Attention to Detail!

SMG_Guitar_Details

No matter how much raw talent or ability one innately possesses the one thing that always makes particular artists stand out is their individual technique.  So what does it take to really become a master of technique? Well it takes a keen attention to detail. By dissecting each little nuance of playing we can tap into it’s essence and make a deeper connection to our own creativity. This deeper connectivity will help us hone in on weaknesses and strengths and we will be better suited to build harmony and balance between the two. The outcome will be a flawless performance with unrivaled intensity.

I’ll share with you some age old wisdom that was passed on to me at a young age.

My grandfather was a great man and probably the most influential teacher in my life. He was a kind and patient man that taught me many valuable life lessons that to this day still mold me into a better man. One of the things I learned from him at a very young age was if you’re gonna do something, do it right the first time. His life long passion was to restore old classic cars. As one of the founders of the Car Coddlers of Ohio auto club, he had plenty of opportunities to work on some amazing cars. Many of these cars ages ranged from the 20’s through the 40’s.

One day I went into his garage and watched him work, as I often did, but this time I was quickly confused by what he was doing. He was working with the door on an old Model T Ford and it seemed like he was just taking the door off and then putting it back on over and over again. Being about 10 or 11 years old,  I had no clue why he would keep moving that door on and off again. Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I asked him why he kept doing this. He walked me over to the car and reattached the door and as he closed it he said “look here son, you see this pinstripe here on the door is a little lower than the one on the body where the two meet. If I hold this dime up to the two you can see that this door is about a half of a dimes thickness lower where they meet and if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it right the first time”.

It seemed a little petty to me and I would have never in a million years seen the difference with my own eye had he not pointed it out to me, but later in life I would come to realize that it was his meticulous attention to detail that made him the best damn car restoration expert in the mid-west! It was his understanding of the subtleties that could take a car from just being restored to being a true “classic” that kept the cars rolling in and out of his garage until long after he retired. To this day this lesson continues to make me a better musician as I look at each subtle detail of my art to make sure that if I’m gonna do it, I’m going to do it right!

So we can see how paying very close attention to the simplest of details can have a huge impact on the final outcome of our time and efforts. The difference between being good at something and being great at something begins with this. Another great element of embracing minute details it that we discover our unique approach to performing any particular technique.

You can give a group of musicians the same piece of music and each will play it in a way that is unique to their own style. They may all try to copy one another, yet they are still gifted with their own individual voice. The intensity or lack thereof with which they perform it is all in the details!

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