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Is Neil...

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  • Is Neil...

    self taught? Also, would lessons and learning how to read music help you figure how to play songs quicker then just playing by ear? Most basic rock songs are easy to pick up and learn by just listening. But some of the more involved music like Dream Theater, Rush or Jazz is very complicated and I assume reading and understanding music would help you break it down and be able to play it better and faster then just listening to it. There are players out there that are that good that dont need anything but to listen, I however, am not one of them.
    Last edited by mbrg; 08-05-02, 04:39 PM.

  • #2
    Tread lightly mbrg. You know what happened the last time you brought up the Master's name.


    • #3
      My reference to Neil being self taught was due to the fact that he is so good and I am amazed he never had formal lessons. A true Natural. Vinnie is the Master, Neil is the Professor.


      • #4
        There ya go. That should quell any uprising.


        • #5
          cough, cough, Bruford!, cough cough, Bozzio!


          • #6
            there are so many.buford,peart.the intersting thing is none of these masters sound got pounders,tappers sizzlers even the linear guys.....(see gadd)they all rule whenever your listening to for reading music(i'm putting on a flame retardant suit so don't bother)A:do i think it's necessary?no.especially in todays world.your acts nowadays are breast fed thru the studio process.B:i would love to show up,lay down some tracks and have someone else clean up the mess and release it.scoring is much more easily done on computer and thru midiware.back in the day i think reading music was a bigger advantage even in rock cause sessions were often picked by producers.ya just didnt know who you were gonna be playing with.C:i think if you want to expand your horizons a bit,tab is the way to go.soak it in.till you can read tab like english.i'm not speaking from my experience,but of which,(paul)knew nothing of the inner workings of a song or score or the biz for that matter.played by ear and ripped serious.i havent seen him in years.but i believe he still plays for slayer(not my kind of music).i say FEEL it and learn tab.tabs easy.youll dig it.
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            • #7
              Well on Neils "Work in progress" video he states he had lessons in the beginning and then worked on his own aftyer leaving college.
              More recently he has been taking lessons with Freddie Gruber - there is always something to learn in the world of drumming. There's no-one that can do everything, just grab as much information as you can on the way.......

    , ,Tempus Drums, Istanbul Agop, Regal Tip, Alesis DMPro, D4,Garageband, HK Powerworks PA


              • #8
                Long ago in Modern Drummer Neil Peart mentioned that he took a few lessons when he started out. He said that the teacher in question told him that the two toughest things in drumming were 1) the "double handed cross-over" and 2) independence. It turns out that the double handed cross over was a lesson that the instructor had given Neil to work on at the time. The instructor overstated the difficulty of this pattern to bolster Neil's confidence. At the time of the interview Neil included that pattern in his drum solo as homage to his teacher (or so he said in MD).

                More recently he has studied with Freddy Gruber, as Mick said.

                I agree with Chris, there is no doubt that Neil has a solid understanding of music theory especially as related to odd time signatures. He probably can't sight-read a chart when the red light is on but he understands music theory and notation.

                You certainly don't NEED to learn how to read in order to play drums but it can help. Reading is an easy way to keep a record of things that you are working on. Understanding music theory will also help you relate to more complex pieces of music (unusual time signatures, odd note groupings, metric modulations, polyrhythms etc).

                Additionally, an understanding of notation and music theory helps me keep track of the music "in the moment"--there are lots of times when I am improvising with a group that I "see"--in my minds eye--the different subdivisions that the other musicians are playing. My understanding of music theory helps me quickly identify and classify what I am hearing. I'm sure that drummers who can't read do this in some form but the system of music notation gives me a logical format to deal with.

                Re drum tabs. I don't see the point. They appear to me to be just as difficult to figure out as standard musical notation. Plus there are few books written in drum tab format and it is unlikely that I am going to see a chart on a gig that is in this format.
                Check out my music:


                • #9
                  I'm not sure you can easily explain the advantages of being able to read music to someone (especially drummers). It's kind of like explaining "green" to a blind man. An illiterate person might be a great talker, but you and I know, they're missing a lot by not being able to read.

                  Also, I have great difficulty believing NP doesn't read music.


                  • #10

                    Great post, Chris.

                    Here's an analogy that pretty well sums it up for me:

                    You can learn to speak well without learning to read (language), but those who are literate are better equipped to articulate themselves. The can assimilate more information from a variety of sources, and have the ability to constantly broaden their vocabulary without having to hear others speak.

                    When you learn to read and understand a language, the most tedious part is usually the "rules" involved, i.e.- concepts, types of structure, the building blocks involved and the roles that they play, endless conjugation of verbs, etc.

                    What this does for you in the long run, though, is allow you to apply a certain logic and order to things, which helps you to figure out new things when they are presented to you. These are things that you could never do without reading and understanding the language.

                    Can one learn to speak without reading? Sure. Can you get by just fine if you never learn to read? Maybe, depending on individual circumstances.

                    Is illiteracy a limiting factor? ABSOLUTELY.

                    Why limit yourself? It doesn't cost anything; there are plenty of resources out there on the web for learning to read music. Then you can learn to more effectively convey ideas to other musicians. That's when you can start doing cool stuff like playing 6 over 4 without freaking out your bandmates, or making sense of 9/8 passages. Things like the solo break of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" will actually make good sense.

                    Oh yeah, and you'll find out why Led Zeppelin's last album of material was called "Coda!"

                    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.


                    • #11
                      Hmmm...I think Danny's proven once again that he's too learned and well-spoken to have a handle like "Fartnokker."
                      Dan's Music Site; melodic, ethereal rock and more! Please have a listen :^)