[Sheet Music]

Lesson 25: Letting Go


To quote Jim Hall: "Listening is the key". Listen to what is happening around you and go with that.


Concentrate, clear your mind of everything else but the music. Let the music/ the groove/ the song and the performance take you in completely.

Playing What You Hear

Believe in yourself and what you're doing. Use and above all trust your ear. Try to get in touch with what you're actually hearing in your head. Sing or hum what you're hearing and try to translate that stuff onto your guitar. Try to rely on instinct more than on licks and patterns. Try to hear melodies and then play them - this requires a lot of practice and time but it's worth it. A really strong melodic idea doesn't even have to follow the chord changes rigorously. This is one of the greatest ways to play a little "out": to follow a strong melodic idea and not think too much about the changes. It's really all about hearing. If you don't hear music in your head, how are you going to be able to play anything?

Daring to Let Go

Ultimately, you have to stop thinking about scales and patterns. You may be able to do this at first at certain easy points in a tune and then return to a safer theoretical approach at more difficult points. Believing in yourself is what it's about. You may not be able to walk on water, but you can indeed walk on very, very thin ice. The more belief you have in yourself, the thinner the ice can be. It's a wonderful feeling ( if I may use another metaphor) just letting yourself fall over forwards and finding yourself not hitting the floor but flying...

The Four Step Approach

  • Listen
  • Concentrate
  • Let go
  • Play and FLY!

2004 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.