(An early draft of the AOV)
How to achieve effortless virtuosity by following a few simple steps.
——— 1 ———
First, create loose conditions in the body.
Loosen up your body; don’t force it in any way.
Allow the body to loosen into a state of pure relaxation.
Looseness is the first and most critical component of virtuosity.
——— 2 ———
Second, move lightly.
Even in the hardest of tasks, move lightly.
Think of a dancer, the grace and smoothness in her movements, no awkwardness or clumsiness, just a smooth fluid flow.
Especially in high stress situations, keep yourself loose and move lightly.
If you do this, you’ll be able to attain the light effortless touch of virtuosity.
——— 3 ———
Third, move in small movements.
To do this, focus your movements at the points of action.
If you’re plucking strings, this would be your fingertips.
Think of wiggling your fingertips.
Your movements should be so small, to the onlooker; it would appear almost as if you’re not moving.
——— 4 ———
Fourth, move fluidly.
Like a dancer gliding from one step to the next.
Your movements blended into one continuous action—preparing, executing, rebounding—all one continuous move.
Think circular motion in your movements.
Avoid stopping and starting.
From chord to chord, think of the movements as one motion.
From positioning to plucking to rebounding, move in one motion.
——— 5 ———
Fifth, control and time your actions with rhythm.
Do this by underpinning your actions to a light rhythmic pulse.
Do it unconsciously.
Like walking—when you walk, you do it naturally without being aware of rhythm.
And yet there’s rhythm in all your steps.
Rhythm is the ultimate control mechanism,
It enables you to pace your actions so that they unfold in a smooth logical progression.
As opposed to rushing through them.
Or letting them occur randomly.
——— 6 ———
And release tension at the end of actions.
All actions have two phases.
First, the tension phase, and then the release.
Like a sigh, or a breath.
As you draw in your breath, that’s the tension phase.
Then the expiration, that’s the release.
And here’s the critical part—timing.
Release at the moment of impact.
The moment of impact is the moment of release.
The instant you pluck that string, let go all tension.
——— 7 ———
The question is often asked; how do you produce power with lightness?
By capturing the power in the release.
Effortless power is based on three things: a loose body, super light movements, and the release.
Especially crucial in fast changing fluid conditions.
If you have to play a bunch of fast moving notes at fortissimo levels, capture the power in the release of each note.
To do this, let your fingertip come into contact with the string, allow it to give slightly, and then let go in a snapping action.
The energy released this way is powerful and effortless.
True power is produced not by forcing energy, but through releasing energy.
—February 1, 2011