The essence of virtuosity

May 29th, 2011

If you’ve followed this blog, you’d have probably guessed that I do have a slight preoccupation with the subject of mastery.

As a guitarist, the difference between mastery and non-mastery are obvious.

If you know how to perform a technique, it’s easy, but if you don’t know how, it can be hard.

Like playing the tremolo. If you know how to go about it, it’s easy, but if you don’t, it can be very hard to do.

But I’ve never been interested in mastery purely from the standpoint of playing the guitar.

My interest in it extends beyond the guitar, to its everyday applications in our daily lives.

As I’ve written before, even the simple act of uninstalling a lock requires a certain amount of mastery and can be hard to do if you don’t possess the necessary skill and knowledge.

And that to me is the essence of virtuosity.

Not showy technical displays or cheap tricks, but knowledge – knowledge at a deep and personal level.

When I first decided to use the word ‘virtuosity’ to describe the AOV, I knew it would probably conjure up associations with cheap showmanship and flashy technical displays in some people.

And they may be right.

I must admit that that was part of the original intention — to write a book on how to attain a flashy guitar technique.

But that was just a small part of it.

My main intention was to distill virtuosity down to its essence, to a few simple principles, and enable anyone applying those principles to achieve virtuosity in whatever they do.

In other words — to define the essence of virtuosity, not as a performance sport, but as principles we can all live by.

2 Responses to “The essence of virtuosity”

  1. Ron Murray Says:

    I have just started playing the West African djun-djun drums, and the principles of lightness, looseness and especially the energy in the inanimate object ( the drum head) apply perfectly!

  2. Philip Hii Says:

    Thanks for the feedback!

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