What is expEARience?

Why we started expEARience

Do you ever feel lost or confused by the amount of theory that you are supposed to learn? 
Are you finding it difficult to
 use your  theory knowledge when playing?
Do you struggle to apply all those theory rules and transform them into sound?
Do you find it hard to play by ear or to transcribe a simple bass line or a drum groove?

Do you need to know theory to be a good musician? 
What is a good musician anyway?
What about scales?

 The important process – the connection between theory and sound – is often not covered in enough depth by music institutions.
So we coined these new terms: 

expEARience, thEARy & EARobic

We will show you ways to improve your listening skills and connect your theoretical knowledge with the sound.
Improved listening skills mean you will be able to interact more meaningfully with your band mates.
You will find it easier to learn new music.
We will help you to become a better musician.

Niko and Mirko will share their expEARiences of learning and playing music.

Which musicians, songs and concepts guide and nurture them?

Moments of sudden inspiration. 

Journeys of slow exploration and gradual discoveries.

Ongoing research. Pitfalls. Wrong turns turning into new paths. 

Highs & Lows. 

In Niko’s words

Growing up in a family of musicians, it was a given that I should learn an instrument. So at age 4 I started to play the piano.

What did I learn? How to ‘properly’ sit at the piano.How to position my hands and fingers. Scales and fingerings. Czerny etudes. In other words: all the mechanics. 

Yes, I did play tunes of course, but they always felt like an extension of mechanical playing. In addition there was only a rudimentary explanation how all this was put together, i.e., theory. So I felt I was just becoming an ever cleverer monkey.

After 10 years I progress as far as Bach 4 part fugues. I dearly love J.S.Bach’s music, but now I felt like a traitor to his music, which made the entire  experience (not -EAR!) even worse.

Then came the drums. 

To be honest, I can’t quite remember why I wanted to play drums. I guess I just loved the sound…

As drums were not considered ‘serious’ – surprising as my father was an avid jazz fan – I was given a kit at age 11, after much pestering.  A local lad was hired as a teacher.

In a way he was one of the best teachers I ever had. Why? Because he didn’t spoil the fun. He showed me how to hold the sticks, a few basic grooves and told me to put on headphones and play along to records. I did this for many years. I couldn’t wait to get behind the drums after coming home from school! 

When demands on my time (school work, teenage…stuff) started to mount I had to give up one instrument. 

Guess which one I gave up!

In Mirko’s words

Coming from a family of musicians (like Niko) it was natural to me to ask Santa for a piano when I was six. That year Santa invented light keyboards. But only after he delivered to me a beautiful upright piano. 

I started studying with a local teacher, who taught me beautifully how to read music, how to call the notes, and to locate the notes on the keyboard. I progressively became a good music decoder but far beyond being a good musician. 

Then at the age of 11 I switched to saxophone (my dad was a woodwind professional player) and I entered the Conservatorium in Florence, Italy. Again, I have been taught all the secrets about decoding a chart, and the mechanic of the instrument, but I, sadly, became progressively deaf to the music and simply was not able to hear music when I was playing. 

After my masters degree in classical saxophone I took the bachelor of classical composition: no sound involved, at all. 

Then I started playing professional gigs, recording and I could see my career taking off. Not my listening, though.

It was after a concert with the great Stefano Bollani that I had the revelation. How could my colleagues  play tunes so beautifully from memory?  Why were their lines always so nice and appropriate?  How did they manage to play accents together with the rhythm section? How come they  were smiling at each other while nothing happened when I was soloing?

The short answer is: They were listening; they were using music thEARy to develop their expEARience.