Maybe you have had a bad day. Maybe something from ten years ago is still making you ache and think about it. Or maybe you are in a club and are feeling nervous about playing in front of other people. Whatever has got you down, or feeling upset, or insecure; we have all had these feelings. They are universal. And honestly, they are some of the juiciest stuff of life. Chances are, if you are feeling one way right now, then ten thousand other people are feeling the same way; even though their feeling arises from a different situation. Like I said, we have all had these feelings; we all know what it is like. SO USE THEM!
Feeling sad? Put all that feeling into your playing. Open up, don’t hide. It will help other people open up and respond to your music more. Girlfriend just break up with you? Cry through the guitar. Honestly, putting all that feeling into the guitar will not only make you sound like a more soulful player, it will help you feel better. When you really play with your heart, music is a healing experience. Turn those overwhelming feelings into pure awesome! Face those feelings. Feel them out as they are RIGHT NOW. And do that as you play. This will literally turn the poison of feeling hurt or sad or angry into the medicine of life experience and musical ability. It will be a real breath of fresh air.
Normally when we have these feelings we tend to want to hide from them. We ignore them and just turn on the tv, or even blame our problems on someone else. Instead we could learn to face these feelings, own up to them as the feelings of our own life experience, and even take them in and embrace them without so much overwhelming feeling of guilt and feeling wronged. The feelings are what they are, and like I said even though they are the messy stuff of life, they are also some of the juicy stuff. Learn to channel it through your music. If you are getting angry, instead of taking it out on someone else, pick up the guitar and wail. If you feel sad, rip a soulful blues solo. Write a song and really capture the feeling. It will help you to transcend it, and learn to work with your feelings and experiences better in the future. It will help you feel better. It will help you heal.
Think about it on a personal level and in a live setting as well. If you have the courage to play with a lot of feeling people will feel your music more. Or perhaps you feel great, but you see someone in the crowd sitting in the corner with a frown and is obviously feeling terrible. Focus on them and play to them specifically. Offer them the medicine of music, and do it with an open heart. Let the pure feeling connect. Simply offer it with love. This is a special technique to develop: to actually be able to specifically connect with others and help them feel better. It takes having an open heart and being perceptive to how they are feeling; and then having the right touch. They have to want to open their heart to you; so don’t try to force your way in. It is not a thing of overpowering their ego with your own. It is a thing of bridging a heart connection; of making an offering of love. To start in this practice, learn to feel love and respect toward everyone you play for. And do this outside of your playing too if you are going to be genuine with it. Learn to feel love and respect toward all of humanity. Practice Universal Love and you will be healing your self and the world. When you feel great, share those great feelings with others. This is part of what being a musician is all about.