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Passion// To be or not to be??
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject: Passion// To be or not to be?? Reply with quote

Check it out gang, I took lessons last June from one of the best jazz guitarist in Sac. He told me that since I had been playing for a while mostly by ear that I've picked up some bad habits so we would have to tear me down to the basics. Ok, he's the teacher, now here's the part that really bugged the shit outta me and the reason I quit after six lessons. He suggested that I quit making faces when I played, you know like the blues players make, I do that a lot. Faces of passion, I make them a lot cause I feel the music and if I feel it that's a good thing, I thought. He asked me if I had difficulty playing cause by making the faces I made it look like playing guitar was difficult and then he said to me, "I know playing guitar is easy for you", a compliment. I realized that he didn't make any faces of emotion at all when we jammed or when he was performing. Anyone have a take on this at all or come across such a pro that seemed so emotionless? Oh by the way sorry this post is so long, needless to say I quit after my 6th lesson, I figured he was way to square for my taste. Confused
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JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 12:31 am    Post subject: Re: Passion// To be or not to be?? Reply with quote

alfonso wrote:
Check it out gang, I took lessons last June from one of the best jazz guitarist in Sac. He told me that since I had been playing for a while mostly by ear that I've picked up some bad habits so we would have to tear me down to the basics. Ok, he's the teacher, now here's the part that really bugged the shit outta me and the reason I quit after six lessons. He suggested that I quit making faces when I played, you know like the blues players make, I do that a lot. Faces of passion, I make them a lot cause I feel the music and if I feel it that's a good thing, I thought. He asked me if I had difficulty playing cause by making the faces I made it look like playing guitar was difficult and then he said to me, "I know playing guitar is easy for you", a compliment. I realized that he didn't make any faces of emotion at all when we jammed or when he was performing. Anyone have a take on this at all or come across such a pro that seemed so emotionless? Oh by the way sorry this post is so long, needless to say I quit after my 6th lesson, I figured he was way to square for my taste. Confused


Make faces if you want. Don't make faces, see how it changes your playing. Experiment.

But I wouldn't quit lessons with a teacher just because of this one thing.
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point Igiro, I only make a face when I feel the music and occasionally it seems to help my hearing when trying to reach the right note. This was not the only reason I quit lessons, the learning process with him seemed to be going way too slow for me. I believe that I have bad habits but it seemed to me that to take me way down to scratch wasn't the answer, incidentally I had previously taken lessons from his wife, she wasn't his wife at the time I took lessons from her, but I learned a lot more from her approach and should have stuck it out with her as a teacher. Things happen and I had quit playing guitar for years after that. Your point was well taken but I assure you, I am not a showoff by any means. thanks.
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Martacus



Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Posts: 115
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone ever commented on the faces? Have you watched yourself on video, and if so, what do you think of the faces? If he's one of the best in the area, maybe his points are valid - does he think the faces are forced, not something that's coming naturally. (I don't think it's fair to call this guy's playing emotionless, although I haven't heard him - I judge someone on their playing, not the faces they make. Wes didn't make many faces, and Pat Martino doesn't either - wouldn't call THEM emotionless.) I've had a problem like that myself - I used to bop around on stage while playing. Completely natural, inspired by the music, and it looked ridiculous when I saw it on vid, so I worked to stop doing it. I wouldn't call the teacher square because of his lack of mugging, either - no one goes to see a jazzer and comes out saying "Wow! What great faces!" or "Hmmm, he played the SHIT out of Giant Steps, but he needs to make a face". Seriously, think about it - what's more important to you, your faces or your sound? (I'm thinking about Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick now - I saw a broadcast concert of them, and Rick made LOTS of faces. I don't remember the tunes or his playing, but I still remember the faces. Looked pretty dopey.)

Also, on quitting after six lessons - when you say you play mostly by ear, I'm going to assume you need to working on reading/theory/etc.; six lessons aren't much at all. Honest answer to this, at least to yourself: if I dropped a chart of Moment's Notice in front of you, with 2 choruses of transcribed solos, would you be able to blow on the changes and read the solo, at least slowly? Or if someone were to throw a book of their own tunes at you two days before a gig (think, say, John Scofield/John Abercrombie/Chick Corea contemporary jazz tunes, with ensemble lines as well as chords, but not as HARD as some of Chick's stuff to make it fair) would you be able to do it? I don't even want you to answer on this forum, but please answer honestly to yourself - where do you want to go with your playing, and are you working as hard at it as the teacher or even YOU would really like?
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow Martacus,
Lots of good questions, when I first started taking lessons from this guy I told a drummer friend of mine who has played with the guitarist I was taking lessons from, his response was the guys a nerd. I didn't care cause I liked the way he played guitar. I've taken lessons from others, reading, theory etc. but for the most part I am self taught, I've never taken lessons for more than three to four months. Charlie Byrd who has since died didn't make faces and he was great, and there's alot of others but I'm not them or even close to being close to their caliber. I don't equate making faces with quality of playing. Plain and simple I didn't like the guys teaching methods. It didn't bother me that much that I was told he was a nerd and I realized he didn't play passionately IMO, I just didn't like his teaching style. But I have to add if I'm playing guitar and I feel a certain passion off a few notes or even one note sometimes I make a passionate face. I play without making faces as well and I've honestly tried not making faces, I don't know about you guys but when I'm playing music with someone who is challenging me, I get off on the music, I get a real high off it. Oh and by the way the only thing anyone has ever said about my grimaces is when I start playing and I start keeping time with my head or whatever my wife says or there he goes. In other words, I'm in the zone. Nobody has ever said dude you look weird making faces while you're playing, I don't think about it it's a natural thing for me. Igiro was saying something to the effect that it was a show off thing, youngsters show off I am much too old and shy to show off and I'm not that good, in fact I just started playing lead guitar like a little over a year ago. One more thing to add is that the jazz guitarist wasn't just talking about me making faces he also talked about hard rockers making faces like it was difficult to play guitar or they looked angry. later
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Viper



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 568
Location: Bristol, UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always think of constipation when I see guys gurning as they gig.
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viper,
Interesting thought, thanks for you response.
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Gorecki
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 62518
Location: Davis, CA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't say I've ever heard of anyone having trouble with a student in this way.

I'm sorry, people involve themselfs to some degree physically in what they are playing. I can't support someone having a problem with that unless the see it detracting from what you're doing.

Sounds like you made the correct call. Confused
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alfonso



Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 1258
Location: Sacramento

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gorecki,
My sentiments exactly, you're one of the few that kept an open mind while reading. thanks for staying open throughout the whole situation without coming to a conclusion based on bits of the story. peace Cool
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Rkelley40



Joined: 10 Nov 2005
Posts: 117
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are PAYING him to help your playing NOT to interpret your facial expressions. If making faces is how you "feel" it, then so be it. George Benson Makes faces, And even comments about it on his live dvd. He says it just how he feels. Tell you teacher to stick with the music and leave your face to your wife (well, if one exists, you get the point)
Rod
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Gorecki
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rkelley40 wrote:
You are PAYING him to help your playing NOT to interpret your facial expressions. If making faces is how you "feel" it, then so be it. George Benson Makes faces, And even comments about it on his live dvd. He says it just how he feels. Tell you teacher to stick with the music and leave your face to your wife (well, if one exists, you get the point)
Rod


You made me think of Bill Evans, you can hear the guy grunting, snorting...gosh knows what else on pretty much everything he's ever recorded.
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Rkelley40



Joined: 10 Nov 2005
Posts: 117
Location: Baltimore, MD

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gorecki wrote:
Rkelley40 wrote:
You are PAYING him to help your playing NOT to interpret your facial expressions. If making faces is how you "feel" it, then so be it. George Benson Makes faces, And even comments about it on his live dvd. He says it's just how he feels. Tell you teacher to stick with the music and leave your face to your wife (well, if one exists, you get the point)
Rod


You made me think of Bill Evans, you can hear the guy grunting, snorting...gosh knows what else on pretty much everything he's ever recorded.

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Rkelley40



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never heard Bill Evans but I guess that would be hilarious!!
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Martacus



Joined: 05 Jan 2006
Posts: 115
Location: Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe you're thinking of Keith Jarrett - he's the grunter. Bill Evans was a pretty mellow kind of guy - Kind Of Blue, Intermodulations, Undercurrents, etc.
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Gorecki
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martacus wrote:
I believe you're thinking of Keith Jarrett - he's the grunter. Bill Evans was a pretty mellow kind of guy - Kind Of Blue, Intermodulations, Undercurrents, etc.


No, I ment Bill Evans, you'll hear him in the background grunting in an almost Bob Dylan sort of grown. Hard to describe.
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