Music Technique is using Magic

by

in Methods

What happens to your music technique when all of life's necessities take you away from playing or studying music? It's not going to take much of a leap to figure this one out.

The start of this year has found be busier than ever, and my focus has been taken away from studying, making, and playing music. I need to get back an do that thing we all dearly love and make music.

Music Technique Suffers Most

The first thing I realize when I return to my instrument is how my technique has suffered. That is manifest in that my fingers don't react to the commands that my mind has issued. Yes I can grab a few chords and run a few notes on a scale, but it is not effortless.

Working through several songs loosens up the muscles and the natural flow and feel starts to return. Muscle memory even starts to engage and things start to work again.

Alas, the ease of which I am striving for is still a long way off. Obviously I will need to put in some time and get back the dexterity and flexibility of movement. 

Playing Music vs Learning Music

As I picked up "The Music Lesson" by Victor Wooten and opened the chapter on technique I read and gleam that learning music is a concentrated effort that leads to playing through technique. It's a switch from  the knowledge and the techniques you have mastered.

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Playing is receiving; opening the mind and playing it effortlessly. Playing at this level is the magic of technique. As you become proficient at the various techniques you no longer think about them you employ them without having to think about them.

Stages of Applied Music Technique

Several years ago when I was at a peak in my all around study and playing.

It was easy at that time to see how knowing theory and having developed good technique had allowed me to shift from looking, reading, and working through the song to feeling and playing a song.

That is the focus was on the sound produced not on what notes I was playing.

The three stages that were so elegantly stated by my mentor was:

  1. Learn
  2. Gain Endurance
  3. Groove

It's a process where you move from the mechanics of learning to expressing yourself as a musician.

Two Things You Can Do Today to Move Your Music Technique to Magic

  1. Apply the three steps above to something you are having difficulty playing.
  2. Apply the technique your are studying equally to both hands.

imageSay you want to get a trill down cold. Often times that is done through working on a piece of music such as Czerny studies.

You might could start by learning the pattern then picking a major scale and learn to play the trill every note in the scale. You'd pick a major scale a half step higher and do it again. Now you have covered every note in an octave.

Work through the learning experience then, the next few times you'll start working on endurance. before long you'll be grooving and then whenever you are playing and a trill is introduced or your want to improvise it will be at your command. If you're grooving you will be able to control speed and rhythm without effort.

Applying it to both hands also gives you balance. Depending on your instrument you may have different functions. On guitar it will be applying the necessary effort needed to ensure that both hands contribute equally. On piano it can be learning the trill with the left hand. (not done much) or it can be supporting the melody and trill with controlled chord voice and playing.

Give it a shot see what happens!  

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