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justinthyme

Struggling with improvisation?

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Stratrat    0

Interesting article. I looked at the problems areas he listed and answered "e) All the above." :isaynothing:

Seriously though, just reading his list of "theory problems" gave me a good idea of what I should start working on first. I'm weak in all of those areas.

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coldethyl    0

There's some good advice there!:winkthumb:

Getting very familiar with the fretboard is a piece of advice I hear or read on a regular basis.

It's actually something I'm working on at the moment. That's my objective, to become so familiar that just by playing a given note, I'll know exactly what it is, and how it fits into whatever solo or melody I'm trying to play.

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Stratrat    0

Getting familiar with the fretboard is something I'm working on also. I can name the notes at each fret, but I have to stop and think about it.....if you told me to play a 'B#' on the D string, I'd have to "walk my way" up to it, rather than just fret it from memory.

I've also just started working on figuring out which notes compose which chords. I'm sure that both of these are important foundation work for using Plane Talk, which I'm planning on purchasing pretty soon.

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allthumbs    8
Getting familiar with the fretboard is something I'm working on also. I can name the notes at each fret, but I have to stop and think about it.....if you told me to play a 'B#' on the D string, I'd have to "walk my way" up to it, rather than just fret it from memory.

I've also just started working on figuring out which notes compose which chords. I'm sure that both of these are important foundation work for using Plane Talk, which I'm planning on purchasing pretty soon.

That would be a long walk. B#=C. B to C is only a half tone apart which is the same reason there is no Cb.

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Stratrat    0
That would be a long walk. B#=C. B to C is only a half tone apart which is the same reason there is no Cb.

...which just goes to further show how weak my theory is...or how little I think before posting! :oops: B-C and E-F = half-tones! :hammers:

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Chris C    0

I guess the guy who wrote the article was trying to say that the main reasons for having trouble are:

1. Don't know what you're doing (Theory)

2. Can't hear it in your head (Aural) and

3. Can't play it anyway (Technique)

Which is pretty hard to disagree with. :)

But I think he left out another important one:

4. Ain't got nothing to say....

Despite all his stuff about how creative humans are, the truth is that many actually aren't very creative. It's no big deal. Some people are very creative in some areas and not in others. Others are fine copiers but feel uncomfortable when given a 'blank sheet'.

There are many fine professional musicians who never wrote a half decent song and who almost exclusively play work written by other people. Perhaps their creativity lies in the expressiveness they can bring to their playing, or in other areas. At the other end of the scale are enthusiasts who never manage to learn somebody else's song properly all the way through and do nothing but muck around in an 'original' but fairly ineffective way. :oops: ...cough... I don't know anybody like the last example myself of course...

I reckon that once you've got something different to say, most players will figure out a way to put it into music. Until then, some people never really take to improvising, whereas others have trouble stopping themselves improvising and struggle to play in a more disciplined 'as written' way. I think it's good to keep trying to extend your weaker areas, but not to get too bothered if your main strengths turn out to lie elsewhere. Just as long as you keep playing... :smilinguitar:

Cheers,

Chris

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zappa    0

i would say that creativity is learned , just like guitar theory , technique and stems from the aural sense of music.

i dont think that anyone has a natural ability to just know music , due to music being so subjective anyway.

when learning guitar , the steps are ; theory and technique followed by improvisation as a result of a higher level of understanding of music .

basically you have to be able to hear the music in your head before you play it , and maniplulate it to any degree .

improvisation is a never ending story without limits . sure there are only twelve standard notes , but the combinations are virtually , if not endless.

to be able to improvise at all - a person will need some theoretical knowledge and technique .

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Chris C    0
i would say that creativity is learned .....

Hi Zappa,

That's an interesting idea. How do you think that people can be taught to be creative?

I could be completely wrong, but I've always felt that trying to teach people to be creative is rather like trying to teach them to be taller - in other words, a bit of a tough assigment. I think that you can develop what's there by improving your range of tools and you can probably also build up what you might call the 'creative muscles'. But I think you can only go so far with making changes to a person's basic style, and some people just aren't really innovators.

It's politically correct to say that we're all equal and potentially good at things, but the facts appear to refute this when I look around. Some people think mathematically, some spacially, some in social terms, or whatever. And some don't seem to go in for thinking much at all... :dunno:

I've known people who were highly skilled at drawing or painting but who had almost no originality at all about their work. Conversely, I've known artists with extremely poor technical skills, yet bucket loads of originality. Same with musicians.

My guess is that, if they practice enough, most players will slowly assemble a little musical 'kit of effects' that they can learn to play around with and add together in different ways. Like familar Lego bricks that they can turn into a car or a castle perhaps. But they'll never actually invent Lego - or cars or castles for that matter.

Maybe that's it though. Perhaps I'm overestimating the role of creativity? Perhaps you don't really need to be all that original or creative to be able to improvise musically. As long as you equip yourself with a kit of moves, maybe you can learn to mix them up in a satisfactory way, even if you're only really treading fairly familiar and popular paths?

Whatever the process, it's sure fun to do... :yes:

Cheers,

Chris

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zappa    0

you cannot teach creativity - not thru formal education - its a lesson learned thru trial and error with a large dose of encouragement to help ease a persons mind .

i guess a definition of creativity would be too subjective , as each person creates their own ideal of what words actually mean .

i think in teaching people we make our first mistake by simply teaching our mistakes to them . whenever ive done any teaching in the past , ive tried to just stick to the theoretical and technical side of music and not impose a particular 'way' of playing upon the person .

its too like trying to teach someone to be me - which would be hell for them ! lol

what im trying to say is that creativity CAN be learned only thru encouragement and promotion of self belief - that is the hardest lesson !

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Jamonkey    0

I agree with Zappa.

M-W says creative really means something that is created rather than imitated. With enough practice, I think anybody can learn to do just about anything (of course, some people need more practice to do it). I'd imagine once you get the fundamentals down, you'd be able to play something differently...that is to say break away from the "cliche licks"

With the endless possibilities of notes this should be easy, but it's not...it takes a lot of practice. In my genre (hard rock and heavy metal) Planetalk really helps creativity along alot because right off the bat I'm playing much differently than the scale guys.

What it takes to be creative, IMHO would be a decent grasp of theory, a good ear, techinical ability, and lots of patience...

As I said, a different way of approaching things (*cough* planetalk *cough*) goes a long way too simply because it breaks you away from the imitation mindset and more towards the inventing mindset.

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