I know it sounds like a real music-biz kind of “cliché” to say this about “giving it all you’ve got”, but it can mean much more than just the surface implies. I have always found that I basically can’t help but give the music my “all”, especially when performing live, and also being in the studio. This also means not only really putting out a great deal of energy, but also using a great deal of taste and restraint as part of this process. After all, music is a true art form, and the dynamics and sheer range of what you can show others must take in a very large and diverse scope. The more you learn and experience as a player, the more you can “put out” or “hold back” as a performer and as a studio player.
Whenever we hit the stage, there’s just a natural tendency to sort of “heighten” our energy level anyway, and that therefore means that we must in a way, re-learn to control our emotions and their physical ramifications as a result. After all, we never want to get so hyped up that it starts to inhibit our abilities to control our performance. We must always remain in control of our playing, no matter how much we really want to “give it all we’ve got.”
I do believe that not only for the audience, but we, ourselves deserve to give any performance our best shot. As we get older, wiser and more experienced, we all become a bit more restrained and selective in our performance choices. I guess we can call it “seasoning” as an artist, and putting out our best foot forward is always worth it when it comes to learning more and more as a guitarist, an artist and as a performer. Being self-taught, the performing and recording experiences always seemed to raise the level of my learning. I mean, when I sometimes listen back to shows I have performed, I often must say something like “where did that phrase come from?!” or “that was something I never did before, and I have no idea how it happened!” Well, the truth is that the more that we are in that “higher state” that is required for true artistic performing, the more we are playing “outside of ourselves.” These are the moments when we really hit that stride we are looking for and the soul and spirit of the guitarist is flying, and the expression we are getting across is soaring it’s way right into the hearts of the listeners!
So, always be sure to give it your all. You will always be the greatest recipient of the benefits of doing this, and you’ll be amazed at how much you will learn as a musician and as a person in the process! Good luck!