Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

Practicing is Just Watching, That’s All

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When I was a kid I loved to draw. I think I was probably into drawing and coloring before I was into music.

I noticed that I could just sit, pay attention and the drawing would draw itself. I know, this probably sounds as if I am telling you that I was a little Zen master – but I am being quite serious. There was not a notion of me doing it….honestly.

Over the last few years with my on and off relationship with web design, it has been the same…pay attention…make jillions of split second decisions and bang…creation has happened.

Lately I have been practicing the tune “Mas Que Nada” and it has also been the same – and so much fun. I will record this one for sure, and probably debut it on my gig in a few days.

I guess I am writing this to tell you what practice is and what it isn’t, at least for me.

It all started with a vision and then followed sort of like this, over the course of a few weeks:


Wow this tune could be groovy!
I could imagine that people may want to sing along.
I want them to feel that easy Brazillian groove too, so they enjoy themselves.
Wouldn’t it be cool if I could get people dancing with just a guitar?
Hmm, what key might be good? E- will work, lots of open strings.
Let me listen to get the chords right. Ahh, it’s a little different than what I thought.
What’s the melody exactly?
The phrasing is kinda freaky – they are singing in Portugese!
I really want to get this tune so it is comfortable and I don’t have to think.
Wow, I need to separate my right hand fingers musically so the “a/ring” finger brings out the melody.
If I keep the bass rhythm consistent with my thumb, it makes this whole thing groove like a little machine.
That was what I needed to lock the groove in…cool!
I think I’ll play this until it feels really good.
Man, there is so much E-…a modulation would be nice…maybe I’ll do the 2nd verse in A-.
That sounds good, it breaks up the repetition.
After 2 times through I need a break of some sort…rhythmic, maybe use a loop pedal…hmm not sure.
Oh wow, a good ending would just be a really obvious “Ba Ba Ba!”
I’ll just practice this first in my routine every day for a week and make sure it feels good.


So there it is. It just takes the patience to watch and wait. The world out there changes when we look at it, it’s not just a one way street of the solid world coming into our heads. “Out there” changes when “in here” changes. Pretty amazing. In fact, out there and in here are one thing, we just tend to split it in two!

The feeling of coming up with this arrangement was totally natural, not stiff. And it’s subject to change at anytime.

Now this arrangement can be anything in life, can’t it? A house, car, family, carreer, relationship…that’s what amazes me. Music is but a microcosm.

How much can I create just by envisioning & watching, and allowing things to come together – rather than forcing, being exasperated at results not showing up (which creates more of the feeling of no results) and all that.

Can I remove drama and let things be, and know that they will formulate? That’s the challenge. More to come….


Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

One thought on “Practicing is Just Watching, That’s All

  1. Hi Adam I have seen many people play guitar, but first time I’ve heard you I’d really enjoy it, you have a very nice technic.
    I’m a Brazilian and since I was a Little kid I was like you, watching people play guitar in clubs and just paying attention to their fingers in order to learn the positions and go home and practice. I then became a guitar player in a rock and roll band, but in reality, others discovered that I was a better singer and I became one, singing in many bands after that I practically became a professional, and did not dedicate myself too much to develop more my guitar skills. I sing and know lots of brazilian Bossa Nova, but I’d like to learn how to play better my guitar, because I have developed bad habits with my fingerpicking and never learned music. Watching you and fill others playing I started to want to learn better the right way to play.

    My regards


    Please kindeness help me to know what should I learn from scratch from you. Reading your writings about spirituality seem to me that you are very much looking to find your own path too like me. I think that we have a lot to talk.

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