Intrinsic motivation—What drives you to excel, or even to just get out of bed in the mornings? Having taught guitar for many years, I’ve worked with students of all skill levels and backgrounds, and I’m always fascinated by the varying degrees of motivation amongst them. One student may play an exercise because they are told to do so, yet another may play the exercise because they have passion for learning the instrument. With the latter, chances are, that passion is evident in other aspects of their lives, such as work and relationships.
When working on my Master’s at Boston University, I did a great amount of research on the topic of motivation. And when it comes to personifying motivation in music, one man stands out above all others—Jason Becker.
Featured earlier this week in Psychology Today, Becker has become an icon through his virtuosic guitar playing, but even more so through his passion for life and his determination to continue to create and to inspire.
Playing with Marty Friedman in Cacophony at the age of 16, Jason was already proving that he was a guitar virtuoso. From there, he went on to play with former Van Halen singer, David Lee Roth. As his career was about to soar, he received the grim diagnosis that he had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. With this happening around 1990, doctors gave him only a few years to live. However, Jason Becker is “not dead yet!” Though he can only move his eyes, he maintains the ability to both communicate and to write amazing music.
Recently, ALS has received attention through the Ice Bucket Challenge, and an award-winning documentary of the amazing musician is also available—Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. You can get the movie, as well as his other music through iTunes.
So whenever you’re lacking inspiration or motivation, look to none other than Jason Becker.