When you’d completely dehumanize the process of guitar playing, and instead see things like a technician or scientist would do, it might look something like this:
- The guitar player is reduced to something like a “data-generating device”. When playing on her or his instrument, the guitarist merely functions as an “encoder”, producing a dataset of some given size and length. In fact in digital recording that’s what’s happening anyway.
- The raw “data” (ie. the music) is then transfered over (to) some transport or storage medium (through the plain air, on a recording hard disk, …)
- The “decoder” on the other side of the chain receives the data and “processes” it. These could be listeners at a concert, or the software program used for recording.
If you temporarily treat yourself like a robot using the above way of thinking, you effectively eliminate all emotions from your playing. This sounds really bleak, but can be a powerful thing.
Because if you think about it, emotions are really the only thing standing in your way between you and your future self. They are often holding you back.
As an inexperienced guitarist or any level of guitarist actually, you probably face some of the following negative emotional aspects frequently:
- Shock: when hearing a weakly played recording of yourself, full of subtle and apparent mistakes.
- Frustration: practicing for months, but not being able to play like you would really like to.
- Disappointment: when other people tell you your playing sucks, when you thought it was good.
- Resentment / Reluctance: to different styles of music or techniques, leading to more work.
- Impatience: Trying to play way faster than you’re able to, and failing at it.
- Greed: A deep lust, wanting to progress further in an almost inhumanly swift way.
- Stubborness: The inability to give in to that Greed.
- Competition: feeling the need to challenge other players, but not being able to at all.
- Awe: when listening to professional players or watching Youtube videos of famous players.
The chance of these emotional events actually occuring depends a lot on your personality type. For example, I don’t see guitar playing as a challenge at all, but I certainly have encountered the shock and the frustration.
Each of these types of emotional events usually leads to serious mistakes. Kind of obvious, if you really try hard playing some lick 50 BPM’s faster than you’re able to, it will sound bad.
But since your personality is completely removed here (you are still a robot, remember?), all that’s left is the actual data that was produced by you. And the quality of that data can be improved by looking at it, devoid of all emotions, and refactoring the data via thorough practice sessions. By taking away the emotions, you take away the mistakes.
Don’t let your own emotions fool you. Keep practicing by looking at all the data you generated and analyze your playing constantly and scientifically. Don’t be stubborn when practicing. Don’t be greedy by turning your metronome to 200 BPM.