A desiderata of the guitarDecember 10th, 2011
I wrote the Desiderata of the Guitar a number of years ago and had completely forgotten about it. That is, until recently, when I rediscovered it while doing some spring cleaning on the site.
I found the sentiments expressed in the piece as relevant as ever and fit well with the philosophy espoused in the AOV and decided to give it a new lease on life.
Here’s the desiderata, in slightly updated form.
Desiderata of the Guitar
(with apologies to Max Ehrmann)
Go placidly into the practice room,
and remember what peace there may be in playing the guitar.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with your guitar.
Keep your back straight, your fingers loose;
and your touch light as the wind.
Especially know that your body has its own secrets.
If you fight it, you kill its natural impulses.
If you impose your will on it, you subdue its talents.
Rather, let it lead you where it wants to go.
Let your music speak for you.
Do not try to impress your peers.
Jealous persons intent on finding faults will find them.
Avoid loud vexatious persons.
who will tell you their secrets of life.
The world is full of ‘wise’ men,
who hide behind a wall of self-delusion.
Ignore their words, listen to their playing.
Words are cheap, advice is easy,
but diligent practice is hard and great playing is rare.
Trust your judgment, do not follow the pack.
Crowd hysteria exists in all quarters.
Find your own space and believe in it.
Follow your instincts, for they will lead you to unexpected and delightful places.
Listen to everyone and listen to no one.
The great players and the not so great – they all have their stories.
Listen to them and take with you what you need.
As you gain in wisdom, do not be afraid to share it.
But realize that many have not traveled the same paths,
or drank from the same cup.
Do not try to impose your wisdom on them,
let them come to you instead.
Infuse your playing with magic and wonder,
and let it speak of the joys and tribulations of life.
One note played with love and imagination,
is worth a thousand executed with soulless precision.
Therefore be at peace with your guitar,
whatever you conceive it to be.
Practice hard. Strive to be happy.