In early 2009, I was looking to play OPM pieces arranged for the classical guitar when a youtube viewer offered to send me the sheet music for Forevermore which happens to be the first piece in the OPM Vol.1 book. After having gone through the piece and being impressed with the quality of the arrangement, I decided to purchase the book along with other MJV publications available at that time. All in all, it took me four years to study and record all the pieces. Even though the renditions are not perfect, I’m quite satisfied with this milestone for two reasons: First is that it has never been done before and second, my skills as a guitarist vastly improved as I hurdled the challenges in each arrangement.
Many people who have seen my videos often made the mistake of underestimating the difficulty of playing the arrangements. My calm and pokerfaced demeanor belied the fact that I was struggling to play the entire piece with minimal to no mistakes. “Smiling while playing” was not an option. Over the years, I’ve encountered folks whose long dormant desire to play the classical guitar was rekindled only to be quickly extinguished after attempting to play the pieces. I, too, almost succumbed to the temptation of “giving up” many times and if not for the people who cheered me on, I would definitely have quit. Perseverance is definitely a rare trait and can only be accomplished by constant self-evaluation and self-motivation.
Personally, my failings (if I were to list one of them) would include not spending enough time with a piece to develop the fingerings, dynamics and emotions. My routine was to study the piece for a week, record it and then forget it. This usually resulted in my renditions sounding flat, mechanical and amateurish (the third one being true because I am an amateur by definition). As such, I expect my renditions to be treated more as a reference or an idea for how the piece sounds and not as a definitive performance.