tunes/listening advice (in need of)

(6 posts)
  1. cruxtable

    So I have developed a pretty extensive list of things to do for every new tune I learn, one of which is posing a bit of a problem - the listening to music part of it. What I've been trying to do is, for every new tune, listen to the original album it's from, and then listen to a couple other albums that have important recordings of that song. This is to solve my listening problem because there's so much music that I haven't listened to yet that I should have by now, a lot of important artists and albums. And I'm trying to listen to each album a couple times at least. The problem is I can't listen as fast-paced as I want to learn tunes, which isn't too big of a deal, but what is a big deal is that my tune list before I started doing this has 100+ tunes which I haven't done my necessary listening for..I've been trying to keep my practicing tunes and listening consolidated but it seems like the listening part is holding me back from moving on with tunes, and I just don't think I can find the time in the day to go through my tune list and do the listening, learn what I need to from the recordings (intros, important lines, things I'm doing wrong etc)...which I need to do, because there's a lot of songs I know but I don't really know the original arrangements...ideas?

  2. gleepglop

    My experience has been that ear training helps with this more than anything else. It improves your perception of the melody and harmony and musical memory, so you learn tunes faster and retain them better. I find that an hour of ear training is worth approximately four hours of practicing anything else. And it makes your time practicing other things far more efficient and effective, not to mention more fun and meaningful.

    But it takes time, and it sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to learn a ton of tunes right now. Learn a handful of standards really well, relax and work on things that you enjoy and are meaningful to you. Stressing yourself out about where you are in the process is counterproductive.

    You don't have to be an encyclopedia of the history of every jazz tune, nobody can do that overnight.

  3. arewolfe

    You sound really motivated. One thing to keep in mind is that if you apply your ideas of learning standards it will be time consuming and strenuous in the beginning (where you're at now), but all the work you put in during this period will give you the ability to internalize standards more quickly later on in your project of 100+ tunes.

    Tunes 1 through 15 might take a lot of work, but 50-100 will probably be a smoother process... you'll starting memorizing the harmony more quickly, blah blah blah. That sort of thing.

  4. cruxtable

    Thanks for the tips - however I'm thinking maybe my question was misunderstood. I'm basically just talking about the listening part of learning tunes - I can learn tunes at a pace I'm happy with, but I'm trying to listen to different albums for each tune now so that I can finally listen to all of these albums I should have a long time ago, and learn things about the song I might not get just from looking at lead sheets. The problem is that it takes so long to do all the listening that I feel like it's holding me back from learning tunes at a good pace.

    The issue with the 100 tunes - what I meant is that I have learned over 100 tunes that are on my tune list, but I haven't listened to original recordings, or listened in full to multiple albums for each of them. That's something I want to do so that I can go back to all those tunes and learn how they were done on different recordings, but I just can't find time to go through all those tunes and do that, plus do all the new ones I want to work on at the same time.

  5. guitar1025

    Hey Paul!

    I have sort of a system I used for learning tunes. Maybe it might be of some help to you.

    Like you, I try to find a few different recordings to work from. But I have a system for picking the recordings.

    1) A definitive recording of the tune; often that will differ depending on who you ask.
    2) Find a solo piano/piano trio recording (if you can. Keith Jarrett has no shortage of these :D).
    3) Find a vocal version (if you can).
    4) Find a guitarist playing it (assuming that you play guitar).
    5) If one of the above is not, find recordings of your favorite player(s) playing the tune.

    #1 Gives you the bare bones; what the tune sounds like.
    #2 Gives harmonic ideas, possible reharms. I envy how piano players can do that stuff without even thinking about it.
    #3 Can give you the real "feel/emotion" of the tune. I find it also makes the melody easier to remember when you incorporate lyrics.
    #4 Obviously, what it sounds like on your instrument.
    #5 It will put the tune in a familiar context; a sound/tone you already know. How many tunes have you never even heard of or had no interest in learning until you hear someone like Kurt play it?

    With programs like Spotify, it makes this process so much easier than say 10 years ago. I find this is a really helpful way really internalizing a new tune. You get to the point where you're walking around singing/whistling the melody and before you know it, you'll hammer it out on your instrument.

    Hope that could be of some help!

  6. Helped me.


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