will eventually run out of gas so to say. During the day of the motivational/inspirational speech you heard you will be pumped up and the next day you feel different.

These two examples show how I have been using something separate/outside of me in order to feel motivated/inspired. 


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