Play to your Strengths

As your skills develop, it becomes even more important to evaluate 
your weaknesses as well as  the strengths in your technique, musicianship, and style.
 
A balanced instruction program and the guidance of a good instructor can maintain your developmental balance
and assist the process of forming the complete skill set necessary to play guitar well. 
 
Practicing at home is always time well spent, but do not neglect playing outside of the home or rehearsal studio either. 
Music is a performance art involving a combination of technical, performance, and people skills. Go out and get involved with the scene.
Get to know other musicians. Join jams, and open mike sessions. 
 
Make sure that you always log plus record your rehearsals and performances whenever possible.
Note what you did, how well you did it, how it sounded, how you enjoyed it, plus feedback from any other performers and of the audience. 
 
As a musician, you must be willing to continually challenge and judge your skill set.
Know your weaknesses, and work hard to improve them in the context of your musical style. 
Be willing to accept criticism with grace and perspective. 
 
Along the way you will begin to find the things that you do best as a musician. Once you do, play  to these strengths!
Do not neglect your weaknesses by any means, but put yourself in those positions where you are musically strongest
the majority of the time. Almost every musician, even great ones will say, "I can do (so an so) but (such and such) just kills me.
Find a comfort level in your playing and then develop it to the point where it becomes "your style". 
 
More often than not, musicians choose to play with others because of their "style".
Elements of individual style add interest to musical performance and dialogue. Eddie "Van" has the "two-hand tap", 
Wes Montgomery has the "double stops", Santana has the "endless sustain", Joe Pass has the "walking bassline",
Jimmy Bruno's arpeggios, Holdsworth has the "killer legato"... the list goes on. 
 
These are not gimmicks, and what I'm speaking of has nothing to do with developing a "gimmick".
A gimmick in my opinion is an insincere application of any technique. I encourage anything that you might do to develop those 
elements that sincerely and tastefully reflect your personal style within a given musical context.
 
Like the above examples, or take Pierre Bensusan's DADGAD fingerstylings, Joe Beck's Alto tuning or David Torn's,
Adrian Belew's, and Bill Frisell's effects. Pat Metheny the inventive composer and guitarist can teach much, as can Larry Coryell,
"Fuze", "Sco" and Vernon Reid
 
Add Larry Carlton's beautiful tone, Hendrix's funky blues, Satch's scales, Pat Martino's phrasing and Steve Khan's rich harmonies to the list. 
There are so many! So, the question is: what are you known for? What are your strengths?
Eliminate your weaknesses for sure, but find those strengths and play to them to be successful. 
 
It is a matter of doing what you do best...great careers in every profession are built this way.   

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