This was a week of numbers. Start at a particular tempo, work the metronome up one notch at a time, write down what tempo I end at, and then try to do a little better the next day. But at no point did I rush the process. I stuck to my guns, demanding a Barrueco-like precision before upping the tempo. So it’ll take whatever time it takes.
Am I getting better? I wish I knew. All I know is that I’m staying the course with this approach for a while.
I can say this, however: it’s coloring everything I see and hear when I watch other guitarists play. Today I attended a concert by students of the Cleveland Institute of Music. This is a high level program. But even at this level, I see signs of the very thing I’m struggling with myself. When I see and hear a player slightly muff something, I can sense in the player a little of the inner turmoil that I’m trying to overcome. And when I see and hear a player smoothly sail through knotty passages, I sense the work and emotional discipline it took to make that happen.
If nothing else, the last year has cultivated in me a deeper respect for those who’ve triumphed over human frailty. These rare individuals reshaped themselves into something altogether singular. They serve music with a fidelity that few can approach. Submitting oneself to the needs of something higher than oneself is a quality that commands respect. It’s worth it to me to come slightly closer to understanding what that means, even if I fall short myself.
——[My next update will be April 22, 2012]——