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#2249485 - 03/20/14 01:48 PM What is a musician? How do you become a musician?
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3183
Loc: Maine
Over on the Teaching how to read music- solfege versus letter names thread, laguna_greg responded to Saranoya:

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

Originally Posted By: Saranoya
I think the most important thing for a pianist to know is where a note is located on the piano; not what it's called, or what it's going to sound like.


I disagree. That approach will make you into some kind of pianist. But it won't make a musician out of you.


(I've changed the quote style used for saranoya's embedded comment from the quote marks laguna_greg used to make it clearer here in this requote who said what.)

I want to ask laguna_greg to expand on this, and have a discussion about this with all of you. I thought the resulting discussion might overwhelm the other thread, hence a new thread.

Greg, can you say more about what you mean by musician, and how one becomes a musician?
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#2249501 - 03/20/14 02:36 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
ShiverMeTimbres Offline
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Registered: 02/08/14
Posts: 207
Musician to me: Someone who creates a rhythm, it is irrelevant if anyone else likes that rhythm.

Not a musician, but an Elitist: Someone who says someone else isn't a musician.

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#2249508 - 03/20/14 02:43 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
laguna_greg Offline
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Registered: 04/02/13
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Loc: guess where in CA and WA
OK, well...

Let me start by asking - what makes an artist? How does one become an artist?

An artist is not merely someone who has an imagination, or is inspired by something within themselves. There are bankers who would fit in that category.

Rather, an artist is someone who has the requisite imagination, and has ALSO developed the skills and the discipline(s)of the craft necessary to realize their inspiration in material form. For painters, that means they must learn to draw, and develop the skill until they do it very well. After all, drawing is the basis for their craft. Without it, their expression can only be very limited. Then they must master color, form and composition, their materials (which are less an issue in this medium than they are in music), and know their own history. And they must develop these things to such a high level of proficiency that they "think" in color and line just like everyone else "thinks" in words.

Musicians must do something similar. They must have mastery over their instruments and/or voice, to begin with, to an exceptionally level that must approach an unlimited virtuosity (in this day and age, anyway). But that's just the beginning. Then they must master their materials, just like a painter. And these are listening/hearing, rhythm, the analytical skills of harmony/counterpoint, as well as our history, repertoire and literature. And these must be developed to the level where they are no longer abstract pursuits but speak to you like a language. If a competent painter "thinks" in color and line, a competent musician must be able to "think" in harmony and rhythm, or they'll suffer severe limits on what they can express. Neurological research shows that music is processed in the brain like a language skill. And that is how far we must take our own training, until it becomes as intelligible to us as what we read in the newspapers.

Consider that conductors are often the very best (or worst!) examples of this level of consummate skill. They must learn their scores without ever being able to practice on their "instrument", in this case an orchestra. And they have to show up at the first rehearsal already knowing impeccably the entire work from start to finish, as well as being able to tell everybody what they need to do and how they need to sound, all without having practiced on an "instrument". And they need to do it better than anybody else in the room, or the players won't listen to them. they also have to hear when the violinist at the farthest desk in the second section is playing flat. Now, that's a pair of ears of you! Conductors also need to be capable composers and arrangers in every style possible.

Composers have a similar problem as most of the things they want to compose can't be performed by them alone. They must be able to hear these things in their heads almost perfectly before they write them down. If they don't understand what they hear in their heads, there will be a lot of things they will simply be unable to compose. They must also be able to conduct competently, and they must also be conversant enough with the voice and all the orchestral instruments they write for so they can tell the performers how their music is supposed to be played.

Now THAT'S a musician. We should all be able to do those things. These skills can learned, and without too terribly much trouble.

Music is a language, not an abstract exercise in philosophy or mathematics. We as musicians must learn to "speak" the language, and speak it very well. Otherwise, we will not understand what it is we are trying to do with the music we play, and our playing will sound like it.


Edited by laguna_greg (03/20/14 02:49 PM)
Edit Reason: mistakes!
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1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
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#2249532 - 03/20/14 03:25 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Loc: Maine
Greg, thanks for your reply. (And ShiverMeTimbres, too.). It will take me a while to sort out some of the complicated responses I'm having enough to formulate a post. I am reflecting on all this, and I don't want you to think I'm ignoring you.
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#2249596 - 03/20/14 05:35 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Instead of defining what an "artist" is, wouldn't it better to define some common sense objectives?

For pianists it is necessary to develop automatic links between notes on the page and where they are played if a pianist is going to read well. That is the most important skill for reading.

But it is also true that often pianists get stuck there, not linking the symbols to sound. I call this "piano-deafness".

So how do you get the ear working?

That's the elephant in the room.

A conductor has to see "G" or "sol" and then hear what pitch that is linked to. On Bb trumpet that is F, but on double horn it something else. It can be just about anything on various trumpets with crooks (C trumpet, Eb trumpet, D trumpet and so on), so hearing a pitch on a concert pitch instrument is only a start.

I've seen countless discussions about how to to this, but there is no magic bullet.

In my experience it is WORKING with different instruments and playing a few of them that gets the job done. But I audiate very well with piano scores and anything that is concert pitch plus any of the instruments I have played/taught (all the brass instruments).

I can do the same with all other instruments, but I have to first figure out the transposition. I'm not at all good at hearing orchestral scores. Not enough practice with some of those instruments.
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#2249611 - 03/20/14 05:59 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Gary D.]
BostonTeacher Offline
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Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 40
I just read both threads. There is so much to comment on but for now I'm going to post here because I have my yoga lesson tonight yippie
If you asked me this same question when I was just starting my professional studies I wouldn't have known what to tell you, It is only recently, after a long time researching, that I can start feeling like I know what I'm doing.I'm sensing it and I'm following my intuition, what feels right and makes sense to me. Going to college will get you to a starting point and I recommend it but the real job is up to you. Figure it out. Ask yourself this question and try to find answers. Only you can respond this question to yourself.

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#2249631 - 03/20/14 06:40 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Gary D.]
laguna_greg Offline
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Gary,

I appreciate your goal there, and I agree with it. But where are your objectives going to come from?
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1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2249680 - 03/20/14 07:55 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
Candywoman Offline
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Sometimes you have people who have all the requisite skills to play the piano but do not make music. I've heard two sisters, both with Doctorates in music, play duets. One was musical, the other was only technically proficient.

Many concert goers believe they've heard music when in fact they've only heard technical proficiency.

Music has to move people emotionally.

I think it's quite appropriate to decide some people are musical and others are not. One thing as teachers we strive to transmit is our own particular musical aesthetic. If you find a teacher who doesn't understand this, s/he is likely not musical.

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#2249726 - 03/20/14 09:40 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Candywoman]
laguna_greg Offline
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Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Candywoman


Many concert goers believe they've heard music when in fact they've only heard technical proficiency.




...and it's the kind of thing that can't really be taught. You can turn most anyone into a pianist, and you can make musicians out of a lot of those people as well. But to make them an artist out of them, to give them an imagination if they don't have one, well, I wish I knew how one did that.
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Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2249760 - 03/20/14 11:04 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
BostonTeacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: Candywoman


Many concert goers believe they've heard music when in fact they've only heard technical proficiency.




...and it's the kind of thing that can't really be taught. You can turn most anyone into a pianist, and you can make musicians out of a lot of those people as well. But to make them an artist out of them, to give them an imagination if they don't have one, well, I wish I knew how one did that.


It can't be taught but it can be helped and developed and it is very important that we as piano teachers keep it alive in our students. Playing piano is very difficult and it takes a lot of practice and effort only to be able to play the notes. However I think we would be failing as piano teachers if we forgot what is the ultimate goal, which is to make music. Making music isn't only skillful, spotless performance. It is human communication, artistic expression, musicality. It's the art of interpretation.
Once you point to your students they usually love it because it's the most fun part as well !

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#2249768 - 03/20/14 11:28 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: BostonTeacher]
laguna_greg Offline
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Registered: 04/02/13
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Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: BostonTeacher


It can't be taught but it can be helped and developed and it is very important that we as piano teachers keep it alive in our students. Playing piano is very difficult and it takes a lot of practice and effort only to be able to play the notes. However I think we would be failing as piano teachers if we forgot what is the ultimate goal, which is to make music. Making music isn't only skillful, spotless performance. It is human communication, artistic expression, musicality. It's the art of interpretation.
Once you point to your students they usually love it because it's the most fun part as well !


You'll get no argument from me about that at all. It's just that there's only so much one can do with certain people. You can't make them fall in love with what they are playing if they are not already. You can't give them an imagination, or even a sense of good taste, if they don't already have the makings of either one within them.
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Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2249817 - 03/21/14 05:06 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
I think a true musician has to be able to project feelings through sound. There's obviously an abstract, cognitive connection between the two entities, one which is missing in most piano students. And this link can't necessarily be taught. It's missing even in some of the leading pianists of our time.

From a technical standpoint of a pianist, there are only so many things a pianist can do to control sound at any given moment:

1) when the sound is made (timing, rhythm)
2) how loud (dynamics)
3) how much overlapping of harmonies (pedaling)
4) how loud in relation to other notes (voicing)
5) how long/short to hold the note (articulations)

It is the cumulative effect of individual sounds that separates the musicians from the students.
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#2249834 - 03/21/14 06:35 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Gary,

I appreciate your goal there, and I agree with it. But where are your objectives going to come from?

I don't understand your question. I was not talking about "goals". I was trying to describe what I hear, and what I do not hear.

How and why other people hear things, or do not hear things, remains a mystery to me. smile
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#2249877 - 03/21/14 09:52 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Online   content
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I'll take a stab at objectives from a teaching-learning view (i.e. student & teacher, rather than an accomplished performer). Supposing the student "feels things" of some sort in music, but has never studied anything with anyone. Chances are that what will come out is something crude and raw. Atm I'm picturing the lower end pop singer that gets piped in at the grocery store, who thinks that straining her vocal chords at top volume conveys "passion". That is - if this person can get any control over the instrument, otherwise nothing much will come out. I've just isolated three elements here: feeling, understanding, technique. I've also taken it from what I know rather than going abstract-theoretical, since as student I've been told the feeling part was there in the untaught state.

Technique means knowing how to use your body on an instrument optimally, so that you can produce any effect you want. It also means understanding the instrument. Pianos are percussive, there are pedals and dampers and are pretuned. Wind instruments involve breath and what causes vibrations to create sound via air through hollows. You must learn to control these things, and use them for the effect you're after.

Technique is used to play musically. Unfortunately it gets worshipped for its own sake. A person is admired for the perfection of his playing when that playing is otherwise empty.

Understanding is the part where if you have technique, you also know how to direct it. It is useless to know how to crescendo if you are clueless as to where to crescendo, how much, and why. Knowledge involves such things as understanding time signatures, beats, and ultimately knowing when to stretch a note for effect - understanding genres so that you can stay true to them, so they stay "real", even while manipulating things.

This too can become an empty thing for its own sake: able to pass exams, draw an arc over a phrase, identify the cadence, use big and learned words .... without ever applying it to performed music.

The "feeling it" part. Untrained and unlearned, you may have an impulse or a vague feeling, so you pull off something but you don't know why. When the understanding is there, the player can do things deliberately. I also think that one might start by doing things mechanically, as instructed, and that the insights and feeling might grow or wake up during the process.

When performing, it's good for a response to be evoked in the audience. This doesn't require the performer to feel anything. In any case, your beating heart and hands trembling with tension from emotion will not produce any sound and so does not convey anything to the listener. It has to be produced; right notes at the right time, and then something extra - the slight pause here, the bit of rubato, or lighter note, or muddy blend with pedal or crisp separation, all designed for effect. And that again is the blend of technique, understanding, and feeling (and conveying feeling).

Students will need the first two: technique and understanding --- and then maybe have what they feel and can thus produce in music, to be drawn out of them, as well as being told how to produce things (once they have the skills), and how.

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#2249884 - 03/21/14 10:06 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Gary D.]
laguna_greg Offline
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Hi Gary,

"Instead of defining what an "artist" is, wouldn't it better to define some common sense objectives?"

Oh! Well, I thought you meant something else, so I was just saying, in answer to the exam question, that aural skills are only one of the components that makes a up musician's skill set in the same way other artists have. And that out training and professional objectives need to be that inclusive.

Gary, I think it can be a limitation to train someone's ear always in reference to an instrument. The student ends up with exactly the problems you describe.
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Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2249984 - 03/21/14 02:10 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
jdw Online   content
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Loc: Philadelphia, PA
As a student and amateur, I don't see the value of exclusive definitions of "musician." I say this in my own interest, of course. But I also think it's valuable for the whole endeavor (and for the teaching profession) if students and non-professionals are encouraged to see themselves as part of a large continuum of music-making. It's not only true, but also helps build loyal audiences and inspire future students.
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#2250085 - 03/21/14 05:54 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: jdw]
laguna_greg Offline
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jdw,

"I don't see the value of exclusive definitions of "musician."

Why not?


Edited by laguna_greg (03/21/14 06:18 PM)
Edit Reason: thought of something better
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2250088 - 03/21/14 06:00 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

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Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
developed good taste and innate musicality

Can one develop innate musicality? Am I misunderstanding where the verb goes?

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#2250094 - 03/21/14 06:15 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: keystring]
laguna_greg Offline
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Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
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No, I don't think one can. Either one is musical, in which case it can be developed, or one is not.
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Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2250149 - 03/21/14 08:05 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
BostonTeacher Offline
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Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 40
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
No, I don't think one can. Either one is musical, in which case it can be developed, or one is not.

I don't think this position will get you anywhere. I mean who decides who "has it" and who doesn't?

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#2250158 - 03/21/14 08:26 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: BostonTeacher]
laguna_greg Offline
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Registered: 04/02/13
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Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: BostonTeacher
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
No, I don't think one can. Either one is musical, in which case it can be developed, or one is not.

I don't think this position will get you anywhere. I mean who decides who "has it" and who doesn't?



First the teacher, sometimes other teachers especially in festivals or contests. Sometimes the casual listener, and at worst an audience. You can tell just by listening.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2250165 - 03/21/14 08:40 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
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deleted - cross-post


Edited by keystring (03/21/14 10:08 PM)

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#2250268 - 03/22/14 01:09 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: jdw]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
Originally Posted By: jdw
As a student and amateur, I don't see the value of exclusive definitions of "musician." I say this in my own interest, of course. But I also think it's valuable for the whole endeavor (and for the teaching profession) if students and non-professionals are encouraged to see themselves as part of a large continuum of music-making. It's not only true, but also helps build loyal audiences and inspire future students.


Reality may diverge from our philosophical outlook on musical talent. Of course, as a teacher, I will teach less musical students for financial reasons, or in order to develop their ability to appreciate music and follow instructions.

Your response is suggestive of a person trying to eschew the competitive aspects of being a musician. In fact competition might be the ONE thing that increases audiences, or stretches the numbers of people studying music.

In the school system, I'm noticing less emphasis on competition as well. The trouble is that in the "real world," competition governs just about everything.

In some cultures, students are selected for opportunities based on objective criteria, whereas in our culture we labor under the illusion that opportunities need to be accessible to all who want them.

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#2250314 - 03/22/14 03:52 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Candywoman]
Saranoya Offline
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Registered: 01/27/13
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Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
In some cultures, students are selected for opportunities based on objective criteria, whereas in our culture we labor under the illusion that opportunities need to be accessible to all who want them.


There is a difference between the opportunity being *accessible* to all who want it, and an individual teacher somehow having the "obligation" to teach anyone who comes through their door.

For many reasons, I am a challenging student to teach. Some of those reasons have nothing whatsoever to do with my musical talent or lack thereof: for one, I have a physical disability. This can make it difficult, sometimes, for me to get to lessons in the first place, and it complicates specific physical actions. Pedal use is possible but very tiring, for example. I also have epilepsy, which has no influence whatsoever on my ability to play the piano, but it does make it logistically difficult for my teacher to "deal" with me when I've had a seizure during a lesson.

I had one piano teacher in the past who refused to teach me any further after two months of lessons, because he saw in me "a student with limited potential". I think that if he didn't believe he could teach me, it was his right, even his responsibility, to say so and send me on my way. But to suggest that cultures where music students are selected purely on the basis of how much "potential" they show are somehow better off? That, to me, is one step too far.

I've found a teacher now who sees my potential despite my limitations, and who enjoys teaching me. If you asked her whether I "have it", I believe she would say yes. If you asked her whether I can be a concert pianist one day, or teach piano myself, or make my living from piano in any other way, she'd tell you that's most likely not in the cards for me. But will I enjoy playing for the rest of my life, and will I play with other people, and will I write my own music, and will I appreciate all music more because of the little slice of it that I can play myself? You bet!

So is there anything wrong with extending the opportunity for learning to people like me, who clearly don't fit the mould of the "perfect" piano student? You may still say yes. If you did, what that would tell me is that you're not the right teacher for me. And if you're not, that's perfectly fine, so long as there are still other teachers out there who want (and have the opportunity) to take me on as a student.

Two weeks ago, I was very nearly excluded from my music school because of my seizures and the logistical problems they pose. My piano teacher went to bat for me, which is the only reason I am still taking lessons at this point. I realise not everyone would have done that. To those who wouldn't have, I say: teach whoever you want in your own studio, but please don't think that we would all somehow be better off if people who don't fit your idea of the perfect piano student simply weren't taught at all.

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#2250318 - 03/22/14 04:23 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
landorrano Offline
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This all makes me think of a couple of friends of mine. The wife happenned upon emails between her husband and his mistress! Of course that in itself was a shock. But then the content, oh the content! "My Adonis", "my Apollo", "my wild beast!" I dream of you doing this, doing that! She couldn't believe that her husband was like that, she didn't know this side of him, it just wasn't there between them.

In my view, music is a relationship between human beings. A very intimate relationship at that. Everyone needs it, every human being "has it". But then it is not always so easy for this precious flower to blossom, for reasons which are often difficult to pinpoint justly because they are so deep inside.

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#2250324 - 03/22/14 05:31 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: landorrano]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: landorrano

In my view, music is a relationship between human beings. A very intimate relationship at that. Everyone needs it, every human being "has it". But then it is not always so easy for this precious flower to blossom, for reasons which are often difficult to pinpoint justly because they are so deep inside.

Man, I totally agree. Very nice summation of why the things most important in life do not lend themselves easily to analysis.

What is a musician? How do you become a musician?

It reminds me of a time, when I was very young, when someone asked me to define "love", and I thought I could. smile

(Just the thought of my answer, long ago, is rather painful today.)
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#2250327 - 03/22/14 06:01 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: keystring]
ShiverMeTimbres Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/14
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
developed good taste and innate musicality

Can one develop innate musicality? Am I misunderstanding where the verb goes?



I believe everyone can learn to play. It's a question of environment, social setting and/or desire.

Everyone can learn, but not every teacher can teach everyone.

This is not to say they are a bad teacher, just not able to relay it in a way that a specific individual might be able to understand.

The relationship between Teacher and Student is a process of learning how to communicate and communication of knowledge. Sometimes, that learning how to communicate cannot happen.

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#2250331 - 03/22/14 06:07 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Online   content
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I think that it is much more useful to consider what should be given to a student so that he or she can develop toward whatever musicality that student might reach. I've already outlined the idea of skills and knowledge and how that intermeshes with "feeling" - either induced in the audience, or sensed in the music by the student.

Your student with innate abilities still needs to be taught. And a host of things can go wrong in this area alone.

Originally Posted By: Candywoman
n our culture we labor under the illusion that opportunities need to be accessible to all who want them.

I assume that by "our" culture you mean North America. If so, that's a culture of lip service. Opportunities are accessible to those with money, living in good areas, good schools, and access to good teachers. And even here, $$$ may be a deterrent, since music isn't seen as a money-earner --- so let's keep the child out of that frivolous nonsense.

Anyway, how about sticking with those things that will give a student a chance to develop? This is a teacher forum. What is needed to bring this about?

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#2250449 - 03/22/14 12:10 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
keystring Online   content
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My last line:
Quote:
Anyway, how about sticking with those things that will give a student a chance to develop?

is not addressed to Candywoman, and would be better worded as a suggestion, as it was actually intended. Edit time expired.

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#2250558 - 03/22/14 04:09 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
BostonTeacher Offline
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Registered: 03/18/14
Posts: 40
Here's a video that will make you all smile :
http://youtu.be/qTKEBygQic0

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#2250673 - 03/22/14 07:53 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: BostonTeacher]
ShiverMeTimbres Offline
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Registered: 02/08/14
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: BostonTeacher
Here's a video that will make you all smile :
http://youtu.be/qTKEBygQic0


You, BostonTeacher, have won the thread. I love this video smile

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#2250760 - 03/23/14 12:18 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: PianoStudent88]
Candywoman Offline
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
Saranoya
I wasn't speaking of accessibility to ordinary music lessons. I'm talking about special opportunities, for instance the opportunity to study with a composer like Nadia Boulanger, or to go to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, or to attend masterclasses of visiting musicians. These must be earned, which is assessed by very musical adjudicators who determine if somebody can make the best use of the opportunity. In formulating their opinion, the musicality of the student must enter into the discussion.



Edited by Candywoman (03/23/14 12:35 AM)

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#2250771 - 03/23/14 12:44 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Candywoman]
ShiverMeTimbres Offline
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Registered: 02/08/14
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I'm talking about special opportunities, for instance the opportunity to study with a composer like Nadia Boulanger, or to go to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, or to attend masterclasses of visiting musicians.


I'm perfectly happy with institutions or private citizens having their own level of requirements before providing an education. However, bringing it back in-line with the thread, I personally do not associate the level of education that one has, to them being entitled to be labeled a musician.

I'm not saying you indicated this Candywoman, I'm just stating that I think Musician is too broad of a term to consider it to be focused in to only a select few.

You can have a socially perceived good musician or bad musician,
You can have an academically taught musician, or a self-taught musician.

I'm fine with someone, who has extreme knowledge in the area of music and can apply that knowledge to an instrument(s) being called a Virtuoso. That creates a rank system inside Musicians, just like any other trade.

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#2250787 - 03/23/14 01:38 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: Candywoman]
Saranoya Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 632
Loc: Brussels, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
I wasn't speaking of accessibility to ordinary music lessons.


Fair enough. I was under the impression that you were talking about music lessons in general because you were *replying* to an ordinary piano student who said he doesn't get why we need an exclusive definition of the term musician. Also you talked about how, in your own daily practice as a piano teacher, you teach certain students for financial reasons whom perhaps you'd rather not teach if you had the option of ditching them. But if you're talking about masterclass-level opportunities, then *of course* a certain selection should happen. I don't think you're going to get an argument from anyone about that. Or at least, in my opinion, you shouldn't.

If we're talking that level, though, then I have to agree with some of the earlier commenters on this thread (you among them, if I'm not mistaken): musicality doesn't seem to be a high enough priority. It's missing in some people who are nonetheless widely considered accomplished musicians. It seems to be missing in many concours competitors. That's a shame.

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#2251787 - 03/25/14 07:59 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: BostonTeacher]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2461
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

thumb

Thank you BostonTeacher for that video! It's exactly what I needed today!
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#2251799 - 03/25/14 08:30 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: laguna_greg]
TimR Offline
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
No, I don't think one can. Either one is musical, in which case it can be developed, or one is not.


I think that there is often a stage in a student's development where they are focused on the mechanics of playing a difficult instrument. At that point they are really more of a pianist or trombonist or whatever than a musician.

It may even be a necessary step to master the craft.

But it is a step that most will get past.

So I don't think you should say a student is unmusical from a snapshot in time. They may be very musical but it is being suppressed by other factors, and will come out later.
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#2251839 - 03/25/14 10:40 AM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
No, I don't think one can. Either one is musical, in which case it can be developed, or one is not.


I think that there is often a stage in a student's development where they are focused on the mechanics of playing a difficult instrument.

When I first read laguna greg's statement, I started to ask whether he taught beginners or only advanced students, in order to orient myself to that statement. I thought it was about beginners since he wrote about "developing" it. But before I could post the question, he wrote that he was thinking of students in competitions and festivals. So these would not be beginners or how he sees beginners, and it seems to involve other people's students that you might observe.

I'm with you, TimR and would go further. A student needs to learn the nitty gritties of playing regardless of talent. If everything is dashed off all the time, then something goes missing and it will probably show up at a more advanced level.

And then, the original question was "What is a musician?" It was not "Does talent exist?" Musicianship involves things that are done to the music, and a lot of that rides on skill and knowledge. Maybe an innate ability will allow a student to do more with those things, but they have to be taught.


Edited by keystring (03/25/14 10:45 AM)

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#2251983 - 03/25/14 04:58 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: TimR]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: TimR

I think that there is often a stage in a student's development where they are focused on the mechanics of playing a difficult instrument. At that point they are really more of a pianist or trombonist or whatever than a musician.

That can be true of a fine musician who is struggling with a new instrument.

How can anyone sound like a musician, playing, without the skills mastered to allow it to happen?

And if you can't SOUND like a musician, will anyone believe you are? I don't think so.

Physical limitations will be perceived as lack of "sensitivity" and so on.
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#2251989 - 03/25/14 05:11 PM Re: What is a musician? How do you become a musician? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring

And then, the original question was "What is a musician?" It was not "Does talent exist?" Musicianship involves things that are done to the music, and a lot of that rides on skill and knowledge. Maybe an innate ability will allow a student to do more with those things, but they have to be taught.

That's correct.
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