Steve Vai: The great virtuoso of our day
No doubt if you are a guitar enthusiast or play any kind of rock music you have heard of Steve Vai. He a very talented guitar player with numerous CD's, DVD's, and products with his name attached to it. He's played with numerous talented musicians and has toured all over the world with other famous guitarists such as Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and John Petrucci. His music ranged from fast paced whammy bar action rock songs to slow easy listening classical tunes.
What gives him the edge?
This question is asked many times about Steve Vai and why he is so successful. I have read numerous articles throughout the years and have seen him speak on Youtube about why this is and there are 2 main reasons why he is so successful. Practice and passion, a very powerful combination! Steve Vai plays constantly and has a passion and desire to play his guitar all the time and I'll go into further detail on these two aspects of his playing. Suffice to say that Steve Vai's success is attributed to these things and his ability to get his materials and recordings out there to the public.
Practice makes perfect!
Practicing on the guitar is something we all do to be successful and play the guitar. I personally try to get at least 30 minutes in a day, maybe an hour if I have the time. This is pretty good as in an hour a practice session can consist of warmups, scales, chords, theory, and song practice. Steve Vai on the other hand takes practice to a whole new level, a whole new world to put it more adequately. Steve mentions in one of his Youtube interviews that he was sad whenever he was apart from the guitar, so practicing wasn't really the right word for him since he was always playing. So when I tell you that he said he practices over 10 hours a day in one of his interviews, that's the truth and it seems radical. He just plays because he loves it though, so Steve Vai's success is built on him playing all the time and practicing everything there is to know about the guitar.
Passion will drive you
The other topic I touched on which is attributed to Steve Vai's success is passion for what he does. All the practice in the world will do a person no good if there's no drive and desire and passion to play! Steve not only plays all the time to get better, he plays the guitar all the time because he absolutely loves it! Steve mentioned in a Youtube interview a few years ago that he "never worked a day in his life" when it came to the guitar. Why? The reason is because he loved pushing himself and striving for learning everything about his beloved instrument. He loved the feeling of knowing there's something he couldn't do and pushed himself to master whatever he struggled with. So that desire to play and be great was instilled in his mind and he strove for greatness with his playing each day
Strengths vs weaknesses
I love Steve Vai's take on his strengths vs his weaknesses. The youtube video I posted below is where he says this quote, but he mentions to his group that "I ignore my weaknesses, and I cultivate my strengths." I love this idea because if we are always striving to improve on our weaknesses we'll just be average at everything. We can't be great at everything, so Steve's take is to focus on what you are good at it and master it instead of always looking at our weaknesses. It's a good mental picture in your head as well. If you're always focused on your weaknesses and how to improve then it can cause you to be discouraged or lose motivation. If instead you focus on what you are good at it and become great then you will be a legend and a powerhouse in that field you do. This applies to all things in life, not just the guitar. A football player is not going to spend months improving his golf game, instead he should be focusing on what he loves which is football and becoming a master at it!
Become a great in your field
Just as Steve Vai talks about all the time, focus on your strengths and drive yourself to be the best you can be at that goal. That's why Steve Vai is so successful is because he love the guitar and loves creating music. It's just part of his DNA, and that's why he's the popular virtuoso and guitarist we know of today. It all started with that desire and practice time he put in.