A state of mind

March 23rd, 2013

Some people, I’ve noticed, only see the difficult in things.

You can give them the simplest things and they will find some way to make it complicated.

For these people, life is hard, it’s a constant struggle.

Virtuosos think and work differently.

Instead of making things complicated, they simplify them.

Instead of seeing the difficult in things, they see the easy.

This point was brought home to me never more forcefully than in a recent viewing of Paco de Lucia playing the Aranjuez concerto.

As I wrote in my previous post, there’re some advantages to living in the 21st century, one of which is youtube and the other is the VLC media player.

Now watching Paco play the first movement in slow motion, I was amazed to see how he simplified the score.

One scale, in particular, caught my eye. This is the scale which first occurs at 02.23 and is repeated five more times and in four different keys in the piece.

What do most people do with those scales?

They play them with a different fingering every time.

But not the Maestro. He plays the scales the same way every time. Whether it’s in D or F or C, he uses the same fingering in all of them, thereby effectively reducing four scales to one.

Truly amazing.

And it just goes to show that virtuosity is mostly a state of mind.

If you have the virtuoso state of mind, virtuosity will occur naturally, a logical outcome of that mindset.

I’ll be posting a series of articles soon.

This will be the beginning of a new book titled, “How to become a virtuoso in 60 days.”

Yes, it sounds a little bold and provocative, I know.

Can one really achieve virtuosity in 60 days?

Well, you’ll have to read the posts to find out. But you can probably guess the answer from the first part of this post.

Virtuosity is mostly a state of mind.

And it shouldn’t take more than 60 days to change your state of mind.

6 Responses to “A state of mind”

  1. Lawrence Says:

    Paco de Lucia is a legend of flamenco and fusion style guitarist.

    Another fact of Paco de Lucia is he does not read musical notes or learn theory. He has the composing music in his mind and know how to improvise like a Jazz guitarist.

    Please watch his biography video and his concert. His picado skill is really superb and lighting fast. His virtuosity of this skill needs life time to achieve if ones is dedicate to his skill development and continual improvement..

    He played together with Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, Al de Meola and many other musicians.

    He learned music by hearing only. His aural skill and musicianship are superb and awesome.

  2. Philip Hii Says:

    Yes, Paco is really a legend. I’ve seen him play a few times and every time I watch him, I learn something new.

  3. Ron Murray Says:

    Paco actually did go off to an island for ten weeks to learn the Aranjuez, which also involved him learning to read music well enough to decipher the piece. It is interesting to see that he simplifies those scales, he has a guitaristic and musical intelligence at the highest level.

  4. Philip Hii Says:

    This is just part of the picture. He actually has a whole system of scale fingerings based on this simple scale fingering. Simply amazing. Highest level is the best way to describe it.

  5. Tom Says:

    In Villa-Lobos Prelude 3 the same scale occurs in two different keys. In one of those keys you can use a lot of open strings making it easier. Would you recommend playing both of those scales with the same closed fingering so you learn and practice one scale or would you recommend two fingerings with one being easier?

  6. Philip Hii Says:

    It’s been a while since I played the piece, my memories of it is a little hazy. But if I remember those runs correctly, they’re not strictly scales, more like arpeggios with some scale like elements — the result of higher chord extensions, like 9ths and 13ths. If I were to finger them again, I would probably try to play identical elements between the runs the same, but I would still try to take advantage of any available open strings to facilitate awkward position shifts. Not much of an answer I know, but these runs are a little more complicated than the Aranjuez scales.

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