Over the weekend I spent most of my time in the garden enjoying the sunny skies with my kids. Our recording studio is temporarily set up in our conservatory while we wait for our new studio to be built. The tempory studio has quite a few faults that I share in my studio nightmares video but a nice plus point to this temp arrangement is that our electric guitars and amps are pretty much in the garden with us, it's very easy to pick up a guitar when enjoying a beautiful afternoon during the summer.
My eldest Son has been teaching himself the electric guitar over the last six months. He has come on quite a long way in that time as he has played the piano for nearly five years. He has taught himself guitar techniques based on his talents in piano and foundations in music.
Over the weekend we had a couple of Father & Son guitar jamming sessions, swapping riffs and sharing solos. My son was using his ear to pick out guitar licks from backing tracks that played in the background through the studio monitors. I was playing the guitar alongside him also picking out some of the guitar riffs. At times, I saw my son watching my fingers as I played the guitar, he was trying to work out what I was doing differently to him, his eyes said it all "How is he working out those guitar riffs without any mistakes?" I gave my son an important bit of advice:
"Stop trying to play what you hear as it'll be too late, the song will have already moved on at the point you've got something to play. Try to be one or two steps ahead of the music - This is intuition, the more you play using intuition the easier it will be to jam".
The following evening we had another Father & Son jam. It was immediately clear that the previous evening's little mindset lesson made a big impression on him. My son was listening and anticipating the music in the backing tracks and was playing with instinct and intuition supposed to solely depending on his abilities to play guitar solos, riffs and scales. His guitar licks and riffs sounded more fluid and less passive - he was really happy with himself and it was great for me to witness his guitar playing skills go up a level in such a short amount of time.
Everything in music that I have done and will do has been and will always be based on my instincts and intuition. I could be jamming a guitar with another musician, writing/arranging/producing a song, mixing... you name it, I use my instincts to make creative impulse decisions and intution to interact with music. This took me quite a few years to understand as I used to be the type of person who developed abilites only to get bogged down in them when I needed them most. I have always believed that instincts and intution in music can not be taught. Intution can only be developed through experiences. Instincts can only be developed with confidence. We all have different experiences in life and in music meaning we all have unique instincts and different filters for our intution. I feel Ability is a product of training or being shown how to do something.
Abilites are often measured, ranked and/or judged by grades and qualifications. Having an ability to do something is amazing, it's important to gain as many abilities as possible, but I feel it's more important to develop instincts and intuition over ability. Without instincts you'll play the right guitar riff but at the wrong beat of the song, like my son was doing in our first jamming session on the weekend.