Humility = Hallways That Never End
Mozart died in his 30’s, and his output was tremendous. He did not have the internet, nor did he have nearly a quarter of the amenities of our current time. Yet he managed to produce great works that even today are studied at University, as well as performed in the standard repertoire of the Orchestra.
Pat Martino’s renown as a Jazz guitarist is legend. A monster guitar player from Philadelphia, known for blistering fast lines that could go on forever. In the 1980’s he suffered an aneurysm that left him with near total amnesia. He literally forgot how to play guitar. He re-taught himself and became an even better player than he was before.
Paul Gilbert recorded Street Lethal when he was in his late teens, before 20. The speed and technical accuracy heard on this tune are at a level most people can only dream of hitting, unless they practice 12 hours a day, forever.
Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung) operas are 4, sprawling, long, 3+ hour operas each. And while he was composing that, he also composed Tristan und Isolde. Another 3 hour opera, among others.
At any given moment, The Beatles had their own PLANE.
Ozzy Osbourne has a history of being a magnet for upper tier monster guitarists. Iommi, Vai, Rhoads, Wylde, Jake E. Lee, etc….Looking at his recording catalog, one can see at least 5 (or more) highly influential legendary rock guitar players, as well as hit songs, solos, riffs, and paths of study for lead guitar players everywhere.
At Graceland (Elvis museum dedicated to himself), there is a room that is full of drawings, pictures, and paintings fans sent to Elvis at one given time or another.
Why am I mentioning all this?
Perspective. It is incredibility beneficial to you as a person, and a musician, to maintain a perspective. Keep a level head about your progress and experience. There are giants of all shapes around us, past and present, and to live in place where we can experience them, and take their influence and shape our own into it is a profound gift.
Imagine a hallway that flows into infinity. The hallway is not dark, yet your eyes cannot see the end of the hallway, or where it even goes anyway. To the left and right of the hallway are doors, red doors, every 4 feet. If you were to open each door, there would be another hallway, exactly the same, endless.
To fall in love with the music of a great master, study them, try to grasp at some of their ideas, and push them further, opens up some of these doors. One door may say “counterpoint”, and you open it, and it leads to a hallway with doors that go to Fux, Buxtehude, Bach, Fugue. The amount of knowledge you can possibly acquire is basically endless, all you have to do is open the doors, it’s all there. The greats that came before us left a legacy of ideas and beauty to forever be mystified by. The musician, alone in his practice room is not really alone, although at times it may seem so.
A teacher, performer, composer, artist, they are creating doors, hallways, corridors. Ideas, colors, in sound or canvas. What you do now may open doors for someone later, and that is important to remember.
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