Friday, 27 April 2012

What about the rudiments?

What about the rudiments?

What a lovely word - rudiments! You don't seem to hear the word much nowadays, but back in my distant youth, budding musicians were told "you need to learn the rudiments of music!" Great books were published on the subject, all designed to make the learning of music look very complicated (so it seemed to me), so musicians could say "look how clever I am, I learnt the rudiments of music a long time ago!"

I love music, I love jazz and I think it is in all of us to become musicians and we as existing musicians want these days to welcome everyone who wants to into our world - well I do anyway!

Back to the rudiments, if you Wikipedia the rudiments of music you will see that they include musical notation, pitch, time, scales, key signatures, time signatures, and intervals, together with their typical uses in melody and harmony.

Yes of course, to be an accomplished musician you will need to look all those aspects of music (and more) to play a musical instrument, and to play instrument well, may take many years of hard work.

Thats what I like about jazz, jazz was born in the USA, mainly in the south and in the New Orleans area especially. Many famous jazz musicians didn't know anything about the rudiments of music, but they had one great asset when they learned how to play jazz - they listened to it!  In fact, they probably couldn't avoid listening to it, it was everywhere, in the street, the cafes and restaurants, the bawdy houses (lots of those!) - everywhere.

Kids that wanted to play jazz, picked up a trumpet, found a piano, blew a trombone, found a box to drum on and imitated what they heard. This was, and is still, the best way to learn jazz, the problem is that it takes many years of imitation to learn to play as good as the guys you wanted to imitate.

How can you make a shortcut to those many years? Well you have to learn the rudiments, the rudiments of jazz!

A good way is to come on a jazz workshop and listen to the tutors, and interact with the other players on the course, it will still take a bit of time (nothing worth doing is achieved in a short space of time!) but it get you on the road to becoming a jazz musician, and to you, eventually, the rudiments of music will be yours!

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