For me and 74 Steve Vai fans, a dream came true on Saturday, June 27, 2009. In the Middle Franconian town of Gutenstetten, Meinl had organized a masterclass with the master himself as part of their guitar festival. For a fair fee of 150, – Euro, we could talk to Steve about his music, his motivation, current plans and goals for almost four hours.
“Fear of being famous”?
After the shuttle bus took us from the Festial grounds to the main building of the company Meinl and we were able to supply ourselves with soft drinks and butter pretzels at the buffet, Mr. “Stunt Guitar” dives on stage, grabs his white JEM and welcomes us with his virtuoso game , Afterwards, Mr. Vai settles into a chair and begins to chat out of the sewing box.
“Picking a Goal”
Steve’s main concern is to show us how to make sense of the right goals and then discipline them. In addition to positive thinking and time management, the companion Zappas explained on the basis of current projects his approach to achieve once set goals. A little meditation practice shows us how easy it is to focus your thoughts.
“Relaxing is an Art”
With all the rigor of self in terms of plans and goals, Steve insists on relaxing at the key moment of making music. The example of his uncle, an athlete, makes it clear that often results in better results, if one thinks, one gave only 90%. Stay focused, but relaxed!
“Chords are like stories”
“Tell me what you did this morning.” he asks a participant of the workshop. And so we learn how it sounds to the man with the incredibly long fingers when he lets his guitar say, “I got up and went to the bathroom.” Already we are in the middle of the sound universe of Steve Vai.
What may seem a bit slanted at first glance turns out to be an ingenious creative technique, at the latest when he sets the party report of another present. “Then you were pretty drunk,” the vibrato arm tells us on Steve’s guitar. Humorous and eloquent, Steve also delves into each of our questions in detail. You can clearly feel that it is important to him to motivate, to give help and to pass on as many of his experiences as possible.
“Focus on tone”
For the former student of Joe Satriani, good guitar playing requires two ingredients: technique and emotion. The technique is learned “fast”. Start slowly, watch for correct timing and pitch, repeat eleven times, then get faster, and so on. Far more important to the Ibanez Endorser is the emotional commitment that makes every note unique. He recommends that we record our game anytime and anywhere to get constant feedback about our expression, true to the motto “Trust is good, control is better.”
“Jammin ” with Steve”
Too fast, the scheduled three hours pass. For some, maybe not fast enough, the jam with the Little Italian Virtuoso is at the end of the Masterclass. Now the young virtuosos can show live and in direct comparison to the master whether they have what it takes to step into their shoes someday. A total of six brave disciples enter the stage one after the other to make a few turns. After every lap Steve thanked his mistress, who left the stage without exception with bright eyes.
“Here I am”
Although after the Jamsession the time quota is massively exaggerated, Steve Vai remains quite the service provider who is only satisfied when we are satisfied. Serious snakes are forming in front of the stage to get Steve to sign autographs. He diligently signs the huge stack of certificates of attendance first, only to leave his signature on all the devotional items he brought with him. With a photo and a “Thank You, Steve!” This Masterclass ends and we are taken back to the Festial area by shuttle bus.
A big thank you to the company Meinl, which has managed to bring this world-class musician in the region and let our hearts beat faster.