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Blindfold Improvisation

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I posted some time ago here a video about composing without thinking keys or chord and scale relations (Keyless-thinking). After posting that lesson to Finnish forum I was told that for example Barney Kessel and Rauol Björkenheim are used to practise blindfolded. It sounded interesting So I decided to try this method too. Like in ”Keyless Thinking” also in this experiment I tried to find new ways to dig deeper into my musical self. In this example everything was improvised eyes wide shut. Here are some thoughts that this method brought to my mind.


1. After I was more used to the idea of playing blindfolded I really felt that I could concentrate more in making actual music. There was no visual distraction from surroundings and also from fingers and guitar. In some parts I forgot guitar and fretboard and ”saw” just darkness or random pictures.


2. At first I was afraid of mistakes that occurs in fret position changes. But after a while I felt more comfortable about it



3. It was very interesting to see my self from video after playing. Normally I stay still and concentrate a lot in watching my fingers while playing. Now when it was impossible I seemed to be moving a lot with the music. It was suprising to me. It seems that I delved into a more comprehensive creating music. Also this time it might be that I didn’t pay so much attention how things look to outside. I have read that moving while playing activates the body’s muscles and that way prevent injuries. I think that it might also help playing to be more natural and attached to different musical expressions. 


My conclusion from this experimentation is that I might loose some of the most bravest jumps on fretboard but connection between my guitar and my musical thinking with this method is more closer and honest. So maybe I will continue with this. :)

Do you have experiences with this method?


Cheers, Mikko



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Mornin', Mikko.  


Seems you are absorbing a lesson many of us ignore.  You likely haven't come across Doc Watson since your style is not his genre.  However, he was a blind player who entranced audiences for decades.  Experiencing Doc live was a treat you would remember for the rest if your life. 

Though he was an accomplished player with a pick, his fingerstyle playing is what most of us remember.  When playing fingerstyle, he was all the more impressive when you consider he followed the long tradition of many "roots" players who picked using only their thumb and index finger.

Doc lost his sight when he was a child which made his saga all the more interesting to all who heard him play.  Asked about his abilities at one point, Watson said (and I must paraphrase here), "Seems to me it would be almost impossible for anyone with sight to play the guitar."     

An insightful quote for those of us blessed with vision it encapsulates the concepts of what it is to be musical.  It is, IMO, a quality which cannot be taught.  It can only be extracted from within one's own playing.      




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