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Re: To those who make a living off of music

such an interesting topic...

Matt... Do you think you still find music interesting BECAUSE you decided 
to stay away from institutional learning? I think you would have stayed 
interested no matter what... you just found all the music school stuff too 
far away from your goal and you didn't see the point at the time. Totally 
understandable... there were things in school I pushed away for the same 
reasons.... like learning George VanEps chord solos.... zzzzzz

my thought about this whole thing is:

if your goal is to be really really good at a very focused thing that 
doesn't have harmony that changes quickly, like ambient music, you 
probably don't need music school.

if you want to have a diverse skill set, music school is probably right 
for you. I learned how to arrange for big band, how to compose a modal 
jazz song, how to hear every chord from every mode of the 4 main modal 
systems, all about jazz standards and chord substitutions, accompanying a 
singer in a duo, what swing is.... and a whole plethora of other things. I 
don't use them all every day now, 26 years later... but I sure have 
appreciated knowing all that stuff throughout the years.

and.... really the number one reason music school is great: the fellow 
students... if you're at the right school... I guess, like anything else, 
some schools suck and some are good and therefore the quality of students 
attracted follows.

Rick, your story is really awesome.... you sure are not a lazy man

On Feb 16, 2012, at 5:36 PM, Rick Walker wrote:

> Dear Matt,
> These are all really super valuable approaches and I know a lot of 
> musicians
> who followed that path. I really do respect you for it, and I agree, you 
> have a truly unique
> style that I think is really magical so your approach is certainly 
> working and valid.
>  I followed a similar path for the first 15 years of my own life, too.
> And then, in the 16th year, for some reason or other,  I taught myself 
> how to read
> Western rhythmic notation and  just became a voracious student. I took
> courses at UCSC and then, Cabrillo College (where I actually learned a 
> lot more) but it just didn't
> do it for me.........too structured........too fixated on musical forms 
> that I just didn't love,
> so I struck out on my own again, but this time with the aid of teachers 
> (and my own researching).
> In my case,  I'm just restless all the time and just had to know about 
> the nuts
> and bolts.......I suppose the way a magician wants to know how to create 
> the illusion
> as opposed to the audience who delights in experiencing it.
> It could take away from the delight of experiencing the 'magic' trick if 
> it weren't for the fact
> that there are layers upon layers of understandings about music and the 
> way it effects human beings.
> Luckily, for me,  learning about music seems never ending.   There's 
> always something
> else to learn.........I find myself at the age of 56, finally starting 
> to understand some really deep
> principles about how Western harmony works and how to manipulate it in 
> composition......
> taking on instruments, as a beginner, that I never dreamed I would play 
> in my lifetime.
> I'm a baby again........or rather a precocious baby and it's a turn on.
> I'm really not saying it's the only way,  but it's certainly a way.
> with respect for everyone's musical diversity,
> Rick Walker
> On 2/16/12 10:47 AM, Matt Davignon wrote:
>> I totally understand it. I was a music major for about a month in
>> college. While learning the theory was good, I also found it was
>> taking out the sense of wonder that's a major appeal of music to me. I
>> decided instead to be "self-taught".
>> Even though:
>> --I never learned to read music, which is like being an American who
>> doesn't know English
>> --I never developed the muscle accuracy that many musicians have
>> --I don't know the chords or advanced theory
>> --I knew I was giving up on the idea of being a professional musician
>> ...I felt that if I knew how it would all worked, it would cease to be
>> interesting to me. So instead, I took one piano class to teach me some
>> nuts and bolts, then went out on my own, so to speak.
>> I'm still glad I did, because:
>> --I still think music is interesting.
>> --I got to spend the same amount of time focusing on the elements of
>> music that fascinated me, like sound color, using different sound
>> generation techniques, saturation, etc.
>> --I don't feel like I'm competing with other musicians on a continuum
>> of best to worst. [Not saying that most people do, but it's something
>> I used to do, and I didn't measure up too well.]    :)
>> --In many cases, the things I don't know in music are opportunities to
>> explore at my own pace, and only if I want to.
>> --I like the idea of musicians having different skill sets and areas
>> of specialty.
>> --15 or so years in, I can honestly say I have a unique sound
>> identity. Not good or bad, necessarily, but I definitely sound like
>> me. That's the kind of musician I hoped to be when I got started.
>> (Though younger me thought I'd be more technically proficient.)