Confessions Pt. 2


I had the opportunity recently to take a lesson with Mick Goodrick, who has always been something of a hero of mine. I had been planning on seeking him out for a lesson for some time, and with that goal in mind, I sat down and wrote out some of my thoughts about music and playing the guitar. When I finally did get to sit down with him I showed him my "essay" and suggested I read it to him, which I did. The rest of the lesson consisted of us talking about a lot of the questions raised and in general the subjects I had written about. Neither one of us even touched a guitar the whole time. During the course of the lesson he gave me a lot of very good advice, most of it very simple and seemingly self evident, but put in such a way as to make me feel like a lot of my frustrations and questions were indeed solvable.

He told me an anecdote which he said he usually ends clinics with. He said that when most people are young they have an initial experience hearing music and being moved by it. Most people think to themselves, "Wow, I really love the way that makes me feel, I think I'll go out and buy the record!" These are the smart people. A few poor souls, however, hear that music and say to themselves "Wow, I really love the way that made me feel: I want to be able to do that." Those are the stupid people. Anyway, Mick suggested that I might consider publishing my essay about my problems as a guitar player. He thought it might be helpful for other guitarists who are struggling with a lot of the same problems to read it. He even suggested the title, which I trust he doesn't mind me using for this section of my website.

One thing that Mick told me that really stayed with me was in reply to my question of what amounted to: "When am I ever going to find 'my own voice' on my instrument." He said to look at things like I have a balance with a weight on one side, and my job is to make the scale balance out by adding sand to the other side one grain at a time. One way of looking at it would be to constantly be looking at how much sand I have left to put on the scale, thinking, "When will this ever be done, dammit." Another way of looking at it is to simply learn to enjoy the process of putting each grain of sand on the scale, to perhaps examine each grain of sand to find what is beautiful about each and every one. In other words, to do it for the sake of doing it, not for the sake of achieving the eventual goal. I think that is a pretty cool way of looking at things, and sometimes we all need a reminder that it's not where we're going that's important, but the "getting there."

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