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Why Play Better?

Rick Kelly (2659) · [archive]
Style: Theory/Reference · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1

I hope my experience and observation is helpful to someone.

Last night I was disappointed with my performance at a local club. Not that I played all that bad, just not as good as those "magic" moments I have achieved from time to time.

Why does this bother me? Why do I want to work harder, practice longer? Why do I seek to achieve that hi mark once again?

The following is a short list of motivations, from what I consider least important to most important and effective.

1) Because I owe it to myself. I've put alot of my blood, sweat, and tears, my very heart and soul into playing guitar. I can't settle for mediocrity now. Besides, I want to impress people and have them tell me how great I am. ;-)

2) For other musicians. My bandmates, they depend on me to play my best for every performance. I want their approval and acceptance.

3) For the audience. They are giving me a small piece of their time and attention to hear me play. Don't they deserve better?

And most important of all, and the point of this lesson ---

4) For the music. The music itself, "art for arts sake". The music deserves better. If I don't believe this, why am I playing it?

I find that when my motivation and passion is focused in this direction, that is when I lose myself in the music. It is almost as if I become an active listener, disconnected from what my fingers are doing, hearing and enjoying what I'm playing, almost forgetting that I'm playing the instrument. I become one with the instrument and the music. The music plays me. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time. I know that sounds a little hokey, but I can't think of a better way to describe it.

It's like there is this big feedback loop, that goes soul to mind to fingers to pick to strings to pickups to chord to amp to speaker to room to audience and back to my ears, all tuned to one big awesome, gruvin tone. But if I lose focus and notice what's happening, and try to substain the experience instead of continuing to play for the music, it disappears until it is re-acquired somehow. Peace Hope Love and Joy -Rick