[Dixielandjazz] Re: music training (lengthy tirade)

Bill Hildebrandt billhil at prodigy.net
Sat Feb 22 12:08:01 PST 2003

The ability to improvise in music is similar to the ability to create in any
field of endeavor. Creative impulses, ideas, "breakthroughs" etc. come to us
from the subconscious mind, which as I understand, never sleeps. Thus the
subconscious mind is at all times monitoring not only our bodily functions,
but also every bit of sensory information we receive thru our senses. This
means that it is aware of a lot more information that we are "inputting"
than our conscious mind may be aware of at any time. A good deal of this
"total information flow" is stored on our memories and is accessed by our
subconscious minds as it churns away, day & night, figuring our what's going
on in the world around us.

Great ideas, and creative improvisations, come from the subconscious mind
and we most of the time never know where the next note is coming from
(unless it is a rehearsed "improvisation".) The more music we have been
exposed to (i.e. the older we get) the more raw material the subconscious
mind has at its disposal to work with. Also, the more sensitive we are to
"listening" to the subconscious mind the more improvisational capability we
have. One can almost train one's self to "listen" to the subconscious mind
by paying attention to one's feelings, one's hunches, suspicions, inklings,
etc. The term "intuition" by the way, is a term relating to one's
sensitivity to one's subconscious.

Younger folk, especially students, have not had as much exposure to the
variety of experiences* needed to stock their subconscious minds with enough
material for fluent improvisation. (*especially OKOM)

Respectfully submitted, and apologizing for the length,
Bill (I'm no psychologist but I read a lot) Hildebrandt
the New Farmington River Royal Ragtime Ramblers
Simsbury, CT

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