Tone is in your fingers

8 July 2010


Word count: 390

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


  Image by nzgabriel


Guitar gurus say that musical ‘tone’ is in your fingers. In other words, your own fingers create the quality of the music. The less experience and skill, the lower the quality. The more experience and skill, the higher the quality. This is true no matter how cheap or expensive the guitar is.


Just having the same type of guitar that Eric Clapton has will not help you play like Eric Clapton. He could take a cheap guitar and create a work of art. That ability comes from many practice hours and heavily callused fingers.


Want to improve your guitar playing? Keep strumming.


There’s no shortcut.


The swing comes from practice

Similarly, having the best golf clubs that money can buy will not make you the next Tiger Woods. He could take the cheapest clubs and beat you every time. It’s the swing that counts, not the clubs. And that comes from many practice hours and toned muscles.


Want to improve your golf? Keep swinging.


There’s no shortcut.


The words come from practice

The same thing applies with mastering communication—written or spoken—in any language, whether it’s your mother tongue or a foreign tongue.


Just having the best computer with the latest PowerPoint or Keynote design templates will not guarantee that you can present like Steve Jobs. His message and voice, pace and word choice make the presentation—not the Keynote slides.


Likewise, having the finest laid paper and most expensive Mont Blanc pen will not guarantee that you can write like Mark Twain. He could have created a best-seller using a stubby pencil on cheap newsprint.


It’s the practice that counts, not the equipment.


Want to improve your speaking? Keep listening and speaking. Want to improve your writing? Keep reading and writing.


There’s no shortcut.


Speak in your own voice

Observing and copying the best speakers and writers is a great way to learn. But don’t be afraid to start using your own ‘voice’. Don’t rely on copying alone. It will become a crutch and your writing or speaking craft will never grow.


You don’t need fancy words and someone else’s style. That’s like buying an expensive guitar and hoping to be the next Eric Clapton.


The tone of your writing should reflect the real you.


So find your voice and let it loose. You’ll grow as a writer – and you’ll build more trusting relationships with your readers.

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