Monday, April 25, 2011

All in the same boat

I had an awesome night this past Saturday. Killer guitarist and my newly adopted teacher Oz Noy came to town. So we arranged to hook up and have him give me another lesson. We did the lesson at his hotel, then went out for dinner prior to his second night of a weekend set, here in Toronto. He along with bassist Will Lee and the truly awesome Anton Fig, played a great night of Oz's groove-based fusion all in attendance won't soon forget.

During the course of the day, along with cool gig tales of playing with other guitar masters like Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Pat Martino and many others. Oz revealed to me that he really doesn't like his playing that much. Least not as compared to other cats he hears or plays with. Which was wild to hear.... He feels he has so much to learn and that his chords "aren't that cool".

Huh? Does he know what he sounds like?

Now don't get me wrong Oz certainly wasn't all Eeyore and down on himself, he is a killer and confident guitar player and he knows it. But these comments, no matter how slight, just stuck with me and inspired me to know that: No matter our level, we all go though these types of feelings.

COOL! It ain't just me!!

As far as the lesson goes: Oz talked about the need to force structure on your practice. Otherwise you can waste away noodling and generally 'not getting better'. He suggested - each time you practice - to decide BEFORE you begin what you are going to work on. Be it scales, sequences, reading, writing - whatever. Make a mental or physical list and make sure you accomplish those micro-goals within the scope of that session.

Fast forward to later that night. As I dropped Oz and Anton back at their hotel. The knowledge that these 2 monstrous players, sitting in the back of my truck, were just like me in many ways - only far better - was inspirational beyond comprehension. It made me realize we are all in the same boat, on at least that level. Maybe some are just further down the path than others. But we are all human, we all make mistakes and sometimes we ALL don't feel so great about our playing.

Maybe this is the fire that fuels some to greatness OR drives weaker, less committed to give up and utter the dreaded words: "I guess I just wasn't born with it". The thing is, the journey IS the trip. You WILL NEVER get 'there'... wherever 'there' is to you. Least not in terms of any kind of being 'done'. Thinking of it this way can make the journey far less frustrating I think.  Who knows, maybe your personal 'suckiness' will inspire others! Because you are better than you think you are GUARANTEED!

Make sure you check out Oz! He is now and will always be pure inspiration for me! Thank you brother for your kindness and musical gifts!


  1. Awesome post. This advice you've passed on translates to writing as well, I think. If you don't write with purpose, you don't move forward. Great, great advice.

  2. Well said, Jer! Can apply to any art form, I think! Just hard to incorporate when it's just so much fun.............:-)