– tick them off one by one and you’ll be on your way sooner than you think –
Improvement is like building blocks – slowly and steadily. There is no need to get impatient. That leads to frustration and tension.
Listen, compare and imitate. When you can play a phrase exactly like Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton or Julian Bream then you will be able to play it in any way you wish – preferably your own way.
Read as much about your area of interest as you can. That includes musical, social, and historical background,
Play in time, and drive yourself nuts developing rock solid tempos and rhythms.
What separates a few players from the rest is beautiful phrasing. This can involve developing a singing/lyrical style, allowing phrases to breathe, and giving them space.
Accurate playing means just that. No smudges, buzzes let alone wrong notes. OK, so you already know this, but are you practising slowly and carefully enough to make this happen? By slow I mean at a snail’s pace, and not just once but all the times necessary until it is perfect….only then move on.
Good tone is the first thing that grabs the listener. It doesn’t need a brilliant technique to do so. Anyone can acquire it. The problem lies in producing it under the pressure of playing difficult passages. Don’t put off good tone to tomorrow, do it now!
It is easy to reduce playing to a dynamic monotone.Dynamics are one of the casualties of concentrating on accuracy since it is easier to play without them.
The art of interpretation depends on transcending difficulties and transporting the listener with your playing to a special place somewhere above the clouds away from our ordinary world! This may sound a bit far-fetched, but is it? Convince yourself that this is what it’s all about and you will think of your playing quite differently. Say to yourself you can do it too.
Playing involves co-ordinating all of the aspects above.It is hard to keep your mind on all of them simultaneously, so think of them one at a time. Let your mind flit from one to the other as you are playing. Think of them as a check list.
14th March 2015, London