Only one path

April 28th, 2012

Recently, I had a rather cordial exchange with one of the many online experts on guitar playing, and at the end of our discussion, he said something to the effect that ‘the master knows there’s only one path to mastery.’

To which I responded with ‘many roads lead to Rome.’

Actually, he’s right in his assertion that there’s only one right path to mastery, except that he got it wrong in one crucial respect, and that is, that ‘one path’ differs from individual to individual.

What’s right for me may not be right for you. What worked for Segovia may not work for you.

We’re talking here, of course, about details of technique, how to hold the hand, how to pluck, and specifically, in the topic under discussion, how to hold the left hand to the fretboard.

Details will always differ from individual to individual because each one of us is unique. Just as every one of us have a unique visage, every one of us possess unique physical attributes that determine the details of our technique, and what that ‘path to mastery’ is for us.

And the only person who can find out what that path is is you.

This point lies at the heart of the AOV, that the road to virtuosity is a personal journey of discovery, no one can do it for you. You’ll have to take on that journey yourself and discover what that path is for you.

But how do you know when you find it?

When all the elements described in the AOV are in place.

When you feel a supreme sense of comfort and relaxation in what you do, when playing becomes so effortless and easy, you don’t have to do much, you just hear the notes in your mind, and your fingers automatically do the rest for you.

And that’s the purpose of the AOV — it’s not meant to be a magic formula for you to attain virtuosity, rather, its purpose is to describe the vital conditions that must be in place before virtuosity can occur.

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