Zen Guitar: The Power of Intention!

One of the all time greats, Jimi Hendrix took guitar and music to a new level

From Abba to Zappa

Have you ever sat back and wondered what it was about certain musicians or their music that made them stand out above all others? What does it take to create a timeless work of art that will be listened to and enjoyed for years to come? When you think of legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton and the like, you think not only of the originality they possess but the feeling you get while you are listening to them play. It’s almost mesmerizing! This is in part due to the level of technical skill they possess but has much more to do with the energy and soul that they transfer through the music. As far back as Beethoven and Mozart there have been artists who’s music takes on a life of it’s own. The secret to these great works is the intention behind the music.

Don’t Over Think it

A man can use a thousand words to describe an idea and still leave you clueless as to their point, whereas another can leave you awestruck and entranced with only a few words. This rings true very loudly when creating music as well. Those artists that remain iconic we’re all able to step outside of themselves (meaning they were able to detach themselves from the thinking process of writing and just allow music to flow naturally from the soul) and give the world much more than just a great listening experience, but they gave us the key to achieving artistic purity at it’s highest level.

Music is the Cure!

Albeit, commercial success (in this day and age) is a major focal point of being a musician, after all we gotta eat and pay the bills, but when one can detach from thought of success or popularity and be immersed in the joy and ecstasy of pure musical expression, that is where music becomes something magical. If we look at other cultures around the globe, we can see that in many places, music takes on a transformational power that (as the great George Clinton says) can not only move but re-move all afflictions from ones mind, body and spirit! The great Sufi Mystics of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan hold ceremonies in which the simple beating of a drum puts the body in such a rhythm that they can jump into the fire without being burned, or they can endure a stabbing wound from a knife or sword and be instantly healed by the vibratory frequencies that the body has been elevated to. Another great example is the Native American Pow Wow, in which the alignment of drum and dance take one on a journey through the depths of the inner spirit.

With these thoughts in mind, we as musicians can work to step outside the mind and step into the flow of the rhythm of life and be carried away by the music instead of trying to focus solely on what we think may be the next big hit. Here are a few ways that as guitarists we can infuse the power of intention into our artistry:

  • Spend a few moments in silence clearing the mind before practice.
  • Focus on the breath allowing the body’s natural rhythm to take over.
  • Just jam, without any thought or focus, just play and see what comes out!
  • Practice visualization. See yourself on a huge stage playing for thousands who are completely entranced by your performance.
  • Remind yourself daily of your musical goals and aspirations and allow yourself to FULLY BELIEVE you are already achieving those goals!

By focusing your intentions on the goals you want to achieve as a guitarist and allowing yourself to step into your instrument, you will generate a magnetism that will carry your music far beyond your wildest imagination!

Scott “SVH” Von Heldt is a staff writer for SMG. Scott is currently the lead guitarist for Brian “Head” Welch (ex-Korn) and has worked with members of White Zombie, Cirque Du Soliel and many others. In late 2008 he released the first book of his Mystic Art of Self-Discovery series entitled Mind Over Metal: The Musician’s Guide to Mental Mastery.

Email: SVH@sharemyguitar.com

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  • What a GREAT read!! This rates up there with Kenny Werner’s book “Effortless Mastery” and Victor Wooten’s classic “The Music Lesson”. Regardless of your religious beliefs, by taking time to meditate, it brings your blood pressure down, allows you to focus and helps to conquer your fears and insecurities. I enjoy spiritual meditation on a Christian level and I have talked to others who meditate on other levels and all of us have benefited from it. This is something that can give us peace and help take care of our bodies. Kudos on a great article!!

  • SVH

    Thank you for the kind remarks! More than anything I do musically, it’s my hope that I may inspire other musicians to reconnect with the power that music holds so that we can reshape our lives with it’s magical vibrations and again make music that can heal the World.

    Blessings,
    SVH

  • As far as equipment goes, I carry a vox tonelab and a/b switch, hopfuly you will have a head and cabinet in the city your doing a gig at, or youll have to go to air cargo for the head and cabinet.
    You just need to love what your doing, when it comes to music. Cause it will at times, slap you silly.

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