Although primarily focused on the martial art of swordsmanship, his philosophy is equally applicable to other disciplines. Musashi’s Dao, or ‘Way’, offers some invaluable lessons in discipline, the art of learning, and overcoming adversity we can adopt in our everyday lives, and certainly in our pursuit of mastery on our instrument.
Failure in our more ground-level pursuits may not threaten death, but it may certainly forever change our trajectories. Everyone sometimes has to work without a metaphorical rope.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki It’s easy, in the beginning stages of learning any new craft or skill, for our development to ride on a wave of enthusiam as every new piece of information reveals hitherto undreamt of worlds. Opportunities seem endless, […]
As with so many things, the truest and most lasting growth comes with balance. Balancing your tutelage with free-form exploration will not only make you a more rounded musician, but it will make you unique.
It is my belief that music is better shared with others, whether that be an audience or simply playing with other musicians. Even if it isn’t your ultimate goal, performing can be a deeply profound experience for both audience and performer.
Playing guitar – much like piano, drums, and most other instruments – requires both hands to work together; sometimes in tandem, sometimes as opposing forces. As beginners it can be extremely frustrating to find ourselves very one-handed in the early stages of our playing, and the flawless synchronisation of more experienced players can seem utterly perplexing and unimaginable.
Anyone who has ever attempted to play a musical instrument will eventually reach the dreaded plateau. The state where you feel like you’re treading water, and progress seems to stop dead in its tracks. However, it’s important to recognise the beauty of this metaphor is that plateaus are, first and foremost, high ground. From a plateau, however long and flat, we can see both the valley below and the next peak in the distance.
We’ve all been guilty of getting stuck in our ways. It’s often easier and more comfortable for us as human beings to stick to convention, however, as musicians, do we need to be more careful about what we listen to; and, perhaps more importantly, concern ourselves with what we’re missing out on when we accept and conform to our existing musical tastes.
There is no music without the silence, just as there is no object without the background. One gives meaning to the other. The yin and the yang.
This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.