Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Microcosmos en anglais 02-04-17 2/3


A few time before he passed away, André talked to me about violence.
I tried to understand what he wanted me to do.

This reflection allowed me to feel my own violence which can lodge in my way of speaking, playing, in the precipitation of my behavior.

Since my heart operation in 1999, I had not picked up my instruments, the guitar and the "Zarb" (Iranian drum). A former student, who came back to Israel 1 year ago, encouraged me.

For many years, as a classical guitarist, I have taken care of the nails of my right hand, these nails which help to play more precisely by sliding more easily on the strings than the pulp of the fingers.
Although there are a lot of ways to embrace the guitar, depending on the styles you want to play: flamenco, jazz, classical, with shoulder strap, standing or sitting, I continued with the one I had learned: The classic position (sitting with a small stool under the left foot).

I realized, after a while, that I was much contracted, my body hurt, and I played violently.

I then focused my attention on my sitting and how to embrace my guitar. I have paid very strict attention to mastering my body so that it does not bother me while I play.

To get into the heart of music, I have to focus on the sound my hands produce. I then noticed that the sound speaks to me and tells me the places of my body that are contracted or the muscles that are tense.
To get to have the pleasure of playing, one must also work to eliminate anxieties and the fear of making mistakes.

The novelty in front of the movements to be made, the reading of the score, all these new things that must be renewed each time I take the guitar, contracted me. The relationship with a musical instrument is not the same as that which one can have with a usual object.

To understand the nature of all these muscular or mental tensions, I spend a lot of time listening to or watching on "YouTube" the other guitarists.

I also focused my attention on the language that talks about how to play the guitar: the common language is "scratching the guitar".
For me, scratching is a form of violence.
People are used to scratching to avoid itching’s violence. In this case violence will be added to violence.
I currently like to use the term caress rather than scratch.
Caressing does not cause madness as itching can make you furious or crazy.
My idea is to make discover a play space with the guitar that is directly related to something we have received, such as the caresses of our mom. This will help us to go deeper into the mystery of music.
"Microcosmos for Guitar" includes 78 pieces.
I will play for this blog the pieces of Andre, trying with all my heart to make them feel in their depth.
To achieve this, I must day by day, forget that I have played and taught them for years. I have to be careful that my body is more and more pacified with my instrument.
I must have a great deal of patience to master myself and repress all the old habits acquired.
In the advance of this work, I have in view only music and its essence, the pedagogical and artistic view.
To help people who will watch this blog and want to learn through these pieces to play the guitar, I try to walk this path slowly step by step.
Work with the music lover on presence, here and now, in this moment when we are going to be together.
To make us aware of the reality of the word "present" to help us get out of our fantasies, to resume tireless study of these pieces without falling into sterile repetition.
Even if I ask to play on a single string, it is necessary to show how to draw sound, life. It’s important to transmit the movement from the first moments.
It’s important to introduce into the magic that to remain alive, to play with the life, is to make movement in the duration.
Death is static.
At first I will record the first ten pieces of André Hadju's book he wrote only for the right hand, on the vacuum strings.

In my opinion, they are little melodic wonders of sensibility and intelligence. I am dazzled to see how André understood the guitar and wrote for this instrument that he did not play.
To solve the problem of vision, especially that of music reading, I think that this blog would help us to understand that we must concentrate on gestures and listening, so that little by little we can sing melody.
I will also play each note with its name, so that people hear that name and feel freer when they see the score appear.
I will also use a musical language that I will detail on the blog to make understand the rhythm.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Microcosmos anglais 02-04-17 1/3

After teaching for a long time, especially the book
"Microcosmos for Guitar", I have been thinking in recent years about how to behave in a relationship where it is a matter of transmitting knowledge and to deepen this relationship with a person who wants to learn music with guitar as an instrument.
I started the guitar very young, at the age of 12, after having first learned the violin.

On the death of my violin teacher, I waited several years to learn the basics of the guitar with my first teacher.
In 1956, I continued in Strasbourg with Professor Fernandez Lavie.
In 1958, I studied in Paris with Professor Roche at the Paul Beuscher School, Boulevard Beaumarchais.
In 1959, I enrolled in the "Schola Cantorum" where my teachers were Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya.

How can I simply pass on my experience with love and without violence?
How to be ready to open up to the maximum to the other? Open and open one who wants to learn, giving him every means to realize his desire to learn and play. Help him with the maximum of my knowledge.
As I remember my years of teaching, I am now able to see my defects and sometimes the violence I have experienced during my apprenticeship. This violence we face in life and in education.
How to approach a student who comes to you, filled with fantasies, fantasies continually fueled by the media or cultural ideas that circulate and construct clichés.
How to help him clean up these clichés that will allow him to begin to understand and feel from himself?
How to make him feel that it is simply to open his eyes and ears?

Focusing not only on the master-student relationship but also on the sound that comes out of his guitar and the "how to" so that this sound comes out of the instrument.

So in the 1960s, during my studies of ethnomusicology, I decided to teach without going through writing.
My system was said to be audio-visual.
Little by little, I brought the notions of writing as a mother learns language to her child.
Listen and see. Be where we are, and concentrate.
I wanted to transmit actively and not passively.

The passive way of teaching is to put a score on the pulpit and tell the student to follow it to the letter.
The active way is to be in front of the neophyte and play until it memorizes the music.
This would be, of course, without any relation of power. But it would be gentleness and a profound desire to help the person without authoritarianism and without violence but with patience.
A silent presence, without much explanation, can allow a better concentration. Seek simplicity so as not to tense or scare the student.
I decided to adopt the Eastern way, learned from my professors of ethnomusicology. The Oriental tradition uses the term "chest against chest" in its teaching. The chest contains the heart so learn by heart.
This face-to-face game where the player who plays, gives and waits for the response of his opposite, to know if the sentence is repeated correctly and can possibly correct it with gentleness and patience.
I meet even today with people who have learned with me a long time ago and who tell me to remember perfectly what I have transmitted to them.
The one, who gives, must have a lot of fingering and sensitivity, to open memory and concentration.
Hear, see, do and redo, take and resume, play again until memorizing the first sentence or the first set of notes.
I managed to memorize entire pages of music such as the suites of J.S. Bach without the help of a score.
On the other hand, I asked them to write the score according to their memory and to confront it with the text.
This approach is similar to the normal learning of the language. First we learn to speak, then to read and form sentences using grammar. I used it to convey the music.
Teaching must remain alive and not systematically. Thinking the straight line or the scientific way of driving an experience are not the best ways to get to playing music.
It must be borne in mind that hijacked paths are more effective when it comes to training an artist. Choose between the trail and the highway.
Making an artistic movement is not making a movement in an automatic manner. The techniques used to robotize movements are valid neither to form a "virtuoso" nor an artist.

The word "virtuoso" implies that one can play fast, many notes and think that one is free. For me, true freedom does not reside in that word, but in the ease, elegance that the artist must acquire so that his body does not bother him in his creativity.
I consider that to make art, one must think about the meaning of words, their etymology. For example what is technique or style, etc…
To unveil an artist or more simply a music lover, the transmitter must discover the mystery of music through wonder and astonishment.
This gives the possibility of provoking freshness in gestures and senses and not thinking that we repeat, but think of the word "recovery". Therefore, a new light will emerge. It will prevent us from falling into the boredom of repetition or everyday life.
Ask the lovers to pay attention. To pay attention to the relationship with their instrument, to know the instrument in the full sense of the word "know" which is "to be born with".
Learn to caress it and adapt its body to this form.
Learn how to make it sound in every possible way, like a child with a new toy that he will try to understand how it works.
Remember that state of childhood in which the head, the feelings, the sensations were not congested. Simply look to play like a child, with the freshness of childhood.
To create a deep relationship with someone who comes to see you and believes in you, you have to offer something that is always cool, not ideological or dogmatic (like giving it a score and letting it manage on its own).
André Hadju, the composer of the book "Microcosmos for Guitar", has written piano books with the title “The Milky Way”. So in this title, he already opened the spirit of his music.
It is from him that I hold my pedagogical ideas.
He sought life by believing that music is life.

Having invited me to his class, while teaching Beethoven's “Heroic Symphony”, he realized that the students were bored with his speech. He then stopped his course.
He pushed the chairs and tables against the walls and asked them to dance on this symphony. He himself began to dance.
He really loved teaching. Despite his position as rector at the University of Bar
Ilan, "he had a preference for teaching the younger ones.
He sought to make these young people particularly understand that the life of music is life itself.
He told me how important it is not to kill the child that is in itself. This child has to be alive, in purpose not to mummify him. This life gives creative energy.
A child has all the possibilities in him, but life will require him to make choices. So how to keep those opportunities and dreams that children fantasize to become this or that.
After the experience of having the students dance on the "Heroic Symphony," the melody was circulated from mouth to mouth in the school.
One of the students came to explain that his generation could not sit for long. Having understood this, André taught and made music live by movements.
These ways of teaching have changed very rapidly in his pedagogical career, for the pupils who have learned with him have discovered this freedom, of which I have spoken in a previous paragraph.
André, until his departure, taught, even sick and forced to stay at home. A young person went to his home to learn how to become a composer.

Shocked by André's disease, I had formed the project to record a record and make a teaching blog that I will broadcast on the internet.
The record held me still dearer, for I would have liked him to hear it.
I have reflected a great deal on the relation maintained with a musical instrument, in particular, and relations with things.
Andre also taught me non-violence.
How to understand and feel the violence in us and in others, the violence in language and behavior?
How can an instrument like the guitar help us if we listen to the sound, if we really listen to what we are doing, what we are playing? The sound reflects the way and depth of our game.
To have a harmonious relationship with his instrument is to learn how to hold it and to listen to how it reasons.
Avoid a rigid frame around the student. Help her discover herself!
It is a much richer and inventive way.

lettre 30 du 07-07

Lettre 29 du 5-11-58