CongaDr+ Tony's Conga Adventures: Methods of study - brain storming

Friday, September 26, 2008

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Methods of study - brain storming

Talking to Mike had me thinking.

He is so professional in how he studies.

I made a comment to a student the other day that the craft of playing this style of music is interesting, in that you have to be a professional player, performer, and student - each skill with its own set of technical demands, and utilized talents.

Being a professional student is something i thought i left behind, once upon a foggy Santa Cruz morning in 97.

But i should know better.. i love the hunt.

I do think it's all a grand replacement for chasing down, killing and eating prey. All the patterns are there. These percussion troupes are like packs of hunting wolves, succinctly orchestrated to outwit the prey. Primal? sure...

The more i learn about this tradition, the more it is amazing and full of complexities. It must be nice to be cats like Carlos and Sandy, who have it all of it comfortably tucked away in their minds.

It reminds me of studying Economics at UCSC... it all seemed so confusing, in it's entirety, and then your mind finds the language, and the patterns appear, as if by magic.

I took a double major at the university, Econ and Environmental Studies. That was hard, for me anyway, as they were such different majors, but this AfroCuban tradition is very difficult, to state it lightly.

Becoming a master of this tradition is similar to a four year degree, seemingly. That is assuming on has preparation as a musician on the instrument since you were young, like they prepare one to read to succeed in college.

There are, of course, Triple Doctorates like Carlos around, but the designation of master of this tradition, does come with about maters level of work, as an American academic would look at it.

I have developed a system of working on learning a tradition other than the one you were born into. It involves listening, watching, reading and charting, private instruction, cultural assimilation, live performance and practice. Developing the awareness of what you need, is always the hardest part.

Rereading this post, i guess my goal is to master the tradition... i always seem to pick the elusive goals... Ill be lucky to pay my respects...


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