- A lot of the readers didn’t seem too impressed with the classic music you recommended. The truth is they are not too impressed with classic music at all.
- Any musician should listen openly to any other genre. A lot of guitarists were inspired by jazz and classic music, even when they played rock. The problem with the weakening popularity of classic music is the change in the listening habits.
- Does it require a special kind of concentration from the listener?
- All music deserves listener’s full attention but there are pieces of music so subtle that they request a certain effort in order to experience their entire richness. When have you really listened to music lately? I mean, just sitting with your eyes closed and listen – not driving, not shaving, not writing, not working, not sleeping – just using the whole possible potential of your brain to listen.
- I have to reckon that I don’t seem to find time for that.
- That’s exactly the problem. Modern life doesn’t leave any time for most of the joys a human being is entitled to. The Education System and Society Conventions produce robots (or should I call them professionals?) that are tamed to work but don’t get any means of access to emotional enjoyment. That’s why I always tried to open the ears and the eyes of my guitar students to certain fields that are hardly neglected by school.
- Do they become better guitarists?
- They become better musicians and this implies they become also better guitarists. Let’s take the example of Al di Meola, whose music changed dramatically after listening to Astor Piazzolla. Or Frank Zappa’s influence on Steve Vai and Mike Keneally. Most of the time, the influence is not a direct one. Steve Vai doesn't make Zappa oriented music but Zappa's spiritual freedom seems to be there, somehow. Anyway, more than in the music of the other shredders.
- It involves a lot of study and knowledge to get refined patterns in one’s music.
- One of the biggest mistakes musicians make is to listen to music in a technical way. Their ears try to guess chords and intervals. Music was not made for this. Listeners – musicians included – should relax and let their subconsciousness get the feeling that the composer or the improviser tries to communicate.
- So there’s no difference between an ordinary listener and a musician.
- Not in an emotional way. The artistic side of a musician is influenced by everything s/he listens to and, sooner or later, the most powerful impressions will emerge.
Al Di Meola – Consequence of Chaos Jam
Astor Piazzolla – Adio Noniño
Frank Zappa and Steve Vai – Stevie’s Spanking
Mike Keneally – Beer for Dolphins