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 What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: abrogard 
Date:   2019-11-11 04:11

I can play my clarinet for the longest time, again and again, and really enjoy it, really like what i'm playing.

But it's not any tune anyone knows, I'm not reading any music and I couldn't do the same thing again if I tried.

It is much more satisfying than playing a tune with all the hassles of getting it right. And a tune generally comes to a natural end, too.

This stuff ends when I want it to end mainly, when I run out of inspiration or something.

What about that? Anyone else do that?

Is there a name for it (please don't be rude) ?

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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2019-11-11 05:02

You like to improvise in a free association atmosphere! Sounds like fun.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music,

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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-11-11 05:08


What Johng said...

However, I would take it a step further...If the choices you make are informed, then I'd call it improvisation. If the choices you make are not coming from an informed base, then I'd call it "noodling" or "plinking."

I don't know what your experience is, but I "plink" on the piano because I don't know how to play properly, but I enjoy the occasionally plink. Same with drums and guitar. However, on instruments I know and understand better (reed instruments, some brass, etc.) I don't plink around, but improvise.

If you're just learning an instrument, then (my opinion) is that plinking around can be both a boon and a hindrance. The boon is that it helps you learn your way around the instrument, figure out tonal color, intervals, etc. while keeping things fun and interesting. The hindrance is that you'll (at least in my case) end up with tons of bad habits that trip you up later when you try to truly learn the instrument.

Just my thoughts. Might not apply to your situation. Have fun!


[EDIT: corrected spelling]

Post Edited (2019-11-11 05:09)

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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: abrogard 
Date:   2019-11-11 05:25

thanks guys.

bit of a worry perhaps..... '..tons of bad habits..' ?

Could you expand on that a bit so's I can perhaps watch out for them?

Not that it matters much in my case... I"m not a young man with a long career ahead of him so don't set off in the wrong direction..

So it doesn't much matter if I'm full of errors not going on display anyway... but errors that would cripple my own ability to amuse myself playing sheet music, well it'd be good to avoid them..

Right now I clearly see and feel the difference between my 'plinking' and 'proper' playing. I'm much, more more fluid. I can get notes i can't get when reading.. a world of difference.

And what I do is take the memory of that experience and try to take it over to the sheet music and play those pieces like that, with that kind of 'flair'.

So I think that much helps, at least.

But I must confess I really am very, very basic, very, very 'bad' even. I don't learn any music by heart at all. I know only one piece. I'm sure the more you know by heart the better. I'm sure that's true. But I don't do it.

I practice sporadically at best. I've had years - 5 years one time - when I do nothing at all. and when I am 'doing it' I pick it up for sort of a max of half an hour maybe twice or thrice a week.

I guess you could say I'm not really serious and not really trying. Fair enough. But I'm doing what I'm doing and I do like it. Is my excuse.


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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-11-11 17:48


In light of your further statements...perhaps there's no worry about bad habits. However, many times, folks who don't "plan" on performing publicly, or for a friend/family function, etc., end up wanting to do so at a later date. So, it is nice to learn how to properly tongue, finger, form an embouchure, etc.

If printed music isn't your thing, you can always try to pick out an easy tune like "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or "Just a Closer Walk" etc. - whatever type of song appeals to you. Listen to the song several times to get the basic tune into your head...then try to play it. If it is too difficult, try changing the note you're starting on and see if it becomes easier. I mention this approach only because it straddles the area between what you're already doing, and reading printed music. You maintain a freedom of expression, yet add just a little more structure than what you're currently having fun with.

It sounds like you're having fun, though, and that's the most important thing!


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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: abrogard 
Date:   2019-11-12 00:20

Thanks for your comments.

I'd like to learn to properly tongue, etc and that, in fact, is what I sometimes think I'm learning during these 'free form' sessions.

When I'm reading everything is much more constrained. Even my head position - it has to be where I can see the page. And more than just see it but dwell on it and read.

Printed music actually is my thing. I play it all the time. (when I play, which isn't... etc.. )

And i play anything at all that I can play. Right now I have these books from the local library:

"150 of the most beautiful songs ever'
'Great Jazz Standards'
'75 light classical songs'
'Also sax 101 hit songs'
'Jazz Piano Standards for Dummies'
'The Frank Sinatra Centennial Songbook'

For instance. Just my most recent gleanings from the library system. They never have much.

All baby simple arrangements treble line only and some with even those enormously large notes with the name of the note in the head..

Very annoying, those, because it forces the music to take two or three or more pages and I have to stop and turn the page. Hate that.

But, yes, that's my fun. Working through those books. That's where I find melodies and lyrics that give me a boost.

And what somewhat amazes me is the vast difference between the way I can get about the instrument when extemporising freely and how constrained i am when trying to read.

For when reading I'll find I squeak for instance. Or I just can't get that note - even something as 'easy' as C above the stave. Or I can't go from this note to that.

But when I'm improvising I seem to be able to go wherever I want to go, hit whatever note I want to hit, manage any changes.

It must be fictional. I must be kidding myself. My body is somehow managing me so's I carefully make choices of what notes to play next that feed easily into my abilities. Without me being conscious of that happening.

I really don't know. It interests me. I'd like to know what's going on.

I seem to have a subconscious preparedness for what's coming that I don't have when reading. So that the hands and mouth are ready for that sudden leap up to the high notes and make it easily - and the breath is there, too, and I can stretch it for the longest time...

I think maybe I need to learn by heart as you suggest.

I know only one: 'Lullaby of Birdland'. I've known it for years. Still play it as poorly and incompletely ( don't go round the repeats and off to the coda etc...) as I ever did.

I think probably I should improve that. And learn more.

It's very vain and self-centred all this talking about what I do etc. I apologise for that.

I'm really trying to discuss the question of just what happens within a person that enables all this fluid freedom and ability when they improvise freely.

Does it happen to other persons?
Often, frequently?
On all instruments?
Is it 'good' or harmful to classic development?
Is there something within it that should be sought out and nurtured?

and whatever other questions come to mind...


Post Edited (2019-11-12 00:43)

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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-11-12 02:01


To the overall question you seem to be asking: "...what happens within a person that enables all this fluid freedom and ability when they improvise freely...":

I feel that it is much like the difference between talking (speaking whatever is on your mind), vs reading a script. Speaking your mind is almost always easier, but you might not be able to perform an exact speech the way you want without some type of notation to help you out.

If you tell a story to a child, and if you know that story so well that you can tell it in great detail and with emotion without reading it - if you were left to your own word choices and weren't confined to reading words you didn't readily know/understand...then the story would come across much more fluid and easy than if you had to stick with a straight script with difficult/confusing parts/words. It might be the same story, but it would be told very differently, with a different level of tension, distraction, or number of errors.


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 Re: What About Playing 'Non-Music' ?
Author: abrogard 
Date:   2019-11-12 03:31

And I think you're right.

Thanks for that.


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