What is the greatest myth that is the woe of classical guitarists?
“Mr Lieske, is there a greatest myth that is the woe of classical guitarists?”
When I heard this question, I was rather shocked: a greatest myth that threatens the pleasure our guitar brings us? It is true of very few of us, but certainly not of me. Unfortunately, it is not so simple, as we are all are exposed to this risk.
Our problem is that we want to impress the world by how well we can play, with consummate musical and technical skill. This need is something every musician is sure to have felt and it is also understandable. In professional circles, obviously, it is absolutely essential. However, it is striking how frequently such issues arise for guitarists and block their playing.
It can be ascribed to a chronic inferiority complex, in which many guitarists reason: “We don't have the music of Beethoven, we don't have Schubert, we don't have Bach, we don't have Brahms - many of the great classical works are not available to us. Although we have composers such as Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani, and of course, some nice pieces - they do not bear comparison with the grand masters of classical music.
Therefore, an inferiority complex already evolves at the repertoire level.
Once there, it is exacerbated by fears of the guitar not being loud enough, the audience not hearing us, we can only play to small audiences and so forth.
The third complex has to do with the fact that it is difficult to play without making mistakes.
What do we do with this myth and the three reasons why it is so easy to fail and therefore be unhappy with our playing?
Primarily, it has to do with a lack of self-confidence. Here is some advice on how to overcome this feeling.
Only play pieces that you truly admire and find superb. You are sure to find works in the classical guitar repertoire that are utterly fascinating. We don’t have to compare every composition with Beethoven, Wagner or Schoenberg. Each piece is worthy in its own right if it is played well.
We want to showcase our skill by playing difficult pieces, as if to say: “Look at me, I can play this complex Bach fugue on the guitar!” Ambition of this nature can be an incentive, but it can also turn into a trap, in that we fail to achieve our ambitious goals and our playing of the fugue falls short of expectations. This may be because we lack the technical or cognitive skills - or have not yet been trained to such a level. Thus unable to realise our ambitions in the foreseeable future, we become frustrated and abandon our efforts.
The volume of our playing is the least of our worries. If it really is a problem for you, then the guitar is not for you (or you should perhaps switch to an electric guitar). You have to accept and love the guitar the way it is - just as you do with people. We love guitars for their sound, how they look and feel to our touch - and for the joy it gives us to play on them and express ourselves through them. This is what is all-important, and it is also what captivates our audiences.
The rule is therefore
not to bite off more than you can chew
avoid pieces that are too complex, too long
don't worry about not being heard
don't opt for a guitar that is particularly loud, but on the other hand, does not sound good and cannot convey your musical message
and strive less to impress others
Define your success and enjoyment of playing by your satisfaction with what you do achieve and sounds good.
Your ultimate goal is to understand music, to live with music, to express it and to share it with other people. That is the message. If you always focus on that, at all stages of your work, you will achieve your goals.
I will guide you to your personal musical goals with the WULFIN LIESKE ARTISTIC MENTORING programme. To do so, I will look at you as a whole individual and guide you to new artistic heights.