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CREATING MUSIC: Melody & rhythm skills are the essentials--banjo lessons are optional

Saturday, September 13, 2014 @9:33:27 AM

Having taken care of the fast track students, let’s get down to business and turn to those who can really benefit from a helping hand.  


If even the fast track students are made vulnerable by jumping into a particular style, then the beginners (with none of the passing qualifications discussed earlier) are even more vulnerable to choosing the wrong path.  It is very important that they first work on those musical fundamentals and improve those particular skills that prevent them from progressing.  The beginner will avoid years of frustration just by removing a few roadblocks.  


We are not talking about a long drawn out remedial effort.  Most of the missing skills were probably learned in pre-school days and perhaps neglected over the following years.  Some basic skills need to be resuscitated, that’s all.


Melody and rhythm (simple ideas when they reside in the brain) have to live in the body before they become musically operational.  For many people that is hard to do.  I can visualize a scale: do re mi … but that doesn’t mean I can sing a scale.  Rhythm is much harder: I see nothing but the letters of a word.  These two critical ideas and their visual or auditory images are only poor approximations of what they really are flourishing in their own musical dimension.  


To an individual student, these skills have no existence unltil they reside in your physical body rather than just in your mind.  The student must learn to actualize the musical space within himself.  The ideas will begin to live within you if your vocal chords can pipe out the proper intervals for singing and your body can make the necessary physical motions to generate a proper rhythm.


How about singing and dancing?  Or yoga?  There is a connection between the artistic spirit and the physical body that needs to be regenerated.  This connection is the foundation for a living being to create music.  These basic skills vary from person to person, depending on their own life history and even their DNA.  That is why some people have an easy time and others struggle.  The advantage that some people have is not that insurmountable when viewed as just two neglected skills that a student can easily rescue.


Studying a video of yourself engaged in these activities will show if you have made the connection or not.  A video is a handy diagnostic tool, because it is difficult for anyone to evaluate this condition from the inside.  A blind man can deny the world of color but the camera doesn’t lie.


What can the camera show you?  Does it show you a  Frankenstein with wild jerky movements?  A frozen statue?  Are the shoulders and neck locked?  Or does your motion flow along with the music?


Check out Curly Ray as he gets into OBS.  His music comes out of his body and into the fiddle--not the other way around.  If you made him stop moving the music would lose its life and fire.  You can actually see the living bluegrass music animating Curly Ray's body in this video.


Here is another visual of the music as a the physical movement of a human body:


​Now you see the connection, right?  So what does your video show you?  Does it say you got the connection or not?


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