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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 5:05 pm 
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Just for fun and marshmallow recipes, let's noodle this.

Standard instruction courses and rankings often place people in one of three categories, being: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

I wonder if "Advanced" is something of a trailhead where people arrive by different means and from there branch out to other trails. Most go lateral from there, some may go higher. What is higher than "advanced"?

What may be happening with "Advanced":
a) instrument instructors, based on having great ability on the instrument, with music theory training
b) music composer at cognoscenti level, but has only intermediate to early "advanced" talent on instruments
c) very high performance level and music knowledge, well balanced roles in music field (Mary Bergin, Chieftains, etc.)
d) a mostly private, non-session, non-gigging musician at at least an "advanced" level in either institutionally-designated credit level or in skill developed by practice and persistence (players we rarely hear about)
e) the progressing, highly talented and very dedicated younger talent who seems to have the musical MUSE all in their favor and we may seen them on recordings, at gigs, touring, in bands, but in general they're gaining in capacity.
f) standard high performance talent who plateaus in their ability at a common high level, adequate for the style of music they're in. Not "the very best" by any means, but highly reliable and not to be faulted.

Areas above common standards of "Advanced":
a) Virtuoso: uninhibited great natural talent, they can redefine what happens with "advanced" (like Jeff Beck, Paganini, top Celtic fiddlers, Django Reinhardt, some singers, etc.)
b) Visionary: talent on instruments but also create new music that uses instruments and music in new ways
c) Social Tornado: probably an intermediate to advanced instrumentalist with influence and activity of great accomplishment at a still higher level, due to being proactive at realizing opportunities to practice, gig, relate and socialize with other musicians and people in the music marketplace. These people may not be a pro musicians, but they are life-long interested in music and love working with people; they get things done and pride themselves on that. Probably more along the lines of "project" thinker musicians. This could include instructors who make progress by altering the way music is taught, promoted or played.
d) Echo: may likely be very talented on instruments, maybe only solidly as intro-level Advanced, but is employed or engaged in the music world so regularly, and associating with high talent or busy activity so regularly, that they get involved in high attainment levels of musical projects as contributors other than by a musical instrument. This might include orchestrators, backup musicians, instrument specialists, harmony vocalists, recording engineers who are also musicians, instrument designers, instrument makers, some composers, jingle writers, etc. These people don't get the spotlight, but work near to it.
e) Natural. This person may never develop beyond Beginner or Intermediate in personal performance talent, but music is their #1 language and they understand, appreciate and immerse themselves in music to a degree that gives them a "high advanced" awareness, resonance and vocabulary of music in the music sense. This isn't easy to describe in words, since it's a purely musical principle going on. Music is often their conscious energy, their wavelength, they live music. This can include dancers, singers, instrument designers.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:10 pm 
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Nice analysis, RoberTunes.

RoberTunes wrote:
What is higher than "advanced"?

Rhetorical irony aside, the answer would be "more advanced" - but ordinarily that can only be measured in a relative way, and not always satisfactorily: A and B are both considered advanced, but A's fingering is the more adroit, whereas B's command of rhythm makes people want to dance. These things don't follow straight lines. Now, should A also learn B's special command of rhythm but B's fingering remains the same as ever, then we can perhaps say that A has become more advanced than B - but the point is that we can only do it through comparison, and in this big, wide world of whistling, where do you even start? As many a wise head has told me, "Remember: There's always someone better." Keeping that in mind, "advanced" becomes strictly relative.

If someone I consider advanced should call me advanced, then I suppose it's fair enough to accept that it must be so, even if I have reservations about it. But if you have to ask, you probably aren't.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:26 am 
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Well Robertunes there's a lot more there than I can digest at 6am.

Trad musicians have been placed is the situation of having to come up with some sort of hierarchy, for example when they work in academia.

What comes to mind is Leo Rowsome's university course. I would think that to satisfy the Powers That Be he would have had to come up with a syllabus covering his course of study, breaking being a 'complete piper' into discrete bits etc.

Where this has been done, on a wide scale and over a wide time frame (over a half-century) is in Bulgaria.

In the 1950s the Powers That Be decided that Bulgarian traditional instrumental music, vocal music, and dance would be taught at all University levels. For instrumental music they plucked the best players in the country out of their rural villages, gave them a cram course in Western Music Theory, and set them up as University teachers in charge of degree programs.

Now, 60-odd years on, generations of excellent bagpipers, fluteplayers, string players, and percussionists have come out of these programs.

I had the good fortune to study under one of these Bulgarian Uni teachers here in California, where he was a guest/visiting professor at UCLA.

There were two bad things about it: 1) he didn't speak any English, and I don't speak any Bulgarian 2) he was completely fixed upon his usual University syllabus and would not vary from it one iota. He was used to his new students being teenagers that would be under his fulltime tutelage for years. I was an adult that would be taking weekly lessons for a few months.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:12 am 
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The Pat Mitchell article is interesting. This section caught my attention:

Quote:
If we shift the focus from virtuosity to music, and specifically to Irish traditional dance music, then some points emerge (most of them subjective, but I’ll try to expand on them later):
• There was conviction in the playing of both pipers mentioned – you sensed that they ‘meant what they were saying’ and most definitely were not just going through the motions.
• Their playing gave a ‘lift to the heart’ – one felt a distinct sense of elation while listening to their playing.
• The pace was slow and steady. They played with a regular beat – did not waver all over the place.
• The rhythm was marked – a strong pulse ran through their jig and reel playing.
• The phrasing was strong – phrase ‘statement and response’ (details later in text) were clearly articulated.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:14 am 
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Advanced beginner is the only term I'll recognize in the infinite world of music. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2020 3:12 pm 
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I'd say we are all there..
Advance = move forwards in a purposeful way.

Some quicker than others but we are all more advanced now than when we started playing music. The problem occurs when we stop advancing or think we have arrived.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:04 am 
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There was a period of around a decade when I was going around teaching workshops at various festivals and music camps.

What I found out that each attendee at a workshop has a unique musical background and skill-set.

So my first job, since I hate "one size fits all" teaching, was to get to know each of the people, what they knew, what they didn't know, and what they wanted to get out of the workshop.

What they wanted, and what they needed, were often different things! Like the guy who wanted to learn all sorts of ornaments when he couldn't play with a steady beat. Or the woman who wanted to learn a load of Irish tunes who was trying to play the Irish flute like a Baroque recorder.

So it's a single workshop but a dozen lesson plans tailored to each person's needs.

That made, to me, workshop labels like "intermediate" and "advanced" meaningless.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:07 am 
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Ketil wrote:
Advance = move forwards in a purposeful way.


But when you add that "d" to the end...

They've already arrived...but to where?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:00 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
They've already arrived...but to where?

Not to where, but from where: Clearly, one has advanced beyond the condition of the beginner. Taking a stab at how advanced: Look to how big the difference is.

We've all agreed that the "advanced" concept is only a useful convenience for when we're flapping our jaws, because as soon as we try to grasp it, it disappears - but I'm not so convinced it defies measure altogether. "Beginner" is something we have a clearer idea of, so what has gone before can give us a base to measure from, albeit only in a most relative way. When you advance beyond a point, you have landed, in effect, in terra incognita, and only the past gives you any frame of reference until such time as the advance becomes itself a frame of reference for the next advance.

Time and again people want to think that advancement should by definition be purposeful, but frequently enough it doesn't actually work that way. Many of my advances have been unexpected, or were different from what I'd expected based on a previous but now-outmoded understanding. Stay open to serendipity as well as purpose.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:38 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Personally I would look slightly askance at the term "advanced whistle player" because I wouldn't know what it was supposed to mean.

For the sake of brevity, I have only quoted that one part of a very excellent post by Richard.

I also wouldn't know how to precisely define an "advanced whistle player." That is very much an abstract term, and I am not the sort of person who deals well with abstractions. I would, however, agree that one who does not play in time and in tune (such as myself) could not be considered close to advanced. For whatever it's worth, I consider myself a beginner who is making progress.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:59 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Ketil wrote:
Advance = move forwards in a purposeful way.


But when you add that "d" to the end...
They've already arrived...but to where?


For myself and for talking about other musicians, I like the idea of avoiding the "advanced" or graded terms altogether and remaining in the exploring, growing and creative experiences.

Creativity always needs direct experience, and to be protected as a process. Smugness ("I'm so advanced I'm at the top of the musical hill!"), or intimidation ("I'll never be as good as _____ so it's no use.") are both based on suffering from delusions that should be walked around and forgotten. How to protect the creative process, has been haunting my attention daily for the last few years as I try to work on some writing and music projects. When it's working, such bliss!

And as for the "beginner" term too, how harsh of a misjudgment that may be, to think that just because someone may be a relative new performer on a particular instrument, that they are a musical "beginner", when we have no idea whatsoever how they experience, appreciate or are inclined to express music. Their skill level on an instrument can change rapidly, and has next to nothing to do with how they appreciate music in general. So why label?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:51 pm 
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Ya to me advanced doesnt mean much its just a title and it totally depends on who your asking what "advanced" is. I wanted to say advanced is being able to play everything you want, and well. But if you only wanted to play really basic tunes than playing them well isnt really "advanced". Which makes me want to say that advanced is being able to play a lot of different things, well, even without caring to actually play them. Then if the person chooses to only play hot cross buns, but they can play harder songs and play super well, they seem pretty good. And advanced is just a high level of "good".

But just my 2c to me it doesnt matter how good people are as long as they are happy with their playing and don't think they are amazing (and like flex talking about how pro they are) when they arent. Which is nobody here haha.


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