Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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

How to Kick Butt on Guitar – Creativity Plus Discipline

6 Comments

Being a guitar player is not that different from being an author, photographer, magician or pizza parlor owner.

Huh?

In actuality – it’s only ONE field…we’re all self-employed entrepreneurs getting our creations out into the world, providing value for people, and earning something in return.

As an entrepreneur, you have to self motivate.  It’s the “long haul”  tactics and daily habits that build into something worthwhile, over time.

Short bursts of inspiration can’t build musicianship or a great career, but a little bit of work every day – towards a worthwhile goal, most certainly will.

I just read an article by my one of my favorite information marketers, Fred Gleeck, and he talked about the writing process…this quote rang true to me as a creative musician.

He says…

The one thing I suggest you do is that you MAKE yourself sit down and start writing every day for a given block of time. Writing is an act of creativity AND discipline.

This is exactly the process  I use in regards to practicing guitar… I use “creativity AND discipline.”

You are the CREATOR, not the CONSUMER

As a CONSUMER, and lover of music – when you listen to your favorite musician or band, it’s as if you are getting the most delicious dessert at a fine restaurant, served to you.

Mmmm yummy!

No work is required.  You sit back, hit play and enjoy watching and/or listening.  Easy as pie.

As the CREATOR of that dessert, you will not likely “feel the feelings”  that the consumer feels!

This is precisely the spot where, for example, little kids at music lessons realize they need to practice and “it’s no longer fun.”

The shiny new thing loses it’s luster, you see the errors and really have to polish your work of art.

A Recent Real Life Example

I recently did a stretch of arranging, videotaping and uploading 9 Beatles tunes  to YouTube. Here’s one of them for your enjoyment – “In My Life”

The Discipline:

As the musical “dessert chef”  I spent, on average

  • 2-3 days creating the guitar arrangement & practicing it
  • 1 day video taping & recording
  • Maybe 1 day more recording the video again after “sleeping”  on the problems of the first taping
  • For each of these 5 day projects I have a delicious 3 minutes to present to the world.

The Creative:

Even though it’s “covers”  some serious “creativity” went into choosing this stretch of tunes, before I even picked up the guitar.

  • I felt it was time to inject some new life into my repertoire, and I love hitting the “bullseye”  musically for my audience.
  • Almost everyone loves the Beatles – so it’s as if I am coming “back from the bullseye”  like a Zen archer. (See my C + Y = R post)
  • With a nice set of Beatles songs, I can maybe do a Beatles DVD
  • I can offer to now teach a Beatles class at a guitar workshop
  • Of course I’ll have more GREAT tunes to play on concerts
  • If people like the videos, they’ll share them socially
  • Maybe a Beatles CD is worth doing…
  • I strove to  get GREAT versions of these songs onto the guitar that really convey the music, better than I’d ever heard…

When I saw what I wanted to achieve, I determined that it would be well worth the discipline and time needed to whip these tunes into shape and make videos, upload etc.

Is there “Luck” involved?

It makes me almost want to barf when someone says “oh you are so lucky – you get to do what you love…”

Are you kidding?  I work my tail off and claim it….it ain’t luck!!!

🙂

Hopefully this gives you some “inspiration”  to be disciplined, put the time in daily, and stick to a plan – and achieve your dreams!

Now….git to work!

Advertisements

Author: Adam Rafferty

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

6 thoughts on “How to Kick Butt on Guitar – Creativity Plus Discipline

  1. i’ll purchase an instructional dvd of beatle tunes…but only if you include your arrangement of “she’s leavin’ home”

    dc

  2. So true man, thanks 🙂

  3. I’ve been reading your posts since I began taking music courses at my college in Jan. ’11, and every single one of them has been ”right on time”. Just a few weeks ago, you posted tips on recording YouTube videos around the same time I began preparing applications to transfer universities, and today, this post is describing the type of balance I’m currently seeking in my own practice sessions.

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your insights into greater musicianship and entrepreneurial pursuits. I am ever grateful!

  4. Having been working on a duo project for over a year now with a bass player friend of mine I can certainly agree. We are doing a tribute record to bass player Steve Swallow and a few of the tunes are solo arrangements that I did. I can’t tell you how many times I recorded and re-worked then recorded, re-worked a particular tune. It can be VERY frustrating.
    However, since my initial solo recordings, my solo playing and arranging chops have gotten better – not to mention that I am more comfortable recording – so, this week I was able (finally) to get a take that I was happy with!
    It certainly can feel like a chore sometimes but, the end results are both creatively and musically fulfilling.

  5. Glad to see the post hit the spot for you! Keep rockin it!!! AR

  6. Looking forward to that Beatles lesson dvd, great arrangements cant wait to have it.

    JJ.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s