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Jeffrey Briggs: Blog


Posted on February 23, 2012 with 0 comments

Greetings. I’ll be playing flamenco as well as Latin and classical music this Saturday February 25th from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Euro Café (546 E. Baseline Rd, Claremont, CA 91711 • (909) 621-4666 • Stop by if you want to experience what I write about below. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Musical Happiness In spite of those fine words in our Declaration of Independence, we live in a culture increasingly dominated by fear - militaristic, repressive, authoritarian, aggressive, paranoid, suspicious, regimented, conformist, negative, alienating, ignorant, intolerant, judgmental, and psychologically damaging. Nowhere in the posturings of the demogogues and pundits currently featured in our corporate media is there any mention of music or art, unless they’re urging cuts in the few governmental programs that support them. Music and art have no place in our political debates, and yet no country needs the positive energy of creativity more now than the people of the United States of America. It inspires enthusiasm and a communal spirit, and can unite a people far better than the disgraceful destruction of warfare. Creativity is the antidote, the solution to our riddles. It’s a joyous celebration of life. It’s free, and is available to everyone equally. Its essence is play. It’s personal. It unites head and heart. It’s therapeutic. It educates the emotions and enhances sensitivity. It validates your feelings. It transmutes frustration and aggression into beauty. It teaches you how to be happy in your own personal way. It makes people dance, and laugh, and cheer. During the years I’ve given private guitar lessons and taught for the City of Claremont I’ve had the privilege of helping people from all walks of life learn to do something I love. Most people who would like to play doubt they have the talent for it, mainly because they get little encouragement. There’s no question that some people are innately gifted for music, but that’s far less important than most people think. One of my students just showed me two children on YouTube playing difficult classical pieces with amazing technique on the guitar, some of which exceeded my own. Playing fast and clean is impressive, but music is more than technique. We’re used to quantitative standards to evaluate the best in sports, business, and politics. It’s all in the numbers. Someone’s a winner, the champion, the best. But that doesn’t work in the arts. Each musician gives what they’re capable of, and are appreciated on their own unique merits. That’s the great value of the arts. They allow each of us to shine in our own way. The value of a musical piece is how much you love it, not how fast someone plays it without a mistake. Beauty is the essence of music. Technique is necessary, but without sensitivity and feeling it doesn’t touch your heart. Competition and comparing yourself to others impedes your progress in the arts. When we start something new, many of the voices inside of us are negative. When we hear great players, we may doubt our own ability, capacity, or talent. The practice of creativity encourages your belief in yourself. One must feel secure and free of threat to learn. Everyone is unique. I respect each student’s difference. My philosophy is positive reinforcement, never negative criticism. I know from experience that anyone can derive pleasure from playing guitar, even if it’s only a few chords. Talent is simply desire. If you want to play guitar enough, you’ll find a way. I’ll be glad to help. I’ll be teaching Adult Beginning Guitar in Claremont on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8 pm starting on March 6th. For more information, go to I also give private lessons in the LA area. Con mucho gusto, Jeffrey Briggs 310 839-3580 Watch JeffenMaxx on YouTube: Music sites: