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Danielle Gomez

Fiddling Around With Multiple Genres

May 27, 2012 at 4:51 AM

I really enjoy Howard Gardner's books on his theory of multiple intelligences. In a nutshell, he delves into how there's really no one type of intelligence. Schools assume that an "A" student should get As across the board. But if you look at reality, no one is good at everything. A person that may be brilliant in astrophysics is not necessarily going to be brilliant in creating artistic masterpieces. The two fields require two entirely different sets of strengths and weaknesses.

You can see the same divisions even if you narrowed it down to just one field such as music. The skills required to make a beautiful instrument are very different from those required for virtuosic performance or those required to teach. Again, each subcategory has it's own type of intelligence.

The division can be broken down even further. Take violin performance as the example. Someone who excels at classical music may not necessarily play other genres such as jazz or bluegrass at an equal level. Each style requires its own skill set.

But I feel that at this level there can start to be some crossover. Music is a subject you can study all of your life and only begin to scratch the surface. Every new instrument that you try or every new genre that you explore helps you to refine your technique.

As an example, classical music will allow you to eventually develop fast, accurate shifting on the violin. Improvising with jazz helps to develop your intonation and familiarity with the fingerboard. Celtic fiddling will help you hone in on doublestops.

Just like how studying the histories of different countries gives you a deeper understanding of your own, so too will the study of different musical genres.

From Julie Wilson
Posted on May 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM
I agree with you 100%! While I am an adult beginner, I have already discovered that different genres are primarily comprised of different techniques - some overlap and some do not. Attempting to learn different styles of music is actually helping my progress due to this fact.
From Danielle Gomez
Posted on May 28, 2012 at 7:03 PM
Not to mention it helps keep you from getting frustrated. Like walking away from a puzzle you've been staring at for hours trying to find that ONE piece.
From Richard Prowse
Posted on May 29, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I've always thought that playing jazz suits a certain type of personality. I believe that, in jazz, you have to step out and be prepared to take chances; and accept that you're going to make 'mistakes'. Some purely classical people I've played with seem a little afraid of letting go. I guess you also need to learn the jazz vocabulary.
From Danielle Gomez
Posted on May 29, 2012 at 4:55 PM
I think a lot of that has to do with your training. In classical music it's pretty black and white as to what is "right" and "wrong." Jazz is mostly a grey area which I think scares the classically trained violinist.

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