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Comment of the Week - How to get into music with no musical ability

If you are not among the few very best musicians in the world, maybe you should SHUT UP!


A few months ago I featured an article titled 'How to get into music with no musical ability' and commented that when U2 first started, they were clearly some way from what we would normally consider to be professional musicians.

But they stuck at it, practiced their craft and, well, look at them now.

I also outlined a way that someone with no existing musical skills could make a start and begin to acquire musicianship.

I sincerely believe that musicianship is something that is achieved by determination and hard work. Clearly there is a very top layer of musicianship where innate talent plays a part, but it is the hard work that brings most rewards.

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But some Audio Masterclass visitors disagree. Take for example the comment from 'B' of Missoula, USA...

"'If I could, I would, but plenty have and will.' You are giving people false hope. You are letting them slip into a useless bliss. You're making people think that they can do what they want to do.

"You are ridiculous in the manner that most everybody can do what, let's say Pink Floyd can do. Some people can. Not everybody.

"You are very confused to think that beautifully trained musicians who actually want a decent job in that career can be made out to be just like everybody else.

"If someone has a talent, they should be acknowledged. Not the people who have to have an electronic do over for their voice in order to sound decent.

"Or a possibly have a fake musician fill in for someone that was actually talented.

"You are pathetic to let people believe they can do what they want. I hope I wasted your time."

This is a bit like going into the forest, seeking out the three or four birds that sing most sweetly, and taping up the beaks of the rest.

The wonderful thing about music technology - sequencers, samplers and synthesizers - is that you don't have to practice for ten years to make music. You can start immediately.

I didn't say that anyone's first results would necessarily be worth listening to. But a newcomer to music could achieve something on Day 1, something better on Day 2, and improve incrementally to the point where they are producing marketable work.

But B of Missoula would have them shut up.

In response to two other comments, nowhere in my article did I say or imply that learning an instrument in the traditional way is bad. How could it be anything but good?

But it does take the best part of a decade to learn, for instance, the violin or the piano to a competent standard.

And few people are able to do this if they don't get the opportunity to start before the age of ten.

So if you have missed that particular boat, best just to give up on music then, according to the comments.

Hell no. I believe that everyone deserves to have a musical voice, if they want. With music technology that doesn't require technical instrumental skills, the opportunity is there for anyone, with determination and hard work, to create music.

Perhaps great music.

By David Mellor Monday June 5, 2006