A question to Steve

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joeAtVai
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A question to Steve

#1 Post by joeAtVai » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:22 am

Dear Mr. Administrator,

I would really like to get to Steve with the following question:

Numerous times you pointed that speed is achieved through relaxation (and that guitar playing is 99% in our head, mental). So, when I relax, I feel like I am letting go of control and begin making a lot of mistakes - my playing becomes sloppy. Question: how to make peace between "relaxing" and "still having control over one's playing.

If Steve is not reading this forum, would you kindly relay this question to him?


Thank you!

Jeries
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Re: A question to Steve

#2 Post by Jeries » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:41 pm

Playing guitar 8 hours a day for 5 years will probably do it

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kyle am I
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Re: A question to Steve

#3 Post by kyle am I » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:25 pm

i think that doing technical stuff all day everyday will make it natural to you, and then technicality is just natural and just he opens when you play. I'm not at that stage completley yet, but I'm not 53 years old, been playing guitar for 40, and I've never made a single song lol. I've got some time lol, and so do you.

Pif
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Re: A question to Steve

#4 Post by Pif » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:50 am

I'm no Steve Vai, but over the years I have struggled over this and think I found something that works for me, and it seems to align with what Steve is saying.

1) Relaxed does not mean distracted. In the same way that meditation _forces_ you to relax your mind while focusing, you should consciously try to feel and untie any physical tension that affects your playing. That means it's an exercise itself.

2) When you practice the technical stuff, you should do it slow to be able to focus on it, and not put more in your mouth than what you can actually chew.

3) When you practice the technical stuff, you should do it slow for another very good reason : your muscle will learn it better this way. In my experience practicing slowly enabled me to play much faster and more importantly more fluidly that I would have if I had targeted a certain speed and practiced it more sloppily at say 80% of the target speed.

If you have a high target speed then you might want to use a secondary step where you try to play it as fast as you can and analyze how it breaks down _then_ go back to sow mode to work on that. Lots of players and teachers insist on tedious incremental tempos, but most of the time it's too boring for me.

That takes time, but it's a labour of love. I found the reward for this kind of practice to be well worth it, and enjoy the process, not just the result (that last bit is the pearl of wisdom that eluded me for years).

4) You practice to play music. Are you practicing something that you have no musical use for? Get rid of it or turn it into music. Music will speak to you and help the whole process. (this does not apply to warmup)

5) practice melodies and train your ears. The muscle is where the tires hit the road, but your sense of music is what steers the wheel (and plans the trip, sets the GPS up, you get the idea). Each time you connect your inner ear with your fingers it will be a bliss. Each time you don't will be an opportunity to learn something.

(Jeries, the volume of practice is of course a factor, but practicing incorrectly in volume will mainly increase frustration ^^)

Hope that helps.
Last edited by Pif on Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A question to Steve

#5 Post by Jeries » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:04 pm

that's why practice is a bad word... practice is the wrong word

you shouldn't practice guitar you should praxis guitar

practice is just doing something

praxis is doing something and making things better/finding improvements/getting better

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Kamenrider Ryuuki
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Re: A question to Steve

#6 Post by Kamenrider Ryuuki » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:04 am

I only played my guitar when I like a certain phrase or riffs that I "felt" good to play...

at the moment I am trying very hard to achieve Impellitteri's rendition of The Wizard of Oz...

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Re: A question to Steve

#7 Post by Galih Pam » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:02 am

Most of my musician friends told me that Steve's songs have the most difficult partitur formula, even if it is compared with the best orchestra song. Yet, he played those songs confidently on the stages. How Steve seems like do not care about this partitur 'insanity' when he performs at concerts.
As a comparator, I took John Petrucci for example, his songs in 'Suspended Animation' album have easier partiturs than Steve's songs. And John played them seriously, I mean he didn't show any expression in his face when he was on stage.

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Re: A question to Steve

#8 Post by rdewilde928 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:18 am

Hi guys!!

maybe this helps on the subject:


http://www.vimeo.com/richarddewilde/explosion1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


The goal is to enjoy playing and not to work hard to get fast notes or riffs out of your instrument.
It shouldn't matter what you play, as long as you can do it naturally without any effort you are making music.
That is because you have the relaxation to give your soul and hart besides just hitting the right notes at the right time.

Some people feel a kind of speed barrier while playing.
If a guitar player keeps practicing beyond this barrier, he doesn't 'invest' in technique and you will see it gets sloppy and it will result in hard working instead of enjoyment while playing fast. Playing slowly and extremely fast should go with the same ease. Practice slowly to programming in your technique is my recommendation.
Stay at your barrier, don't go beyond, practice untill you can do that easily before you go further. Practice should be fun..good luck!


Greetings,


Richard de Wilde

Jimmy chops 46
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Re: A question to Steve

#9 Post by Jimmy chops 46 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:13 pm

You are missing the point what he is talking about is a state of mind that does not inhibit your thinking in other words if you are so focused on playing fast you will tense up and restrict movement and fluidity. When you become one with the instrument there are no barriers you simply "are"and when you learn how to achieve this state of mind you will find yourself doing things you never thought possible and your fingers will simply slide effortlessly across the fret board you will open new ideas and thoughts processes that will start to define you "you" as a player and not rehearsing or practicing repetitive riffs. You can't teach this it has to happen organically, I've been playing for over 35 years and it doesn't happen all the time for me but when it does it is truly spiritual and fulfilling and believe me the speed is off the charts but it's more than speed it's "fluid" it's like water running through your fingers. Keep playing and let yourself go, don't think and don't try and relax if you have to try you won't, move with the notes, feel the emotion and let it coarse through your body.

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Big Bad Bill
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Re: A question to Steve

#10 Post by Big Bad Bill » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:14 am

Perhaps Steve was implying a phenomenon illustrated in many fMRI brain studies of experts and non-experts performing complex motor tasks. When you compare how much of the brain's cortex is activated when an non-skilled person and a skilled person perform the same task (some studies were actually performed on musicians) the paradoxical result is that experts use less of their brain to perform more skillfully! You might think it would be the other way around. So it seems that practising a motor task 'streamlines' the neural processes, paring away unwanted movements and makes them more efficient an and thus they movements require less neural control since they're so efficient! The unskilled person, on the other hand, is using his brain to produce unnecessary movements (my little finger always flaps around, I tense my shoulder and, like a true guitarist I gurn some awful facial expressions...I look like Quasimodo with an Ibanez J-Custom standing in front of a Peavey 5150 stack!). Perhaps 'relaxing' and playing is an allusion to this deactivation of brain areas not directly associated with the task in hand. How do you do this? Meaningful practise where you progressively make things more difficult for yourself every time things get a bit easier....

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