Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Wishes

Happy New Year to everybody! Year's end is typically a time to have a look back and a look forward, but I think you also have to look at right now, and do so with gratitude. I am the lucky husband of a wonderful wife, grandfather to two amazing grandkids, and part of a terrific extended family. I am steadily employed as a guitar player and teacher, and I get to hang with some of the most talented, professional and just plain coolest people in the music business.

I look to the future with intentions of expanding what I can offer to the world at large and directly to people, in the form of a positive contribution. One area that I am focusing on is teaching. I plan on pushing my students harder to strive for excellence, discover their passion, and have more fun playing music. In my own life I have always been aiming for those three things, and loving every minute of it. I hope to keep finding new ways to help the next generation of guitarists light their own fire.

My first guitar instruction book is in progress; I aim to eventually publish a series of books and connect that with website and video content. This is something that I've wanted to do for quite a while, but it took a very long time to elevate to high priority; well, better late than never. I think I have something unique to offer, and hopefully the guitar community at large will agree.

I hope to keep performing until I die. Part of that is the continuing desire to improve my craft. I have a lot of love for jazz, classical and rock guitar and I simply never stop wanting to learn more. But also, there is that special relationship between performer and audience that keeps me going. Music creates an experience that breaks down barriers between people because we are all just feeling the music together. I want to keep being a part of moments like that.

This is no small thing. Through my many years of gigging, I have gotten to know many people with the widest possible range of beliefs, political views, etc. If I were to engage in conversation with some of those folks, we would soon find we did not agree on much of anything; yet when it comes to music, it is clear that we connect on a very deep level. I am especially aware of how any one performance that for me might be just another gig, may nevertheless touch someone's heart. To me, performing music is a priceless gift, a living embodiment of the core of spiritual teachings: that we are all connected in a way that goes far beyond our petty surface differences. Everybody who loves music experiences this, consciously or not; I have simply become more acutely aware of it, and so its meaning and power have grown much larger for me.

I plan on using this blog to further expound on all of the above. I hope you'll come along and enjoy the ride as I continue to write about my influences and inspirations, and offer tips and advice for guitar players, tales from the gigging world, and further explorations of the greater meaning of it all.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ben.... will that guitar instruction book include both right, and left handed diagrams, or will us lefties need some white out, and a marker? ;-)

    Steve K.