The evolution of the AOV

May 23rd, 2011

When I first started writing the AOV, my original thought was to write about the basic qualities of virtuosity, qualities that are crucial to attaining the state.

The logic is simple, if you develop these qualities, you’re also creating the conditions for virtuosity to occur within you.

For instance, if you develop a light effortless touch, you’d have already put in place a key component of virtuosity, and virtuosity would naturally occur because you have this crucial element.

Or if you develop a strong rhythmic approach, you would have also developed another key component of virtuosity, and virtuosity would again be more likely to occur because you have this component in place.

Conversely, if you persist in clawing away at the strings when you pluck, your hand clenched in a fist, or play without any sense of time or rhythm, you would never achieve virtuosity because you’re lacking these key ingredients.

But as I  wrote, I began to realize that these principles are just the basic building blocks of virtuosity and that there was something deeper.

I had been writing about guitar-specific techniques in the book to achieve speed, such as consolidation and note-grouping, and I soon realized that these techniques are actually the core elements and the real secrets of virtuosity.

To me, the logic behind them are so clearly obvious and self-evident, and yet I found it surprising that others didn’t seem to be able to see this logic.

Even students who sat directly in front of me as I taught them seemed to be unable to grasp their significance.

I began to attribute this to the different reality they were operating under.

They were operating under ordinary reality and were unable to see the strange but perfectly practical realities of working in virtuoso reality.

In a ways, the situation is your classic catch-22.

If you don’t have rhythm, you wouldn’t understand what it is, and if you don’t understand what it is, you wouldn’t understand its significance, and if you don’t understand its significance, you won’t work on it.

The same is true of lightness, if you don’t have a light touch, you wouldn’t understand what it feels like, and if you don’t understand what it feels like, you wouldn’t understand its benefits. (In fact, I have noticed a general resistance to the principle of lightness because of the seeming resulting ‘lack of control’ you experience when you lighten your touch. People can’t seem to get used to it and can’t believe playing guitar can be so light and easy.)

To me, it was clear that I had to focus more on the differences between ‘ordinary’ reality and ‘virtuoso’ reality in the book.

In the meantime, I had been experimenting with different formats, trying to find the format that best expressed what I was trying to communicate.

I went from writing just about the basic principles to more lengthy discussions about passion and being extraordinary, all of which, admittedly, are important elements of virtuosity, but which diluted the original message I was trying to convey – the basic physical elements of achieving virtuosity.

So almost eight years after I started writing the AOV, I find myself coming full circle, writing about the basic conditions of virtuosity, but this time, focusing on the real secret of virtuosity — how to harness its effortless energy.

This new version is my twentieth version. (Or is it the fortieth version? I’ve lost count.) but I’m convinced this is it, the final version. And it’s supported by the number of years I’ve been working on the book, eight is an auspicious number in the Chinese universe.

I’ll be uploading the new version soon. In the meantime, the current version is still available and will be until the new version comes online. If you want the current version and still get the new one, this will be a good time to purchase the pdf. (All purchases come with unlimited updates.)

Or you can purchase it at the full price which includes a numbered hard copy of the first edition, limited to 500 copies.

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