Re: Memory problem, anyone else with this?
- From: TD <tonydecaprio@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 08:54:11 -0800 (PST)
On Nov 28, 11:13 am, Dan Adler <d...@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Nov 28, 8:34 am, TD <tonydecap...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Nov 27, 3:05 pm, Rick Stone <rickst...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Patrick L wrote:
I think I'm a decent musician, except for one problem, which has really
been the reason I have not been able to gig or pursue a career, or at
least it is my opinion that this is so.
I've got poor short term memory. My muscle memory works sometimes, but
it is not reliable ( I also get stage fright and this can obliterate my
muscle memory -- I've played on gigs where my mind just blanked, and the
song was gone, very embarrassing having to start the tune over in the
middle of the song --, which is more of a problem with solo playing ). I
can remember about 20 songs, and if I try to learn song number 21, it
won't stay in my brain. It will, or it might, if I practice the tune
for about six months, and at that rate, I'll never acquire a repertoire
sufficient to solo gig. But, I could do okay with sheet music in front
of me, because I sight read very well, and I've gigged on solo chord
melody type gigs before, doing it this way, and so that is a solution,
but that is not the only problem.
For playing with others, if I have no sheet music in front of me, I
can't remember the chords or hold the progression in my head without
sheet music, and so I lose my place in the chord stream when soloing.
One solution is just to play easy songs like Summertime, Comin' Home
Baby, etc., but most musicians do want to play more challenging
tunes, and I should not be there holding other guys back, making them
do only the tunes that I can play without having to rely on sheet
music. I can gig with sheet music, but I feel like a loser being the
guy who has to have sheet music in front of him all the time.
That being said, I watched a Peter Sprague concert a few days back (
what a player! ), and he had sheet music in front of him ( though he is
playing a lot of not-your-usual-standards ), so I guess my concern is
unfounded, so my question is what do you say about players who require
sheet music in front of them in order to play? What is the general
consensus on this?
Also, I'm wondering if there is any meds, or alt med route to cure it.
All kinds of valid points have been brought up here, but it seems like
NOBODY has addressed a critical issue. HOW MUCH, HOW OFTEN, and for HOW
LONG do you play REGULARLY? (2 hours a day a couple times a week, 4
hours a day 7 days a week? etc.?)
I find this to be critical. I generally have no trouble remembering
standard jazz tunes, but those kinds of tunes tend to utilize the same
(or very similar) harmonic devices across most of the repertoire. I
usually practice one of these tunes for one long single practice
session, and maybe keep coming back to it for a few days and NEVER have
to think about it again (except for basic stuff like "what key is it in"
and "where does the bridge go"). You get to play these songs ALL the
time on gigs, and after a while you can play them in your sleep (I'm
pretty sure that I have at times). I probably "know" something like
500-1,000 of those (I qualify that because there are different levels of
"knowing." Many of them I'd be totally confident calling with my trio,
but MANY others I could easily play as an accompanist if somebody else
carries the melody.
Some of the more "modern" kinds of tunes, with less predictable chord
changes and melodies might take longer to learn. I was working on Bill
Evans "Very Early" and to get it memorized really solidly, it took about
a week. The first day I was reading it (for several hours). After that
I tried to play it by memory, and would only go back to look at the
paper if I had a mental block (and then only for a second and just the
part I forgot). I was still playing it for a while EVERY time I picked
up the guitar. I was also doing mental exercises, saying the chord
changes to myself in time (all the time! like when I'm lying in bed at
night, driving, eating dinner or watching tv!). You know; just thinking
"C, Bb7, Eb, Ab7, Db, G7, C, etc., etc.,) Wrote out my chord solo
(after I'd been playing it a bit) and taught it to several of my
students (nothing helps you learn something faster than teaching it).
Put it into Band-In-A-Box (the newer version with real instruments is
exponentially better than the midi sounds and WELL worth the $260 to
Then it's just a matter of PLAYING the tune. If it's not in my regular
repertoire and I don't play it for a month or so, I MAY forget parts of
it, but it won't take nearly the amount of effort to fill in the blanks
that it took to learn the tune initially.
I tend to write a lot of tunes like this, and only get to play them
maybe once or twice a month with my own group, so I find they take a bit
of maintenance away from the gig. And if I haven't played one for a
while, I'll definitely want to look at the music to remind myself.
Oddly, some tunes like "Giant Steps" I can just turn my brain off and
play. I think there's just some sort of "tipping point" and once you've
logged enough hours, days, months, years, on a tune, it can't leave you.
Other sites:www.myspace.com/rickstonemusicwww.facebook.com/rickstonemusicwww.reve...Hide quoted text -
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"NOBODY has addressed a critical issue. HOW MUCH, HOW OFTEN, and for
LONG do you play REGULARLY?"
"Repetition", as I had stated prior, covers this waterfront. In fact,
the French word for rehearse is 'repetition.' I think it is good to
add any slant possible to repetition; the ear is a good start as some
one mentioned. Everyone is different just as everyone is the same. No
one size fits all. Personally, my ear is reinforced with an ability to
see each of the twelve tones its respective color. I guess this is a
right brain ability (or disability). A few years ago, I was invited to
Granada, Spain to perform and lecture ( my name has been mentioned in
a few books on Synesthesia, but not a big deal, 'cause I just wanna
blow, man) in front of an auditorium loaded with neuro-scientists for
the International Symposium on Synesthesia ( a rare ability to invoke
two or more senses simultaneously; as in some people "smell numbers or
taste letters"). I demonstrated a few ways in which I was able to
harness my phenomenon by helping students to *remember* (amongst other
ideas), as well as study musical data. I assign *my* colors to
students who have a problem with recall or also out and out dyslexia.
What really fascinated me was when my lecture was over, several
scientists came over to me and said, "You know for a moment, I really
understood music during your lecture." I speak of obstacles that need
to be overcome nd many times it only takes a moment to look at
something in a new way. This new way helps to recall many things.
Is this a form of perfect pitch, i.e. associating a color sensation
with the frequency of the sound as we do in the visual domain or is
the use of color just a metaphor? I tried practicing the Burge color
hearing stuff for a while, and it did make me "experience" each sound
more deeply, but I never got anywhere near the point of instantaneous
Fourier transform. One thing I never understood about the whole color
hearing concept is what does octave displacement do to the color?
There is no concept of octaves in the visual domain...
-Danhttp://danadler.com- Hide quoted text -
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Nothing to do with Burge's trip, which I wrote to him about and
complained. I do dig his course on relative pitch and display it on my
website as a useful tool for anyone learning. In my view, his "pitch"
on "teaching" perfect pitch is jive. Forgive me David. Perfect pitch
cannot be taught. No, Synesthesia, which Burge actually mentions as
another thing, *is* totally different. The only similarity is that it
*also* cannot be taught. I actually see the color before or after I
hear the pitch, or at best simultaneously. It is just my freak thing,
is all. Although, I am told that Miles Davis had it and Jimi Hendrix
also had it (but that may have merely been too much window pane), as
well as Scriabin.
As far as octave displacement, it matters not to me (does not get in
the way of my freak scene, so to speak). It is the very cognizance of
the tone, that brings the color into my mind. The same "rule" applies
to chord quality. It is just the tonality or even the *notion* of
tonality. Or it can manifest itself of concerning tones within overall
tonality and vice versa. I often utilize it as a way to harness it in
my own learning and analyzing. If I want to teach a student one
popular source scale to draw criteria from concerning blowing over
A-7b5 for example ( Yet I never advocate learning how to blow over a
stagnant chord and leaving it like that), I may say, "Envision a white
table cloth in your mind's eye (I *realize* C as white and may assign
this color to tone for the student) with a blue vase sitting on top of
it." The blue vase represents A. C melodic minor scale system can be
an excellent source scale for blowing over A-7b5, as an example. But
by eliminating the *theory*, opinions, and such, just see the colors
to help aid the ear and thus the "intuition", which was Carl Jung's
way of describing one attribute of right brain usage. Thinking in a
new way is key. When and how much a guy wants to practice is
understood, if he is a musician to begin with.
Why this stuff? Because, we do not need to "negotiate" colors in our
mind. We just see them and know them simultaneously. Symbols usually
invoke an extra process. To me, applying colors for those who may need
such assistance (not for everyone), this helps to think, hear, and
know in a new way.
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