I have recently seen one of my favourite musicians, Steve Vai, on YouTube with a video entitled “How to be Successful”. During the video, he explains how creating success is really about your ‘thinking’, and about creating a ‘vivid mental representation’ of your authentic genuine desire. Whatever you think of his music, his mastery of the guitar is obvious.
His talk is focused at playing the guitar, but the underlying principles can be applied to any creative process. Heavy rock jazz might not be ‘your thing’ but even my mother could appreciate the musicianship (on the inserts he seems to be miming to a live recording he did in Argentina).
This next video is the fruition of one of Steve’s imagined creations. The two things I remember about their rehearsal for this piece:
1. The drummer, Jeremy Colson, had a panic attack in the studio car park after spending 3 hours rehearsing just the first 16 bars of the song.
2. The violinists, Ann Marie Calhoun, told Steve “You make me do the impossible. I have never practiced as much, for anyone ever before.” He replied “…not only will you be note perfect, but you will own it.”
I discussed this with her, and about how much I enjoyed her performance, because it looked effortless and joyful. On reflection, I believe it was because she had left the form of the music behind. She had developed a spiritual connection with the formless emotional inspiration of the moment.