Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'addario Woodwinds- The depth of Joe Viola's books.

Joe's books have always been the basis for Berklee's saxophone instruction, Joe was the teacher of teachers and....a guy who knew so much. I would wake up early and just GET READY for Joes lessons as a kid. I studied with Joe and graduated from Berklee in 1973.Things at Berklee have changed plenty since then, but the Joe Viola books have been a very important part of instrumental studies since I was a kid. They provide you with EVERYTHING you need and more. Sorry for the shameless plug. I'm a big fan of Joe Viola,and was lucky to be at the school when Joe, Charlie Mariano, Andy McGhee and Nick Ciazza, John LaPorta and more.That was a great time to be at Berklee. As educators- it is our business is to culturally train young people so they can appreciate the finer things in life. For some of the readers discussing this topic may seem unnecessary, since in reality teaching an art form and jazz in particular is a fact of modern academic life. But I still think that in some people’s minds there is doubt as to how creativity, demonstrated in a viable art form can be taught - JOE VIOLA- was a propigator of that vision. For me, Joe and Mariano were the arbiters of creative culture. A life line to a source of vitality, strength and positive knowledge which is so rare in our society. I miss Joe a lot-a few years ago I got a Mariquax Altu Noir oboe. SOMEWHERE JOE WAS DIGGING THAT I GOT THIS- I FELT IT. He was such a beautiful soul. He got the student into the culture. BTW- If anyone knows it or not musicians like John Coltrane and Duke Ellington as well as Charlie Parker have become a vital part of our culture as human beings.They have raised the level of society by putting out a good product that lasts forever. To take the student into a part of your world that your in touch with as a creator is very difficult. To say the least. I was a 18 year old kid, when I met Joe, he took my mind into a space that I can never thank him enough for. Let me also add- while on this thought- Jane Ira Bloom's was one of Joe's visionary pupils. Jane is a great example of a player and one of the most unique musicians on the current scene. I've been aware of Jane's musicianship and personal pursuits since her days with Joe Viola.I feel she is one of the leading exponents of a sound concept on the soprano that Joe fathered. Not to mention- His playing had a vision and intensity then that in my mind was on the level. See at that time, many players were not teachers , most wouldn’t or couldn’t impart specifics. This is obviously very different from now when almost every major jazz performer does master classes at least some of the time. HIS BOOKS ACCOMPLISH THESE ASPECTS ; - Pitch retention - opening your technique - breaking rote finger habits I think that a typical student attending a jazz school or taking private lessons with a player might not be totally cognizant of it , but (s)he may be looking for something that is not there-sort of like the keys to the kingdom. E.G- " Show me how to sound like ...." or , " If I get this mouthpiece , can I get this guys style "...etc etc. WRONG !!!! Joe made me aware of loving the music, being inspired by it and wanting to play is exciting and the nature of youth is to want to get there fast. JOE VIOLA'S BOOKS ARE.... an asset to ALL OF US . They are a credit to his legacy !

1 comment:

  1. Tim,
    The Rhythm book pictured here is a great example. Students react to this book so positively. It's not easy for them, by any means. The interlocking parts coming together gives them a sense of satisfaction and wonder. Usually, they have to repeat many times to get that result. Then they also see the value of the work and concentration. What great insights your teacher had to make this one book, alone. He gave us a huge gift. Gratitude to him. Thanks, Tim. Keep on doing your stuff and peace.