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Hello, Physics Forums!

  1. Mar 20, 2015 #1
    My name is Ben (Benjamin). I'm seeking a degree in music education as a percussionist. My mom taught General Music in Kindergarten ~ 5th Grade for a little more than 20 years, which got me started down about the same ways, but in taking lessons it always frustrated me how long I would have to spend experimenting this way and that trying to understand how to play this rhythm or that rhythm. While there are certainly plenty of methods for how to practice effectively, I still smdidn't feel like I really UNDERSTOOD just what was going on. I mean, professionals are able to pick up their instrument after a several-month-long hiatus, and within a relatively short period of time get back to about where they were before the break. Why? They know not only how good time sounds, but also how things FEEL- their embouchure- the shape, speed, and direction of the air they exhale- the dimensions of the amount of the reed(s) that are being allowed to vibrate and how much force is being applied to them- where they're holding down the strings, picking angles, strumming distances, spatial memory from fret to fret and string to string, the restoring force of each string when using vibrato or being bent to particular intervals at particular frets for different strings- where the sticks are being held, the force of rebound when playing at different dynamic levels with different weights or weights of sticks or when held at different points, how far the stick should be allowed to rebound while exerted an equal opposing torque to insure good timing and an even dynamic level with a consistent impact velocity from stroke to stroke and how all of these should change with gradual changes in tempo or dynamic level. Why shouldn't the student be able to walk in to their first lesson application upstanding the mathematical relationships relating to their chosen instrument? It is one of my goals to be able to explain these to a student so that they have a concrete scientific basis upon which to build their understanding of what 'good technique' is. :)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2015 #2
    Welcome to PF Ben!
     
  4. Mar 20, 2015 #3
    Intuition cant't be learned, or explained. It comes by experience.
     
  5. Mar 20, 2015 #4
    Obviously. However, you seem to miss how by the less-experienced better understanding how a thing works one can spend LESS time wondering WHY something isn't working the way it should and blindly experimenting instead of being able to spontaneously generate exercises that focus on that one thing and *more* time pushing onward, further diminishing your Catch-22 of learning how to play an instrument. One book I own written by Troy Stetina (a guitarist), for example, has a section, however brief, which focuses on developing just such a skill (knowing how to generate exercises to work a single aspect of mechanics/technique). Given, something else I've kept come to accept is that even with all the understanding in the world sometimes you have to practice setting the technical stuff *aside* and just *play*- as my percussion private instructor explained to me 'just drive down the road, and see what potholes you hit. Then fill in what potholes you can, and ride again'. Some times you just have to get your feet wet- get your hands dirty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  6. Mar 20, 2015 #5
    It would be nice to find some recipy for making good music through structure and method. That has been attempted, and it has failed. To make good music, I think it requires musical iq/genes, inspiration, and experience. A methodical appoach may be applied in the production-phase, though, to enhance the product. These days, production seem to be most of the feat. I hate auto-tune.
     
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