What does it mean to play musically?

fred4321

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Hi,
This is probably an obvious question and answer but...

I was taking lessons to rekindle the spirit of guitar earlier this year, and learning fingering techniques.
My music teacher (before covid shutdown) said to me 'do you believe your playing is musical?'. Wasn't sure what he meant and moved on due to lockdowns etc. Haven't been back.

This has been bugging me. How do you know if your playing is musical or not?

cheers
 

Wulf

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Hi,
This is probably an obvious question and answer but...

I was taking lessons to rekindle the spirit of guitar earlier this year, and learning fingering techniques.
My music teacher (before covid shutdown) said to me 'do you believe your playing is musical?'. Wasn't sure what he meant and moved on due to lockdowns etc. Haven't been back.

This has been bugging me. How do you know if your playing is musical or not?

cheers
i think i would get another tutor....or learn the hard way like many of us had to do.
its not his place to come out with something like that.no tact discretion or honour...was johnny ramone particularly musical?...or many others...might not be your cup of tea...but you know what i mean.
if you enjoy playing then its musical....stuff em...to quote chuck berry..."my guitar...my amp...i will play it how I want"
a cheesy off the cuff remark like your tutors could have some sensitive souls giving up all together,...more power to you you didnt
PLAY ON MISTER
 

fred4321

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i think i would get another tutor....or learn the hard way like many of us had to do.
Yea, he was a good player and we had a lot in common re experiences, but when I gave up and moved on, he said 'I thought you would' in a despairing tone (but I did learn a lot about some fingerpicking styles. I was uneasy with him.

I think it generally means to play something coherent

That makes sense
 

PhredE

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Hi,
This is probably an obvious question and answer but...

I was taking lessons to rekindle the spirit of guitar earlier this year, and learning fingering techniques.
My music teacher (before covid shutdown) said to me 'do you believe your playing is musical?'. Wasn't sure what he meant and moved on due to lockdowns etc. Haven't been back.

This has been bugging me. How do you know if your playing is musical or not?

cheers

You were playing something from sheet music, a tab, chord chart, by ear?
If it were from sheet music, there is a lot of information included -- often more than just a note with a duration. I always prefer the 'source' when learning new tunes. Sheet music is the most complete rendition or representation of the musical idea. If you have the sheet music and show that you know it, most teachers will cut a little slack if you are trying to stick to the most complete source. The worst situation is when you (well, myself) show up to the weekly lesson and have barely memorized the piece you are supposed to have learned. :oops:It's happened to just about everyone I imagine.

Try not to let the [apparent] condescension get to you. Many of us have had good instructors and some 'not-so-good' ones. In the end, it might be a lesson in selecting the most 'appropriate' instructor for your particular interests and learning style. Many of us that have had lessons have spent some time in your shoes -- humility, frustration, and, even some rare moments of praise and glory are a normal part of the process. Head up, practice, and go forward (old or new teacher -- as needed).

Just FYI/IMHO.
 
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xtelesquirex

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I'd look for someone you gel with a bit better.

For context: I come from an improvisational background. When I improvise I tend to 'overplay' and I often tend to 'search' for ideas. When I listen back there is usually some cool stuff, but there is almost ALWAYS parts where I think to myself, "that isn't musical at all."

I don't know what context he mentioned it to you, but from the perspective of studying fingerings and coming back to guitar from a break I can't see how it's a constructive comment.

I've had a run-in with a real jerk instructor. He sent me a couple of nasty emails after I told him I wasn't interested in studying with him. There are good instructors out there, or in the time of that-which-shall-not-be-named you can find loads of tutorials online.
 

dogmeat

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to me that means... are you just playing the notes? or are you doing it like you mean it. it's best when it just flows... like it's an expression of you. like it's part of you life, even if it's a hobby and you aren't a pro

but maybe I have the context wrong
 

MAXXFIELD

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Hi,
This is probably an obvious question and answer but...

I was taking lessons to rekindle the spirit of guitar earlier this year, and learning fingering techniques.
My music teacher (before covid shutdown) said to me 'do you believe your playing is musical?'. Wasn't sure what he meant and moved on due to lockdowns etc. Haven't been back.

This has been bugging me. How do you know if your playing is musical or not?

cheers

It's hard to define but a prime example of what would be considered "unmusical" would be going to a blues jam and shredding like yngwie malmsteen. Even if you are good at sweep arpeggios it shows a lack of understanding of the genre. Usually musical means playing proficiently and not overpplayjng.

Playing too much scales and not enough licks and ideas can be unmusicial. How to know if you're playng musical is to record and listen back. Analyse. Do you sound like you're rushing or doing too much? Can be more musical.
 

Deeve

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I think we're on the same page @dogmeat - the way I hear the comment is anti-musical i.e. a stiff or wooden replay, or a sing-song lilt that's hard to listen to.

This is where parents of beginner clarinet & violin (and drums?) have their most challenging afternoons.

A teacher that can't find something good to say about an early student's efforts should become an ex-teacher, so a new teacher can encourage the student through the "suck zone" as expeditiously as possible.

my .02
Peace - Deeve
 

5595bassman

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Here is a comment ( from https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=1365.0 ) that I feel being the answer.

"The music is between-and-around the musical text. Playing musically is performing what it's written, which means doing also what's not written but implicite in the music. It has a lot to do with phrasing, actually. Musicality is a balance between knowledge and feelings's expression."
 

JL_LI

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Musicality? Think of a river. The water flows, sometimes coherently, sometimes not, but it flows in a direction. Sometimes the flow is lazy and smooth. Sometimes it flows over rapids. Sometimes it flows over the falls. But it’s still connected. It’s a river. Musicality gives music the textures of a river. It flows. It has direction.

There’s more of course, scales, tempo, timbre, but without the flow of the river, it’s exercises in a lesson book. You can play it perfectly but it’s still not musical. It’s that simple in concept but much more challenging in execution.
 

Middleman

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I'd call him up and ask him what he meant. After you get the answer tell him you were going to book him again but he needs to be more clear in his communication.
 

5595bassman

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Here are two renditions of a piece of piano.

Alternate between both in segments of +/- 30-40 sec. I'm sure you will understand.

As always in music there is a lot a subjectivity and your taste may be different but to me Maksim's rendition is more musical.



 

Fearnot

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Are you bringing something extra to the piece you're playing? A certain swing, graceful, evocative phrasing, some real enthusiasm and energy? Is it better the more you practice it?

If yes, then you're on your way.
 

Engine Swap

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As with most art, there has to be an element of freedom. Perfection means nothing and trying to achieve it doesn't result in art. Musicality lives in the inperfections, the unevenness, the risks, and the mistakes.
 




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