Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
tapper mike
KVRAF
4895 posts since 20 Jan, 2008

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:44 am

Jace-BeOS wrote: When Steve Vai was referenced earlier (what you responded to), my interpretation of that original comment was that it was used as an example of a person at his school being a poser; expecting that attitude would get them to Steve Vai level (or who thought they already possessed it, despite demonstrating a failure to work well with others). I didn't see it as criticizing Steve Vai (or someone who sincerely aspired to that level of expertise).

As for you specifically: I value your participation in threads. I interpret your words as coming from an informed person who has struggled extensively, including likely struggling to attain said informed status. You don't walk on eggshells. I don't want to analyze you in public; I just mean to say I try to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Actually the information I have on Vai's may be different (sorry hearsay) It was my understanding that while yes he did believe in keeping up appearances his time / energies where more focused on practicing and developing technique than social interaction. He was the hardest taskmaster to himself. With regards to his career thereafter. Zappa could be unbearable to work with if you weren't on top of your game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx1RguHA4XE

He didn't quit Zappa, Zappa quit touring and let everyone go. When he speaks of working with Zappa, Alcatraz, Roth and Whitesnake he speaks favorably on them. I'll be honest. I like Steve Vai's material. Do I love it, no. Do I respect the dedication he had to make it a reality, yes.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
40521 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:50 am

as much as he eschewed social interaction to spend time on his technique, he could still work well with others. which if he hadn't been able to i seriously doubt hed have ever got to release his solo stuff.
it took a back catalogue to get an anr guy to sign off on passion and warfare!

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Hink
Rad Grandad
27872 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:49 am

Jace-BeOS wrote:
Hink wrote:we're getting way off topic, but I just want to respond that if you're on ssdi this is not the case. There is the work ticket program which allows you to work five years with no limit on what you can make, you can work part time forever as long as you stay beneath the limit.
I did the reading on this about a month ago and that isn't what I found. Maybe I read something wrong.

What I found: the ticket to work program is designed to remove from SSDI exactly what you make from the job. It is NOT designed to consider your wellbeing. Because of my disability, a part-time job would add way more difficulty than it would alleviate.

If work income exceeds a certain amount, SSDI ends. The cutoff amount is LESS than what I get from SSDI. My SSDI is already insufficient for subsistence (even when including SNAP benefits for groceries).

Subsisting on SSDI allows me to sleep when my body is able. It frees me from worsening my health while meeting an employer's arbitrary scheduling. SSD lets me avoid corporate sociopathy (the exact scenario that left me with PTSD in the first place).

I need a job that exceeds what SSD does for me, otherwise what's the point? It's just self-destruction otherwise. I've read that this scenario is a very common problem with the USA's social support systems.
I think you have that wrong, it was explained to me by the vet rep and my lawyer that part time I could make SAG (limit) in addition to my what my SSDI is and the same is true with the work ticket. In fact the vet rep said at my age I could work the work ticket program until I reached 62 and sock away a nice nest egg and then it's moot because I would be retirement age. I cant do that in reality because I just cant, but I can do part time.

I hope so too, for your sake. :hug: How did you make the big move without income?

:)
Thanx, I'm sending you a PM more about this and sensitive matters. I do have an income, it's how I got the house, a new car and moved (besides SSDI). On top of that moving was hands down the best thing we could have done, keep in mine Denise had her heart attack the day before we closed on the house, wheels were in motion and we were moving. The fact we lost her made it more important to get the hell out of there and start fresh, if I lost her and the house? Well people like vurt and bluedad know how many times the dream of moving to Maine got yanked out from underneath me, in fact in 2006 vurt was the voice of reason giving me hope the last time it happened. If I lost both what would have happened to hope? And after all the work I did at the VA, nope that wasn't happening and honestly that took a lot of strength and still does. Seriously, losing a spouse and moving are two of life's biggest stressors and I did both in two weeks. (not to mention moving my mom out of her condo into a nursing home earlier that year)

The silver lining? Ash was working at Party City in Mass, not going anywhere but also fresh out of high school. He came here and found not only a job but a career at at a school/residence for children with Autism. When he graduated that was what he wanted to do, work with special needs children and he's doing it, loving it and very good at it. He's been there since the beginning of December and after one year gets a certificate as a behavioral health specialist.

How could I move? I could I not? :tu:
Albert Einstein may have been a genius but his brother Frank was a monster

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3359 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:04 pm

Hink wrote:He came here and found not only a job but a career at at a school/residence for children with Autism. When he graduated that was what he wanted to do, work with special needs children and he's doing it, loving it and very good at it. He's been there since the beginning of December and after one year gets a certificate as a behavioral health specialist.
Glad on your and his behalf, Hink. Children with autism and ADHD are my field too. There is always much to do and the amount of them unfortunately does increase in our stress ridden society.

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Hink
Rad Grandad
27872 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:35 pm

IncarnateX wrote:
Hink wrote:He came here and found not only a job but a career at at a school/residence for children with Autism. When he graduated that was what he wanted to do, work with special needs children and he's doing it, loving it and very good at it. He's been there since the beginning of December and after one year gets a certificate as a behavioral health specialist.
Glad on your and his behalf, Hink. Children with autism and ADHD are my field too. There is always much to do and the amount of them unfortunately does increase in our stress ridden society.
he struggled through school with ADHD, he had to have someone shadow him through 5, not 4 years of high school to graduate (he repeated 9th grade). That meant me taking him daily to a charter school, but he did graduate and that is where his desire to help other children came from. He struggled more before high school, we took him off the meds at the charter school and he hasn't been on meds since 2010 now. His mother would be very proud :D
Albert Einstein may have been a genius but his brother Frank was a monster

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3359 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:53 pm

Sure she would. My life has been a long road too from severe problems in school (though at that time we did not have the ADHD diagnosis but similar symptoms), drop out of what corresponds to high school, then music school, then back to finish what corresponds to a high school degree and then university. I was 26 when I entered university and pretty f`up but I managed to graduate and was even granted a ph.d. scholarship. Today I am an associate professor and at times it still feels a little unreal, as if my brain never truly believes in it. A long travel from the bottom of society to highest level of education. No worries, your kid is already on a road I wished I had been on much earlier. Give him a hug from me somehow.

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Hink
Rad Grandad
27872 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:00 pm

IncarnateX wrote:Sure she would. My life has been a long road too from severe problems in school (though at that time we did not have the ADHD diagnosis but similar symptoms), drop out of what corresponds to high school, then music school, then back to finish what corresponds to a high school degree and then university. I was 26 when I entered university and pretty f`up but I managed to graduate and was even granted a ph.d. scholarship. Today I am an associate professor and at times it still feels a little unreal, as if my brain never truly believes in it. A long travel from the bottom of society to highest level of education. No worries, your kid is already on a road I wished I had been on much earlier. Give him a hug from me somehow.
you know what they say about wishes, you are where you are and it's impressive :) I always like a reason to give my kid an encouraging hug, consider it done :tu:
Albert Einstein may have been a genius but his brother Frank was a monster

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jancivil
KVRAF
16862 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:27 pm

tapper mike wrote:
Jace-BeOS wrote: When Steve Vai was referenced earlier (what you responded to), my interpretation of that original comment was that it was used as an example of a person at his school being a poser; expecting that attitude would get them to Steve Vai level (or who thought they already possessed it, despite demonstrating a failure to work well with others). I didn't see it as criticizing Steve Vai (or someone who sincerely aspired to that level of expertise).

As for you specifically: I value your participation in threads. I interpret your words as coming from an informed person who has struggled extensively, including likely struggling to attain said informed status. You don't walk on eggshells. I don't want to analyze you in public; I just mean to say I try to give you the benefit of the doubt.
My remarks bringing in Vai were not only directed at you particularly but not at all.
tappermike wrote: Actually the information I have on Vai's may be different (sorry hearsay) Zappa could be unbearable to work with if you weren't on top of your game.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx1RguHA4XE

He didn't quit Zappa, Zappa quit touring and let everyone go. When he speaks of working with Zappa, Alcatraz, Roth and Whitesnake he speaks favorably on them. I'll be honest. I like Steve Vai's material. Do I love it, no. Do I respect the dedication he had to make it a reality, yes.
I used 'Vai' as an example to counter my own remarks about people who were pushed hard by their parents (guitarist John Williams for a known example), I don't think that's what drove him.

During 1981 rehearsals in Zappa's band (Vai was a newb), once, Vai f**ked up something and FZ was so unhappy with it he said "I don't even know if you are roadable!" and Vai was reportedly nearly in tears (this is a Tommy Mars story I believe). So Mars goes to Frank and says something. "Really, you think I was too hard on him?"

Zappa said in more than one show during the 1982: "this is the last show of the last tour"; there were numerous problems at shows because of the venue and the overall environment, and the crowd that tour. It is one of the best tours musically, ever IME, which should tell you something about Frank Zappa AND that band. So he went into orchestra and the Synclavier. He came back with a band in 1984, though. It was the 1981-82 band only with no Vai, no Mars and no Ed Mann. With the late, great Allan Zavod in for Mars and Mann, and Ike Willis is back.
And he probably thought after '84, yeah this is it. And came back in 1988. That's the <revolt against Scott Thunes> tour where he fired those guys and that was really it.

FZ was paying people triple scale in 1988. To rehearse, as well. Unbearable - edit: 'if you weren't on top of your game' - ok. People didn't tend to quit. I have no stories about that, but I don't know.
Some, like NM Brock in 1984, were fired (cocaine decisions). Not very often.
It's a job. I was fired from a job once. Actually I marched into the boss's office and told him he couldn't fire me, and here's my argument why. He agreed. :D
Last edited by jancivil on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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jancivil
KVRAF
16862 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:31 pm

Hink wrote:
IncarnateX wrote:
Hink wrote:He came here and found not only a job but a career at at a school/residence for children with Autism. When he graduated that was what he wanted to do, work with special needs children and he's doing it, loving it and very good at it. He's been there since the beginning of December and after one year gets a certificate as a behavioral health specialist.
Glad on your and his behalf, Hink. Children with autism and ADHD are my field too. There is always much to do and the amount of them unfortunately does increase in our stress ridden society.
he struggled through school with ADHD, he had to have someone shadow him through 5, not 4 years of high school to graduate (he repeated 9th grade). That meant me taking him daily to a charter school, but he did graduate and that is where his desire to help other children came from. He struggled more before high school, we took him off the meds at the charter school and he hasn't been on meds since 2010 now. His mother would be very proud :D
:tu:

:hug:

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3359 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:13 pm

Jace-BeOS wrote:Excellent stuff, Mike :-) I just don't know how I've left you with the impression that I've called you, or people like you, a snob.
Yes. Let us get this straight once and for all: You are not a snob Mike but a dedicated instrumentalist who have struggled to achieve knowledge and skills that would enable you to make a living as a musician. Sorry for my rather bold OP that may have given you the impression that I think all instrumentalists are snobs. Of the 80 wannebees I was reffering to, most of them were like you, it is just that the snobs among them dominated the picture and could ruin the musical experiences and motivations among the rest of us, including those of the dedicated instrumentalists as illustrated by my interplay class example from page 10.

And FWIW: If a DJ began to lecture me about the five species of counterpoint (actually four + their fusion into one), my absolute favorite theoretical discipline, as if I did not already know, I would look at him as if he was but a cockroach and go “WTF? Are you going to teach me to wipe my ass too?”, though this scenerio is quite unthinkable to me in so far as I have never met a DJ or present time techno freak that remotely would have a clue. Though I am doing completely free- and in many cases intuitive counterpoints these days, I struggled to learn and follow the complex rules of the basic species.

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jancivil
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16862 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:59 am

Jace-BeOS wrote:
jancivil wrote:
Jace-BeOS wrote:Struggle tends to make the average person demand that everyone else struggles the same way/amount they did. When most people see someone else having some kind of success (or sharing an opinion) without clear indication of having earned it through hard work, well, there's often attitude.
Well, in music school there is no faking it.
Have you ever encountered someone like me in such a place? As in, they had a learning disability that ended up driving them out, despite a sincere interest in the education?
That can't read music, you mean? No.
Jace-BeOS wrote:
jancivil wrote:There are people, I have to suppose from my Music History Professor, who decide on an academic thrust but you have to write your theses in order to get the requisite piece of paper to be there.
So it's kind of a twist on "those who can, do; those who can't, teach"... by adding: "except not when teaching requires proof of actual ability". (?)
Well, that guy liked that area which made the curriculum unbearable for me (not in and of itself but we had spent two-thirds of the entire course 'Music History' and we had maybe moved into the 16th c), perhaps to the exclusion of other things so I can only speak to the one motivation. He could have performed very well as a singer in a Roman Church Polyphony original music ensemble for all I know. Not seeing him as a player, with that perverse a focus for the course. But this was *not* music theory, this was a history course and the downside of 'Honors' matriculation for me. Writing essays on why this composer sounded different than another composer, well it was all a blur to me at that time. I was of average maturity for my age, and I wasn't the only person bored to death.
Jace-BeOS wrote:
jancivil wrote:OTOH in the performance major, back then (world has changed since) you could bring other skills to bear.
Do you mean that demonstrating an aptitude for performance might allow a person to get by with deficits in other areas?
That's taken out of context: see what I said about my guitar professor. She got there by being around the scene for a long time, and having social skills; with a focus on pedagogy. So they had this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6HX-tMZJK8

When I applied. He was fired, according to Clare. For being a no-show too frequently. He was pretty young then, establishing a concert career. But that left Clare to head the program. Guitar was not big then. Neither Juilliard nor Curtis even had guitar programs at the time.

Side note: that's part of the suite I played all of for my grade at end of my freshman year. I received an A from Henry Meyer. Which upon reflection is a bit of a surprise.
Jace-BeOS wrote:
jancivil wrote:My guitar professor was 'Associate Professor' status who had some bona fides organizing this and that and being people's faithful assistant and being in the scene for a long time, not because she was some great player.
But was her instruction skill what it needed to be? Per the thread: did you observe any elitism in people who were aware of their own limits? Some people who are aware of their limits can go to one of two extremes: be self-destructively humble, or be defensively/offensively arrogant.
I would say she's probably a better teacher than most. Last I looked she's still there. It's been 40 yrs.
Accomplishment on the instrument may end up providing one with no particular tools for putting up with teaching, or conveying to another person how they got there.

I abhor the use of the word elitist unless we're talking politics, note well. It's a heavy word and there is no call for it. The gatekeeping at a serious school means you bring a package at entry that may indicate your ability to handle the coursework. (NB: I was not admitted to UNC Chapel Hill, because I had never completed any high school coursework.*) The use of the word in this area of discourse is itself defensive; every time I see it someone is showing resentment at people who have standards they don't want to have to meet. I'm not a gatekeeper anywhere on planet Earth. I don't think people that want to do less should vault themselves up to equality status, so I'm a snob. I don't care about the word snob. "Elitist" is doing too much IME.

A good example: I jammed once with Paul Hanson. He's among the veritable elite, & he's living the dream. That doesn't stop me from doing what I can, or me being me.

No one at a serious school can afford to be defensive.
Clare never said anything particularly good about what I presented. At a certain point what I would get was "I have nothing to say." which means her assessment was I had pretty much nailed it. What certain people here do_not_get is this is what you want. Not stroking, not coddling. So when I played 'for jury', I was prepared.
Jace-BeOS wrote: Students, I'd expect, would be all the more apt to have such extremes, since they're probably made to feel they're competing against each other (more than any instructor would need to compete against their workplace peers).
Look. The people in the performance major, at least until they realize something later, are matriculating that way believing they're going to enter the world as a player. They may, or may not be there to get that piece of paper as Plan B. So, guitar is an outlier. Pure soloists are rare. People are there to get their shit together enough to eventually go out and audition for orchestra jobs. It's highly competitive. I suppose you'd see some of this along the way in school auditioning for an elite school orchestra; or be the star of The Magic Flute as coloratura soprano.
I don't know what extremes you're talking about, except in Mr X's account. Those people are not serving themselves well in a really serious music school; if they have that quality of attitude, they're not going to last.

The whole account is dreadful, and has not a lot of bearing on the big old world as a whole.

Here's my anecdote: in the guitar program, I had my shit together musically (incl. technically) more than the others. Yes, all the others during my first year (this does not mean I was all that good). So when Clare decided to get a tour of southern Ohio (to high schools, other colleges, and some other venues) together for the Classical Guitar Ensemble, I was made leader of the ensemble. Was there resentment? Not that I was aware of, and I'm pretty sensitive. What I'm really trying to convey here is that the Dunning-Kruger Effect, where someone from the top down of their own egoistic self-assessment believes they have sussed it all and the others are inferior, can't work in this environment. You know where you are in order to be where you are. You can't not know. You won't be tolerated. Is that elitism? It is not. One may call it gatekeeping, fine; esp. if one likes a slightly pejorative sense.
Jace-BeOS wrote:
jancivil wrote:So what I saw here, and this is not per the OP necessarily, was this old resentment of people who do more. I don't know what their struggle was, but I know what it takes to compete in order to get yourself into place in an environment conducive to the most growth.
I don't think it was easier for anybody unless it was by dint of their natural ability. But I know this about that, that when you do show that kind of talent, there are expectations of you. There is pressure. People are not allowed to be the normal kid if they are placed on the track to that kind of success. Some people cope 'better', or differently than others. Some people who because virtuosi, their parents did not make them do it. What do you think a Steve Vai did to be Steve Vai? Whether or not you appreciate the result. It is a daily struggle. It is a sacrifice.
I think that this is all very cogent. My personal perspective, when encountering people who've focused their whole lives on one skill or skill set, has usually been to interpret it as unhealthy. Self-harm. Too much pressure for healthy living (especially people who train from childhood to be Olympic stars).

But that's MY perspective. I was never encouraged to value skills or interests that aren't seen as inherently financially practical (interests in the arts were seen as an extravagant risk to financial security). My own struggles weren't rewarded in school or at home, so I developed no feeling that struggle (beyond the survival extent) was worthwhile. My life experiences repeatedly compounded this inadvertent lesson. The sad fact is that my youth was the right time to take such risks.

So people who were encouraged to struggle to get what they wanted, who had both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, probably had a much healthier outlook, despite my viewpoint on struggle. The struggle was real, and it cost them, but they earned something.
My parents did not endeavor to prepare me for the world at all.
I dropped out of high school after a couple of months, it was a PITA in a big way for me to even be in school - all along - and finally I'm old enough not to have 'truancy' to worry about.
*: So I had one way to go to school, music school. I woodshedded like crazy and after a couple of years I was a viable candidate for the audition. This btw is why I always convey the stories with the disclaimer: I was always going to be a day late and a dollar short. But I had nothing to lose, except some half-hearted attempt to train for a trade? What trade. I was hopeless. I have lived my life like an idiot because I don't know how to do anything else in this world but worry about music.
I wasn't thinking about it like this at the time, but I was preparing myself to be a skydiving composer.
Jace-BeOS wrote: I certainly experienced discomfort around "high effort" people if they've used their efforts as a justification to be jerks. If they've been unjustly critical of me or just plain had bad social skills, sure, I won't get on with them. Usually I avoid that type. It's one big reason I don't want to go back to IT: technical people seem to trend toward a higher percentage of social skills deficits. Musicians are technical people, right? :lol:

Though, again, in IT, I found more deficits in the other workers than I found great skill. People often functioned more from a social engineering stance than from displaying actual skill on the job. The most skilled and informed/experienced person I met in IT had zero hostility or arrogance. He just loved the work and was happy and eager to use his knowledge, including by sharing it with the rest of us. He was generous and never once demonstrated any kind of info-hoarding behavior.

That's how the photography instructors were at the art program I mentioned above. It's almost like such people are apt to be displaced and kicked out of their jobs because of being generous...
jancivil wrote:When I say certain things here, I get this 'You're the most arrogant person I know' and shit like this. Well, you cannot be arrogant and set yourself on a path towards excellence and get anywhere. It is humility; it is the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger Effect case, you know quite where you are vis a vis your surroundings.
False modesty is insincere by definition.
When Steve Vai was referenced earlier (what you responded to), my interpretation of that original comment was that it was used as an example of a person at his school being a poser; expecting that attitude would get them to Steve Vai level (or who thought they already possessed it, despite demonstrating a failure to work well with others). I didn't see it as criticizing Steve Vai (or someone who sincerely aspired to that level of expertise).
Not all or even most of my remarks are directed at the original post. This one doesn't really even apply to it.
So there were people at the school in Denmark that sought to shut him out. That's kinda weird, it's a weird story.
It being the only school around made it that way. So yeah, that's not the world, that's the one place. Thinking you're something you're not doesn't work but so far. In the competitive music conservatory environment (and this also means working well with others at some level is needed; I'm a solo act kind of person. And I had to lead the ensemble. She made 'an ensemble to tour and perform regularly' for a reason. Life skills.), FAIL.

(After I'd already posted once or twice, I objected to the tone of the original post, and to it as bait for flames. In context of KVR where there is demonstrably this division ('play an instrument, damnit' versus "producer" who never did and thinks it's some old bullshit). So we only got a couple of those people. Bit of a surprise really. So I'm the tone police? Maybe other tone can be set past the OP, and I don't mean my post. So my fears were not fully borne out. Good.)

Thanks for your thought-filled post.


edits: formatting nested quotes fuckup, my apologies...
Last edited by jancivil on Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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herodotus
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5513 posts since 8 Dec, 2004 from The Twin Cities

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:13 am

I think this thread has revealed a cultural divide that reaches far beyond kvr into the world of music as a whole.

There are not just genres, but whole cultures of music that require a great deal of instrumental skill and practice of whoever wishes to partake in its performance.

In this thread, the skills needed for Jazz and European classical music have been discussed. But these cultures are far from being the only ones with such requirements.

If you Google "Balinese Gamelan Kebyar", you will find all kinds of videos of large ensembles of musicians who need fairly substantial skills just to be involved. They need to have profound rhythmic coordination, and a deep memory of composed musical parts, because they don't use notation at performances. If you don't have these and other skills you won't get into the ensemble. Period.

Similar but different skills are required of Bata drummers who perform in Cuban Santeria ceremonies. Again, performers have to memorize a great deal of music and play it exactly as composed, with skill and focus on almost sequencer-like perfection, or the Orixas will not be pleased.

These are just 2 examples that come to mind. The world of music has many more, from Ireland, to Portugal, to Morroco, to Java, to India, to..........

Anyway, in all of these cultures, there are performance requirements that can seem arbitrary from outside the culture. But I think most will concede they have a right to exist on their own terms.

None of this is a problem to most people. I have never heard of anyone being offended by the exclusion of Bata drummers who can't play their parts correctly. The problem is that in the West, we have cultures like Jazz and Baroque and Classical music, which have heavy performance requirements, taught in the same environment as Electronic music, which, from Varese and Babbitt to today, are largely free of performance requirements.

As long as there were composers like Babbitt, whose work spanned both worlds, the whole thing kind of made sense. But this detente seems to have more or less broken down.

Add to this the increased inclusion of popular musical styles that downplay or completely eschew some performance standards, and you have a cultural divide that has been more or less built into the institution.

This situation is bound to create cultural clashes. Traditions that are on many levels incompatible are all being taught as if they are part of the same thing. I don't see an easy way out of this dilemma. And I have to thank the OP for bringing it up, as it is something I have rarely had cause to think about.

I myself was definitely trained as an instrumentalist, but as there were no degree programs in drum kit performance when I was growing up, all of my lessons were private, with Marv Dahlgren and Floyd Thompson. Marv was an orchestral percussionist of note, and Floyd was a Jazz drummer and Marimba player of great skill, so I have always been grateful for the knowledge they made available to me. But they knew almost nothing about any kind of rock music, and were unwilling to teach students individual songs. Instead they taught principles: of musical counting, of the most effective and ergonomic way to hold a drum stick, of the most effective methods for learning unfamiliar parts, of permutation and its uses in mastering sticking patterns, and so on. Floyd also taught practical matters like how to transcribe drum parts neatly and quickly.

I know that there were students annoyed by the fact that they would never be able to bring in their favorite Keith Moon or Neil Peart recordings and learn them, and one implied that Floyd wasn't good enough to learn Neil Peart's parts. I think this person was a fool. He was looking to be given a fish, when this guy was trying to teach how to catch any fish.

Now I can not be sure, but I tend think the hostile 'snobbish instrumentalists' in the OP are more likely to come more from the 'give me a fish' school of playing than otherwise. But the cultural clashes can reach way past this kind of arrogance. There are legitimate aesthetic differences between musical cultures or genres that make them difficult to teach together under one roof.

It comes down to whether the people running a school believe that the word 'music' and its cognates in other languages denote everything in the world that goes by that name, or only some of the things in the world that go by that name, and if so, which things and why. The more expansive one's definition, the more cultural clashes will take place.

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IncarnateX
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3359 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:03 pm

Great post, Herodotus. The thing about teaching different genres under same roof made me rethink where I actually belong. Thing is, if somebody came to me and asked: "Hey can you make me us a nice goa-trance tune, some Chicago house or Detroit techno?", I would have to pass: I have never entered such genres from any analytical approach and would not have a clue. However, I could say: "Not really but if you have a jazzy piece for a big band and need help with some instrumentation or have a tune where you have problems with making a bassline melody fit with that of your flute, I am all yours". So I really think I fall in between two entirely different musical cultures and thus am in nowhere land. However, though my interest is in the electronic department, it still has to apply to music in a traditional sense: There has to be some harmonies, melodies, polyphony and counterpoint and not just rhythm and noise or rhythm and atonalities or effects or whatever. My scope of preference is narrow as far as my own compositions concern (but not other people's music), I prefer playing in minor and use myxolydian and dorian scales but nevertheless, I would never exchange my three years at music school and all the things I had to do in classical and rhythmical styles for any study of the electronic genres above. The things I can do today with my music due to my basic training are beyond anything I think I could achieve by studying the above instead. You can blame me for bad taste choices but not for missing a great tool box and a wide understanding of traditional genres. And further, it expanded my scope of musical preferences, I am actually able to enjoy some (but certainly not all) goa-trance and Detroit techno as well as Jazz, fusion, rock and classical music. The latter I could not when I entered school, I was but a mediocre key player with extremely narrow musical interests. So I may be one exception but I would not recommend too sharp divisions between musical cultures. I think I actually would prefer that most of them were under the same roof, so we can learn from each other like I learned from disciplines I was completely alienated to when I entered music school. However, this also means that students as well as teachers should be very open minded for this to work.

Edit: Just went to YouTube to check if my claim that I could enjoy goa-trance still holds water these days, and I must say I immediately recalled why it was hard for me to get into this style: It sounds like a tune that never really starts; a neverending intro. So I am a rigid traditionalist after all :lol:

Edit 2: And I think I have to modify my claim that I could not do goa (aka psy) trance either. Most seem to have the same rhythm: A 4-to-floor drum beat and a bass kicking in 1/16 notes at every off beat: Um-dada-um-dada-um-dada-um-dada. Loads of effects on top of it and after 150 measures or so, you may be lucky to hear some melodic pads, leads or arpeggios entering and leaving again - the only element I took into my own music - no bloody wonder. In principle I could do this...if I could surivive the first 150 measures without a mental breakdown. Though I am in no doubt that putting all these effects and elements together requires a good deal of work, so I am not going snobbish about it, it is just not for me.

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Jace-BeOS
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4890 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:10 am

Great posts, above!

I really appreciated the post about culture from Herotodus.

I feel the same about many dance-type songs as described above by IncarnateX ("a tune that never really starts; a never-ending intro").

Note to Jan Civil: there seem to be some missing quote tags in your last post. Might be confusing for others to read (confused me, at least, seeing my own words not being attributed to me, ha ha).
- dysamoria.com
my music @ SoundCloud

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IncarnateX
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3359 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: Is there still such a thing like instrumentalist snobbery around?

Post Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:09 am

Thanks Jace and yes, once again cudos to Herodotus. There was food for afterthought and reflection there.

It always feels a little odd to be carried away by your own threads but my little revisit to Goa-trance-land just consolidated my plans for my future music now that my hardware studio is up running, namely to leave the up beats and go below heart beat tempo to support some much more chilled and meditative electronic music with less staccato and more fluent counterpointed melodies and to explore my former engagement in polyrhythms from percussion class. There is stress enough in this world already and I have made my contributions. This once again illustrates why I would not exchange my do-I-really-have-to-do-this-to-pass?-three years into traditional styles for anything else, namely that if I want to do something else than I usually do, I can.

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