Friday, January 4, 2008

Heavy or light?

It's the first post of the New Year!

Well, after a few weeks of lazing around, watching movies, eating bad, and not practicing...I'm back at it, and not standing for it anymore! I just got done working out with pitifully light weights...and that brings me to a lesson.

I was discussing something with a client yesterday that I think would be helpful for everyone.
We were talking about the fun and not fun aspects of learning guitar. Drawing a chart, we listed the fun stuff, and the "not" stuff.

(By the way, you might want to try this yourself. It can be very helpful.)

Every discipline has drudgery in it, and the guitar is no exception. It also seems that there's a direct ratio between tediousness and reward - the more discipline we must exercise, the greater the benefit. Take scales, or sweep picking. Not exactly an entertaining thing to master. But once you've got it, watch out, world! You'll be on the sonic warpath, burning down towns with the blazing arpeggios from...heck. (My students read this blog!)

Enter the encyclopedia.

My mom's friend Bob gave me a neat book. I've mentioned it before. It's "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's the weightlifting equivalent of John Petrucci's "Rock Discipline" (if you don't have it, you should.)

Before I started reading the book, I was just working out to put in the time, and not pushing myself at all. But it's given me new perspective on exercise. Mainly, how I've got such a long way to go from being a skinny twig, but the second point is: You've got to push yourself if you want to "make your biceps look like a Rand McNally road atlas." (Ya gotta love the Governator!)

How do you do that? Do you use those girly foam padded five pound toning weights they sell at dollar stores?

Or do you use the iron plates at the gym, to really push yourself?

As a recurring question, you might ask for the twenty seventh time, "what the heck does this have to do with guitar?"

Back to our easy and hard list of musical skills. It's hard to convince yourself that a boring task is fun. I'll be honest. I really hate to practice arpeggios, and I'm certainly not a fan of working on sight reading. We've always known this, from the time we were little kids, and teachers tried to convince us that multiplication tables could be "fun!" (No white lady rappin' the times tables was gonna convince ME, 'cause I was a tough customer for a little kid.) So here's the new idea...

The new idea

Instead of "fun" and "boring" categories, let's break 'em up into "light" and "heavy" categories.

This changes everything. Sure, it's more fun to bench girly purple foam toning weights. It's easy, you don't get tired, and you can do it really fast! (Isn't speed everything, guitarists?)

But it's more rewarding to almost kill myself, scrunch up my face, or get stuck under a bar, with heavy plates on it. (OK, I DID get stuck with really LIGHT weights a few days ago. I'm tellin' you, I've got a long way to go!)

Consider the boring stuff the heavy weights.

This change in viewpoint - from boring to heavy, from drudgery to important, can be revolutionary.

When you feel the boredom setting in...Don't yawn - feel the burn!

Hasta La Vista!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm heading to the bookstore for a copy of "Rock Discipline". You always offer great reading suggestions. But I can't help wondering what you're LISTENING to. So... What's in your MP3/CD player right now? I'd really like to know. Thanks.