Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF
by Jamie Andreas
When I was a teenager I spent a lot of time educating
myself about music. I used to read a lot of the excellent educational
material produced by Leonard Bernstein. I remember reading an
essay of his describing the role of the conductor in an orchestra.
He was talking about the fact that a lot of people really did
not think the conductor had any use. A lot of the time the musicians
are not even looking at him, so what is the use of him standing
up there waving his arms around while everybody else does the
real work of making the music!
Bernstein then showed a musical score for a symphony, and of
course it looked extremely complicated, twenty or so lines of
music one on top of the other, all for the different instruments
of the orchestra, all written in different clefs. Just looking
at it boggled my mind; I was still working hard to be able to
read one little line of music for guitar! He then explained that
the conductor is responsible for knowing every single note that
every single instrument must play, and he must be able to look
at that score and actually hear it all in his head!
Further, the conductor must have an overall vision of how all
that music is going to sound, and how every one of those notes
is going to come together and form a musical whole. How loud,
how soft, how slow, how fast, the tone colors, everything must
be in his inner ear, and then he must bring it out
of the musicians, and make sure it is shaped into what he has
heard in his inner ear.
The conductor, therefore, is the embodiment of what I call Intention.
Intention is the complete knowledge of what you desire, and how
to obtain it, and it is also the desire itself. Intention is our
inner power to create, and there is no creating, there is no accomplishing
of anything, without it. Great artists have this, whether they
know they have it or not. Whether it is Andres Segovia, or Jimi
Hendrix, there is intense and overwhelming desire to hear on the
outside, with the outer ear, the music that is heard inside, in
the inner ear. That desire is the fuel that leads to the knowledge
and ability necessary to manifest it.
The conductor, like the director of a movie is responsible for
being the primary source of those twofold aspects of Intention:
the vision, the conception itself of the final result desired,
as well as the desire for that result. As the director of a movie
has the final responsibility, and is held ultimately accountable
for the pictures that end up on the moviescreen, so the conductor
has the ultimate responsibility for the sound that is painted
in the air.
I remember around that time of my life having an experience which
made me realize how weak my Intention was in playing. I was listening
to Nicanor Zabaleta play a piece on the harp that I played on
guitar. I noticed that I was hearing the bass line in a very clear
and distinct way, and I had never really heard it that clearly
when I played the piece myself! Then, I realized that this was
because I was not bothering to pay enough attention to my own
music when I played it, and I did not bother to study the music
carefully enough to realize what the bass line actually was!
As I began to correct these weaknesses, I became a better and
more musical player right away.
Music is emotion, music does not just express emotion, it is
actually the same energy as emotion (e-motion, energy in motion).
This energy exists inside of us, and can only be accessed and
brought out of us through our own emotional awareness,
which is often called in todays popular terminology Emotional
Intelligence. Our inner emotional energy is able to be brought
out of ourselves in the form of music when we intensely feel the
desire to hear it. The great Pepe Romero tells us in his method
book for guitar that the desire for the note is the
origin of the actual note we hear. It is combined with two other
things to produce each note we hear. It is combined with a mental
and physical feeling awareness of the finger of each
hand that is to be used to play the note. Remember when you hear
these words that these are the words of a master player, who is
generously trying to enlighten his fellow players as to the inner
mindset of a virtuoso. So if it sounds a little strange, do yourself
a favor and think about it for the next twenty years.
This desire that Pepe talks about is what you see on the face
of a Santana, a Hendrix, a B.B. King, a Julian Bream, etc. It
is a powerful emotional and mental concentration, combined with
a complete mental and physical awareness of what we desire, and
what needs to be done to get what we desire.
I call this state of complete awareness Conductors Mind.
Like a conductor in front of an orchestra we must have this complete
awareness when we play. If we are playing a composed piece of
music (as opposed to improvising), we must really know every note
that is to be played, and we must emotionally desire that note
before it is played. It must be born in our inner ear before it
comes through our fingers or pick. (This is why one of the things
on my list of 10 things you can do right now to become a
better player is to imagine each finger as a player in a band.
It helps to strengthen your Conductors Mind). We must hear, really
hear, everything, before it is played, and while it is played.
We must be completely one with the process of creating the music,
and the music as it is created, just as is the Conductor standing
in front of an orchestra.
We must be able to sing what we are going to play. If you cant
sing it, you are not hearing it with your inner ear. The great
prodigy of the piano Glen Gould always sang when he played, and
you can hear him in his recordings over the Bach fugue hes
playing! George Benson is famous for it, and is a good example
of Conductors Mind at work in an improvised style.
If you are a player of an improvised style, rock, jazz, blues,
you must have a complete awareness of your own inner musical reality,
and also how you fit in with the larger context of your fellow
players. The more the guitarist understands the role of the bass
player the better guitarist he or she will be. The more the guitarist
understands what the drummer is doing, and why, the more powerful
a contributor to the overall sound and musical creation they will
be. While playing, the guitarist must be completely one with the
music being created by his fellow players, hearing and feeling
everything as strongly as his own contribution, standing inside
and outside at the same time, just as is the Conductor standing
in front of an orchestra.
Andres Segovia once said dont work to become guitarists,
work to become musicians. Of course, we must work to become
both, but he was trying to make a point about the supremacy of
the one over the other. Our true worth and ability as a guitarist
depends upon how much of a total musician we are. In this sense,
every player of an instrument should consider themselves in essence
a Conductor, whose awareness operates on the physical, mental,
emotional and spiritual levels as the overseer and center of Intention
for the music being created.
Copyright 2002 by Jamie Andreas.
All Rights Reserved.
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Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF