“To those who are studying the art of playing the piano I suggest some practical and simple ideas which I know from experience to be really useful. As art is infinite within the limits of its means, so its teaching should be governed by the same limits in order to give it boundless potential […] So we are not dealing with more or less ingenious theories, but with whatever goes straight to the point and smoothes the technical side of the art [. . .] People have tried out all kinds of methods of learning to play the piano, methods that are tedious and useless and have nothing to do with the study of this instrument. It’s like learning, for example, to walk on one’s hands in order to go for a stroll. Eventually one is no longer able to walk properly on one’s feet, and not very well on one’s hands either. It doesn’t teach us how to play the music itself- and the type of difficulty we are practising is not the difficulty encountered in good music, the music of the great masters. It’s an abstract difficulty, a new genre of acrobatics.” -Chopin
Cosley’s Way of the Guitar Episode 2: Spontaneous Composition with “Constant Structures”
Dan explores spontaneous composition (improvisation) through the Cycle of 4ths using Dorian “CAGED” forms and Minor 6th chord voicings. After explaining the basic vocabulary and concepts involved, he improvises a piece to demonstrate some of the many possibilities.
Shuhari (守破離) is a Japanese martial art concept which describes the stages of learning to mastery.
Shuhari roughly translates to “to keep, to fall, to break away”.
- shu (守) “protect”, “obey”—traditional wisdom—learning fundamentals, techniques, heuristics, proverbs
- ha (破) “detach”, “digress”—breaking with tradition—detachment from the illusions
- ri (離) “leave”, “separate”—transcendence—there are no techniques or proverbs, all moves are natural, becoming one with spirit alone without clinging to forms; transcending the physical
Aikido master Endō Seishirō stated:
“It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows.
In shu, we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forebears created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation.
Next, in the stage of ha, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded.
Finally, in ri, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws.”