The secret ingredient

March 25th, 2018

In life, it’s easy to make wrong assumptions based on what we see, rather than the reality which is usually far more complex.

For example, if we look at a car, and see the wheels spinning as it runs, it’s easy to conclude that the reason why cars run is because of the wheels.

But we know that in reality, there’re a whole host of things working under the hood which make a car run, chief of them, the engine, without which the car is just a piece of scrap metal.

I’ve found that the same thing is often true in trying to explain guitar technique.

For example, I’ve always known that the sensation in the fingers plays a crucial role in technique.

This is something that is not perceptible visually, and is usually left out of the equation when people try to explain technique.

(The present obsession with hand positions and strict prescriptions on how the fingers should move are all based on how things look rather than how they operate internally.)

Then, there’s the internal mechanism within the body which provides the energy.

All these are experiential things which can only be gleaned through direct experience. Any attempt to explain them are just “fingers pointing at the moon,” to use the old cliché.

Lately, I’ve been trying to write the final chapter to the AOV.

It came to me a while back that my original preoccupation with the physical elements of virtuosity, which while still valid, misses one important component—that of energy itself.

Energy is what drives our actions. It’s the engine that drives the car of virtuosity.

And the key to virtuosity, more than anything else, is finding that source of effortless energy within us.

I’ve tried to explain this source of energy as momentum.

But I now realize it’s not momentum, just a feeling of momentum in the fingers as they propel each other forward.

I’ve tried to explain it as consolidation but consolidation is just a strategy to produce the engine. It’s not the engine itself.

So what’s this engine?

That’s for my next article.

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