[Harp-L] All this Positions and Modes stuff

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Wed Oct 31 11:34:16 EDT 2018

Smo-joe wrote:
"The only problem I have with this subject is that I know several people
who can elucidate on and on about positions, modes, scales, structures.
Mixolodian, Fridgedaireian,
Acrophobian, etc., but they can?t play. I mean, ok, yeah, they can play but
they don?t ?have it?. In an effort to not be too uncharitable I hesitate to
use the word boring, so I will try bland. Sometimes I think players pay too
much attention to the hole and not the donut. "

It's true that there are plenty of people who know lots of theory who can't
play very well.  it's also true that there are plenty of people who don't
know any theory who can't play well.

In general, people who put time and effort into learning play better than
people who don't.  "Learning" means challenging yourself to acquire
knowledge and skills.  There are lots of ways to acquire both.  But some
things require different approaches. If you want to know what Little Walter
did, you have to listen often and carefully.  If you want to understand how
Beethoven put a symphony together, you have to add theory into the mix.

I don't reject one approach to learning just because it's not the one that
a particular artist used.  Every artist--every person--has strengths and
limitations.  If I admire the strengths, I don't worry about the
limitations.  I just go elsewhere to pick up on a different set of
strengths when I need to.

I won't tell anybody else how to learn or what to learn, but I don't have a
lot of respect for people who've decided they don't need to learn anything
more than they already know.  They're not growing, and if you're not
growing, you're fading.  So keep learning.

Regards, Richard Hunter

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