Guitarist Mindset: Is the Guitar a Tool or a Toy?

"Students should always experience an endless fascination of their own development. The instrument must always remain as childishly playful as it was when they initially chose it as their favorite toy."

This is the response of the great jazz guitarist Pat Martino when asked what students should focus on more than anything else during their musical development.

I find his response quite surprising. And fascinating.

Martino, as incredibly deep as his playing is, apparently never approached guitar practice as a "job", but as play time with his favorite toy.

What can we learn from this?

Here's my takeaway: The driving force of your musical development should be your own joy and curiosity of music and the guitar. Or to put it negatively: don't be driven by fear, guilt, your own expectations or the expectations of others, or anything other than your own desire to make music.

So should we do away with lessons and structured practice routines? Of course not. But don't expect those things alone to make a great guitarist out of you. That's up to you.


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