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Video 1: The Workhorse and the Voice of the Guitar

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The musical and physical responsibilities of each hand I talk about the musical differences between the right and left hands, –the voice and the workhorse, the singer and the athlete. But while the hands have different sets of responsibilities, I point out that both hands are very athletic, and both hands are responsible for the quality of sounds that come from the guitar. Watch this video to remind yourself how this is so. When you’re practicing and you can’t get the right sound, expression, or sense of flow, it’s often because you’re only paying attention to one hand, which might be doing its job fine while it’s the other hand that’s ruining your intentions, un-noticed. Remember too that a serious musician is actually quite athletic. Athletes spend much time learning about their bodies, how to use them properly for each movement—which is often called “form.”  While you need to find an appropriate form for each movement of your hands, I like to use the word “poise” to describe the overall form/position of each hand. The word “poise” implies a sense of readiness, implicit power, and elegance. It also implies that you feel the readiness, the power, the elegance, rather than imitating something that you think is the right way to do it. Merely imitating it would be “posing,” which is only a first step towards developing true poise.

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