YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it

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YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it

Paul Kealy

Many of us grew up in homes that featured a piano or an organ. Every school home room had a piano and teachers were expected to play it to accompany singing students. Sunday School classrooms had pianos. Learning the juxtaposition of notes on a staff and relating it to keys on a keyboard and parts singing assisted kids to learn to identify chordal composition.

 

Then came the ease of strumming a few chords on a guitar to accompany just about any melody. Pianos and organs were trashed by the millions.

Choirs and organs were abolished from thousands of churches. Further exacerbating the knowledge base of music was increasing use of merely listening to music, rather than creating music. Ubiquitous earbuds and ipad devices ushered a comfortable zeitgeist of those who forsook composing and arranging music to silently listen to promoted music.

 

It grows worse today.

 

Guitar Center, the nation’s leading musical-instrument retailer, is in trouble, more than $1 billion of debt.

Things aren’t as guitar-oriented these days, according to an article by Kevin Smith in the San Gabriel Tribune March 20.

 

Changing musical tastes are partly to blame.  “Most of what’s really selling today is rap and hip hop,” said George Gruhn, owner of the Gruhn Guitars shop in Nashville. “That’s outpacing other forms of music and they don’t use a lot of recognizable musical instruments.” His customers include everyone from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Eric Clapton to Neil Young, Vince Gill and Billy Gibbons. Yet today guitars don’t figure as heavily into chart-topping music as they once did, due to shifting demographics.  

 

“Baby boomers are the best customers I’ve ever had. They’ve driven a lot of the guitar trends, but they are aging and many of them are downsizing their guitar collections,” Gruhn added. The instrument is also facing an identity crisis. Guitar heroes – who have inspired many a player and fueled strong instrument sales – are few and far between these days.

Louie Concotilli, owner of Mugzey Music, spoke to the shifting demographics. “Rock is almost dead,” he said. “It’s almost nonexistent. And with guitar there’s no almost one to look up to anymore – no one to get you to want to learn. I have three or four guitar students who are about 12 to 14 years old, and I told one of them she should find someone in her class to play guitar with. She said, ‘No one else plays the guitar, and people think I’m weird because I do.’ ”

 

The bigger problem, according to Concotelli, is that most aspiring players don’t want to put in the time to become proficient on the instrument.

“If they do want to learn they’ll just go to YouTube, but they’re not getting the proper instruction,” he said. “With kids these days, it’s all about instant gratification. No one wants to take six months or a year to learn. They don’t want to do the work.”

report released last year by the Washington Post revealed electric guitar sales have plummeted over the past decade from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million. The two biggest companies, Gibson and Fender, are in debt. Gruhn acknowledged that the demand for both acoustic and electric instruments has fallen.

 

The future may depend on such as those who install jOrgan software in their computers, plug in a keyboard, and express music. If you are a skilled keyboard artist - are you reaching out to share your skills with today’s generation? This is your mission, should you choose to accept it. Participating on the jOrgan forum assists you.

 

Pk

StentorVox.com


P.S. this is another test to see if it posts okay without trashing or converting to HTML. I promise no more lengthy posts.



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Re: YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it

jbeach2646
Paul, thanks for the post.  It is interesting to find out what I would never have thought concerning the declining interest in guitar learning and playing. 
 
“With kids these days, it’s all about instant gratification. No one wants to take six months or a year to learn. They don’t want to do the work.”
 
Obviously, the greatest obstacle to becoming a musician is the amount of time required in practice in order to achieve proficiency in playing.   Practice, repetition, repetition, repetition is
the means to achieving it.  The temptation to be resisted, for keyboard players, is to look for “an easy way out.”  Today, with all the technological advances which provide instantaneous
possibilities to have any piece of music in any key, one could conceivably learn to play in the Key of C and no other key.  After 30 years of playing, I have to admit that I still have
intimidating weaknesses in playing certain key signatures, especially, those above 3 sharps and 4 flats, A major and Ab Major are not a problem, but when we get to E major and Db Major,
even though I understand the theory that sharp key signatures form on the “raised 7th of the scale” (whatever the sharp key signature is, the new sharp is the semitone immediately below it), it is
the fingering which poses the difficulty or awkwardness.  It is physical rather than mental.  With Db major, the difficulty is experienced with the Gb.  Since every major scale is two whole-steps,
a half-step, three whole-steps and a half-step, it is only the physical space-interval which differs from the basic C scale, the half-step between E and F,  and B and C,  which create the difficulty
with fingering. 
Many years ago, a church keyboard player told me that in playing with an organist, their practice was to mentally transpose everything above 3 sharps to flats and everything above 4 flats to
sharps.  (Most modern hymnals have no hymns in B major, five sharps.  So, it is rare to get any experience in B major.)
The musical notation, with the exception of accidentals and key signature, stayed the same.  So it was easy to do.  I did this on occasion, but in recent years, have concentrated on
the keys in which I am weakest.   My experience was that, in Db major,  I was always forgetting that the G was flatted.  In E major,  I was always forgetting that the G was sharped.  Oddly, it
was not the D, the “raised 7th in the scale” of  E major that caused the problem in fingering. 
I am, basically, a trained linguist and rote memorization was the technique which proved most effective in learning.  See it, say it, or hear it, say it.  With music theory, understanding, mentally,
the concept is really essential to being able to play it.  I played a few songs by ear when I was a kid, but never understood what I was doing, simply that the chords sounded good (well). 
 
 
A couple of years ago, I purchased all four volumes of “The Liturgical Organist.”  It is a wonderful collection of fairly short pieces arranged in order of key
signature, major and minor keys, some cadences and modulation exercises.  It includes many of the composers for organ of the baroque, classical and romantic periods.   I do not notice a gradation of level of difficulty from one volume to the next, although, purportedly, there is.  What I have found is that repetition is the mother of learning and practice facilitates the acquisition of  fingering techniques which enable a fluid execution of the pieces.
 
John Beach 

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Re: YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it

RoyR
"What I have found is that repetition is the mother of learning and practice facilitates the acquisition of  fingering techniques which enable a fluid execution of the pieces."

...Or, as Dick Treat, the Owner of Lowreyforum group, always signs his messages:

Practice, practice, practice.



      Have fun,

            Roy.


On 24 March 2018 at 07:20, John Beach <[hidden email]> wrote:
Paul, thanks for the post.  It is interesting to find out what I would never have thought concerning the declining interest in guitar learning and playing. 
 
“With kids these days, it’s all about instant gratification. No one wants to take six months or a year to learn. They don’t want to do the work.”
 
Obviously, the greatest obstacle to becoming a musician is the amount of time required in practice in order to achieve proficiency in playing.   Practice, repetition, repetition, repetition is
the means to achieving it.  The temptation to be resisted, for keyboard players, is to look for “an easy way out.”  Today, with all the technological advances which provide instantaneous
possibilities to have any piece of music in any key, one could conceivably learn to play in the Key of C and no other key.  After 30 years of playing, I have to admit that I still have
intimidating weaknesses in playing certain key signatures, especially, those above 3 sharps and 4 flats, A major and Ab Major are not a problem, but when we get to E major and Db Major,
even though I understand the theory that sharp key signatures form on the “raised 7th of the scale” (whatever the sharp key signature is, the new sharp is the semitone immediately below it), it is
the fingering which poses the difficulty or awkwardness.  It is physical rather than mental.  With Db major, the difficulty is experienced with the Gb.  Since every major scale is two whole-steps,
a half-step, three whole-steps and a half-step, it is only the physical space-interval which differs from the basic C scale, the half-step between E and F,  and B and C,  which create the difficulty
with fingering. 
Many years ago, a church keyboard player told me that in playing with an organist, their practice was to mentally transpose everything above 3 sharps to flats and everything above 4 flats to
sharps.  (Most modern hymnals have no hymns in B major, five sharps.  So, it is rare to get any experience in B major.)
The musical notation, with the exception of accidentals and key signature, stayed the same.  So it was easy to do.  I did this on occasion, but in recent years, have concentrated on
the keys in which I am weakest.   My experience was that, in Db major,  I was always forgetting that the G was flatted.  In E major,  I was always forgetting that the G was sharped.  Oddly, it
was not the D, the “raised 7th in the scale” of  E major that caused the problem in fingering. 
I am, basically, a trained linguist and rote memorization was the technique which proved most effective in learning.  See it, say it, or hear it, say it.  With music theory, understanding, mentally,
the concept is really essential to being able to play it.  I played a few songs by ear when I was a kid, but never understood what I was doing, simply that the chords sounded good (well). 
 
 
A couple of years ago, I purchased all four volumes of “The Liturgical Organist.”  It is a wonderful collection of fairly short pieces arranged in order of key
signature, major and minor keys, some cadences and modulation exercises.  It includes many of the composers for organ of the baroque, classical and romantic periods.   I do not notice a gradation of level of difficulty from one volume to the next, although, purportedly, there is.  What I have found is that repetition is the mother of learning and practice facilitates the acquisition of  fingering techniques which enable a fluid execution of the pieces.
 
John Beach 

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Re: YOUR MISSION, should you choose to accept it

greenfox
Interesting thanks Paul. I wasn't aware of the decline in guitar. Interesting to think what the music scene will look like in 10, 20, 30 years from now. As you say, we all need to do our part to pass on our skills, such as they are, and our passion for self created music to at least another generation. I have already started with my first grandchild and will continue with the second. 

John. Interesting thoughts. I also struggle with higher numbers of sharps and flats. I wish I had of pesisted with scales and apegios in all keys. I think there is no substitute for rudimentary practice. 

Regards 
Rick  

On Sat, 24 Mar 2018 7:57 pm Roy Radford <[hidden email]> wrote:
"What I have found is that repetition is the mother of learning and practice facilitates the acquisition of  fingering techniques which enable a fluid execution of the pieces."

...Or, as Dick Treat, the Owner of Lowreyforum group, always signs his messages:

Practice, practice, practice.



      Have fun,

            Roy.


On 24 March 2018 at 07:20, John Beach <[hidden email]> wrote:
Paul, thanks for the post.  It is interesting to find out what I would never have thought concerning the declining interest in guitar learning and playing. 
 
“With kids these days, it’s all about instant gratification. No one wants to take six months or a year to learn. They don’t want to do the work.”
 
Obviously, the greatest obstacle to becoming a musician is the amount of time required in practice in order to achieve proficiency in playing.   Practice, repetition, repetition, repetition is
the means to achieving it.  The temptation to be resisted, for keyboard players, is to look for “an easy way out.”  Today, with all the technological advances which provide instantaneous
possibilities to have any piece of music in any key, one could conceivably learn to play in the Key of C and no other key.  After 30 years of playing, I have to admit that I still have
intimidating weaknesses in playing certain key signatures, especially, those above 3 sharps and 4 flats, A major and Ab Major are not a problem, but when we get to E major and Db Major,
even though I understand the theory that sharp key signatures form on the “raised 7th of the scale” (whatever the sharp key signature is, the new sharp is the semitone immediately below it), it is
the fingering which poses the difficulty or awkwardness.  It is physical rather than mental.  With Db major, the difficulty is experienced with the Gb.  Since every major scale is two whole-steps,
a half-step, three whole-steps and a half-step, it is only the physical space-interval which differs from the basic C scale, the half-step between E and F,  and B and C,  which create the difficulty
with fingering. 
Many years ago, a church keyboard player told me that in playing with an organist, their practice was to mentally transpose everything above 3 sharps to flats and everything above 4 flats to
sharps.  (Most modern hymnals have no hymns in B major, five sharps.  So, it is rare to get any experience in B major.)
The musical notation, with the exception of accidentals and key signature, stayed the same.  So it was easy to do.  I did this on occasion, but in recent years, have concentrated on
the keys in which I am weakest.   My experience was that, in Db major,  I was always forgetting that the G was flatted.  In E major,  I was always forgetting that the G was sharped.  Oddly, it
was not the D, the “raised 7th in the scale” of  E major that caused the problem in fingering. 
I am, basically, a trained linguist and rote memorization was the technique which proved most effective in learning.  See it, say it, or hear it, say it.  With music theory, understanding, mentally,
the concept is really essential to being able to play it.  I played a few songs by ear when I was a kid, but never understood what I was doing, simply that the chords sounded good (well). 
 
 
A couple of years ago, I purchased all four volumes of “The Liturgical Organist.”  It is a wonderful collection of fairly short pieces arranged in order of key
signature, major and minor keys, some cadences and modulation exercises.  It includes many of the composers for organ of the baroque, classical and romantic periods.   I do not notice a gradation of level of difficulty from one volume to the next, although, purportedly, there is.  What I have found is that repetition is the mother of learning and practice facilitates the acquisition of  fingering techniques which enable a fluid execution of the pieces.
 
John Beach 

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greenfox - Brisbane Queensland Australia