By John Novello

    All right, let's get this sorted out as  this  topic comes up a lot at my seminars and in e mail questions.   
    Technology is supposed to be a systematic method, a tool if you will, for attaining a specified and/or practical
    result; not a substitute, and a poor one I might add, for musicianship or the lack thereof. Did the lack of
    sophisticated technology (tape recorders, drum machines, samplers, computers and sequencers, MIDI, etc.)
    dampen the creative output and/or the quality of the great masters from Bach to Charlie Parker? Of course
    not!

So what's happening here today? Where are the artists? Where are those individuals who have taken the time to research and master and
pioneer new areas relative to their musical goals? Where are the new Coltranes, Parkers, Jarretts, Bill Evanses, the Coreas, the Art
Tatums, the Stravinskys, the Bachs, the Beethovens, the Mozarts, etc.? Where are the great rock and roll artists - the Beatles, the Creams,
the Whos, the Traffics, the Led Zeppelins, the Hendrixes, the Emersons, the Yeses, etc.? What's happening here? Where is artistic
integrity, technique, intonation (singing in tune), playing in tune, melody, harmony, improvisational ability, originality, or even the ability to
play a whole song through from beginning to end without having to quantize, cut, copy and paste?

Let's look at this more closely. In today's fast lane quest for instant gratification - a symptom of the West and not of the East where
practicing Aikido for 20 years is considered normal and necessary - we're told to take this pill for fast relief, or go on that quack weight-loss
diet or buy a lottery ticket and become a millionaire overnight, sample a groove instead of creating our own, quantize a phrase because we
can't play it correctly, punch in every word of a vocal track because we can't sing in tune longer than a nanosecond, use a computer
because we're either too lazy to play and interact with other musicians or couldn't anyway if we had the chance as that would mean that we
would really have to be this almost extinct being called a musician! Yet society's addiction to quick-fix thinking is leading us to artistic,
social and personal suicide.

Now am I saying there is no place for technology? Hell no, as long as they are tools to carry out musical ideas. But when they become
substitutes for inabilities, it shows in the end product. (Ever listen to the difference between a drum track programmed by a real
musician/drummer as compared to someone who should be selling hamburgers? Sure, I realize these 'musicia' and their 'devices' have
produced hit songs and have enabled a lot of people to dabble in the musical arts and produce a product. But take a good overall listen.
What are you hearing? We are on a dwindling spiral. The musical arts are fast becoming third-rate facsimiles of the past because new
original artists are far and few between. Why you should ask? Simple - the concept of mastering the fundamentals of music (musicianship)
is almost nonexistent. When one is trained, and by trained I mean however this occurs (formally in school, privately with a teacher, by
reading books which I realize is also on its way out considering there are  videos and DVD’s  now, listening to and studying other great
artists, etc.), one can actually have a Viewpoint - a stability - an ability to create something on his own and with expertise and
communicative abilities. In other words, a trained musician (please remember the above examples of what trained can be) knows his
fundamentals and cannot only produce what he has already studied but also produce new creations and thus advance the art. I have yet to
meet a successful and prolific artist who didn't intensely and consistently practice his art. Is it really talent or is talent a word we give to
someone who makes the seemingly difficult look effortless. And how did he really do it? I'll bet my reputation that it took a lot of time,
patience, and practice.

So what's the point of all of this? Simple. First realize that technology in the hands of a master, an expert, works a billion times better than in
the hands of an amateur. Second, the goal is for you to master the fundamentals so you can say something as an artist because you know
what? Only you can say what you want to say. No one else can say better what you want to say. So if you master the fundamentals then you
can say it exactly like you want to!

The quick fix is actually the long and expensive way as one never attains his goal. Mastery is the short and inexpensive way because one
actually becomes whatever he intended…. be it a keyboardist, singer, poet, artist, actor, composer, arranger, producer, etc.

John Novello
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Technology Vs Musicianship
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John Novello
Technology Vs Musicianship
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