Usually I stress the importance of a good musical education. Often I teach hands-on guitar techniques.
Without my teachers & mentors I would not be the person and musician I am today.
However, there is a fundamental but “advanced” step in making music. What I am about to say may sound contradictory.
After you’ve been a good student, go ahead and throw away everything you’ve learned.
Yes, throw it all away. Forget it on purpose when you make real music.
The other day I HAD to do this, to make real music….
I decided to make a YouTube video for “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye.
In polishing this tune, I felt like an idiot, as if I had 2 left thumbs.
I wondered “am I getting stupider as a musician and guitarist? I used to nail this stuff! Why does it feel this way?”
In the past I’ve
- nailed alternate picking at fast tempos
- nailed arpeggios
- executed passages “perfectly” (or at least so I thought)
- had it all under “control” fingering wise and brain wise
What the heck “was going on?” – I used to understand this instrument 🙂
Really “making music” was forcing me to throw away ideas I had about “proper” technique. I had not realized that “musical instinct” had become the boss – which explains the fingers being disoriented.
The means of “measuring” good from bad changed.
Does this make sense? Maybe it’s cryptic.
Yes you have to learn and practice, and always will. But, to “communicate musically” you then have convey the meaning of the music, not the words.
And, when you enter this magical “space”…you throw away everything you’ve learned and feel as if you are a beginner again.
Maybe tomorrow you’ll work on technique again.
Just remember to throw it away when it’s time to play.