Classical Training - Help or Hindrance?

Classical Training - Help or Hindrance?

Sean Keane, Paddy Glackin, Liam O’Connor, Liz Carroll, Zoe Conway etc., there’s a long list of trad muso’s, in particular fiddle players, who’ve had classical training.

Is this something that you think helps or hinders them?
Can you tell by listening to these players that they’ve had classical training?

I know there’s a lot of people with classical backgrounds who use this site, so how do you think your classical training affected your approach to trad?

Did you have to completely change how you approach music?
Was your classical training a help in any way?

Would you advise people to get a foundation in classical technique or avoid it altogether?

Or how about the other side, trad players who moved to classical?

Answers on a postcard please to

Trad Points of View
Thesession.org
The Internet

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My favourite fiddle player from that list can’t have had much classical training. Liz Carroll holds the fiddle and bow all "wrong".

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Hi Henry. I took classical violin as a child, ages 7-13. Picked up the instrument after 15 years to play this music only, that’s over 10 years now.

I could not imagine trying to do it without having all that technical knowledge of how to play the instrument in my head already. It was just like riding a bike, it all came back to me.

The problems come with classical players who see this music as something throw away that they don’t need to study, just ‘fiddle tunes’ etc.

What happens is they never sound right, they sound like classical players playing tunes, instead of having a fiddle style or sound, and with this music in particular there’s a very particular sound to be made and style to emulated, in the quest for your own traditional style.

…but the problems come from those classical players who just think that playing traditional tunes from any style simply means to play the notes like they do with classical music, and in a classical style. Pretty infuriating, but… [shrug]

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Here in Germany most of the fiddle players are classical trained and I think it is a hindrance, because there are many who just can’t get the rythm right.
But the real problem is their arrogance towards traditional music and musicians. We have a new member in our Ceili Band who hasn’t played on her violin for 20 years and thinks she is able to play for dancers just like this. She was totally astonished not to find proper sheetmusic with bowing patterns and really has huge problems, but she nevertheless shows up to every meeting and is a big hindrance to us other musicians. Plus, she is the worldchampion on the air fiddle, because most of the time, she noodles away without playing properly. I offered to give her a few pointers, but she declined impolitely and I could feel, that she is looking down on me for not being classical trained.
Another anecdote involving classical musicians: We had a flute player who came to our session once and declined to tune her classical flute , because she was adamant that in folk music, no one ever tunes the instruments. Afterwards she wrote us a mail complaining about the obnoxious speed of our tunes and asking us to send around an exact tune list with sheetmusic of every tune we played before every session.

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if you already had classical training, you can probably overcome that and still play something somebody could actually dance to

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It must be infuriating for classical musicians to be told they don’t sound right when playing this music, poor things. Tell them it’s because they read music, that’d help, wouldn’t it?
Besides it probably costs more for a ticket to see Martin Hayes or Kevin Burke in concert than it does to see classical fiddlers, oh, sorry, violinists. Goodness only knows what they think of bodhrans.

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It depends on what you mean by “classical training.” Having some lessons with a classical teacher for the purpose of picking up useful tips can be a great benefit, but it hardly constitutes “classical training.” Submitting to the orthodox regimen for years is a very different matter.

I had a few months of classical guitar lessons, after playing for twenty years. Being ornery and independent, I didn’t submit to the rigorous classical discipline, but I did get some valuable exposure to what’s involved in training fingers to do physically challenging things.

I’m far more familiar with Liz Carroll and Sean Keane than the others listed and I’m not surprised to learn that they had some classical training. In fact, I probably would’ve guessed it, if asked, though I’m not sure I could explain exactly why.

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Classical training doesn’t neccesarily involve an instrument. You might just have had a lot of theory tuition.

It might mean that you can tell immediately someone has changed key / tune / tempo - some classical instrumentalists can’t seem to do that.

It might mean you have had enough aural training to be able to copy the style of someone else and get the dotting the same - the main thing many classical instrumentalists have trouble with.

Your aural training might also help you know exactly which instrument isn’t in tune, and possibly which string it is.

You might also be able to scribble out tunes you have just heard.

If all the above apply, you will certainly be able to bang the goat.

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I knew it - I was with Geoffwright entirely until that last sentence, when it descended into sex!

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I think it’s the other way around - I think session playing has been the best musical education I’ve had (and yes, I did a degree in music). So in some ways, I don’t think you understand some music (for example, baroque performance) until you’ve done your share of playing in sessions.

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It’s worth remembering that many musicians who have come into playing trad as adults will have had classical training as children - through no fault of their own. With the right attitude and guidance they should be able, in time, to "lose" at least some of their classical baggage when playing trad - but it will still be there as required whenever they play classical.

The initial poster has asked a specific question of those who read this site and have had a classical background. So here goes … As a child I was educated as a classical musician on piano and cello. For most of my life, because of my musical environment any form of traditional music (other than trad jazz) was quite unknown to me. It was only a few years ago that I was introduced to Irish trad, and wanted to get involved. I started playing the fiddle from scratch - which meant I had virtually no technical classical baggage from classical violin to contend with, only the basics of left hand and bow control from playing the cello to ease me into playing the fiddle, and my teachers in workshops and sessions have been exclusively players of Irish trad. It took me about two years to learn by ear - but I got there in the end.

More recently, I have felt the need to explore fiddle music in other directions ( I’m not ditching Irish music - far from it!), which means developing other aspects of technique. I have been fortunate in finding a teacher who not only trained as a classical professional but has been the fiddler in a folk band for about 17 years - so has a well-rounded appreciation of both classical and folk playing.

The last sentence of Mark Harmer’s post makes a very good point. In my opinion, a classical player who has been brought up on post-Beethoven music is going to have problems in playing baroque music without making it sound like Brahms unless they really put their mind to it. This is where good (!) session playing will help develop the required baroque mind-set and playing technique.

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It can be either, or both… Some of our well known musicians, in the Irish scene, have had enough to benefit, especially in tone and technique that helps make their decisions more fluid. But, it can equally be a rut for some, especially if they have a poor attitude about this music, often obvious by their continual mention of it as ‘Celtic’, pronouncing the ‘c’ as an ‘s’… 😎

Must run ~ music to jump into now… I’ll be back, very late…

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It’s a brilliant thing to tell a person in a workshop that they don’t seem like they have any classical training - makes the classical players feel like they’re leagues ahead, and the non-classical players feel like they don’t sound like classical players trying to play Irish music. The only real hindrance is the inability to hear yourself.

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My "classical" training was both a help and a hindrance.
My mother was my first music teacher and she did a good job of teaching me how to read music but she neglected my ear training. Nor did she try to teach me proper fingering. Also, she didn’t emphasize the importance of listening to live performances or different recordings by different musicians of the same pieces of music so I could learn different styles and ways of playing.
I didn’t learn the importance of ear training or listening to live performances or proper fingering until I began studying music in college. I was lucky enough to take music classes with professors who believed that ear training and listening to live performances was very important. I was required to attend a certain number of recitals and performances each semester and write reports on them.
In one music theory class, as part of our ear training, the professor would play a tune on the piano and we were supposed to write it down. If we didn’t write it down correctly the first time, we had to keep trying until we got it correct.

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If the player understands the difference between classical playing and fiddle playing, they’ll be able to learn from their classical training, and it’ll be a help. If they assume that what they learned in their classical study is all true and applicable for trad music, the classical training will only get in their way, and they’ll likely be pretty useless in this music.

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The fact that I can sight read has allowed me to pick up and learn tunes much faster than if I had only been able to depend on listening. (I’m only using sheet music at home or around like-minded friends at our slow session, so you die-hard oralists out there can sit down now!)

I’m also applying my classical training disciplines to learn the whistle ornamentation (start slow, repeat, repeat, repeat, while maintainig good quality technique/sound, speed up the tempo, repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes second nature at full speed etc).

Combine sight reading and technical training on ornamentation with good listening skills and I’m now starting to get the hang of the cadence, lilt and nuances of whistling out jigs, reels, hornpipes and the like.

The key is being able to take whatever training you’ve had, be willing to learn and then use it to adapt to the different musical styles. Some adapt more readily to different genres, some don’t. I’m using this same approach to learn Andean music….. which, for any of you flautists/ocarina players out there is another lovely genre to try if you haven’t already.

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A lot of great jazz players had classical training… it didn’t hinder them either.

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Phantom B. - I made myself a Karen Tweed version of your Lark t-shirt, but Andrea thinks you’ll kick me out if you catch me wearing it. You wouldn’t kick me out for that would you?

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I have no power or desire to eject anyone from camp, but are you mad… you replaced Marx with Tweed? That makes no sense at all… are you even familiar with the famous quote I was altering for the pun? Karen Tweed has no relationship with it to make any sense. It’s meaningless if her only relationship to the image is with the accordion.

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I think classical techiques can be useful in aquiring e.g a good bowhand ("tone") and finger economy/pitch quality whereas the diddley music can be complementary in building an understanding of what music is about - a feel for the music.

To be truly complimentary, however, I think they should both be developed in parallell at as early age as possible.

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Right.

It’s like growing up speaking several different languages.

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Tweed’s cuter - I might have changed the wording a bit

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Well suit yourself… but why not come up with your own design?

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Interesting.

Very recently I was considering whether classical training would have enabled me to sound high b correctly every time. (On the fiddle).

Of the people I play regularly with, most are purely traditional adult learners. However, we also play with a couple of fiddlers who studied music at school. They can play with decent trad style no probs. The only time I recognise classical influence is the vibrato used during airs - would I be right to suggest that vibrato would not usually be a trad embellishment ? (I have several old recordings and it seems absent).

Other benefits I have noticed in these players are the ability to name the key of a tune, both players have a very quick ear and a deep musical theory knowledge - they can slap together a harmony in no time.

I dont see a problem with classical training too - I can see and hear the benefits- as long as classical trained players do not ever learn trad by only reading dots - they need to hear the music.

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good question - I’m explanationless - that makes it art, right?

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uh… it would yes… good luck

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I do realize you’re just yanking my chain BTW 😉

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phew - did I mention I made all the lettering pink?

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oops forgot the 😉

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Someone with a lot of ‘classical’ training knows that style is not fixed
in stone. They know that you don’t play Stravinsky the way you play
Bach and you don’t play Bach the way you play Brahms. And you don’t
play George Crumb like any of the above. So to someone with that level
of perception and technique, Trad Irish is just another style to be learned.

But as mentioned above a lot of people with a ‘classical’ background
studied until year 10 or so, not very seriously, and never reached this stage.

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Eyes wide open blinking; brow furrowed in incompehension. Till he remembers. Oh fvck of course. They are referring to fidd…no no no no, violin players.
I never heard of clasically trained whistle players. Classically trained pipers. Classically trained two row button accordion players.
All this is all the more reason why I don’t spend time here any more
What the hell am I doing here?
Thinks - what do Michael Gill and Will Harmon and other fine people still get out of answering the same dreary questions day after day. A habit, I suppose, some little power thing. I just don’t see it all as important anymore.

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The problem with the moniker "classical" is that it can mean everything from a few years of Suzuki all the way up to a MM from Julliard. I’ve noticed that the players with the most solid, rigorous classical training tend to have the easiest time learning the notes, and the hardest time learning the music (there are a few exceptions). You have to learn to compartmentalize certain techniques, and turn on your ears, something some classical players just don’t seem to get. And believe me, it’s *really* hard to turn off vibrato after 15+ years of playing with it on most notes longer than an 8th note (certain Bach partitas excluded.)

I was talking with an ITM friend of mine; he’s a very accomplished, very well-known multi-instrumentalist (pipes, whistles, flute) and has started playing the fiddle. I let him have a go on my fiddle at the end of a session, and he played a few jigs with perfect timing and style. His rolls were impeccable, I remember that much. It was lovely. I told him as much, and said that I wished I could play tunes like that, with that beautiful lilt and cadence, but I had all this classical baggage to overcome. And he said something like, "well, at least you’ve got the baggage of knowing how to play the instrument." and now I’ve realized how true this is. My technique and ability to actually play the instrument is already solidified and I can sit down a learn a tune in 30 minutes without really worrying about fingerings, tone, holding the bow, etc. For him, it’s probably a bit like starting from step one every time he learns a tune on the fiddle (though I’m sure he’s getting better.)

I’m with MrGanAimn - learning both sets from a young age is best. I wish I had.

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Danny’s post above rightly reminds us that this discussion so far has been talking about fiddle/violin players and their problems. What about some input from ITM flute players with a solid classical background, and perhaps even playing ITM with a silver flute?

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There’s a fiddle player in my area who trained as a professional violinist at the Julliard, returned to the UK and played in professional orchestras, and then later on went to the uni in Limerick to do a Master’s in Irish music. She says it took her two years to lose her classical sound when playing ITM. So it can be done.

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Hi thistle - I’m a classically-trained whistle player.

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I grew up playing tin whistle and classical flute, however, after a degree in Music where trad was frowned upon I found myself not trusting my ears when I returned to trad music. The irony of this is that I’m vision impaired and using dots is extremely difficult and time consuming for me. But I do believe I have thrived on the dual system approach, apart from that brief time where I concentrated solely on one genre.
I rarely play trad on my classical flutes and vice versa. I can if I need to but its almost like a physical reminder of which hat I’m wearing at a particular time. As a result, I dont play slides in the style of Vivaldi 🙂

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I’ve found Homer to be really useful

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I found it helpful myself. I started playing trad music about 10 yrs ago. 2 points:
1/my attitude was that I loved the music, wanted to learn it, and know I was starting from zero, I did not have a superior attitude to trad music, as some classical people have.
2/more importanly (I think) is that from the start all my learning of tunes was by ear.
If you have a background in classical music and learn all your trad tunes by ear and not from notes, with the right attitude, I think having a background in classical music can be helpful.
My 2c worth.

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I’m not so sure that it is up to the person with the classical training to say whether or not is was a help or hindrance.

I’m sure that banjobongo has the best attitude. And CarolWhitaker has the worst: "The fact that I can sight read has allowed me to pick up and learn tunes much faster".

It’s not about learing tunes, it’s about learning the music. What it feels like. We all know plenty of people who are tune dictionaries, but sound awful.

So what you think might be helping you might actually be holding you back. It’s not for you to say.

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There’s no doubt. It taught me how to physically play the instrument. It also trained my ear.

Tools. They’re just good, sound tools. What you build with them is up to you.

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Folks…
There isn’t a proper orthodoct way to play traditional music. That’s what’s so great about it, it gives life to the musician’s personal interpretation. When you start putting rules to folk music, it becomes classical folk music.
Bach is considered a classical musician because he dotted down jigs and musettes, giving them a strict structure.

Putting rules to folk music is like putting a harness on a wild horse. It’s cruel and wrong.

Classical music is more a technique than a style. As SWFL Fiddler says:

"Tools. They’re just good, sound tools. What you build with them is up to you."

;)

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I think generalizing about who plays music is
generally, pretty general, and so arguing about
who can do it and where their ability came from is generally
pretty general.
So if you have experience in playing and it comes from, generally,
any way you could have gotten the experience, then
it’s generally a pretty good way to get it.

The tossers are the ones who think there is a right way and a wrong to learn how to play this folk form. It comes from the heart, which generally is the right place to acquire it (plus a little influence from those who know how it’s to be done), generally, that is.

So, if you happen to be a classical player, play on!
If you’re a duffer - listen up!
If you’re a listener, pay up.
If you’re a critic, well, shut up.

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People who think there are no wrong ways to play this music may eventually realize otherwise when years later they listen to their own early cds of self-proclaimed "traditional" music.

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It has much more to do with the person, the musician, rather than what training one has had. Very few of us can really make magic through music, i.e. make the music come alive. Most of us are hacks at one level or another. Someone coming from strictly folk/trad roots doesn’t guarentee jack just as having classical roots doesn’t categoricallly mean anything. Personally, I think it all helps, all musics, even not playing and just listening, singing—it’s a matter of intention, attention, immersion, all those intangibles that vary from individual to individual.

People hear my tone and say "you’ve had classical training". Well, that’s true, but I got a fat tone out of the flute from the moment I picked up. I just have a knack for it. Truth is, I’ve had to unlearn some habits of flute playing in order to play the Irish flute better. But has my classical training specifically helped or hindered my ITM playing? Can’t say. It’s all too systemic, too many variables working simultaneously. I guess Yes and No and Maybe. It’s all part of my evolution as a musician/artist. (Jeez, I sound so full of myself, apologies, but I do think this way.)

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While it may not matter much what music you played before you dove into this one, what does matter is a humble, good faith, honest listen to *this* music, a sincere immersion that washes out your preconceptions and vibrato- or syrup-filled ears, until you come to understand *this* music at a deep, nuanced, wonderfully detailed level. With any luck, most of that understanding will be mostly subconscious.

Unless of course you’re just dipping a toe and don’t harbor any ambitions or delusions of playing this music well.a

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Well, I started a post along these lines and don’t know if I want to "go there" again, so this message is just to the original poster here: I find that my training has been a benefit. I will say that, on the flip side (the idea that classically trained people are prejudiced against tradies) goes the other way too. I think any training in music or music theory, in any genre, is beneficial. There are definitely some things that propelled me along the way with studying Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton tunes and style. It’s like learning a new language. If you already know a few other languages, for most people, learning the fourth becomes a bit easier based on "theory" , etc. I will say, if I could go back to when I first played violin at 9, I would say that the best thing to do would be to take the lessons, get your training in theory, etc., but also train your ear and play with fiddlers at the same time. I think what some people grabbed onto here last time and continue, is the assumption that every fiddler with a classical background is sub par in their style, tone, etc. Which isn’t true, as there are wonderful fiddlers that have classical background training.

That’s my two cents.

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i know a brilliant piano accordionist (tunes and backing) whose a classically trained pianist (with old style vamping) who knows it’s all in the head …

and the music plays ‘throughout him’

Christian

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Some people find learning stuff difficult. Others find it easy.

The bottom line with your classical training is that you are gonna have to unlearn some stuff. There’s no two ways about it. However, some people find unlearning stuff difficult. Others find it easy.

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I’m still pondering how training in music theory can get you playing an instrument.Classical or otherwise.

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I’m still pondering how training in music theory can get you an appreciation of listening to music, classical or otherwise.

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i’m still pondering generally …

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Is it a bit like going for a walk in the woods with field guides to trees, fungi etc. Or with a naturalist who can explain a few things ?

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I’m not so sure. Do you really think that being able to tell your Quercus Acuminata from your Quercus Coccinea helps in any way with your asthetic appreciation of the mighty Quercus?

And I’d say I’m pretty good with recognising by sight and sound the majority of North Western European bird species. I’ve been doing it all my life. But do you think it would be a bonus having me tag along for a walk in the Peruvian rain forest?

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If by asthetic appreciation you mean something like enjoying the sight and being in the presence of the tree (the tune and the craic maybe ?) then no. If the appreciation also comes from noticing and being interested that the leaves of both resemble a generic oak leaf but the trees look different - I am guessing I have not looked em up - then maybe (6/8 tunes, jigs, slides).

How much of a bonus you would be in a rainforest would depend on whether you had also observed the behaviour and ecology of NW European birds and how good you were at applying it, and questioning its relevance to, rainforest birds. I have been on some good walks with naturalists outside their normal field. They make some interesting observations, sometimes ones that the books don’t mention.

I guess what I am saying is that knowledge helps one notice things and noticing things can help ashetic appreciation, and in efforts to do something similar. (but I notice that the original post was about training and technique, not theory)

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Come to think of it my difficulty with a lot of what is referred to as ‘music theory’ is that it is not theory but a codification of cultural conventions. Which may well be as relevant as a European ‘bird spotter’ in a rain forest.

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I agree david, That aesthetic appreciation can be greatly enhanced by knowledge. It’s important to remember that the opposite of aesthetic is anaesthetic.

But knowledge from out with a particular field can be blinkering. One of the most important factors in recognising bird species is knowledge of the ecosystem of where you are, not what they look or sound like. If you are familiar with the territory, the birds you find there are the birds you expect to find.

If you see a large raptor with a forked tail silhouetted against the Perthshire (Scotland) sky, someone from Perth (Australia) would confidently say it’s a black kite. But they’d be wrong.

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In just the same way as a classically trained musician would look at a piece of music written in 4/4, and in the company of diddley musicians, play it all wrong.

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llig, i didn’t know but am glad to hear the Red Kite is back in Scotland

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Yeah, reintroduced a few years ago now, but going strong. There are, as yet, not very many. But they are such visible birds, if you know where to go, you are guaranteed to see them. Big buggers. Larger than I expect, having only seen them in books and on telly. Just like the music, you have to be there.

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Hmm. Its not that the knowledge is blinkering, its that it can create a false match. The guy from Australia would not be far wrong, he would get the right page in the field guide and find it was something similar. You only find the birds you expect if they are actually there and I guess you still notice a lost migrant.

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There are two kinds of bird watcher. Those that sit for hours scanning flocks of gulls for that elusive Glaucous Gull. And those that just enjoy gulls.

I’m the former

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You sit for hours scanning flocks of gulls ?

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Ah, that takes me back. When I was a youth, I’d sit and spend hours scanning flocks of girls.

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I wish they all could be California gulls….

ba da boom.

One potential downside of formal training is that you end up thinking you know more about playing music than you actually do. And then bringing that arrogance to another genre, and it can deafen you to what a mess you’re making of that other genre.

"Music theory" doesn’t teach us how to play music, it just explains why music works the way it does. The "theory" came late, untold generations after people first started making music. It’s best taken as "descriptive" rather than prescriptive.

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"it can deafen you to what a mess you’re making"

That was my point about it blinkering you. The classically trained musician sees 4/4 and simply assumes that their familiarity with it is how it goes. The assumption deafens them to how it really goes. We seek the familiar and when we catch a glimmer of it, our assumptions take president. Just like the Australian assuming he sees a black kite

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Considering where he lives, I think he was talking about Florida gulls instead of California gulls.

Learning music theory has helped increase and improve my understanding and appreciation of all types of music. I think of music theory as tools for learning how to analyze music and it fascinates me. I know some people don’t like music theory and would prefer to stay as far away from it as possible.

Based on my own experiences, you can study sheet music (or "dots") all you want no matter what type or style of music it is. However, you really need to listen to a more experienced musician or musicians playing whatever music you are studying before you try to play it yourself in order to hear what it is supposed to sound like.

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Speaking of music theory as tools, what you do with those tools or how you use them is up to you.
There is always something new to learn about music and you will never learn everything there is to know about music but I still recommend that you try to enjoy the journey although you may never arrive at your destination.

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I tend to check myself on anything which I * think * I have learned ( or mastered ). A certain familiarity helps at 1st. Over time it is all too easy to fall back on what I know. I trust it keeps my music making more interesting if I listen to ( & session with) musicians who are better than myself.
Regarding the question about classical training being helpful or hindering; to sessioning ~ well … it can do either depending on how you use it. One classical musician I have played with would often "explain" to me, in great detail, everything which was being done wrong by trad fiddlers. And yet, another classical violinist, I have played with, is constantly listening as close as she can to fellow session mates. She was the one who seemed to move with ease from the classical music into tunes. If her past experience hindered her sessioning I never pick up any such evidence. As far as my other friend goes, I’ll only say she had a bit of a learning curve.
;)

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I think llig and will have distilled it quite well. I might even quote some of it to impress my friends.

Re: Classical Training - Help or Hindrance?

I still don’t like llig’s bird analogy. What he is describing is just bad field practice. You have to be able to use use previous experience to recognise things quickly but also, as random_notes says, then review that interpretation in the light of alternatives that might matter and closer observations.

So I don’t see the problem in the bird immediately registering as ‘black kite’ if the Australian was prepared to think onwards ‘do they have them here’ or watch it for a bit a soon see a flash of red as is turned the way kites do.

So your if your classically trained musician does not notice the way proper rhythm of this 4/4 tune it goes along is it because of classical training, or just to arrogance and lack of attention ?

But I really came back to this thread to see if llig really is a twitcher or if he just meant ‘latter’ rather than ‘former’ in his gull watching post.

Re: Classical Training - Help or Hindrance?

Ha ha david. I was watching a rake of gulls last winter and there was a twitcher standing not so far off. He came up to me and asked if I’d spotted the Glaucous Gull. I said I hadn’t and he pointed it out to me, in that kind of horrible smug one-upmanship way that twitchers do. I must say though, even though I should have said, "feck off with your Glaucous sh*te, I’m busy here," I actually did go, "oh yeah, good spot, ta." Weakling.

However, Yes, the classically trained musician not noticing the proper rhythm of a reel is indeed arrogance and lack of attention. And a good musician, no matter what the training, would not do this. But there’s something about the classical training that instils the arrogance. The training does not instil openness, it distils a notion of correctness. That’s the culture of it. (I can see why of course. If you are playing in an orchestra, you need to be reading from the same book.)

But the bird analogy doesn’t completely fall down here. If you like to watch stuff, you train yourself to always assume you are wrong with your first impression, and be open to revision. Rather like learning diddley tunes … always be open to new ways of playing them. The very best classical musicians are like this, for sure. But it takes a special person to fight the system and rise above it. The majority, as we know, are hopeless.

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