Although I feel as if I’ve progressed, I still have much to learn. One major problem I have is scheduling consistent lessons with my teacher. Work, travel, and family keep my quite busy. It’s been over two weeks since I’ve been able to schedule a lesson with my teacher. During my last lesson, I was a bit reluctant to face him because of my lack of practice. He reminded me that consistent practice is the key to development.
We began the lesson with his reviewing our last lesson on triplets. Next we moved to some alternate picking exercises up, down and across the fretboard. He emphasized exercises that forced me to use my pinky.
“Too many guitarists are lazy and don’t make good use of their pinky,” he said. “I want you to do everything you can to strengthen yours and play with it as much as possible.”
Finally, he made me demonstrate all of the techniques we learned while looking straight ahead and walking around the room.
“Why do you want me to do this?” I asked.
“I want you to get into the habit of playing effortlessly,” he explained. “Let me be clear. It is different than playing mindlessly. I want the music to be so natural to you that it becomes second nature just like breathing. I used to think that I was a great guitar player if I could play with my eyes closed. Now I judge myself on whether I can play and carry on a conversation.”
After a few miscues, I was able to get a good rhythm and focus on playing the notes.
By the end of my lesson, my fingers were exhausted. We ended the lesson with my asking him a question.
“When I play songs from sheet music, they sounds flat and lifeless,” I said. “How can I make the music sound fuller?”
“You have to pour yourself into the music,” he said. He played a few bars of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” as Hendrix would have played it. Then he played it in his own style. Although I could hear traces of Hendrix in his playing, my teacher’s signature acoustic fusion style shone through. “You have to be expressive and make it your own. A musician’s job it to play what’s not on the sheet music.”
Question: What is your hobby?