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Tapping Workshop in Europe

Trey Gunn and Markus Reuter
Music and The Tapping Technique
For all tapping instruments and all levels

Innsbruck, Austria
June 18 - 23, 2012

I'm very please to announce this tapping workshop I'll be doing with Markus Reuter in Europe this summer.

To get involved and reserve your space head over to HERE


This has been a long time coming for me. For years and years whenever anyone has approached me about lessons or tips for playing these instruments I have met with the same sitution: They come over, I show them what they need to do and then I never see them again! (Funnily, when I saw Trilok Gurtu do a presenstation here in Seattle a few years back, he had the same experience. No one ever met him for more than one lesson.)

My take on it was that two things must be going on. One, this style of playing is quite challenging and most people just weren't really up to it. Or two, I was doing something wrong in the presentation and didn't have enough experience. Or both.

I guess things have changed as I see things differently. It is true that the technique has unique challenges. In meeting these challenges, we don't have the hundreds of years of playing strategies that have been build up like for most other instruments. You could legitimately say that no one really knows how to do this very well yet. Sure there are some good players and some people have made some fabulous music, but I have no reservations about saying we have no master players. Personally, I don't even see that as a possiblility for another 50 to 100 years. Of course, that's just my take.

Yet still, there are experienced players and a lot of sharing and searching to do. Which is, in part, what this course is about and why I think it is possible to made some serious headway now. I have changed and how I see things has changed.

In general, I have moved away from the concept of teaching altogether. Teachers, in a way, stand above you with secret information that you try to get access to and build up inside yourself. This model never really worked for me. I don't have secret information, only experience. And the idea that I would show someone my own way feels utterly ludicrous. My way can't possibly be your way. Where I am going can't possibly be where you are going. And where I have been is no road for anyone else -- perhaps temporarily as a way to get the engines lubricated, but very quickly a clear no-go-zone as far as I am concerned. Why would anyone want to spend their energies doing something I have already done? Or anyone else has already done? That doesn't make any sense to me and is the opposite of what I value in a creative life.

These ideas have led me to the 'coaching' model. The coaching model goes like this: Ask yourself what you really want to be doing, where you want to go. Then, as a coach, we mix my experience with your aims and find strategies to get you there. It doesn't matter if where you want to go has any relationship, or not, to where I am going or have been.

My experience with teaching (which is an equally valid approach and perhaps completely right for some) is that you go to someone who has the skills that you want and then learn their ways. With coaching the model is completely flipped: you are the one driving. But with support.

- - -

So, I not saying that this workshop won't be a place for learning new skills. It will be filled with that. But what we will mostly be doing is saying "Here, try this way. See if it works for you. Now try this one." Not: "Here is the way." This means we are planning on presenting a variety of things for people to try out. From specific techniques for the hands, to rhythmic/physical approaches, to improvisation strategies and more. Markus has his own approach and ideas that are quite different from mine. Additionally there will be other players who have their own things. So we anticipate a rich forum of ideas and lot's of playing.

- - -

The real aim for my own practice at this point is to turn all the techniques and practices into music as immediately as possible. For all the years people (myself included) have spent practicing scales, chords, arpeggios and the myriad of things that people tell you musicians should know, I am now convinced that you only get good at practicing those things and not any better at playing music.

Turn a series of notes into Music. Now.

I hope everyone who can, shows up for this.



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Reader Comments (1)

great post... I have found the coaching model Trey uses extremely useful in my learning the Stick... I am a self taught musician, playing the 5 string bass guitar. Here in Seattle, I have two Jazz/fusion projects I play in, and both of these projects have a heavy doze of World Music influence as well. the rhythm section in both bands have African percussionists in them as well... Bring a tapping instrument into the mix is very challenging from the stand point of understanding and playing poly rhythms... Being able to "tap" with both hands has provided a rhythmic drive as well as an exploration into the world of melody.... The key here is independence and "interdependence" of the hands. Also, what I have learned in these coaching lessons is that I had been "hearing" my self in one dimension playing the bass... now with the Stick, I am actually being aware of hearing the bass AND the melody.... which now brings me to another point... Even though there are two hands, two ears.... When I can "slip" into the zone of "ALL is ONE", magic starts to happen! Trey suggested I tune the melody side in 5th's as well , instead of the usual Stick tuning... when I did this, the instrument just "opened up" to me.... This made so much sense.... Now, the instrument seems like ONE big instrument, instead of 4th's on one side, 5th's on the other, or melody side and bass side.... I have a keen interest in West African music, ngoni, kora and their drums.... Since I learned to play initially by listening to a record player (WAY back when), I often will listen to these West African ngoni players and start to pick out their patterns, and then add the bass... I will bring this to my coaching lesson, and we play with it, and it leads to both music, rhythmic study and also some "finger Yoga, finger martial arts and finger calisthenics"!!! I have found these coaching lessons extremely valuable in my development not only on the STICK, but also for insights into making music and being whole....

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrclere

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