Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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


Letting Seeds Grow

Greetings Friends!

Wow, so much has happened in the last week, I don’t know were to begin.

A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of a Tony Robbins CD (sorry Tony, don’t worry – I’ll be buying stuff from you soon!) and I gotta say – the man is a genius.

The expression “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” was exemplified when I heard this cd.

A typical frustration that I bump into (and many of us do) is “why can’t I be further along than I am”. Whether it is financial, career, family, skill at something, one’s physical appearance – it is easy to be dissatisfied with the present circmstances.

Eckhart Tolle would say it is the experience of saying “no” and pushing against what is that brings us unhappiness. Absolutely true.

But Tony said something so real, so obvious that I just perked up.

He said, “maybe you’ve planted seeds and just have to wait until they grow”.

Bingo. This really chilled me out!

I often get comments on youtube and audience comments amounting to “why aren’t you more famous, you’re as good as ……(pick a well know guitarist)”. And then, I find that I am walking around, irritated slightly at the perfect unerring response of the universe. I am where I am, but want to be “further ahead”.

Add to that the financial pressures of life, a little bit of ego…and away we go!!! πŸ™‚ The frustrated ideas bring about frustrated emotions, and then I roll down the slippery slope of negativity. Hmm….how can I avoid this?

Now I see. My little seeds of my acoustic guitar direction have had much less time underground than some other people’s “seeds”. It is natural, perfect for me to be right where I am. The seeds are sprouting, and I gotta “keep on keepin on” to make sure the water and sunlight is consistent. That means ongoing touring, practicing, writing – and WAITING PATIENTLY to let nature “do it’s thing”!

I am writing about this so that you can take a look at your life and see if you are frustrated that “little seedlings” are causing you upset because you want them to be more grown up than they are.

A farmer knows if he want’s a harvest that he has to prepare months ahead…..



Huh? Licensing & Copyrights On The Web? I thought is was FREE?

About two weeks ago I completed guitar tabs for some VERY well known pop tunes that I play that youtubers had requested non-stop. Just check out my youtube channel and take an educated guess as to which tunes πŸ™‚

After painstakingly writing tablature for my own arrangements I figured I’d give out lessons on fragments and sell them.

Whoa…not so fast Buddy! Even though the arrangements are original, the tune is someone else’s, and I’d need licensing rights from the print publisher.

I yanked the stuff immediately, and wondered what the future will bring…

Publishers and record companies are SCRAMBLING to stay afloat!!! In fact, they have even yanked a guitar teacher off youtube for teaching chords to Rolling Stones tunes!

Executives have been screwing musicians so long, it’s great to see that exploiting musicians is no longer a lucrative business for them. What is worrisome though is that the public can also get around paying the musicians for their stuff…


This got me thinking – how the heck will music, video and any other printed material that is intellectual property be protected? Or is the “stuff”, the material simply now an “advert” to sell a service?

For example, should a musician or band give away mp3’s and videos and lessons online to get their audience down to gigs and workshops? Do the gurus give it away free and get people to the seminars? Are recordings now like TV interviews? The minute you charge even a penny, you are out of the “FREE” fast lane, and viewers / surfers will check out the FREE stuff overr your item that costs a penny.

Here is the BIG problem. An artist, musician, author cannot survive if they can’t sell stuff. If all I can get paid for is the gig or lesson I am on at this moment, that’s no good. I have to be able to sell products too! I deserve to write a book, make a vid, or record a tune and sell it.

It’s a funny little turning point…for someone who is not known, the web is great for “getting out there”…but what about an established band, author, teacher? They are getting robbed if they cannot sell their stuff. Or, is the viral “everyone can share it” approach the best approach?

If you are a user you most likely love the FREE aspect of the web. But, I want you to go do your job for FREE for a week. If you sell products or services, give them away for FREE and see how that makes you feel!


A POSSIBLE BRAINSTORM, and what do you think of it?

Since computer OS’s upgrade constantly and we need new machines every few years to keep up with the ever incrreasing software needs, I think this issue lies in the hands of the software companies (Apple’s I tunes, Adobe PDF and other companies).

Every document / mp3 / video will need a fingerprint that checks a big database in the sky to see if the computer is licensed to play the file. This will also trickle to ipods, iphones, etc.

(Itunes is attempting this.)

Each inventor/ author / musician / company will be able to log into the database and set prices, track users. Or companies, if they are advertising the artist.

So let’s say I create a new mp3 and post it on my web site for FREE. Go get it, no problem…

I go to my account and register the tune, and say to the database “YEP it is FREE”.

User listens and enjoys.

I go back and say “Hmm. 100,000 downloads? Time to set the price to 99 cents, for the slice of people who really want it .” Or, set a 6 month trial period on the tune so that after 6 months they gotta pay.

The next time the user goes to listen to the tune, they see that it now costs 99 cents. The software does the checking. Depending on artists, services, publishers, promotion the 99 cents gets divided up.

So the onus is on Itunes , Adobe PDF and the host of other reader / player applications to control the copyright infringement I think.

No doubt the spy vs spy element will remain, people will do various “save as” techniques or use text files to pry files open but I see no other way.

The player / viewer application just has to say “nope, I won’t play or show the file”.

I am looking forward to your thoughts and curious to see where this goes…


The Importance of Art and The Excellence of Tommy Emmanuel

Friends, last night I went to go see Tommy Emanuel perform at NYC’s Highline Ballroom. I feel like I don’t even need to say it – it was awesome, one of the best shows I have ever seen. It had variety, virtuosity, groove, highs & lows in intensity.

He had guest performers, he had stories, and jokes. All bound together with the glue of his unbelievable guitar playing.

In short, he gives you an “experience” and does not just “play the guitar well”.
As you know by now, this man has changed my life – and I am one of many people whom he has affected. As you can see in my videos & hear on the mp3’s I plan on “doing something” with this inspiration.

What needs to be noted I think is this: great art and music shows us how EXCELLENT we are as humans, and points to how excellent we can be. Many things show us our excellence also – athletics, invention, science, writing – to name a few.

But to see someone “take it to the limit” shows us the unbelievable depth of the human mind and spirit is a treat, a joy – and much needed today in the age of ”
too much of digital everything.”

On the “meet & greet” line I was practically in tears. I thanked Tommy for his music. I had overheard him saying to the guy ahead of me how he wanted “people to walk out of the show spiritually uplifted”.

Well he spiritually uplifted my girlfriend so much I told her I’d get his number for her πŸ™‚

Seriously though, this brings a Biblical story to mind. There was a story about how Jesus went nuts and overturned tables at a temple that had become a market place, saying something about what they had done to his “Fathers House”.

When I hear all the crapola music that’s out there it makes me want to overturn tables. But, the over promotion of musicians who have hardly practiced, who offer nothing spiritually in their music does serve a purpose. It is the perfect backdrop for when the “real thing” comes along.

Thank you Universe, God, Source for bringing us real artists and messengers who show us the “excellence” that lies buried deep in all human beings.

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Giving a Free Sample Away Now; Receiving Later After the Buffer of Time


You and I are both marketers. In fact we all are marketers. If you have a day gig you are selling your services and time. If you are a freelancer, you are a marketer. You sell your product or service. Or, if you are in school you will soon be doing what I have just described.

Because marketing has become a discipline / study in and of itself, some people use it as an abstraction and as a talent to simply “market” something – whatever it may be. That’s fine for them, but I find it much more interesting to sell myself and my music.

Even rock bands are marketers. They provide an experience, and eventually provide bookers and promoters with an evening of profit when they bring their following to a show.

For the past few days I have been checking out some of my favorite “information gurus” to see how they use free samples, or even gifts as a giveaway. Everybody loves the idea of “FREE”. I do. It implies no risk. And, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling about the person I am getting something free from. I must say – I have gotten hooked on people after getting their free stuff.

FREE MP3s, PDF files, reading blog posts, you tube videos….get me hooked. Ok, I’m easy! πŸ™‚

So I have been observing myself, and my own emotional buttons, seeing how I feel when they get pushed.

At “Trader Joe’s” grocery I got a tasty little treat of a sausage slice in a mini dixie cup. Yummy, at 8pm when I have not yet eaten. That made me more likely to buy them sausages. Wait- I actually did buy some!

In my quest to get better educated about marketing, I recently saw some “marketing web pages” of nobody’s whom I have never heard of, selling $497 ebook products with no free sample. Hmm, curious. What happens is I see it, and say “NEXT!”

For them to ask for a sale without giving me something is just bad marketing!


I attempted (and still do) to look “under the hood” as it were – to take a cosmic view of this selling, marketing, free stuff. Sounds crazy I know. Leave it to us Americans to spiritualize making money! πŸ™‚

But seriously folks, I love what I do and want to continue what it is I do – play music. So that means I have to sell the little gems that pour out of my mind, whether they are videos, books, pdfs, mp3s, CD’s or shows.

So…up rises a fear factor, a survival “worry”.

“What if I give it away when I could have sold it? That was too much work to just give away” and so on….I have experienced that. As it turns out, the more one closes off giving, it’s like putting gaffers tape over receiving! (Thanks to Mike Littman for that analogy!)

And so in a meditation, where I had clarity – I realized this:

1) No energy is ever lost.

Even if you go out to the woods and scream, everything around you received that vibration and it just gets transferred over and over, back and forth. This means, to give something away whether it is for free or not – the energy will surely boomerang back.

2) Time does not exist! Don’t forget.

When you give away a free thing – and you know step 1, that the equivalent will surely come back, the basic difference between a freebie and a paid item is the amount of time it takes to “receive” in return. If you give a freebie away, there are no “guarantees” in the material plane of getting paid. No one is writing a check or hitting a paypal button, but if you wait – and here’s the condition – truly given a piece of yourself, of your spark, of your genius – it must come back.

So there’s no real difference in a way. Giving the free thing away means you have faith that this law works.

(I think of this often when I play gigs…how I had to “sit in” for free for a while, give people a sample of “my playing” and now it has come around so that I get paid to play guitar.)

3) Feel the Worth in What You Provide

All this having been said, we all have our different gauges and inner workings as to what we charge for, what we sell and what we give away. I think another very important point is this:

Even though you might be giving it away for FREE, you must feel the worth in what you provide. If you don’t feel that what you are offering has true worth, that will be reflected back to you!

4) You’ll Get What You Give

Here’s why you need to follow step 3. If you give out CRAP, you get CRAP. If you give out LOVE, you get LOVE. Trust me, I have experienced this and know it to be true.

This is part of the reason that doing what you love, following your bliss, is so important!


Food for thought! Now it’s time for breakfast….have a great day!

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Music and Magic

When I was a kid, boy did I love magic. I practiced sleight of hand card and coin moves for hours in front of a mirror. Many of the most stressful moments in my childhood were the dropping of quarters in the middle of english or social studies class when there’d be a hiccup in a sleight of hand move behind my desk! πŸ™‚

I used to go down to this shop in the city “Lou Tannens” and watch the older magicians demo their new tricks and ideas on each other. My mother kept telling me I couldn’t be a magician and it was horrible to hear. In retrospect magicians are much like musicians – they do gigs, sell information products (sometimes buying a routine in booklet form can cost $15) or sometimes a gizmo that is the trick itself (product).

In any case, as a jazz / blues improvising type guitar player, the greater “fabric” of the music is kind of an ongoing “weave” of musical groove and feel. If you are playing in a jazz band, (or any other type of jam situation) the “content” is the 32 bar (give or take) tune, and most of the music you then hear is the “process” of improvising. Many other types of music (classical, rock & roll Broadway, and yes – fingerstyle guitar) are more “set”. The content is completely rehearsed, polished and planned. It is more like “a bag of tricks”, if you will.

Both approaches to music are valid and limitless. Funny, on tour I saw that I have these arrangements – particularly the Stevie Wonder medley, and the improviser voice in my head would say “oh man, not this same old stuff again?”

I used the analogy of David Copperfield to understand why I am playing these set arrangements to explain to myself and other jazz musicians what I am doing. Sure, I am in the moment and present as I play the songs, but it’s like the last big David Copperfield trick of the night – where he vanishes, appears, dies, comes back to life, etc. Think of the rehearsal, the planning, staging, etc. that goes into that! It has to be set, not improvised – in order to work. In fact it is “orchestrated”!

Many fans have asked me for written out versions of my “musical magic tricks”, since posting Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and “I Wish” on youtube. I have just finished the PDFs for all you guitar players to learn, and plan to post them within the week.

More tricks for your guitar bag are coming!

See you soon!

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Are Your Goals Supported by Your Environments?

Greetings! Friends, I listened to an amazing interview last night – Jim Bunch was interviewed by Raymond Aaron.

I am not selling you anything. I believe in Raymond so here is his link. Raymond is a heavyweight, not a snake oil success guru. The real thing:

You may have never heard of these fellows. Raymond Aaron has developed a program called “The Monthly Mentor” and others as well. My accountability
partner has shown me some of Raymonds materials, and they are pretty much the most awesome goal setting tools I (and my partner) have seen to date.

Ok, yes I am a musician, but I have goals – and whether you are a musician or not, we are in fact very similar! And all of us have this in common – we want to evolve, achieve, reach new heights, in whatever our main areas of life may be.

Jim talked about “the hot bath” phenomena with motivation. All to often I have seen this in my students as well. The “hot bath” can be likened to inspiration. He recounted how many of his students made commitments at motivational seminars and then a year later found themselves in the same place, not having followed through on goals.

Ouch! I think this is something we can all relate to – and bravo if you can’t or don’t.

So if you are like me (and you are) you want to eat right, exercise, meditate, (practice an instrument or whatever you are developing) keep your place clean, make more money….you see where this is going? The list gets long, and items fall through the cracks. Or we get overwhelmed (I do if I get overloaded).

Many of the teachers and coaches teach subconcious re-programming through affirmations and visualitzations. That’s another topic completely and a very important one. Essentially you re-program your mind. I can write more on that later, but there is already plenty out there. I suggest reading John Assarafof this topic.

Jim went on to break down, in his estimation, the factors responsible in bringing about change or progress:

10% Willpower (The “hot bath” problem; motivation wears off an then we fall into old habits.)

40% Subconcious (Very significant chunk here!)

50% Environment (Oh my God!!)

Environments support the direction of behaviors, beliefs and actions – good and bad. Wow!!!

In my travels through life I have taken notes like:

– A clean desk helps me work with a clear mind.

– Talking to people who are negative does me no good.

– Allowing myself to sit with an instrument in my hands guarantees improvement.

– If I have junk food in the house, I eat junk food.

– If I go to a bar I usually end up drinking more than I want to.

– Students who take lessons every week make more progress. The environment holds them accountable.

And so on. Can you see that these are all environments?

The desk, the social circles, the comitted time and focus on core genius, the refridgerator, the bar. Each environment supports behaviors and the environments “pull” can knock out will power.

Good grief!!! What a wake up call…

My commitment this week is to answer these questions, and maybe you’d want to try it too:

What 3 environments do I need to eliminate?

What 3 environments can I put in place to raise my standard of life?

This is hard core stuff. It can’t be “bought” as it comes from inside.

I will follow this up with a list for you, and in publishing it I will have you hold me accountable!

What environments in your life help you? What hinder you? Do you need to put something new in place? Eliminate something?

May you go in peace and kick ass in life! Until tomorrow….