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Author Topic: Tuition videos that don't exist  (Read 3447 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2016, 05:53:20 PM »
Hi all,
This is an interesting topic, I think, that Simon started a number of years ago, and it has been years since it has been posted to, and in that intervening period, my whole notion as to tuition videos that would be really helpful but which don't already exist has changed drastically.  In the past, it would have centered on musicians whose music had not been featured in instructional videos; now I think my notion of such videos would center much more on skills that are not taught anywhere on video lessons.  For example:
   * How to learn from someone, in person, who does not provide TAB or any other form of written notation, and who may not think of a musical piece in terms of the chords that comprise it, or its form (12-bar blues, 8-bar blues, etc.)  I think such a video would have been of tremendous value over the years for first-time attendees at events like Port Townsend, Blues Week, and Augusta Blues Week.  So many times, I saw people attending the first class of a player from within the tradition, and being utterly lost.  And with someone like Robert Belfour, if you didn't first get in tune with him at the pitch he was tuned to, on a given day, you could be gasping for air for an entire class period.  Perhaps with the ranks of primary source performers so diminished, people will encounter and learn from such players much less than they did in the past, and that's a terrible shame, but it still is a pity how many people appear to be lost when trying to learn from someone by watching, listening, imitating and repeating what they've been shown.  I think a video teaching how to learn a song from a musician sitting right across from you would be an invaluable resource, if it were put together well.  It occurs to me, too, that such a video could involve teaching how to learn from performance footage, like youtube videos, for example, too.
   * How to Learn a Piece from a Recording  The best way for this to be done would be for the instructor to be hit cold with songs in the studio that he/she did not know he/she would have to learn on camera, with only a recording of a song as a starting point.  I think it would be exciting to watch, but would also be hugely helpful in terms of giving insight into the process of learning by ear from recordings--what you listen for and establish first, how you deal with problem passages, etc.
   * How to Learn a Song you've never heard before in a jamming situation with no-one calling chords, and be playing along and contributing, quickly  Once again, the would-be jammer should not know the songs in advance.  The issue is what to look for and notice, from the moment the song starts.  If you're paying attention to the right things, (and we're talking about blues, here), you should be pretty close by the end of the first time through the form, and by the second, you should have it.

Does anyone else have ideas of tuition videos that don't exist that might really get at skill-building that a lot of players need?  I'd be interested in folks' thoughts on the matter.

All best,
Johnm     
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 07:08:24 PM by Johnm »

Offline Adam Franklin

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2016, 12:16:17 PM »
I have never heard anyone come within miles of Blind Willie Johnson's slide-playing sound, in terms of either the right or left hand, and this despite the fact that there are (surprisingly) a fair number of covers of "Dark Was the Night" recorded out there. 
All best,
Johnm

All the covers of Dark.. I hear are covers of Ry Cooder's version (aside from Corey Harris'), great version but nothing to do with the hymn that Dark.. is based on.

A.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2016, 10:13:29 PM »
Vocal mimesis as a guide for structuring a purposeful guitar accompaniment in order to construct a believable vocal/ guitar relationship. Mostly these are songs. The sound of a performers voice , the phrasing, the accents, all contribute to the whole piece of music. No attempt at reproducing a guitar part without a concomitant effort to reproduce the vocal piece can produce great results imho. I think the discomfort on the part of many white players to imitate Black singers, or not treating the vocal as one half of an ur text, is self defeating, guitar centric, and a bit silly. Bach should SOUND like Bach as the best scholarship indicates he heard it, and Blues should sound like Blues. Just my opinion.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2016, 12:06:22 AM »
You make a good point, Phil.  Vocals are most often treated in instructional videos (if they are treated at all), as some sort of musical afterthought that will just start to happen at some point.  And that ain't necessarily so.  Why this should be so, I can't say--giving up in advance?  In any event, the great majority of blues are songs, not instrumentals, and require some singing.  Including that instruction in a tuition video makes great sense.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2016, 06:21:55 AM »
Completely agree with including vocal, and I think the teacher should demonstrate - they often do and then breakdown that version as they have adapted to their vocal style so the student can get a clear idea of what one musician has done with the musical piece to keep with the melody and perhaps rhythm and spirit of the source as an example.

Some of us learning the music do not have the accent or naturally draw out the words of the original.  IMHO I think this would help students develop their version with the intention of walking beside, not underneath.

IMHO, I think this starts with a  presenting a singing version from the get go on the lesson,and breaking down the singing version both vocal and guitar parts at the same time.  It does require a credible performance presentation or solution on the part of the instructor.I also believe that this will change the way some students view the study of the music and that the goal of the lesson should be stated throughout to keep the student on course as to why this approach - I see this being done in videos sometimes but its not been clear to me as to why.

Offline joe paul

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2016, 12:41:17 PM »
I think many of John Miller's lessons and Ari Eisinger's have sung verses in the "demonstration" for each song, and in both cases it's much appreciated. 
Thinking about where the vocal lies has become important in the way I learn a song, yes, and I'm curious to hear of other tutors who broach the question of how the songs are sung.
The "musicianship" aspect is the most helpful in the long run, I agree. That said, if someone wants to do a tuition video on Snooks Eaglin's playing or on more Bo Carter, or .... or just songs that the tutors really like and they want to share that enthusiasm, it'd be great just for the pleasure of watching and learning.

Gordon

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2021, 11:45:42 AM »
Hi all,
This topic has not been posted to in a while, since early 2016, but in poring through back pages of the Main Forum (which I recommend, there are a lot of interesting threads there) I came upon it, and one possibility for an instructional video that has not already been suggested in the thread is:
   Creating Your Own Arrangements of Country Blues Songs I know that the tendency for a number of years has been to base performances of Country Blues songs on specific historic recorded performances, usually done with varying degrees of exactitude with regard to the fidelity of reproduction of the original version. Since such an approach presumes that the recorded version is the starting point of the present-day version, however carefully such performances are done, they tend to fall pretty close to the tree from which they came, in terms of being played in the same playing position as the performance being emulated.
Why not use the songs themselves, rather than the arrangements of the songs as the basis for a new version of a song, which has the effect of throwing open the question of what playing position/tuning to do the song in for new assessment and consideration. If you're trying to think of exemplars for undertaking such an approach, the late Larry Johnson often did exactly what I suggest, with his original arrangements of "Keep It Clean", "Two White Horses", "Raggedy and Dirty", "Spoonful Blues" and a host of others. I adopted the same approach for my "This Old Hammer" CD, with original arrangements of ""Wild About My Loving", "I'm Getting Wild About Her", "Keep It Clean", "Easy Rider" and some other blues.
One of the potential advantages of re-arranging Country Blues songs in different playing positions/tunings than they were originally played in is that a surprising amount of the time, the original arrangements were not played in optimal playing positions, either in terms of voicing the melodies of the songs in question or in ease of execution on the left hand. This is not all that surprising, since players gravitated toward playing positions/tunings with which they were already more conversant, even if that particular playing position/tuning ended up being problematic for a particular song. Putting a melody in a playing position/tuning where it sits more naturally on the instrument allows for greater ease of execution and a sound which suits the instrument better. And the skill/knowledge involved in matching up a song to the playing position/tuning in which it will fit most easily and sound good is a learnable skill, not some sort of innate gift that you need to be born with or will never have.

Anyhow, I think the idea of striking out and creating altogether new arrangements is a way of maintaining vitality in the tradition and giving it some renewed evolutionary energy that reproductions can never give it, however expertly performed.
All best,
Johnm

Offline eric

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2021, 02:15:00 PM »
This is an interesting way of thinking about this music, and that kind of lesson would be a neat idea.  I've been learning John's arrangement of Candyman in Spanish tuning which is really nice and he demonstrated how Louis Collins works pretty well in standard tuning in G. 
--
Eric

Offline sofingraw

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2021, 06:54:47 PM »
Without beating around the bush, I think a lot of white performers are afraid, unable and/or otherwise unwilling to present themselves as direct imitators, primarily vocally, of original country blues musicians.

And often, that is with good reason, IMO.

It’s very close to, or actually is cultural appropriation if you’re not careful. And at worst, it’s almost like blackface. (Blackvoice?)

There is much less concern with copying guitar parts by rote and note for note.

The truth is though, one can only sound so authentic if they don’t give the vocal the right flavor as well as the music. As another poster said, Bach should sound like Bach, and blues should sound like blues.

I do quite agree that it would be refreshing to see more people using the original songs as jumping off points both vocally, lyrically, and musically for new country blues music.

After all, that’s exactly how it was always done by the original artists. They made up completely new numbers often, but it seems like more often they made new versions of old standards, or used the old songs (or portions of, lines from) as jumping off points and went from there.

I think it’s hard to toe the line sometimes between authenticity and creativity.

We can copy everything as much as possible, and stay as close to ‘authentic’ as we are able.

Or we can take our tools and skills learned and try to create something good that’s based on the original stuff.

Stray too far and we’re not playing country blues anymore. But don’t stray at all, and what are we really doing?

I’m not poking at anyone in specific or pointing any fingers, except at perhaps myself. Just sharing some thoughts and observations.

Also, Re: the 2010 original post and the reason nobody has done Patton until recently, (great job Tom Feldmann)  but had not at that time... got to say, I believe it’s fear and respect. 

Patton is on a higher plane with some of his stuff. It’s beyond the reach of many, even great players, especially rythymically.

Same reason there aren’t that many folks covering Hendrix. It’s just mind boggling some of that stuff, and when you get it even a little wrong... everyone notices.

Nobody wants to be the guy playing the awful cover of such well known and highly regarded giants.

Quite intimidating.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 04:46:24 AM by sofingraw »

Offline Harry

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2021, 03:55:41 PM »
Sam Chatmon?

Offline Harry

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2021, 11:43:45 AM »
Tom Feldmann did one song.


Brownskin Woman (Sam Chatmon) - Lesson Trailer




Brownskin Woman (Sam Chatmon) - Lesson Trailer

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/brownskinwomansamchatmon

Offline Johnm

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2021, 01:44:36 PM »
Hi Harry,
I have a slew of Sam Chatmon songs transcribed and available for lessons at my website. Go to johnmillerguitar.com in the Teaching section to see what's available.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harriet

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2021, 08:10:08 AM »

   * How to Learn a Piece from a Recording  The best way for this to be done would be for the instructor to be hit cold with songs in the studio that he/she did not know he/she would have to learn on camera, with only a recording of a song as a starting point.  I think it would be exciting to watch, but would also be hugely helpful in terms of giving insight into the process of learning by ear from recordings--what you listen for and establish first, how you deal with problem passages, etc.

All best,
Johnm     

I don't have new ideas but I have taken SKYPE slide guitar lessons where the instructor listened and broke down the song at the time of the lesson which is along the lines of the quote. It was helpful in learning to write tabs, ear training, attempting to develop a method of learning and spotting dominant trends in the song being studied, from watching him - found it especially helpful in studying Fred Mcdowell where there is alot of shifting.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 12:14:45 PM by harriet »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Tuition videos that don't exist
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2021, 05:57:08 PM »
Another angle might be (he suggested nervously), writing and playing in a traditional style a modern song, preferably self-penned lyrics & instrumentation, or perhaps a lyric cover with changed-up instrumentals. Secondary objective for pros might be to win a Grammy or two.

The two examples that occurred to me are not an exact fit but maybe illustrative. Strangely enough, both are minor-esque 12 bar blueses.

1 Tracy Chapman's original 1995 recording of "Give Me One Reason". I'm not clear what song existed with that same pulse and general minor 12 bar feel, probably many. Whatever, I still enjoy hearing it nearly 30 years later
1 b). Junior Wells's very fine bluesy cover of "Give Me One Reason". Way more country blues.



Both versions are fabulous in my opinion.

2. Bob Dylan's "You've Got To Serve Somebody" first heard on the album "Slow Train Coming" and my favorite track on it.
2 b) Pops Staples's muy funky cover of it.



I have been thinking about this for a while. At RT's guitar/songwriting camp a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in with a potluck group of new (to me) people having a song circle. Thunder was rolling around the Catskill Mountains behind us. It was my turn so I somewhat wryly started playing my doomy- but swinging- version of Gershwin's "Summertime". After I ran out of Summertime lyrics I segued into "St James Infirmary Blues". Easy stuff in A minor, right? It was surprisingly well received though, and a gentleman that had been standing behind me was very enthusiastic about the mash up, though he didn't know it was a mash up. He thanked me for the performance. We became lifelong friends for a whole week!

Notice the recurring theme of minor bluesy tunes with a great groove and great lyrics. That mode probably lends itself to this sort of "cut and paste, add your own musical personality & get interesting results beyond your own expectations" thing.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 06:30:38 PM by Rivers »

 


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