Enlightenment is not a matter of seeing something new. It is finally seeing what you have been looking at all the time………..Jamie Andreas
I often summarize my teaching this way: “I teach you how to pay attention, and what to pay attention to”. This may sound simple, but as anyone who has taken personal lessons with me will tell you, it is quite profound. To appreciate it, the student must first come to the sobering realization that when it comes to practicing the guitar, they do not know how to pay attention, and they do not know what to pay attention to.
I bring all students to this point as quickly as possible. When they get there, they understand why they are making no real progress in their guitar practice.
What Paying Attention During Guitar Practice MeansTo pay attention during guitar practice is very different than paying attention to other activates in life. It is easy to pay attention while watching a movie, because the movie only involves your mind and emotions, and it does so in a completely passive manner. When we practice guitar, we are using our body, and we are using some of the smallest muscles in the body to do things they never have to do in normal life. We are not in the habit of paying attention to these things.
Make The SacrificeTo be able to meditate, we must be able to put down the usual apparatus of our daily functioning. The constant parade of random distracting thoughts and emotions, the play of memory, the destructive power of negative "selftalk", all of this must be put down, made quiet to the point of cessation.
The Space Between The NotesWhen we have learned to go deep in our practice, we discover the space between the notes. It is in the space between the notes that we create the notes. It is in the time between each note that our fingers move to create the next sound.
Playing As PrayerWhen we play music, we are bringing into manifestation the power that is music. This is a healing power from beyond the human world. Everyone knows this, and everyone feels it. Everyone turns to music to escape the destructive power of this world.
Utter and complete attention to the bodily experience while performing the process of movement called for by the music during practice leads to utter and complete freedom of movement during playing. The body becomes the servant of the mind, while the mind maintains complete awareness of the music, of the sound before it is heard, and after. The music that is heard in the mind enters the body with the breath, which gives us the energy for the movements that create the sound.
During playing, awareness is centered on the sound (inner and outer) and the feeling of the breath, not as it enters the nose or mouth, but as the energy enters the belly (the center of bodily energy) rises through the solar plexus and heart, and radiates to the arms and fingers, giving them the power of the movement that will become the music.
This is the state of "effortless playing" often talked about. It allows the mind and emotions to focus only on the spiritual essence of the music. It is an ecstatic state that all musicians prize, in fact, live for. When the body, mind, and emotions are in complete communion with the music, we ride upon the music like a surfer rides upon the wave. The body and fingers are the surfboard, we use them to touch the strings and so to touch the music.
The music seems to play itself.
The mind is the surfer, riding upon the infinite power of the ocean of music. In this state of total absorption, surfer, board and ocean are one. When the meditation of our practice transforms us so that mind and body have merged with the music, we take up our instrument. Then player, instrument and music become one, sending the offering of our music as a prayer to the Infinite Mystery, which is the source of music, and ourselves