Playing Instruments.

(Jei Cheetah) #1

I play piano, and its actually a weird relationship that me and the piano have had.

Started out at the age of 6 when my parents wanted me to take up an instrument. I didn’t want to but they forced me into it.
For the next 8 years of my life, I went through intensive classical piano training by a VERY strict chinese piano teacher. She would hit if you got notes wrong, yell and scold very sternly constantly. I was always scared and was forced to practice countless hours. I was constantly being shoved around to recitals and shows. And I hated it, but my parents wanted me to keep at it.
I hated piano, I really did, and I hated the songs that the teacher made me play. I never learned a single song that I actually WANTED to learn, it was all these fancy classical pieces and nothing else. Not even allowed to experiment or try something.
After 8 years, I had it, I quit, I didn’t care how upset my parents or teacher would be, I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I refused to go near the piano, and my parents ended up giving it away.
Fastforward to about a year and 1/2 ago.
I hadn’t played piano for years, I was just done with it. But I came across a youtube video of a guy playing one of my favorite trance songs (Im huge into trance, its a big part of my life), and in related videos, there was a tutorial for how to play the song. I had no piano so I passed it by, but as I kept looking through youtube and seeing people do covers of songs I always really enjoyed, I thought, ugh, I kinda wish I had a piano again.
So I ended up buying a keyboard (with actual piano feel, I hate those plastic clacky key keyboards) and had a new approach to it. I found that after years of being away from the piano, my fingers werent as flowy as they were before, and I had totally forgotten how to read music, I knew it so well and now I look at a music sheet and think (the hay is this?), but I had hope, I have a good ear and hearing individual notes within complex chords and whatever else seemed to come easily for me. I started playing again without any sheet music, nothing, just me, listening to songs I liked, and doing it on the keys. And soon, I started creating my own stuff and actually ENJOYING playing.

Its weird when I think back, but it makes sense. When forced into it, forced to play only what the teacher wanted to hear, no freedom whatsoever, I hated it. But when I found my interest in playing what I WANTED to play, free from rules and limitations and restrictions, thats where I found my genuine love for the instrument again. And thats how it should be. I believe an instrument is an extension of the creativity of your mind, and when you try to put all these rules and restrictions and technical jabber into it, it takes away from what it should be. I may get stuck up remarks from my classically trained friends now who keep trying to say I have no form, I dont know whatever that technical term or whatever is, or I don’t know the difference between whatever fancy name arrangement and the next is, but whatever, buck that. I enjoy what I do, I like what I hear, and I don’t play for peoples approval although its nice. Its what I want to do, and what my mind lets into the light.

Just sayin, if you find yourselves in these situations where you are learning to play only what a teacher is trying tell you, and being bombarded with all this fancy jargon. Buck it. Music is all about creativity and what you express. Try playing by ear sometime, forget sheet music, see what happens.

It greatly benefited me.



Yoyo and music are disciplines. You must learn your fundamentals before you can really move onto what you want to do. It’s a matter of training your mind and body to know how to do the right things automatically.

I’m having similar issues with one of my kids and piano, who is being forced by my wife to learn it. Granted, I want her to learn it too, but I’m the one forced to FORCE her to practice, and I’m about ready to get a mace and beat her about the head and torso with it to get her to practice. I’m sick of having to have a 30 minute screaming festival to get her to MAYBE practice and I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve quite literally said “Eff it, I got better stuff to do with my time” and am no longer participating. It’s difficult, but she isn’t interested and forcing this kind of stuff goes against my personal points of view. Part of it is the fact that she doesn’t like any of the music, which I have to admit, I can agree with, but we all have to do stuff in order to learn and she can’t see that far ahead. So many songs are written as “studies” to learn specific small disciplines.

Note, I can read music, I can fumble my way around a keyboard. My strengths are actually recording, live sound and sequencing. I’m not performance oriented as in being the musician, I’m performance oriented as in “mixing the band live”

Similarly, with yoyo, I mean, how practical are many of the tricks? But, if we look carefully at a different level on the material being presented at YYE, look at the order it’s being presented. One skill element at a time. Gravity pull leads to sleeper. Sleeper leads to walk the dog, which leads to creeper. Then we back out of that and go to forward pass, which is a building block to around the world. Then we stop that and go to Rock the Baby, which introduces us to string manipulation, then onto jamaican flag, which starts us on picture trucks. Eiffel Tower shows us how to pull strings. Then we go into break-away, which is kind of an abstract at this point, but it breaks things up a bit. Then to Pop The Clutch, which shows us how our body can be used to manipulate the string.

Then we go into trapeze, which starts with break-away(see, that’s why we learned it earlier). Dizzy Baby expands on Rock the Baby. Brain Twister comes from sleeper and a simple element from Rock the Baby but introduces us to threading and then throwing the yoyo on the string. Stop and go is based on Brain Twister. Double or nothing brings trapeze to a new level by doubling it up. Then we get into the split bottom mount and a bunch of tricks based around that.

We have to learn our fundamentals and basics first to have a strong foundation to build on.

Once we have that foundation, we’re at a point where we can let our creativity enter the picture. In the case that Jayyo is showing, just his growing lack of personal satisfaction and gratification soured his piano experience. Trust me, I know of what he speaks. But for that kind of length of time, individual’s creativity and desires to learn outside the traditional textbooks and classical pieces needs to be allowed to be explored. It can show students where they are failing an or lacking, which often drives them to learn more. Balance between “teacher mandates” and “student initiative” must be resolved. Hammering on stuff the student isn’t really passionate about for such things isn’t always productive unless there’s a reason behind this.

So, I don’t completely agree, but I don’t completely disagree. Without the foundation, the creativity will lack the proper understanding for it to be expressed properly. Now, at what point do you have sufficient foundation, that’s a very individual question. Fight the system at your own peril, because it may turn around and fight you back, and when it does, you WILL lose. At the same time, be humble, accept the need to learn more to get to your end goals, and work hard at it.

I’ve been mixing bands for over 20 years. I learn something new each and every single gig. I have the fundamentals and knowledge to handle anything, but that doesn’t mean I stopped learning. And don’t think because I’m an engineer I can’t be creative. There’s art in using a console. It’s more than just button pressing, knob twisting and fader pulling.

When you’re learning, look to your long term goals, not the short term and immediate objectives. Work towards that larger goal, the big picture, where you want to be with it.

For me, with yoyo, I find most of this frustrating, because it’s not coming easy to me and it’s a fight. Mine you, I’m enjoying myself immensely, but without a “flesh and blood teacher” perhaps smacking me in the head with a metal bar and saying “WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!” and correcting me, well, all I can say is that it’s my pure drive and will that keeps me going. Obviously, I truly WANT to do this or I’d have given up a long time ago. But not everyone has that fire. For live sound, I had to literally fight and claw and scratch, beg and plead to get in the doors, and once I did, a whole world new world of bad crap opened up, but I had the desire and drive to overcome it all and succeed in an industry that is nasty and mean under the surface during a period where it was at its worst.

But back to yoyo. My objectives are to be able to use this to amuse myself. To be able to do combos, to be creative and be able to take elements and string them together in routines that at least work. They don’t have to be great, but if I can do the “one minute, one throw” kind of thing, or entertain myself for stretches at a time by throwing tricks, I’m gonna be super pleased with myself. If I can look cool doing it(as in not full of errors and all sloppy), then even better.

Creativity must be fueled. But it also must be enabled. It is enabled through proper discipline of the necessary skills. Note I’m not saying “mastery”, because believe it or not, mastery can sometimes actually be a constraint for some people, who in some cases, cannot think outside the discipline.

So, get to it. Write, play, throw. Whatever it takes. A creative mind is a healthy mind.


wow man, I love freestyling on my flute. I really just love the way it sounds. I may get taunted because I’m a guy buy I love it anyway ;D


I’ve never had formal lessons. I taught myself chords from punk and rockabilly. I learned theory from European Power Metal. I can play a dozen instruments from listening by ear. I’ve fine tuned my vocal abilities to the point where I can yell, scream, and properly project a Death/Black Metal growl.

I cannot imagine being forced into music. It would ruin the joy of music .

I’ve been writing lyrics since I was 13. That is a skill that you’re born with and I am very happy to have it. I suggest you explore this avenue J.

J: have you started using sequencing programs since you love Trance?

And Studio: do you have any samples of recordings you’ve done? I’m curious about your quality. Also, you will learn even more if you do found for punk and metal bands. Dive taught sound guys twice my age a few things.

I’m so happy that you fell back into piano J, it makes me very happy


I’ve literally mixed THOUSANDS of punk and metal bands. I love it. I always learn something new each show as each band is unique. Always talk to the band, LISTEN to the band and make the band happy. All bands I mix get A-list treatment. The problem is I typically don’t get to give them that kind of time due to unrealistic schedules(hey, it only takes 30 minutes to set up a PA, right? Dude, my load in takes that long!) I find the biggest problem is the engineer is trying to put their spin on something. I don’t. I stay the heck out of the band’s way and let them be them. It’s like, some engineers will spend massive amounts of time trying to get the snare sounding the way they want it do, when it can’t because, well, honestly, the drum won’t sound that way no matter how much EQ to apply to it. Since I have to work miracles in short time crunches, it’s often “set and run”. Right mics, right placement, and I can often have a mix With sound check done in 30 minutes or less on a 5 piece band.


Check out Casualty Park. I think we still have stuff available on CDBaby.
Most of my other work has gone uncredited due to all the dirtbags in the industry. Like, I engineered an album but the “first engineer” basically all he did was press start and stop on the MTR and decided to cut me me out of the credits. It’s Wayman Tisdale’s first album, “Power Forward”. I’m just sticking with the stuff I know I didn’t get boned on for credits. I’ve stopped a lot of work I used to do because of this systematic “shafting” that goes on within the industry.


I play multiple instruments ( its not like I have anything better to do)
Tenor saxophone
Alto saxophone


Fluteplayer, what model is your alto? I have a selmer mark IV


I’ve been taking private lessons on the violin for four years. it started when my friend joined the school orchestra when i was in 3rd grade. i really enjoy playing, next to yo-yoing it is one of my favorite things to do.

(Sensei Dave) #9

I am really enjoying this thread. I am a trained musician, a third degree blackbelt, and of course, a Yo-yoer.

As for music, I think its amazing how differently people can achieve the same ends. I spent most of my school life training to be a musician. I won awards for my talent and played out in the “private sector” for years. I love it, but after, all those years I earn my bread as a Martial Arts instructor. I could teach an advanced theory class with all the know-how I have, both academic and practical, but I am a karate teacher.

My sister, however, is a professionals musician. She gigs and tours and has released several albums and has been on the radio and internet. She has won thousands of dollars in music contests and supports her family of 4 on what she makes in Music. She has NEVER had a lesson in hers life. She sings, plays guitar, piano, drums, can arrange complex and beautiful pieces for cello and woodwinds, but she can’t even read a note. Its all done by ear and feel. She taught herself through trial and error and talent. She built her basics organically and has ultimately become a success.

So, my point is fundamentals are important. You can’t get anywhere without them, but you can find your own path to get those fundamentals and that doesn’t necessarily mean in front of a teacher. Me, I am a teacher needed for most, but I have seen the opposite work wonders too.

Find your own path, and be as fun and creative as possible!

(JonasK) #10

Learning the rules makes it significantly easier to break the rules. A lot fo the great geniuses started out with the theory and then made their own theory. Arnold Schönberg made rules for breaking the rules (this sounds stupid, but if you don’t have these rules, it can easily become natural to fall back on habits).

I’ll share a related story about my idol, Jaco Pastorius. When he “auditioned” for Wayne Cochran and the C.C riders, he played every single note as written in the charts. When he got into the band, the musical director Charlie Brent, put some new charts in front of him. Jaco said that he couldn’t read it, which made Charlie wonder how he played everything so perfectly earlier. Turned out that Jaco had picked up everything from watching them live several weeks earlier, and memorized it.

The thing with music is that you can’t have the same take on different people. In Jaco’s case we have a super-talented musician who was born with a great ear. You have to look at yourself and see where you stand. To most people I would suggest learning basic theory about intervals and chord functions. After a month or two of studying nearly anyone will be able to write pop music on a basic level.

I for one absolutely LOVE music theory. I play mostly improvisational music, and for me, theory is what connects my brain, my ear and my fingers.


what martial arts do you teach?




Alto and tenor sax, piano, violin, guitar, and cello.

(Troy(oyo) #14

I played electric guitar and bass for a while. and then stopped having fun with it. I don’t enjoy sheet music or anything, I just like jamming. I took lessons for a while and my teacher encouraged that. I loved it. Sadly, when I moved a few hours away all i started doing was learning random songs that i heard. I loved that too but it got old.

Recently i picked up an acoustic guitar and got back into just jamming and playing fun songs.

I like it.


I just fool around with a piano. Learned an easy version of Party Rock today.

(Sensei Dave) #16

Zarubabble -

I teach Kempo Karate. PM e if you’d like to know more. Oh and sorry about spelling your name wrong, I updating on my phone :wink:


I’m a competition bagpiper and teach at the private school my kids go to…

All three of them are learning, as well…!