I’m writing this on New Year’s Day 2018…
…and like so many of us I’m taking the opportunity to think about what I can do better. I spend so much of each day giving advice, and I believe in what I’m saying. All the positive feedback I’m getting reinforces that belief, along with the results so many of my students are seeing. But I don’t want to be the proverbial shoemaker whose kids go barefoot.
I had a very productive and satisfying year in 2017, meeting many of the goals I set for myself. I’m going into this new year with a renewed sense of confidence in what I’m capable of. It’s a good feeling to have, especially because I’ve written a lot over the past year about the role of confidence in creating accomplishment and the role of accomplishment in creating confidence. You gotta walk the walk, as the saying goes.
But if there’s one thing I really feel I could do more, it’s…wait for it…practice.
I spend a lot of time working on music. Learning or arranging songs for shows or for lessons. Finding something new to appreciate in songs I’ve known for years, even just to learn the song for the pleasure of it. I need to acknowledge my JamPlay audience for their role in this part…so many of our open Q&A sessions are explorations of songs that I thought were familiar but had more layers to uncover. I almost feel bad about not spending as much time as I used to listening to new music, because I’m enjoying this process of rediscovery so much. So that’s part of an ongoing learning process, and something I wholeheartedly encourage you to do as well.
When it comes to practicing, it’s as hard for me to make the time as it probably is for you.
I’ve become a very accomplished player over the past 36 years, but there’s so much more for me to learn. I’m feeling a personal need to spend some time going back to the drawing board. I haven’t worked seriously on classical guitar music in a long time, and my interest has been getting steadily stronger over the past year. So this is something I want to recommit myself to, even if it only means fifteen minutes a day while I’m having my coffee in the morning. Now that I’m saying this publicly, of course, I have all of you to keep me accountable…so look for more classical performance videos to follow. It doesn’t have much bearing on my musical day-to-day, and may not for yours either. But I want to set the example myself, again…to walk the walk.
I also want to write another record’s worth of instrumental pieces for electric guitar. My Flying CD, released in 2004, was a very gratifying project and I grew a lot as a player making it. It’s time for me to get back into my own beginner’s mind and see where that creativity leads.
I think it’s important for our continued personal growth to work at a challenge for the sake of the challenge.
The added focus and mental sharpness that requires is its own reward and has its own benefits. So there’s really no such thing as wasted effort. But in the end, what this comes down to is my desire to make beautiful sounds on the guitar – ugly ones too, when it fits the mood! And I want to continue to become a better guitarist and more complete and fulfilled person in the process.
Thank you for walking this path with me, and know that I’m recommitting myself to making sure I’m moving forward along with you. Here’s to a productive and fulfilling new year.