Michael D'Agostino

Drummer, vocalist and Songwriter

Thoughts on developing one’s musicality and A letter by Albert Einstein to his son about music.

Posted on Jul 12, 2015

When you love what you are doing in the moment, clock time often dissolves.  Albert Einstein was able to distill so many areas of life to their essential core.  In his eloquent letter to his son, he hit’s it right on the mark.  I always loved that he had a great sense of humor and his humanity shined.  His observation about playing what you love as opposed to what someone may want you to play is key to developing owns on individuality.  I believe if one can couple working on what you love and if that love can find it’s way into all sorts of studies to develop your musicality, your abilities on your craft will increase exponentially. Whether a combination of technique building exercises, improvisational studies or learning all sorts of music in different genres etc.  I’ll cover in more detail key areas to work on as the list is extensive and beyond the scope of this short blog.

Technique as an end conveys nothing, a monkey in repetition.  Technique combined with the appropriate emotion creating the right feel is everything.  You’ll be playing much more than notes, this is were the magic resides. And you’ll be able to do it with ease.  There are no short cuts.  Some find it easier, others have to dig deeper for it.  There is a natural power when it is right. No undo effort.  Balanced.  Over years of this type of “work with love” can lead to mastery of ones instrument. What you play and how you play evolving like the outward growth of a seashell.  Nautilusshell

The many paths of working on one’s playing can be done in a creative way.  Leaving behind the old model of playing scales or rudiments, incessantly non-stop.  A dichotomy arises, because there is value in playing and holding steady a technical exercise. As a drummer, holding a groove is paramount and a student can gain much by playing a specific exercise along with a metronome. I am suggesting bringing an improvisational exploratory layer to any specific study, once one is capable of playing it well. Endless possibilities of morphing and developing arise.  Spontaneous composition.  But one has to find it for oneself.  Even with the aid of a good teacher. That is the key to so much in life. The map points but the experience is the experience that can never be quite understood mentally. Many great songs the seeds of which emerged not my saying ” I am going to write a song or some other composition now” but by free association, by impromptu improvisation on some idea that lead to a musical gem worthy of further development.

                     

 

My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .

Be with Tete kissed by your

Papa.

Regards to Mama.

 

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