I am in the midst of preparing my Jackson 5 Guitar Instructional DVD and am really excited about the music. I am totally immersed in, and enjoying the teaching process of this music – and finding myself in a very feel-good place.
Funny though, as a young classical guitar player I was never able to dig into the music on the level that I do now. As I look back, I think – “what was the difference?” I am really truly happy now – but was not happy back in the day. What am I doing right, and what was I doing wrong? 🙂
I recently returned from a guitar festival in Bermuda where I got to hear and hang out with a great classical guitar duo – the Brasil Guitar Duo. Awesome musically and technically. You could feel their 100% commitment to the music. This made me think…what are they doing that I wasn’t?
I just let the cat out of the bag! But let’s rewind…
Many times, as I played classical guitar I felt a “veil” between myself and the music. a feeling of “I’ll never get it” or “it’s too hard” or something. This was very frustrating for me as a young player. I loved love classical guitar recordings – but somehow feel “locked out”.
I feel totally the opposite with the Jackson 5 music I am preparing for the DVD. By now, my cat should be able to play the songs after having heard the instruction ad nauseum.
As I teach this the music, I am constantly thinking to myself, “what inner message must the student realize in order to play this music, and how can I convey this?”
The music is not exactly easy. It’s a full plate of technical, rhythmic, and melodic challenges. These are delicious musical puzzles that I have figured out. But what is it on the inner plane that has enabled me to play this music – and what must the student do?
The answer is simple. Isn’t it always?
One must LOVE IT enough that they are willing to do the work.
Knowing what you love means that you are awake to your INNER harmony. Not what you think is “cool” or “interesting” – but that which touches your heart and soul.
This sounds simple and easy – and it is when you allow it. But – fear regarding the approval of others (teachers, parents, peer group etc) can twist, distort and hinder you. Or fear of survival (I’ll never make a living doing that) or fear of control (how will I do that consistently) can derail you.
Even as a jazz player, my soul would really light up when I was deep in a blues zone, or a funk zone, or an authentic bebop zone. At other times I’d feel “off”.
But – once you care about the approval of others and compromise your honesty, you’re lost.
And so it was for me with classical guitar – as I see in retrospect. I love the beauty of the art, but I never had the feeling of 100% commitment and love for the music. Not enough to put me over the top!!!
But enough about me….more about YOU.
What do YOU love? When no one’s watching and no one can comment – what is your love, your dream? What would you do for no money? What would you do if you only had 6 months to live? Answer that honestly and you can achieve anything.
And that’s why I have the strength to practice Jackson 5, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder songs for hours on end. I love it that much. I am willing to do the work. And – I’d do it without getting paid! 100% commitment…and the hell with what anyone thinks!
In the words of Joseph Campell…”Follow Your Bliss”. Awaken to your inner harmony, and watch the world roll at your feet. The previously impossible and insurmountable become easy, delicious and inevitable.