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Re: Derek Baily Improvisation TV
Interesting debate, for sure, especially as transcription is a widely
used tool. I'll repeat my belief that transcription does improve ear
training. However, I'm not talking about necessarily notating it - I
should have made that distinction; my definition of transcription means
listening to music and transferring it to one's own instrument. Notation
on paper is a laborious step that doesn't directly address the ear
training that I think is the main benefit. The hour it'd take to notate
a tune may be better spent learning to recognize quickly what's going on
in five or six other tunes.
I'll notate difficult rhythms sometimes to know precisely what is going
on. Easier for me to hear a minor sixth chord than a group of seven at
I agree that all kinds of ways of ear training are possible, and I do
not think transcription has to necessarily be part of that. I literally
refused to do it at school (being focused on building an encyclopedia of
licks), it's only since then that I've done it, somewhat informally, and
believe I'm seeing some benefit.
I hate "licks". Even the word. Don't get me started on avoid notes.. :-D
> ----- Original Message -----
>> with homicide, it's all in the intent. Transcription without a doubt
>> improves ear training, which is crucial for improvisation.
> I think this is what is debatable, you think? I mean, you wouldn't
> force feed this learning approach on all learners I hope....? That
> seems a bit unfair, given all the different types of learning styles
> and learners out there. This is why modern learning technology
> incorporates learning methods that address most all major learning
> styles - textual, verbal, visual, kinesthetic, etc. It is a real
> injustice that many music students have probably given up their
> instruments because some old school teacher has attempted to force a
> particular learning approach on them, that didn't complement their
> individual learning styles. It's a tradegy in my opinion, and very sad.
> For me, transcription did nothing but take time and elongate/burden
> the learning process. I could learn phrases and licks 50 times faster
> by ear. So, again in my own personal experience, transcription served
> no value except to take more time. I already know how to notate music
> and read it (even sight read basic material), so transcribing stuff
> that someone else already wrote was really a clunky and inefficient
> way of learning their technique, etc. For me, it just didn't add up
> how transcribing something that someone else already created, could
> help me be a better improviser. It went against the grain of my
> personal learning style, which is the main point here. Really
> interesting topic.
> I do it all
>> the time myself, informally when listening to music, trying to nail
>> the chord progression and picturing the melody on the fretboard, then
>> going to the guitar and seeing how correct I was. Every once in a
>> great while I'll write out the rhythmic values.
>> Now, during my time in music school I was constantly harangued to
>> transcribe things in order to "learn a lick and then practice it in
>> all 12 keys". I felt then, and still feel, that this is a terrible
>> approach to improvisation. Stringing pre-fab phrases together...ack.
>> What good is that going to do anyone, except to make it seem as if
>> you have an understanding of music you actually don't, and have ideas
>> you don't? I simply refused this approach (didn't help my grades).
>> My feeling is that, if you can hum a little melody, you can
>> improvise. Practice should be oriented toward making it so that
>> playing your instrument is easy as humming; the goal is that all
>> thought should go into the music you want to hear coming out, not the
>> technical task of playing the instrument.
>> Daryl Shawn
>>> You disagree with my own experience of transcription? How the heck
>>> is that possible? That's like me saying I like strawberry icecream
>>> better than vanilla, and you disagreeing. :) My own experience and
>>> my learning style contradicts everything you say below. That's just
>>> one person's learning style vs. millions of others.
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>>> I also like Bailey's interpretation of the value of transcribing
>>>>>> in jazz or in learning to improvise. I've never found that as a
>>>>>> useful tool, in terms of making me a better player or increasing
>>>>>> my improvisation skills...maybe making it easier for me to copy
>>>>>> other players' licks and clichés, but nothing from a creative
>>>> I have to disagree with this. I suppose if you go into
>>>> transcription with the goal of hijacking somebody else's style,
>>>> that's all you'll get out of it. But transcription is an excellent
>>>> form of ear training, and I would argue that good ears are, if
>>>> anything, even more important in authentic free playing than in the
>>>> mainstream. And nothing says you have to restrict your
>>>> transcription to solo instruments. Try to pry apart some of Maria
>>>> Schneider's dense large-ensemble jazz voicings; even though I can
>>>> do it imperfectly, I think it can greatly improve one's clarity of