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Is It Necessary To Know Theory, Proper Technique, Circle of Fifths, etc, To Enjoy Your Playing
Bringing Back an Old Topic From Years Ago
Topic Rating: 3 Topic Rating: 3 Topic Rating: 3 Topic Rating: 3 Topic Rating: 3 Topic Rating: 3 (2 votes) 
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Mouse
September 22, 2020 - 1:03 pm
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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A lot of times when the forum is quiet, like now, I go back into old threads and see what was discussed when the forum was started. A topic I found today was quite interesting and could use fresh thoughts from current members. I am not going to give the link to where I found it. I want your thoughts.

Personally, I do not think it is necessary to know about music theory and proper technique to enjoy playing music. It depends on your own personal goals.

Music is an art and should be enjoyed. Not everyone has the same goals and abilities. I think it depends on your goals, physical abilities and financial situation. Yes, financial situation. Lessons cost money.

I am amazed by people who can play by ear, and wish to be able to do that, before old age takes my hearing away!

I am also amazed by people who can understand complicated arrangements. I can read music (Trebel , Bass, Alto and Tenor Clefs) and know what almost all of the symbols all mean. I cannot understand how to do a lot of what is written in the sheet music. I cannot even attempt music with abnormal time signatures or time signature changes throughout. I have issues when there are too many flats and sharps popped in all over the place, or if a key is loaded with sharps and flats. It blows my mind. That is not fun for me. It does not bother me that I do not know all of that, but I am amazed at people where reading music is like their natural born language. I think that music is a language. I speak English and reading music beyond my 7th grade music class, is like learning a new language. I am not very good at learning new languages.

That said, although I lack the music education and knowledge, I thoroughly enjoy trying to play my cello, viola and violin. It gives me great enjoyment, relaxation and satisfaction. I am taking viola lessons now, because I need to learn the basics so I can move along on my own, at my own pace, like I am now doing with my cello. My music journey is for my own benefit, as I have said many times. A little site reading is acceptable to me, but I am really endeavoring to be able to play by ear. I am hoping the lessons help me achieve that. You know, learning shifting positions, locations of the notes on the fingerboard, proper bowing. Playing by ear is what I would love to do.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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September 22, 2020 - 5:38 pm
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I agree with most of this. As long as you're enjoying it, do what you want.

However, one thing about technique: especially on violin and viola, poor technique can increase the chance of injury. That's a good reason to develop proper technique even if you are only playing for yourself.

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Mouse
September 22, 2020 - 8:08 pm
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I should have been more specific.

If I have to scootch my hand up a little because I cannot stretch the fingers, I do not see a problem. I think that if I cannot stretch without losing intonation, I should just go ahead and scootch up a bit. Now, I am tired of hearing about wasted energy, doing more work because you are moving your hand more, etc. If it is harder to keep my intonation because I cannot keep my first finger on the E on the D string (viola) and stretch my little finger to the A on the D string instead of playing the open A string, I think it is best for me to just do it the way I need to, remove the first finger from the E, and adjust the 2nd and 3rd fingers, so that I can get that A accurately and quickly. That will not cause injury. I am not not playing for anyone else, not to be graded. My 4th finger will not hit the A on the D string if the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers are held in their respective places. I have to scootch. Simply because someone said you have to do it that way over a century ago, does not mean everyone has to, or even can, today. I need to learn to be exact with placing my fingers down after adjusting rather than stretch because I cannot stretch. That makes more sense to me. That is the kind of technique that I am talking about.

I am not talking about improper holding, etc. That is not what I was talking about, I should have been more precise.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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GregW
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September 22, 2020 - 9:02 pm
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"Is It Necessary To Know Theory, Proper Technique, Circle of Fifths, etc, To Enjoy Your Playing"

No

I play for fun

I like studying therory from time to time just for the why sake of it all. It seems more helpful to me on guitar though.  guess because of chords.  The Fiddle music that Im interested in is just straight up melody of tunes already established so not much to try and figure out.  its fun just playing.  unless Im not liking the tune. ...if i dont like a tune its harder to practice it and get better at it.   Therory can be helpful..but also become a time drain better spent just playing in my experience.  

Im not sure on the technique part.  If a person is happy just playing and is satisfied then it probably doesnt matter.  If a person is having a hard time with something..maybe its technique and help would be needed.  idk..depends on the person and situation i suppose.  I know  having a teacher there to see and hear at the very moment I struggle playing something has been helpful in that she can point out what im doing wrong and how to try and fix it.

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ELCB
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September 23, 2020 - 1:07 am
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Confused Head Scratching EmoticonsI hope I'm not repeating myself since I know I've weighed in on this (or similar) subject before.  I can relate, since I've been trying to stretch my little finger further for 16 months now - it's not stretching anymore!

From what I've read, I'd have been hard pressed to find a teacher even willing to take on a beginner with a 5-string violin!  Now this leads me to wonder, "how many good teachers out there learned as an older adult?"  How many teachers can really understand we may need a different approach to help with issues they may not feel important even as THEY, themselves age?  As "Older Adult Beginner/Learners" should we consider a need to be taught differently - maybe in a separate category by ourselves?

Oh no, https://s3.amazonaws.com/pix.iemoji.com/images/emoji/apple/ios-11/256/face-with-symbols-over-mouth.png NOT GERIATRIC lessons!  I'm not ready for that mindset!  We aren't children being told "learn an instrument" - along with age comes inherent issues.  Actually, I'd love to hear if any 64 to 80-year-old feels their body is as supple, or if they'd make the same choices/have the same priorities as when they were 20 - or do they think about "time" differently...

A cache of "Life Lessons" gathered over many decades should help us feel confident we can reach any goal by adapting or working around our perceived shortcomings - using a little ingenuity!

No teacher for me right now, but I'll adapt however/whenever, so I can enjoy this whole wonderful process - otherwise why do it? 

I'm pretty sure we can all figure a way to "take a leap" - jump to those notes we can't stretch for... and, if you don't want all your hard work to go to waste, PRACTICE EVERY DAY - even if sometimes it's only 15 to 30 minutes before you go to sleep!  

This Fiddlerman site & shop is truly underrated - such a HUGE help to so many!

Hopefully we'll all find a way to adapt as needed, with or without a teacher, so to end up content to enjoy & share the music we love... just play!

https://supportjdhs.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/music-notes.jpg

 

- Emily

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Mouse
September 23, 2020 - 7:48 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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As an adult learner, I do find my joints are stiffer and I believe getting arthritic. Where I can stretch my fingers when simply raising my hand and separating them, when curved around a cello/ iola/violin neck, tbey collapse. They cannot reach to where I need them if I am anchored by any other fingers. It is no different for us than those with disabilities and are bound an determined to do something their body does not want them to do. We adapt to a way we can.

I can do vibrato good enough for me in my cello, but the angle of the hand and arm with viola and violin, I really doubt it. Learning when young and then doing it when older is different than from scratch when older. Does any of this deter anyone who wants to do it? No, we are almost all in the same boat here.

I also, think someone playing by ear is just as talented as those who read that complicated sheet music and know all the theory. In their own ways, they are both the players’ expressions of love of music. I don’t think it is necessary to have all the theory and just play by ear. Sure, there are group projects I bow out of because I know my limits and when a project will not be tun for me to do  (still fun to watch). Fiddlerman can work wonders and would still use my video if my bowing matched up, but it has to be fun for me. GOT was beyond me. It was great watching the video and I was proud of you all. Now, maybe if I had watched GOT, the piece may have been familiar and I could have winged it, but I had no interest in the show, itself. Funny what affects what I can tackle and not tackle.

But theory and exact fingering and playing technique, not talking posture, which could cause injury if done wrong, for me, are not necessary for a person to enjoy playing an instrument.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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Jim Dunleavy
United Kingdom
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September 23, 2020 - 8:35 am
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Is it necessary to know all the theory to enjoy making music? Absolutely not.

 

I would say all really good 'ear' players who can improvise and such like DO have an intimate knowledge of all the scales and how they relate to each other though - even if it's 'on the job' training rather than learning formally from books.

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Mouse
September 23, 2020 - 8:53 am
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@Jim Dunleavy I never thought of it that way. You are absolutely right!

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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ELCB
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September 23, 2020 - 11:13 am
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cid - I know I ramble on - this is why I'm not a teacher!  I basically agree with you.

I believe if you want to learn to play music you've heard, but have no interest in composing music that can be understood by all not hearing it played first hand, you still need to understand some "fundamentals of music", but not ALL of them.   You need some understanding of "pitch" & "intervals", then "rhythm" for "melody", otherwise you just have sound (not music).  Someone who plays an instrument should also be able to distinguish differences in "tone" to at least be able to tune it, otherwise you need to do everything electronically (I still need that tuner!).  I think anyone can learn to play an instrument if they can get a handle on these few fundamentals - along with watching/listening to musicians for techniques and style. 

Rudamentally, for some of us "ABLs" (adult, beginner/learners), do we need to know "1" specific way to comfortably hold our instrument - or the names of notes, or even the names of the strings?  They could be labeled "1", "2", "3" and "4", but you still have to be able to find where the individual sounds on the strings are located to learn a melody.  So, if we learn to hear and see/feel where our fingers go - by plucking the strings or drawing a bow, remembering a sequence and repeating it... Voilà! 

Many "ABLs" are happy learning/playing simple melodies, others want more - at least we live in an age abundant knowledge and help is readily available to everyone!

 

I believe it's important to not loose sight of why we chose to play an instrument - we enjoy music... so we need to keep this process enjoyable.

I Love Music Smiley- Emily

 
 

Music is composed of aural phenomena; "music theory" considers how those phenomena apply in music. Music theory considers melody, rhythm, counterpoint, harmony, form, tonal systems, scales, tuning, intervals, consonance, dissonance, durational proportions, the acoustics of pitch systems, composition, performance, orchestration, ornamentation, improvisation, electronic sound production, etc..." (Wikipedia) 

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Mouse
September 23, 2020 - 11:38 am
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I kind of disagree, but that is fine. I think to enjoy, is individual. Even if you have no rudimental knowledge you can still have fun and try it. It is what you, as an individual, enjoy. I think it is like that for just about anything, I did not say all things. 

I don’t think understanding is needed. Heck, the very first song was written with no learned knowledge. I think you can do whatever you want. Little kids have no knowledge, and they can come up with some neat little ditties. I think there is just enough music knowledge in us when we are born. If you want to go beyond what is natural born to you, that is an option, but not necessary to enjoy it.

Interesting thoughts.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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ELCB
USA
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September 23, 2020 - 12:08 pm
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Holding Forehead EmoticonsSorry, cid - thought that was pretty much what I said...

Btw, here's a tutorial that might help you (hope I didn't already share this particular video)! 

 

https://clipartart.com/images/emoji-music-clipart.png

- Emily

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Mouse
September 23, 2020 - 1:00 pm
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@ELCB 😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂

Thanks for the video link.

Viola Time! 

(Former Username - cid)

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