Play to Your Hearts Content
In my early days of playing guitar I never once played a scale or an arpeggio. At 30 years of age thats all I played. Nowadays I play everything in a single practice session. I’ll do chords, scales, arpeggios and song sections. Sometimes even full songs. Since I dont play live or tour at the moment, I simply play to my hearts content.
And therein lies all the joy. If there is one thing that you can take from all the blog posts, ebooks, guitar lessons you’ve ever taken is that you should PLAY TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT.
This one concept alone could help you get through your day. It could help you become a better player. It will give you joy multiplied in the form of technique and skill. If you play what you like and what makes you feel good you will ultimately enjoy this instrument and everything it has to offer.
Back to the Beginning
From the beginning of time and from the beginning of our musical history back when they were playing lutes and singing merry songs around the dinner table made of stones, the strings have been a crucial part of our lives. The lute was the instrument before the guitar. Bach composed for the lute and so did other composers. Then came the guitar and then came electricity. And with that here we are today banging out chords, scales, arpeggios, licks, riffs, sweeps, long and fluid legato runs, chromatic runs, modal runs, etc…
Not only that but we haven’t evolved much past the likes of Paganini or Mozart or Liszt. What I’m trying to say is that its the same for all of us. We ALL have this one thing in common. We absolutely without a doubt love our instruments. And if you’re like me you own several different guitars. I have a bass, a nylon string, 2 strats and 2 shred machines. They all make me feel good. They all make me feel ecstatic.
Whenever I try to compare myself to better players or do what others are doing I’m not being authentic.
Authenticity is big for me. I like to be authentic and if I feel like writing a song with no leads, I will. But I’ve only just learned this fact. I was letting other peoples thoughts about my playing control my playing. This is something you dont want to do.
What you want to do ..is play to your hearts content.
What makes you happy?
I know what makes me happy and these scales and arpeggios was something I wanted to learn and master. Not for the sake of learning them and mastering them and then showing off with them though. I wanted to learn them because Im an utmost believer in AUTHENTIC SELF EXPRESSION. I want to be able to express myself in whatever way I feel at that very moment. So I know what that means and entails for me. Ive got work to do.
What do you want to do? What makes your heart content when you pick up your instrument? Forget your teacher, friends, bandmates for a second and ponder this deeply. What exactly, specifically makes your heart happy?
Once you’ve got your answer do that specific thing and do it often. Do more of it as you go on in your musical journey and if you want to learn scales and arpeggios in the key of C for a dollar then go ahead and purchase it. But if it doesn’t strike you in the least bit then don’t do it. Keep doing what you’re doing and shoot for the stars. You never know where you’re gonna land.
That may be corny but think about this for a second. I heard this in a video last week. It had a profound impact on me.
Raise your hand as high as you can right now. Go ahead, do it.
Now raise your hand a little higher.
And now a little higher…
Why did that happen?
It happened because we aim too low and hit our goals. We must aim high, just out of our reach, out of our comfort zone. – The Wolf
I hope this message hits home with you. Life is too short to go on without doing what makes you happy.
This is an exercise by Brian Tracy I got from reading one of his books. Its in his programs too. Pretend that you have 6 months to live. What are you going to do? Is it guitar? Is it tour? Is it spend it with family?
Be honest with yourself and you will be well on your way to a content heart. Play your instrument of choice to your heart’s content. Live every day to your heart’s content.
You can live the life you always dreamed of. And if you haven’t dreamed of any you can start right now. If you’re young and lost starting here is a good place. Stop doing what you hate. Do what you love. These words will be imprinted on your mind for a split second and then they will be gone. Its what you do next that will ultimately decide the direction for your life.
If you want to check out my new ebooks.
and remember to play until…your hearts content.