I’ve been thinking of compiling a list of “tidbits ” of knowledge I’ve accumulated over the past few years of teaching and trying to pass on what Phil Sobel was trying to teach me.
If one makes mistake in music, either a wrong note or rhythm, or is early or late, etc., the mistake is a symptom of the problem. Not the problem itself. Usually if I’m screwing something up, I look before that, and see how I’m playing leading up to it. There may be a lick, or passage where I’m playing all the right notes and rhythms, but I’m not relaxed enough to tackle what comes after. Its like if a race car driver crashes into the wall, the crash was not the mistake. (Assuming of course someone else didn’t make him crash). He set himself up incorrectly for the turn or whatever, and as a result of that mistake, he crashed. Same thing.
In the case of a beginner or even intermediate level, if you give them material to read appropriate for their level, missed notes are almost always not reading mistakes. They are finger mistakes. They see an A and finger a G. The wrong note comes out and they can’t understand why. When I get students to feel their fingers and I mean really do it – put attention to the feeling in their fingers above everything else in level of importance, most if not all of their reading mistakes go away. Most can’t do it for long at first. It has to be reinforced a lot. Another important thing that putting attention on the fingers does, is it shuts off your mind and engages your brain more. In Jazz especially, I need my Brain. Mind is for thinking. Thinking and playing Jazz don’t mix too well for me, but I REALLY need my brain.
Just for starters.