[Dixielandjazz] Mostly Self Taught Musicians

David Palmquist davidpalmquist at dccnet.com
Fri Sep 12 23:32:20 PDT 2003

You're reaching a bit, Steve, when you write that "Today a "trained" 
musician usually means a stint, at Julliard, Berklee or a degree in music 
from a University, or years of lessons from a big name."

There are tens of thousands of private music teachers in North America, 
many making a decent living.  You don't have to have years of lessons from 
a "big name" to be trained.  It's sufficient to have taken lessons from 
someone who is a competent music teacher.

It seems pretty clear that Red was trained, at least before age 15.  Don 
knew the man well, it seems, so he's in a better positon than either you or 
me to provide information rather than assumptions.  And 15 year olds can be 
phenomenal on their instruments.

David in Delta

At 16:24 12-09-03, Stephen Barbone wrote:
>Maybe so, maybe not. Remember we're talking "mostly self taught". Red Nichols
>was an accomplished trumpeter when he arrived in NYC in 1924. He was 19 
>and had
>already been playing jazz in the midwest with the Syncopating Seven, a jazz
>band before that, at age 17/18 and had already, I think, recorded for Gennett
>and Edison. He certainly came from a musical family which is always a plus and
>he probably learned to play music and read in the beginning from his Dad. And
>at age 12 was playing in Dad's brass band. But by 17 or so, he was touring 
>a jazz band and certainly not, (to my knowledge) taking "lessons" from 
>Today a "trained" musician usually means a stint, at Julliard, Berklee or a
>degree in music from a University, or years of lessons from a big name. I 
>think Nichols had anything near that.
>He was a great reader, and much in demand in NYC because of it, but IMO 
>being a
>great musician has nothing to do with being either self taught, or classically
>trained. Lots of players virtually teach themselves to read. An example of 
>sides of the coin? Miff Mole, classically taught, perfect in every respect.
>Jack Teagarden, self taught, incredible player. Both were great musicians.
>Either way works for some, and not for others. Many extremely capable 
>are/were mostly self taught and great readers. Just check the list (if you 
>to eliminate Nichols, OK, but then add Coltrane) and that becomes fairly
>apparent. Like the style or not, the be-boppers are/were masters of their 
>and Gillespie, Bird, Coltrane, were all mostly self taught.
>And things like Nichol's "false fingering" devices. I would think, were self
>I wouldn't stake my life on either side of the Nichols being "mostly self
>taught" or "classically trained" coin. One could argue either side 
>I don't know that much about him, other than what people have told me. And I
>think if he is to be placed in the "trained" category, it all happened by age
>15 or so, after which he probably spent most of his time listening to and
>playing jazz away from home.
>However I do know one thing, but can't attribute the proper credit to whomever
>it was that said it first:
>"Of all the art forms, 'jazz' is the least teachable."
>Steve Barbone
>Don Ingle wrote:
> > Sorry Steve:
> > You're off  the mark on Red Nichols being self-taught. Red was, in fact,
> > highly taught and trained. His father was professor of music at Weber
> > College in Ogden UT - Red's sister was a cellist who played with the San
> > Francisco Symphony, and Red studied with teacher such as Max 
> Schlossberg and
> > was one of the best working, club and studio, gigging recording 
> musicians in
> > NY in the 1920's on the basis of his ability to walk in,sit down, and sight
> > read whatever pat was put in front of him. He even conducted scores as well
> > as wrote arrangements. He was conductor of the pit orchestra on one of
> > Gerschwin's musicals, Girl Crazy, and recorded so many sides with '20's NY
> > record companies that Rust almost ran out of paper and ink  trying to get
> > them all in his discography.
> > Red was my first teacher and my long-time mentor, and he was one of the 
> most
> > proficient and capable musicians - jazz gig or studio -- there ever was.
> > No way self taught!
> > Don Ingle
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list