Pat Metheny

Do you ever feel that you know too much of what you're playing in advance, and if so, what do you do about it?

Pat's answer:
Definitely that happens. One of the best things to do is to stop. Just before you're about to play something, don't play it. Even if you start one beat later - which can seem like an eternity at the moment that you've just stopped yourself from playing what you want to play - it almost always makes you land on your feet in a different way, which then makes you play something different. Almost everybody, myself included, plays too much. It's always a good idea to lay out for a bar or two. I was talking with Dave Liebman about this exact subject recently, and his thing was, "Just take the horn out of your mouth." For a horn player, that's a great suggestion. For guitar players, bass players, piano players, drummers, it's a little harder, but it's still good. I've noticed Sco [John Scofield] is doing that now; he actually takes his hands off the guitar for a second, and I'm sure he got that from Liebman, who he played with for a long time. It's a great suggestion. Take your hands off the guitar. The world won't come to an end [ laughs ].