Bill Evans on The Creative Process and Self Teaching

I have come across an interesting interview with Bill Evans, where he discusses topics such as teaching jazz, creativity in music and self teaching. Extracted from the movie “The Universal Mind of Bill Evans – Creative Process and Self-Teaching”.

Part I offers ideas on how students approximate the entire musical expression of stylistic ideals instead of approaching music from a more realistic viewpoint, illustrated at the piano ny demonstrating how to play “I like New York in June”.

Part II focuses on Evans’ background coming from the classical tradition where he claims that he was not able to play without scores, and how he rigidly played only what was written on the score. He starts his journey into jazz by learning and remembering changes. He speaks of how at the age of 28 he passes the point where he is in suffient control of his musical expression. He does not consider himself extraordinary talented and needed to be analytical, and tells about the importance of the time and effort it takes to develop. Importance to choose a field in which to operate at the max of your capacity instead of spreading out on too much.

Part III deals with Evans’ experience as a teacher. Importance of self learning, to accept and reject. Importance of someone to “feed the material”. The essence of teaching to get the students excited and motivated to explore for themselves. When to “feed in” and when to “draw back”.

Ø. Kvinge

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