Hi Gang! I am back in NYC for a short breather between tours…
On the road recently someone came up to me and said “man, I worked on your version of Superstition for like 5 months and still couldn’t get it perfect.”
My reply was “only 5 months?”
I explained to him that he needs to dive in with a full ongoing commitment and not watch the clock or calendar.
I’m gonna play this arrangement no matter how long it takes to learn and practice. If I can play one note, then I can play two. I’ll play those 2 until they sound good, then I’ll add note 3.
I’ll do a little every day and it will surely build. I’ll sand the edges, work on the groove, listen hard, and allow improvements to reveal themselves with time.
I’ll be mindful that my hands feel good and my whole body feels the groove as I play. One day it will sound good.
I’ve been “hammering” at all my guitar arrangements for the past 6 years – and there’s no end in sight.
The real issue is not about guitar….it’s about “commitment” vs “flirtation”.
I can feel in me when I “flirt” with something vs when I totally “commit.”
Things like playing chess, fooling around with electric bass or drums – and even figuring out other guitarists riffs – these are fun things that add richness to my life – but it’s flirtation.
Playing slow scales, practicing my arrangements (and now learning easy Bach Preludes on the piano) and 30 minutes a day of meditation are “commitments”.
Because they are “commitments” I can relax and breathe as I do the work.
I don’t try to practice everything in a day. I am mindful of relaxation in my hands, neck, shoulders and I don’t “overdo”. The fact that I plan to spend the rest of my life on this stuff helps me chill out!
(Please note – I am not saying you have to be a pro and spend hours a day. You can be a hobby player and commit to practicing a piece of music in the way that I am saying.)
Only after a good long period of time do results show. There’s a sweetness to knowing and feeling that I’ve (you’ve) accomplished just a little something by coming back to it again and again.
The moral of the story is….hobbies are ok, flirtation with stuff is fun and ok – but committing is also ok too.
The opposite of immediate gratification is one of the sweetest satisfactions in life! Don’t miss out.
Know where you stand – and if there something you early really want, put it in your focus and never look away! The “out projecting” of your vision will in fact, create the “thing” or experience in real life.
Great post again Adam. Practice just gets deeper the more you do it, and sometimes it seems the more you do the more you focus in on basics and details. It never ends. It is regarding it as a way of life rather than a means to an end that makes a difference.
Thanks for the distinctions Adam. It’s easy to not prioritize right. I’ve been working on TE’s Bella Soave for some months now and still got a ways to go. I thought to bail out because its seemed I can’t nail the song but I see that it takes time. By the way, I was curious as to what scales you practice with. Best Regards