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  #41  
Old 04-02-2017, 03:48 PM
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Does anyone recall how much Mozart practiced?

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  #42  
Old 04-02-2017, 04:13 PM
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Does anyone recall how much Mozart practiced?

There are people born who make their own rules.
Pablo Casals, the famous conductor and cellist, mentioned a pianist he knew in Spain who literally never practiced. He would play concertos with orchestras all over Spain, and never needed to practice at all.

So, sure, yes, you're right. I don't know that Mozart had those kind of chops at the piano, though. Franz Liszt reportedly pretty much did.

I think I read an interview that said Buddy wasn't the best of the top drummers back in the 40s, though, just pretty close to the top. And he never had Jim Chapin's speed, although that's really just a result of different techniques, Moeller versus more wrist-based technique.
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Old 04-02-2017, 04:20 PM
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How many of the concerts that the pianist played consisted of the same songs over and over? Each of these in essence would be a practice for the next performance. As I mentioned before, Buddy may have never sat at a drum pad and played rudiments, but certainly rehersals with his bands were just that, practice. It would be like acting. You can go over your lines, rehearse scenes etc, but not practice speaking english words over and over. Thus not practicing.
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  #44  
Old 04-02-2017, 04:30 PM
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Pablo Casals, the famous conductor and cellist, mentioned a pianist he knew in Spain who literally never practiced. He would play concertos with orchestras all over Spain, and never needed to practice at all.

So, sure, yes, you're right. I don't know that Mozart had those kind of chops at the piano, though. Franz Liszt reportedly pretty much did.

I think I read an interview that said Buddy wasn't the best of the top drummers back in the 40s, though, just pretty close to the top. And he never had Jim Chapin's speed, although that's really just a result of different techniques, Moeller versus more wrist-based technique.
It's a simple point really....

What works or worked for Buddy Rich (who was PERFORMING at age 18 months old as "Baby Traps the Drum Wonder") or Mozart (who was competent on keyboard AND violin AND writing and performing at age 5) does not apply to 99% of other musicians... They "got it" before other musicians were out of diapers...lol.

Pointing out that others were (eventually) as good...or faster misses the point that these people are prodigies and are not the norm, they have abilities beyond what anyone would consider normal or even "gifted". The had an innate ability to comprehend what was going on and how to get there. They ran past their teachers if they had them (Rich, apparently had no "teacher" other than Henry Adler who did not teach him technique but how to read charts) and were charting their own courses learning wise I think.

:0)

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  #45  
Old 04-02-2017, 05:27 PM
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How many of the concerts that the pianist played consisted of the same songs over and over? Each of these in essence would be a practice for the next performance. As I mentioned before, Buddy may have never sat at a drum pad and played rudiments, but certainly rehersals with his bands were just that, practice. It would be like acting. You can go over your lines, rehearse scenes etc, but not practice speaking english words over and over. Thus not practicing.
Using what would easily be the common and agreed upon understanding of "practice" (time spent alone working on technique, timing, reading, etc.) none of those qualify as "practice"...

The pianist is performing in front of an audience not practicing. Now, obviously, every performance is helpful in honing the craft-but performing is not practicing. A British actor who plays the part of a sheriff from Georgia had better spend time "speaking English words over and over" is he expects to keep the part...

Same with a rehearsal-rehearsals are not (should not be) practice, although they do contribute to improving one's playing. Rehearsals have the added stress of the expectation that you know your part, and you are "performing" in front of and alongside other people. You are supposed to do the heavy lifting of learning your instrument and learning the chart BEFORE you bring others into the picture. I am sure we have all experienced (or caused) the frustration of fellow band members who have fallen short in this area and cost the band huge chunks of time while they work out their part as others sit by...

Back to Buddy-it is said that he would only need to have a chart shown to him one time. After that he had the entire chart memorized and could play it perfectly. Again, this is the mark of a prodigy and not a typical "big band drummer", in my opinion.

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  #46  
Old 04-02-2017, 05:51 PM
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Just for semantics, a rehearsal is practice. Maybe group practice but still practice.

Definition of rehearsal
1
: something recounted or told again : recital
2
a : a private performance or practice session preparatory to a public appearance
b : a practice exercise : trial

There is no doubt that Buddy was one of a kind. He also had a huge ego and what better to impress or stoke ones own fire than by stating he never practiced.
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  #47  
Old 04-02-2017, 08:43 PM
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I don't think I'd take the comments or practices of a few unusually odd individuals, like Buddy or Mozart, and treat them as something to emulate--most of us didn't start playing when we were 2. But Buddy's comment provides something interesting to think about--what's the relationship between practice and performance? I practice a fair amount, not really because I've set a goal of getting better (I don't believe in setting goals, but that's a different issue), but because I enjoy practicing. I've developed something of a routine to my practicing that I certainly think has helped me to improve, but I just really like playing drums, so I try to play a lot.

Practice helps me to perform better, but performances also help me to practice better. I see things in performances that I realize I need to work on in practice. They really feed each other for me.

I had the opportunity to sit behind one of Buddy's drum sets on his throne the other day--I don't think it made me better, unfortunately.
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  #48  
Old 04-02-2017, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Just for semantics, a rehearsal is practice. Maybe group practice but still practice.

Definition of rehearsal
1
: something recounted or told again : recital
2
a : a private performance or practice session preparatory to a public appearance
b : a practice exercise : trial

There is no doubt that Buddy was one of a kind. He also had a huge ego and what better to impress or stoke ones own fire than by stating he never practiced.
Not trying to drag it out further than necessary, but...

Generally I prefer context to semantics. Context provides the working definitions used in the discussion. In this discussion the idea "practice" would seem to be the personal kind. From others comments and from the snippet of the interview where the original quote original quote was taken from-

"BR -I think it's a fallacy that the harder you practice the better you get. You only get better by playing. You could sit around in a room, in a basement with a set of drums all day long and practice rudiments, and try to develop speed, but until you start playing with a band, you can't learn technique, you can't learn taste, you can't learn how to play with a band and for a band until you actually play. So, practice, particularly after you've attained a job, any kind of job, like playing with a four piece band, that's . . . on opportunity to develop. And practice, besides that, is boring. You know, I know teachers who tell their students to practice four hours a day, eight hours a day. If you can't accomplish what you want in an hour, you're not gonna get it in four days.

And, in this context, Buddy's ego aside, it is quite possible that he never did practice in the traditional sense. Obviously what worked for Buddy, or what he needed to attain his level of skill, will not apply to everyone. Others may have been "faster", but at what cost? Buddy said practice is "boring". So maybe the other guy eventually got fast than Buddy, but was it after four hours a day of pad practice? It would seem that Buddy preferred playing out to that. And since he played from the absolutely mind-blowingingly incredible age of 18 months, he already had probably 10 years of "practice" before most of his contemporaries even started. If he could memorize a chart after one hearing, who knows how quick he could pick up rudiments just by listening to other drummers on the circuit and mimicking what he heard and incorporating it into his performances-without having to sit with a book and a pad to do it. Note the comment at the end of the interview cut and paste-"If you can't accomplish what you want in an hour, you're not gonna get it in four days." I'm sure that was a comment based on his experience. This would not be the "norm" for most drummers.

I honestly do not think this is an "ego thing" as much as a matter-of-fact kind of statement. The dude just "played drums"...and...had a huge ego based on his success!
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  #49  
Old 04-02-2017, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
I can tell you that reading about drumming, arguing on online forums and generally anything that is not actually drumming certainly doesn't make one a better player:

Regarding Buddy: I studied with Joe Morello as a teenager and he told me that Buddy practiced as a youth but used to say that he "never practiced". Joe used to say: "You don't come out of the womb with this stuff".
Jeff I think I have to disagree with the first paragraph...in a certain sense...I could cite a few examples....listening to a concert...getting "new to me" ideas from here...watching an open mic and saying..."I could do that"....the thing I am getting at is inspiration. A mentally inspired person, generally speaking, will outperform a person who is not inspired. Inspiration is like the wind in your sails. It's the spirit behind the action. Not to be discounted, au contraire!

So while inspiration may not directly make you better, I believe it serves an essential function, as it can create an unquenchable desire, to want to accomplish something.

It all happens in the head first.

I try not to read too much into Buddy's words. I essentially agree with his statement. But he didn't have a normal childhood IMO. I mean he probably doesn't remember some of his drumming he was so young. He was raised in an extreme set of circumstances when compared to the average boy. Now everyone is different, but Buddy...you can't compare the average bear to Buddy Rich.

I wonder what he would have been like had he not started drums until he was a teenager. His early years shaped him in ways that...how can you really understand unless you lived it? It was a more macho time for men then too. He was absolutely a product of his circumstances...with a super mega jumbo dose of natural ability too.
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  #50  
Old 04-03-2017, 01:39 PM
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Jeff I think I have to disagree with the first paragraph...in a certain sense...I could cite a few examples....listening to a concert...getting "new to me" ideas from here...watching an open mic and saying..."I could do that"....the thing I am getting at is inspiration. A mentally inspired person, generally speaking, will outperform a person who is not inspired. Inspiration is like the wind in your sails. It's the spirit behind the action. Not to be discounted, au contraire!

So while inspiration may not directly make you better, I believe it serves an essential function, as it can create an unquenchable desire, to want to accomplish something.

It all happens in the head first.

I try not to read too much into Buddy's words. I essentially agree with his statement. But he didn't have a normal childhood IMO. I mean he probably doesn't remember some of his drumming he was so young. He was raised in an extreme set of circumstances when compared to the average boy. Now everyone is different, but Buddy...you can't compare the average bear to Buddy Rich.

I wonder what he would have been like had he not started drums until he was a teenager. His early years shaped him in ways that...how can you really understand unless you lived it? It was a more macho time for men then too. He was absolutely a product of his circumstances...with a super mega jumbo dose of natural ability too.
Larry, I hear what you're saying about inspiration but the inspiration without the work will get you nowhere. I can be inspired by watching JoJo's playing but I'd better put in the time or else i"ll never get hands like his.
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  #51  
Old 04-03-2017, 02:50 PM
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Jeff I think I have to disagree with the first paragraph...in a certain sense...I could cite a few examples....listening to a concert...getting "new to me" ideas from here...watching an open mic and saying..."I could do that"....the thing I am getting at is inspiration. A mentally inspired person, generally speaking, will outperform a person who is not inspired. Inspiration is like the wind in your sails. It's the spirit behind the action. Not to be discounted, au contraire!

So while inspiration may not directly make you better, I believe it serves an essential function, as it can create an unquenchable desire, to want to accomplish something.

It all happens in the head first.

I try not to read too much into Buddy's words. I essentially agree with his statement. But he didn't have a normal childhood IMO. I mean he probably doesn't remember some of his drumming he was so young. He was raised in an extreme set of circumstances when compared to the average boy. Now everyone is different, but Buddy...you can't compare the average bear to Buddy Rich.

I wonder what he would have been like had he not started drums until he was a teenager. His early years shaped him in ways that...how can you really understand unless you lived it? It was a more macho time for men then too. He was absolutely a product of his circumstances...with a super mega jumbo dose of natural ability too.
Hmm. I've always found that the most inspirational player is myself. I'm constantly inspired by what I can't do. Morello is certainly a model and provides inspiration to me in some way, but the truly powerful inspiration to improve comes from within.
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  #52  
Old 04-03-2017, 03:01 PM
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When I practice, I pretty much only practice stick control and rudiments based stuff. I almost never try to be creative because I have a fairly shallow well as far as how long I can stay inspired and creative when I sit down and play. I don't burn up all my creativity when I'm working out and as long as my hands are working well, then my mind doesn't have to be preoccupied with how I want to play something and shifts more toward being concerned with what I want to play without thinking about it too much.
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  #53  
Old 04-03-2017, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
Regarding Buddy: I studied with Joe Morello as a teenager and he told me that Buddy practiced as a youth but used to say that he "never practiced". Joe used to say: "You don't come out of the womb with this stuff".

He also said that Buddy was a spectacular talent, whose raw natural ability was impressive from the outset.

The superhuman athletes and musicians tend to not be the best coaches because everything comes so easily to them. They don't realize it's not that way for most.
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  #54  
Old 04-03-2017, 11:17 PM
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Funny how the conversation deflects to more comfortable black and white terrain, arguing the secondary point "IS PRACTICING GOOD, OR BAD?"

Re: what Buddy actually said, about playing being very important, a line from the Book of the SubGenius that definitely applies:
Quote:
"Stop sucking on the finger and go where it points."
It doesn't matter if every word from an interview is literally provable in court. The crux line is "you can't learn taste, you can't learn how to play with a band and for a band until you actually play." Which is true. And if you want to be a musician, absolutely if you want to be a professional, those are the only things that actually matter. Whatever you do in playing has to pass through that filter.

Also, when people from that era say they were playing "all the time", they're not exaggerating. This is Art Blakey talking about what he used to do in the 30s/40s:

Quote:
I used to play every night. It didn't matter how much money I was making, I just had to play every night. When we'd get through playing at night, it was daybreak: 6:00. Then we'd play the breakfast show. After that we'd have a jam session which would go on until like 2:00 in the afternoon. So maybe by 3:00 I'd get to bed, and be back in the club again at 8:30. So I never stopped, really. I was playing all the time so I didn't have to worry about practicing.
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Old 04-03-2017, 11:36 PM
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I KNOW you can get better with the aid of pure mental rehearsal.

Finding enduring motivations make it possible for you to want to get better...and that may not have anything to do with playing.

Playing isn't the only way...nor in its isolation the most effective.
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  #56  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:16 AM
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I KNOW you can get better with the aid of pure mental rehearsal.

Finding enduring motivations make it possible for you to want to get better...and that may not have anything to do with playing.

Playing isn't the only way...nor in its isolation the most effective.
It's even easier now that we have the internet where someone can in video explain a concept and we can get our heads around it before we get back to the kit. Lots of theory and even just thinking about music can enhance our understanding. We can learn patterns, go over techniques, analyze song structures, all in our heads... I think where drumming is going to require practice is for all the muscle memory and physicality of the activity. Can't exactly do strength training in our heads!
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  #57  
Old 04-04-2017, 12:49 AM
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Something just popped into my head that may or may not be a rabbit trail, but...

Thinking of the development of the modern kit we are all for the most part playing today...

Don't hold me to exact dates, but the modern snare/hat/bass drum hadn't really evolved until say the mid-forties, and up until the early 60s wasn't even played in a "rock" context the way we think of it today.

So, apart from rudiments what exactly did guys like Rich, Krupa, all the jazzers before them, the bebop cats in the 50s have to practice? Did bass drum technique books even exist? Seems like a lot of these guys were "writing" the books so to speak as the instrument was developing. Not sure myself, just asking the question...

It may be a little hard I think for us to appreciate the history of the drumset and maybe we need to keep their comments in this context?

In 2017 their are litterally millions of aids available for practicing and learning "modern drumset technique".... But in 1930?

Last edited by Mongrel; 04-04-2017 at 01:06 AM.
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  #58  
Old 04-04-2017, 01:22 AM
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Don't hold me to exact dates, but the modern snare/hat/bass drum hadn't really evolved until say the mid-forties, and up until the early 60s wasn't even played in a "rock" context...
Up until the 30s, playing time on the drumset was largely snare drum (or snare drum stuff played on accessories) + bass drum. Modern players from the 30s into the 40s were playing hihat/SD/BD, as well as the old SD/BD way. In the 40s it became ride/HH/SD/BD. Modern independence took awhile to get going-- originally Kenny Clarke in the early 40s, then Art Blakey, Max Roach, and others; it fully arrived in a big way with Elvin Jones in the later 50s.

Quote:
So, apart from rudiments what exactly did guys like Rich, Krupa, all the jazzers before them, the bebop cats in the 50s have to practice? Did bass drum technique books even exist? Seems like a lot of these guys were "writing" the books so to speak as the instrument was developing.
Up until the 30s there mostly were snare drum books, but some of them had a little bass drum included-- usually BD was pretty simple. Books available were Stick Control, Wilcoxon, Haskell Harr, Advanced Techniques came out in the 40s, any number of other band, orchestral, and rudimental methods. I don't know when Joe Cusatis's books came out-- could have been 40s or 50s. Edward Straight's books were pretty modern and they came out in the teens.

Quote:
It may be a little hard I think for us to appreciate the history of the drumset and maybe we need to keep their comments in this context? In 2017 their are litterally millions of aids available for practicing and learning "modern drumset technique".... But in 1930?
I don't know, have you done everything there is to do with Stick Control? Or Rudimental Swing Solos? How long do you think that would take? How long to people today take to get just their single stroke rolls, or open rolls, together?
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Old 04-04-2017, 01:43 AM
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No, but I'm not Buddy Rich!

For all I know he could have done the whole book over a weekend at 300bpm!

Thanks for the history, interesting and informative... Didn't realize how far back some of this stuff went.
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:09 AM
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Funny how the conversation deflects to more comfortable black and white terrain, arguing the secondary point "IS PRACTICING GOOD, OR BAD?"

Re: what Buddy actually said, about playing being very important, a line from the Book of the SubGenius that definitely applies:

It doesn't matter if every word from an interview is literally provable in court. The crux line is "you can't learn taste, you can't learn how to play with a band and for a band until you actually play." Which is true. And if you want to be a musician, absolutely if you want to be a professional, those are the only things that actually matter. Whatever you do in playing has to pass through that filter.

Also, when people from that era say they were playing "all the time", they're not exaggerating. This is Art Blakey talking about what he used to do in the 30s/40s:
Interesting. I'm not sure I entirely agree with the idea that taste and how to play with a band are the ONLY things that matter--seems kind of black and white, actually. They are important, but I think there is more to it. What I would say about practice is that it is a way to build technique. Technique is a means to an end, not an end in itself, however. It opens up the possibility for playing with taste.

The comment on Blakey is really interesting. I also think that when one reaches a certain point, practice is a lot less important. My father was a professional musician in the Boston area when I was growing up and also a professor of music. He got so busy that he didn't gig all that much throughout the year, but he always played Nutcracker at Christmas. I remember him picking up his horn about a week or two before Nutcracker began and warming up for an hour or so each night--mostly just doing exercises. Then he went and played 35 performances and set the horn down for another year. I'm sure he played some throughout the year, but it wasn't much.

He and I have also talked about over-practicing. One can do too much and start having problems--both physically and mentally. There is a balance.
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:02 AM
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Better according to who?
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Old 04-04-2017, 09:39 AM
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Better according to who?
Are you a proponent of outsider art?
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Old 04-04-2017, 10:30 AM
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Better according to who?
According to you or whoever is doing the playing. Taiko's father is a good example of not needing to rehearse the known, it's like riding a bike. It's the unknown or freeform that needs exploration. Deminishing return is valid involving practice as well as the perceived dollar value of drums or instruments.
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Old 04-04-2017, 04:03 PM
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I was actually listening to Sirius Real Jazz yesterday and there was an interview with a jazz pianist. He commented that he had asked one of his teachers why it is that one night he's playing great, and the next night he's not. His teacher's response was: "that's why you practice."
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Old 04-10-2017, 05:55 AM
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Here's a little master class clip of Adam Nussbaum that kind of sums up the sentiment of the Buddy quote. No big deal, but it's good to reinforce the idea.
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