The Tipping Point

Insights are funny things. You never know when they’re going to come or exactly what effect they are going to have.

Jimmy Bruno is the guy who helped rekindle my interest in playing and his comments were the foundation of my insight and that insight was — “make music first; explain it with theory later”. It happened while I was watching his DVD Jimmy Bruno: No Nonsense Jazz Guitar.

Now, you might be reading this and saying to yourself something like — “well, duh!”

Yeah, maybe so. Unfortunately, I never really had any formal guitar instruction prior to going to GIT. It was pretty much just buy books and figure it out on my own. When you’re teaching yourself, lessons are long and slow! When I applied to GIT, I felt that I was good enough at the mechanical aspects of playing, what I really needed was to learn and understand what I was supposed to do. I figured that it was the happening place and if there was anywhere I could learn what I needed it would be at GIT.

Yes, I did learn lots at GIT and my playing did improve substantially. When I gradutated, I knew a whole lot about harmony & theory, sight reading, ear training, styles, etc., but there was still something missing. I could feel it, but I didn’t know what it was. Frankly, I thought it was just more learning. There would be some little bit of knowledge that would unlock the whole thing. Was not the case.

There’s an old saying that goes “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, theory and practice are different”. In having this insight, I’ve come to see that theory without an appropriate connection to actually making music (practice) is a TRAP.

Now, as I return to playing, I’m integrating the knowledge/theory aspect of music with actually making music. In doing so, I’ve had to go back to ground zero to assess where I was and start building from there. In the time that I’d been away from the guitar, I’d lost much of the musculature and dexterity that I’d worked so hard to develop so long ago. Fortunately, GIT set me up well to understand what to practice and how to develop good technique! Now, I could channel that in the direction of making music.

In my next post, I’ll start to lay out some of the fundamental elements of how I’ve been constructing and working my recovery plan. It goes very well.

BTW, just in case you were thinking about getting the DVDs, don’t just jump in and order them. Yes, they are good. I’m not at all sorry I bought them, as I enjoy watching them. You may want to think about signing up for some internet-based instruction through the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute (JBGI). I think it’s the best deal around. You get access to great material, have a wonderful and supportive community of guitarists to interact/exchange ideas with and you can get one-on-one coaching from Jimmy. Even if you’re not a “jazz player”, you’ll learn good stuff about how to play guitar and it’ll be helpful.

If you still want to get the DVD, knock yourself out! :-)

Finally, a big THANK YOU to the one-and-only Jimmy Bruno!

August 7, 2009 · kengon · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Music

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