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  1. #1
    Good Enough Space_Cowboy's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 12:25 PM
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    Default Who here has taken music in college?

    I'm thinking of taking a music course at college. Its mostly jazz orientend and you have to pass an audition and theory test to get in. I'm not sure of taking it because I don't have any jazz influences. It's not that I don't like jazz its just that I listen to mostly rock and metal.
    I'm looking to hear from people who have tried a similar audtion and/or took a similar program. This college is supposed to be very "prestigious" and I want to know what I would be up against and what I can even do with a diploma like that.

  2. #2
    Eruption TheMightyCopenHalenII's Avatar
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    07.16.12 @ 10:56 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Space_Cowboy
    I'm thinking of taking a music course at college. Its mostly jazz orientend and you have to pass an audition and theory test to get in. I'm not sure of taking it because I don't have any jazz influences. It's not that I don't like jazz its just that I listen to mostly rock and metal.
    I'm looking to hear from people who have tried a similar audtion and/or took a similar program. This college is supposed to be very "prestigious" and I want to know what I would be up against and what I can even do with a diploma like that.
    Me an a fellow picker of mine, decide to drop by the 146th USAF Band (mostly jazz based as far as guitar) for a while. Their main six stringer is an agile dude - but that doesn't mean to say he could or couldn't rip on some Halen passages or Eric Johnson style all over the fretboard style alternate picking. I could give two shits about reading music, but a buddy of mine was considering goin with their squadron. If you don't ready already, you know - I know, and he suggested a variety of methods of learning or brushing up on reading.

    There's plenty of info online as far as modes, scales, comping, and other jazz techniques go - for free. If you like Country, there's alot of stuff in Clint Black's music as well as Western swing that employs some of the same chord changes and techniques that can apply to Jazz. Charlie Christian, Holdsworth, and Jeff Beck's first two jazz oriented solo albums (If Fusion is acceptable) might be a good place to start. If you don't already have a fast pick hand, Frank Gambale and Al DiMeola would be a good place to start in that respect (this is not to imply that I am greatly influenced by any of those guys - but I really like Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel).

    Sounds simple enough, but if I were you, I'd practice my ass off covering the ins and outs, and maybe write songs or progressions to practice lead off of so you don't get bored-and at the same time, if you're not into jazz style rhythm playing, it will give you a chance to hone that too. And if you already don't have a good metronome, get one. Alot of those guys get off on odd meter stuff (myself, if it's in time, I dig it). I've got some simplified learn to read articles in old magazines if you want a scan of it, as well as other stuff.
    Up until about 94, some country playing had some great jazz/western swing attributes in it, so if you like, it that's also a good place to start. I wish you the best man, but to keep it interesting, maybe you should spend more time with fusion type of stuff (I'm not talking Santana) if it will keep you more interested, while at the same time not neglecting traditional single note runs, comping, arpeggios, octaves, fingerstyle dudes, etc. Eric Johnson employs a good number of jazz idioms in some kickass songs, so that's a good place to start - although, if you haven't tried any of his stuff before, he fires off some pretty intense passages.

    P.S. There was a guy on here that was a finalist in the Guitar Player/Guitar World Contest of some sort, and he's heavy into fusion, jazz and other shit. I'm sure he could help you out alot more than I can. But as far as the theory, if you say after one beer fuck it, maybe it isn't for you, but best of luck man.
    Last edited by TheMightyCopenHalenII; 10.16.05 at 11:48 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I studied music at a liberal arts college in western MI for 4 semesters. It was 2 theory courses, 2 music history courses, private lessons on piano, plus 2 semesters of choir and 3 seasons of singing in the student/alumni society group.

    The thing I call tell you is that if you're into popular music the professors will eat you alive (unless you get a professor who themselves likes popular music). I am a guitarist who's been playing by ear since 15 years old. First thing I learned was that playing by ear is *not* what these guys want to hear. They want you to come into the program having a working knowledge of 4 part harmony on the piano and being able to read it as if you're typing out a report from a manuscript ... and/or the ability to play the violin, again from the "little black dots" as Steve Vai likes to call them. I couldn't do that so it was tough from day 1.

    If you're going to try and you're a guitar player and not a piano player and really a music reader ... consider your first year theory course a BOOT CAMP for music. Live,sleep, eat, & breathe music theory for a semester or two. (If I hadn't dated anyone during those first two semesters I might have gotten better grades too!) That basis will ultimately pull you through BUT if you've never has piano lessons or anything prior to the course, it will be tough and the prof. will see right through you. Take this from my own experience.

    As for the knowledge you'll gain ... its huge. I still don't read the "little black dots" very well but as a guitar player I can do things I never thought possible now with that theory boot camp behind me. I've been out of college now for 10 years, but I still challenge myself to go back to the theory books and learn the voice-leading and harmony stuff because that was a challenge to me. I'm also still trying to teach myself piano by looking at the notes on the page but ultimately my ear always takes over and I end up playing by ear or from Memory (and I've done that ever since I was in 5th grade band playing my ... ahem ... clarinet. My band teachers HATED me because I never read the music ... I memorized it as if it were sequences of finger movements.)

    Good luck where-ever you end up.
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  4. #4
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    I studied music for two years at Salford University in Manchester, England. Although there was a jazz focus it wasn't required at entry, you just needed the will to learn. Musically, I can't begin to measure what I gained from it. I'm from a small 'city' in Nortern Ireland and I was used to being the top dog guitarist and basically thought I knew it all when I went there. Oh, did I get a wake up call when I got there! After a week I realised I was at best mediocre.

    I can't say the course gave me any practical leg ups in terms of job prospects, but musically it transformed things for me. That I can play a solo over pretty much anything is thanks to what I learned there. It also introduced me to areas like music technology - I'm talking 1990 here so it was cave man stuff. I learned how to load a reel to reel multitrack, how to splice tape with a scalpel, but most importantly it introduced me to computer based music making and that has stood me in good stead over the years.

    Anyway, without knowing what you course actually requires for entry all I'll say is practice like hell. If you want to tackle some jazz improvisation I suggest you start simple with some modal stuff. That'll get you started on how notes relate to the chord you're playing over. Reading music is a big weakness for most guitarists (but no problem for most other instrumentalists) so that'll be something to tackle too.

    Funny, there is definitely a heirarchy in a music college when it comes to differnt skills. Guitarists have a good sense of harmony and scales but suck at reading. Brass, reed and woodwind players can read perfectly and know their scales inside out but struggle with harmony. Piano players are the best all rounders which is why you'll find them in 'musical director' positions. And drummers are, well, drummers!
    HERE AND GONE by Haylen Beck (Stuart Neville writing as...) - "It doesn't get better than this." - Lee Child, "Highly recommended." - Harlan Coben, "Cancel all your plans and settle in for the ride." - Ruth Ware, "This is a book that lives up to the buzz." - Alafair Burke

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  5. #5
    Good Enough Space_Cowboy's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 12:25 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charvel2
    I studied music for two years at Salford University in Manchester, England. Although there was a jazz focus it wasn't required at entry, you just needed the will to learn. Musically, I can't begin to measure what I gained from it. I'm from a small 'city' in Nortern Ireland and I was used to being the top dog guitarist and basically thought I knew it all when I went there. Oh, did I get a wake up call when I got there! After a week I realised I was at best mediocre.

    I can't say the course gave me any practical leg ups in terms of job prospects, but musically it transformed things for me. That I can play a solo over pretty much anything is thanks to what I learned there. It also introduced me to areas like music technology - I'm talking 1990 here so it was cave man stuff. I learned how to load a reel to reel multitrack, how to splice tape with a scalpel, but most importantly it introduced me to computer based music making and that has stood me in good stead over the years.

    Anyway, without knowing what you course actually requires for entry all I'll say is practice like hell. If you want to tackle some jazz improvisation I suggest you start simple with some modal stuff. That'll get you started on how notes relate to the chord you're playing over. Reading music is a big weakness for most guitarists (but no problem for most other instrumentalists) so that'll be something to tackle too.

    Funny, there is definitely a heirarchy in a music college when it comes to differnt skills. Guitarists have a good sense of harmony and scales but suck at reading. Brass, reed and woodwind players can read perfectly and know their scales inside out but struggle with harmony. Piano players are the best all rounders which is why you'll find them in 'musical director' positions. And drummers are, well, drummers!

    Thanks so much for the great replies, this is a lot to consider.. The course is a three-year music diploma program in jazz and commercial music. I just started taking private lessons to get me prepared and I've started studying theory. I am majoring in guitar so I don't have to worry about knowing how to play piano or violin. For the audiotion I'm required to know scales, reading, chords and "basic jazz blues improvising". I have to prepare a chord melody on any standard jazz or pop tune of my own arrangement. "This is where you are playing your own chordal accompianment to make the guitar a complete self-contained instrument."

    The sight reading is the most intimidating out of it all for me. I can only imagine what the actual course will be like if I have this much difficulty with the audition requirements! I have fast fingers and as far as technique is concerned I have no worries but I'm definately not cocky. I have a lot of work ahead of me but it definately looks like its worth it. The audition is in May and I'm going to study my ass off and work hard until then. I'm already in College for somthing else right now but I would love to be around other musicans and learn somthing I truly love.

  6. #6
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    09.05.15 @ 12:20 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charvel2
    And drummers are, well, drummers!
    Ain't that the truth!
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  7. #7
    Sinner's Swing! Rick S's Avatar
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    06.23.17 @ 09:49 PM
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    too bad they dont have a college course for rock guitar , but then again there wouldnt be much rules or theory. heh heh.
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 08:52 AM
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    I took music for about a year and a half at Ohio State however it was for trumpet, not guitar.

    It was very tough for me for a few reasons. For one, in high school, I was pretty good at trumpet. Eventually was first chair and was the shizznet in our high school. Had awards, solo's, heck even had a float for me in the Orange Bowl Parade. However I also discovered guitar and found that it was my real love.

    My first year in school, I had nothing to do with music outside of picking up some easy electives for non-music majors. Music Appreciation class and Piano were pretty easy A's. However my other classes were subpar so I decided if I loved music, let me get a degree. I started practicing the trumpet and after an audition got into the music program.

    What happened was very intimidating. Everybody in my classes was as good as me on my instrument. Some a little better, some a little worse but nevertheless when we got together and played, it sounded better than anything in high school. I could not coast anymore and had to practice a lot.

    The classes were tough. Music Theory at first was pretty easy because I had a year of it in High School. I could read music (since there are no tabs for trumpet) however it soon became clear that the pace was pretty frantic. In about a month, we covered a year's worth of High School theory.

    The class that kicked my butt though was called Aural Training. It developed your ear by you either singing or recognizing pitches from the piano. I can't sing so I was at a disadvantage with my frog voice. The interval training on piano was ok at first however by the second and third classes you had to say that was a 6add9th chord. Maybe not that bad but you get the point.

    What eventually happened to me is that it became work and then I found out I did not want to play my guitar at all. I wanted to disassociate myself from music during my spare time. Before that it was the other way around. Eventually I left the program.

    Now that does not mean this will happen to you. Maybe if I was playing guitar it would have been different. However even if that was the case, only a third of my classes involved my instrument. The rest was theory, ear training and history.

    You do learn a lot though and you are involved with very talented people. Anyway that is my two cents.....

  9. #9
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    08.28.17 @ 03:27 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls
    I took music for about a year and a half at Ohio State however it was for trumpet, not guitar.

    It was very tough for me for a few reasons. For one, in high school, I was pretty good at trumpet. Eventually was first chair and was the shizznet in our high school. Had awards, solo's, heck even had a float for me in the Orange Bowl Parade. However I also discovered guitar and found that it was my real love.

    My first year in school, I had nothing to do with music outside of picking up some easy electives for non-music majors. Music Appreciation class and Piano were pretty easy A's. However my other classes were subpar so I decided if I loved music, let me get a degree. I started practicing the trumpet and after an audition got into the music program.

    What happened was very intimidating. Everybody in my classes was as good as me on my instrument. Some a little better, some a little worse but nevertheless when we got together and played, it sounded better than anything in high school. I could not coast anymore and had to practice a lot.

    The classes were tough. Music Theory at first was pretty easy because I had a year of it in High School. I could read music (since there are no tabs for trumpet) however it soon became clear that the pace was pretty frantic. In about a month, we covered a year's worth of High School theory.

    The class that kicked my butt though was called Aural Training. It developed your ear by you either singing or recognizing pitches from the piano. I can't sing so I was at a disadvantage with my frog voice. The interval training on piano was ok at first however by the second and third classes you had to say that was a 6add9th chord. Maybe not that bad but you get the point.

    What eventually happened to me is that it became work and then I found out I did not want to play my guitar at all. I wanted to disassociate myself from music during my spare time. Before that it was the other way around. Eventually I left the program.

    Now that does not mean this will happen to you. Maybe if I was playing guitar it would have been different. However even if that was the case, only a third of my classes involved my instrument. The rest was theory, ear training and history.

    You do learn a lot though and you are involved with very talented people. Anyway that is my two cents.....
    Exact same thing happened to me. I went to college for Music, and my instrument at the time was Tenor Sax. In high school I was the man. All-Catholic Band, first chair in EVERY band we had. I was in about 16-20 bands at one point, varying in all styles from rock-salsa. Playin horn was just IT for me. I was such a geek that I would get up everyday at around 6am to get to school as early as I could, so I could hit the band room before my 1st period class. I was just hooked.

    Well when I got to college it was a totally different story. I got assigned to be in the legendary Mrs. Trudy Pitts' jazz ensamble. Any of you cats that know jazz will know that Trudy is one of the best jazz organ/piano players that ever lived. And I also had private lessons with Bill Douglas at the Academy Of Music, and also Mr. Larry McKenna who is one of the greatest tenor sax men ever. He's played with Sinatra, Woody Herman, Basie, etc. He'd pick up my sax and lay down some licks and just floor me. He's also the only guy I've ever seen write out a complete jazz tune, with solo and chord names in about 10 minutes or so. He's just amazing. Well believe me it was a tough road for me.

    Eventually I dropped out due to some monetary issues, and the fact that guitar was really what I wanted to do. I don't regret all the knowledge and contacts that I came away with from my short college experience. Can't wait to get back, although it won't be for music. Just as Ziggy though, eventually it became work because it wasn't really what I wanted to do deep down. I think that's when I really became engulfed with sports because I didn't really want to do music anymore. Didn't want to play sax, listen too jazz, and all the rest.

    I've since picked up guitar and have found myself. The college expereince, albeit tough as hell, was great for me in many ways.
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  10. #10
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    I borrowed a college roommate's CD and never gave it back. So yeah, I guess I too took music in college.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls
    The class that kicked my butt though was called Aural Training. It developed your ear by you either singing or recognizing pitches from the piano. I can't sing so I was at a disadvantage with my frog voice. The interval training on piano was ok at first however by the second and third classes you had to say that was a 6add9th chord. Maybe not that bad but you get the point.
    My first class every Monday morning was Aural Transcription. You were sat down with a pencil and a piece of manuscript paper and the tutor would play a tape and you had to just write it out. It was tough as hell, everybody hated it. After a year of that class, though, one evening I sat down to learn DLR's A Little Ain't Enough - I played the tape once through and, apart from the solo, knew every note. That was some good training! We didn't get the class in second year and everybody ended up really missing it.
    HERE AND GONE by Haylen Beck (Stuart Neville writing as...) - "It doesn't get better than this." - Lee Child, "Highly recommended." - Harlan Coben, "Cancel all your plans and settle in for the ride." - Ruth Ware, "This is a book that lives up to the buzz." - Alafair Burke

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  12. #12
    Pope Of Greenwich Village SuckaInA3Piece's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charvel2
    My first class every Monday morning was Aural Transcription. You were sat down with a pencil and a piece of manuscript paper and the tutor would play a tape and you had to just write it out. It was tough as hell, everybody hated it. After a year of that class, though, one evening I sat down to learn DLR's A Little Ain't Enough - I played the tape once through and, apart from the solo, knew every note. That was some good training! We didn't get the class in second year and everybody ended up really missing it.
    If you have the tab for ALAE please let me know. I've wanted to learn that song for ages.
    "It's always a Catch-22 situation. They hate you if you're the same, and they hate you if you're different."
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    I will second the posting on Aural transcription ... its worth the work. Our prof in first and second semester theory did rhythmic (imagine a prof tapping his pen on his desk and us having to transcribe that) and melodic dictation (same thing but only on the piano) ... and then of course the recorded aural dictation (I seem to remember cello and flute being the two dominant instruments used on the recordings).

    Anyways, I've had the same experience since then ... I've heard recordings and been able to play it in a short amount of time. I should remember that when my guitar students ask me how to do that =) .

    Knowing how to play by ear is, for myself, a vice I cannot seem to break. Even during those theory classes I kept asking, "Why all the rules? Why shouldn't there be parallel 5ths here or there? If it sounds good, why care?" That's probably the reason my prof and I didn't get along... or why my grades were lower than average. I swallow my pride, however, the experience was great and I still play by ear.

 

 

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