By Travis McKeveny
As some of you may already know, ‘axe’ is a popular nickname for guitar amongst musicians. Not sure whence that moniker came, but I do know that my acoustic six-string, while no doubt lighter than the wood-splitting tool, can feel just as unwieldy. And I have put a lot of time in on it over the years. For my most recent lesson with Leland, I brought it with me.
This was momentous in that what first compelled me to contact Leland was my fear that undesirable habits of Use were interfering with my guitar-playing (and disallowing the improvement thereof). Having studied the Technique for a number of months, I was interested to see what he (Leland) thought when he saw me on my instrument.
I was surprised. He thought I looked comfortable — that I didn’t hunch up while playing, or ‘get small,’ as he said. It appeared relatively fluid to him, though I did show him a couple of moves that I was having difficulty executing.
He told me that I might be too hard on myself re playing the instrument. I wondered if I had such poor kinesthetic sense that I don’t even know when I’m relaxed. If my playing is smooth, I find that perplexing in a way — fingerpicking, a quite involved activity, can be a breeze, while doing semi-supine at home frustrates me greatly?
During my next session with Leland, I will ask him if there’s additional stuff I can do while practicing at some, such as filming myself while performing movements — making certain elusive connections between my sense of how I’m moving and how I’m actually moving.