Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - Vocabulary Differentiation and Guitar 1: Subtle and Profound

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Vocabulary Differentiation and Guitar 1: Subtle and Profound

 In the 21st century we find ourselves in an intellectual dark ages.  If you don't agree with that, that is a discussion for another time, but I'm here to say people today are throwing words around without any care as to the distinctiveness of the words versus other words.

 In turn, that looseness of use affects the way a person thinks using that looseness.  
 If I have the choice to use two different words to describe an aspect of something, my awareness of the difference between the two means I'm thinking about that difference relative to said subject/object.

 The person that can speak the two words but has no bias towards using one over the other, cannot in turn think about the possible difference!

 Vocabulary alters your processing ability.  We've stressed math in "education" for the past 30 years, and now we have 12 years olds that know calculus but can't actually think about reality because their vocabulary is non-existent or worse - distorted.


 It occurs to me that people taking lessons lately want a Big Epiphany Result.  When that kind of thing happens they're very happy.  The problem is that every moment of learning can't be that.

 If I tell someone "go listen to this song, play this phrase and then count the remainder of the measure" it's for very specific reasons to address an aspect of their musical awareness.

 The problem is that when doing such a thing "fixes" a problem, the result may be subtle, but profound.


 The student thinks "oh, I can now play accents on the offbeat of 4 when I couldn't last week".  They're thinking it's just a tiny moment in music, and maybe (incorrectly) that "it's that thing in that one song I couldn't do".


 It is PROFOUND.  Previously you were blind to that entire beat.  A very big thing, that means previously if a piece of music used that beat to great effect - you completely missed it. Let's say you're 40 years old; how much music have you listened to in your life while being unaware of what happens on that beat?  You should be dismayed, but also happy: because now all of that potentially can be new to you again!  And from then on, music potentially can be "more" than it was before.

 That is the meaning of the word "profound".  The result is subtle - you can't readily explain it to a non-musically trained person, and it doesn't make you instantly Beethoven.  But, it is PROFOUND.  You have changed the way YOU perceive sound, the way YOU organize your thinking about sound, and also they way YOU can think about music.

 Subtle and profound.  Most skill acquisitions in music are going to be subtle, but don't discount their value. 

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