Author Topic: Rhythm help from across the Ocean  (Read 1940 times)

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snowdragon

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Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« on: May 21, 2013, 11:56:15 AM »
Many of you know that I have been struggling with music lessons for a while now. The past two weeks have been ehell on wheels. The week before last my teacher walked out of the lesson, because I dared to question why a song with a different rhythm, different key and different notes can be considered the same "tune" ( Wabash Cannon Ball) Last week, we spent the whole hour talking not about how he feels disrespected, because I ask questions ( how do you learn otherwise).
  Well, I posted on my FB page that I was having issues and that I needed advice. One of the instructors from Cape Breton's Gaelic College, who now lives in Scotland,  posted that she likes a challenge and would be willing to help out. So when I emailed her back, she has offered me her Online drum course for free, because she believes it would help me work through the rhythm issue! I am so touched I have no words. And I needed to tell someone.

Nikko-chan

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 11:58:40 AM »
That is wonderful, snowdragon!

baglady

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 10:25:50 PM »
I hate to bring this up in a folder generally reserved for warm fuzzy stories, but:

If your teacher is walking out or wasting an entire class berating you for "disrespect," just because you're asking legitimate questions, you don't need help with your sense of rhythm; you need a new teacher. Accept this lady's offer if you like, but don't expect what you learn from her to repair your dysfunctional relationship with your music teacher. Take what you learn to a new teacher who will treat *you* with respect!
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snowdragon

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 10:54:31 PM »
Baglady, thanks. The problem with trying to get a new teacher here - is he is the only one who will teach adults with in an hour of here. So I have decided to find ways to learn what he can't/won't teach me and be grateful for what he can and will. I can't change his attitude, so I will work on changing mine.  I am weird, I know, but I *really* want to be able to play the violin. he is the only option for now.

DaisyG

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 07:33:35 AM »
That's wonderful but to echo Baglady, you shouldn't put up with your teacher wasting your time talking about how he feels or walking out of lessons so I hope you changing your attitude will affect this.

One thing I will point out though is that traditional tunes can have lots of variations and you can go down the variations until you end up with something that seems completely different. When I played the violin I learned two different variations of 'Mrs MacLeod's Reel' (I made fun of it and called one 'Mrs MacLeod's Real' and one 'Mrs MacLeod's Imaginary'). Searching online for sheet music for it, I found quite a few other variations. I have also heard a few different variations on 'De'il Among the Tailors'.

Good luck with your fiddling!

baglady

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 08:55:36 PM »
Are you interested in learning strictly classical violin, or fiddling? I suspect the latter since you mentioned "Wabash Cannonball." In either case you can probably find a teacher who's a better fit. S/he might not necessarily have a "teacher" shingle hung out. I know lots of good fiddlers who are always willing to help beginners and answer their questions, and they won't get all touchy about it. If you offered to pay them actual money for lessons, they'd be thrilled to work with you.

If you're going the classical route, do you live anywhere near a college or university? You could go to their music department, post a notice that you're looking for violin lessons and find a student who plays violin and could teach you the basics. Starving students always welcome income opportunities.

BTW, I don't know about "Wabash Cannonball" or "Mrs. MacLeod's Reel," but I do know that Pachelbel's Canon in D and Blondie's "The Tide Is High" are well-nigh identical!
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artk2002

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 09:59:16 AM »
I'm glad you've found some help, but please, find another teacher. This one is not the right one for you. He may be a brilliant musician, or even a brilliant teacher, but he's not teaching you. His teaching style (dogmatic, teacher is always right) and your learning style (ask questions, need more than rote "do this") are completely out of synch.

Learning music should be a joy not an exercise in misery.

I'll try to answer the question you asked, but didn't get an answer to. Music, especially traditional music, is highly variable. I recommend listening to the same tune played by different musicians -- even by the same musician on different occasions. You'll still recognize the tune, but it won't be note-for-note identical to any other performance.

Key -- a melody is relative to its key. We can change the key without changing the melody. Whether you hear Wabash Cannonball in G or D, you'll still easily recognize the tune. We change keys for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it's forced by the instrument. If all I have is my D penny whistle, then G, D and C (and the relative minors) are about all I can handle. We change keys for singers a lot. We can change from major to minor (or the other way) to change the mood of a piece.

We can change the notes and rhythm as well while still making the tune recognizable. It's amazing how flexible the human ear (mind, really) can be. We're programmed to find patterns and patterns we will find. There's no firm line that says "you've changed 22.7% of the notes, so it's now a different tune."  One alteration that you find in just about every traditional musical performance is adding or subtracting ornamentation. Grace notes, turns, trills are all alterations that leave the tune itself almost untouched. Listen to a traditional fiddler play a tune and hear the variations from one repetition to another.

Although classical music tends to be more rigid in performance, in part because it works from written music rather than by ear, you still get alterations to a melody that still leave it recognizable. Try Mozart's "Twelve Variations on Vous dirai-je, Maman" K. 265/300e. He takes a very familiar tune and puts it through many variations. This includes adding notes and ornamentation as well as changing the key from major to minor. You'll still recognize the tune.

A more humorous example would be Tom Lehrer's version of Clementine.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

snowdragon

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 08:10:41 PM »
Thank you all for the advice. I have been looking for a different teacher for 3 years. I have advertised at the local music school, and have had the posters taken down and been told by the professors "We do not encourage our students to teach as it takes away from their studies." There are few folks here who want to deal with adults, unfortunately. So now I am looking into skype lessons from who knows the style I want to learn, but I am not having much luck there.

Baglady asked "Are you interested in learning strictly classical violin, or fiddling?" I am trying to learn A Cape Breton Standard piece called "Tullochgorum with Variations" by J.S. Skinner you can see it here  http://www.abdn.ac.uk/scottskinner/display.php?ID=JSS0095 or listen to it  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdc-oL6VjIc  my other goal piece is Beethoven's 9th. ( yeah, I am weird) so I guess I am trying to learn both classical violin and Cape Breton style fiddling.

Betelnut

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 08:47:48 PM »
That...looks difficult.  Beethoven's 9th is difficult too (I've played it but not very well!)

I was practicing a much easier piece tonight but I'm bookmarking that Tullochgorum and will attempt.  The rhythm does look tricky!  Plus, I will undoubtedly play it about 1/10 the speed it is supposed to be!

Good luck with the teacher and I'm glad someone is helping you--that is awesome!
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snowdragon

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2013, 10:53:18 PM »
I can't find a version by the man who inspired me to learn to play fiddle ( Kyle MacNeil of the Barra MacNeils ) but Natalie MacMaster's is a close second for how it's supposed to be played http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdc-oL6VjIc


crella

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Re: Rhythm help from across the Ocean
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 05:28:23 AM »
Even though it may be difficult, I too, recommend you to find a new teacher. I've been learning the alto sax (and started tenor recently) for a few years off and on. The 'off and on' was due to DH's father being diagnosed with cancer when he was in the last stages of AD, a month after I started lessons. The teacher was recommended by the music store, and he is a regular at jazz clubs in Kobe, so I was excited to be learning from him.  FIL went downhill rapidly and was gone 4 months after I began my lessons. Buddhists mourn for 49 days and during the 49 days it's practically an open house daily from 9-6 with relatives dropping by all the time.

The first time I suspected that he was not going to work out was when I told him lessons were going to be difficult during the 49 days as MIL was not handling things well. He blew up....I attributed it to some cultural thing I was not aware of, having never studied music here. I continued although exhausted much of the time.

The 49 days were over, but it was apparent that MIL too was headed down the road of dementia. I did my best to keep lesson appointments, but wasn't getting in all the practice time I should have. There was a lot of mumbled complaining during lessons when I wasn't quick enough, and I tried harder.

The final blow came when I hadn't learned a new piece in 10 days. Now I look at that sheet music and wonder why, but I couldn't get it into my head (it's 'All Alone')  and he yelled at me that I was an embarrassment as a student, and 'don't tell anyone you are taught by me'. I drove home blindly, threw up my lunch and quit.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLCnl1LYeuY

Anyway, fast forward 3 years and DH tells me he knows someone who plays in Kobe in the evenings who's looking for a student, and I met my present teacher. He's laid back, doesn't jump all over me when I make mistakes, he trusts me to notice and fix it the next time around, sometimes goofs himself, and is much easier to be around. I've made great progress in just a year (if I may say so myself  :P)

A good teacher is everything! as artk2002 said

"Learning music should be a joy not an exercise in misery."

and I agree wholeheartedly.