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effortless mastery (Read 4493 times)

Offline fuchs77

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effortless mastery
« on: May 03, 2004, 04:26:06 PM »
does anybody have experience with kenny werners EFFORTLESS MASTERY?
I think its essential for playing attitude and would like to discuss topics in that book.
best wishes, christian

Offline bernhard

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #1 on: May 03, 2004, 04:58:00 PM »
Tell me (us) more. :)
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #2 on: May 03, 2004, 05:19:59 PM »
kenny werner is a well know jazz pianist .in his meanwhile famous (cause successfull book) he is mainly targetin the musician who is alway running against the same wall . the one for exaample who is tryiing so hard that playing piano has turned more into a fear and  pain factor than making music . thus his fear of failure locking up his play.
werners approach is half practical (he is a berklee professor ) , but the 2 two remaing halfs are mainly spiritual or attitude-oriented  including meditation as a tool of controlling your thoughts while U play and practise etc...
looking though the slight veil of new age the book smells of (or maybe just the cover design)  , (of which I am a strong suspect) ,
I found the book of my life . completely changing my attitude towards playing and above all : Never have I improved so much in such a short while .  .


best wishes, christian

Offline bernhard

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #3 on: May 03, 2004, 05:27:12 PM »
Thanks.

This seems interesting (my kind of book!)

I will get it and get back to you.

By the way, have you read the books by W. A. Mathieu (e.g. "The listening Book"). It seems similar.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #4 on: May 04, 2004, 03:13:08 AM »
hi bernhard,
no I havent . but hhaving read a couple of your postings I presume this could be a book for you .
he also uses the example of the martial arts fighter . yet more in the sense that they make complete and utter use of gravitiy and concentration ( and alignment..) before power sets in . And so one , and my favourite technique is the 5-finger technique : just gently let the fingers kiss the key and tthen in an almost meditative state concentrating on this finger as if you are all this finger raise it and just let it drop while exhaliing . no force . then slowly move to the next finger and so on .
well . this is jus one chapter ( which already was worth so much for me) .

His mainpoint though includes detachment: like zen archery masters . get your brain empty (throughh meditation techniques) - and what you learn with an empty and effortless detached brain will be of much more perfection and profound than not . though it takes longer at first cause steps are small .
the idea is old and generally approved of and splits of it are used by many  teachers(not even knowing it) . lets say -he is transporting an eastern martial arts and calligraphy technique on piano playing .  the only trick is that is has to click with you.
if not (prejudices , lazyness , happyness with your own approach) , one wont do it , cause it means work -daily brain work -plus the hard work on the piano which he is not at all dismissing.
well , I somehow started and after a month I knew , this is it ! For me.
best wishes, christian

Offline bitus

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #5 on: May 04, 2004, 06:21:09 AM »
What about Barry Green's The Mastery of Music? I find that book very commercial, with no practical advice whatsoever... just cheap talk about general issues. It shows a lot of potential in the begining, but very blury afterwards. Does anybody else know it?
Bitus.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Offline Clare

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #6 on: May 04, 2004, 08:05:40 AM »
Yep, I got Mastery of Music by Barry Green. I didn't even finish reading it. It was kinda useless.

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #7 on: May 04, 2004, 11:26:30 AM »
OK ,here´s another one.
just got very strongly recommended: Mildred Portney Chase JUST BEING AT
THE PIANO. Its out of print but just ordered for double the new price 2nd hand at amazon.(weird they do that) .

 what I heard , seems to have magic content... wait for shipping.
Anybody got it or heard about it ?
best wishes, christian

Offline monk

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #8 on: May 04, 2004, 11:44:24 PM »
Hi Bitus & Clare,

if you don't understand Barry Greens book and the very good advice in it, then you are just typical result-oriented musicians (as opposed to awareness-oriented musicians who see themselves as the main instrument, not the piano in front of them).

You won't like Effortless Mastery, and you will be sent home when you take lessons with a Zen archer, because he sees no chance to teach you something.

Best Wishes,
Monk

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #9 on: May 05, 2004, 11:37:50 AM »
may I also reply to monk that awareness also means not to judge other peoples path too quickly  .
missionary work is a  difficult item  and does not work downwards in an arrogant fashion but on eyelevel ,  (if at all ) . otherwise its just a short pleasure for your own ego -and not aware at all...
best wishes, christian

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #10 on: May 05, 2004, 11:39:29 AM »
hi bernhard ,
could you outline for us  the LISTENING BOOK , you were talking about?
thanks a lot !
best wishes, christian

Offline bernhard

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #11 on: May 06, 2004, 12:11:52 AM »
Quote
hi bernhard ,
could you outline for us  the LISTENING BOOK , you were talking about?
thanks a lot !


Iis a nice book, easy to read. It is a series of very short essays on different aspects of listening to music. Some of the essays are only half a page long, all of them very poetic. Mathieu is into Tibetan Buddhism and Sufism (he does not say if he is actually a believer, but he hangs around a lot with Rinpoches and sheiks). There are six main sections in the book: Listening, Joining in, Practicing, The sound connection, Practices, Big ears.

It was not the most useful book I have ever read, but it was pleasant enough, and I would probably classify it as “inspirational”.

Here is a sample:

“Listening into the distance is like looking into the horizon.

When we gaze at the horizon, our vision goes beyond our eyes and see forever When we listen into the distance, pour ears reach beyond the farthest sounds, and the infinite, becomes sensible. We get a fix on our position in the boundless world.

The alternative is like being stuck in traffic and never sensing beyond the stream of it. We begin to think like cars. It is like staying cooped up indoors with no windows. We need the big picture and the long radius. We need to check out the long-range co-ordinates.

Go out of your way, if you have to , to look steady and long at the place where earth and sky meet. Likewise, discover palaces where your ears can soar out to the edge of audibility. Find a lull in the evening, a valley, a distant remove, a quiet dawn, and listen into that boundary. You can disappear beyond it where you really live.”


The practice session has some good ideas. He also wrote an excellent book on harmony and its meaning.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline fuchs77

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #12 on: May 06, 2004, 02:32:47 AM »
I find more and more that these "poetic" things , if small or not, become important.  to me inspirational and useful are not contradictory .
inmids all the cliches being played thought and said , some inspiration can be used to lever music/art/talk  above average .
it´s mostly poetic, lyric or inspiring things that can put me in  a mood, to produce something with athmosphere.
thanks anyway . I think you are contributing a great deal in this forum
with knowledge and curiosity .
best wishes, christian

Offline bernhard

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Re: effortless mastery
«Reply #13 on: May 06, 2004, 09:51:07 PM »
Quote
I find more and more that these "poetic" things , if small or not, become important.  to me inspirational and useful are not contradictory .  


I agree with you.

I did not mean to imply that inspirational and useful were contradictory. What I meant was that I personally did not find the book very useful, mostly because he was preaching to the converted (me). There was nothing in the book that wsa particularly new to me. However, it is a very useful book for someone with personal limitations in the areas he addresses. I n fact I have given copies to several of my students who would benefit greatly from it. It also has to do with one’s stage in life. If I had read that book some 30 years ago, it would certainly had been very useful.

This brings to mind an interesting phenomenon. Most of the books/movies/encounters that were in one way or another earth shattering to me at one stage or another when revisited proved disappointing. Yet at that moment they were mind blowing and essential.

There are however a few books that no matter how many times I read them continue to inform and delight. Every few years I return to them to find new information, or to find that I understand certain ideas in a different way from before.

These are the true gems, the ones I keep returning to.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)