If you're smart you'll learn by heart what every artist knows

I'm trying to figure out what exactly makes Paul Davids so compelling.  I mean, apart from his being ridiculously handsome.  There's his directness.  That he's so gentle in affect.  He radiates patience.  That accent.  He's got great hair.  And those eyes will get you.  A lot of people are easy to watch.  Davids is hard not to.

Surely it helps that his videos are practically flawless.  They're meticulously shot.  The sound is perfect.  Davids has spent many tens of thousands of dollars on the gear that he makes these videos with, and is as deliberate and patient in making videos as he is in making music.

All that he does on YouTube is guitar instruction.  He uses a couple of typical YouTube tricks, like making fun of bad line readings with visual jokes, but for the most part he's practically sedate.  He talks about how to practice, and what to practice.  He breaks down pieces of guitar music to show how they work.  (Check out his video explaining how Lindsey Buckingham's "Big Love" is played.)  He sits in front of a camera and talks and plays the guitar.

Not being a guitarist, I don't find his videos especially useful.  But I really like them.  

I like that he reveals one of the most central musical secrets that there is, which is that everything depends on technique.  Fluidity, expression, the ability to make decisions and execute them, even just being able to gesture, all of that depends on attaining minute control over your body.  That control is achieved by burning things into your mind.

It's a thing that nobody wants to face when they want to learn how to make music, but that everyone must.

This video's a great demonstration of how it works.  He's chosen a piece of music that's famously difficult to play - "Eugene's Trickbag," by Steve Vai.  Davids knows that, in principle, it's a piece that he can play.  There's nothing in it that he can't do.  All that's needed is three resources:  time, patience, and will.

There's a lot of quiet drama in this 12-minute video.  I think it's interesting that even though Steve Vai's deliberate flamboyance is at the center of this project, there's really nothing in what you'll see that is at all flamboyant.  It's just deliberate, methodical patience.


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