This ebook, Going for It in Musical Performance: Alexander Technique Guidelines and Other Considerations, is published in a PDF format. It is written to give all performing musicians deep insights into the beliefs and bad habits that performers have that can end careers with pain, strain, tension, and injuries.
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Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)
A very long time ago when I was playing guitar concerts, I came up a kinder way for me to memorize pieces for the concert. I would play a piece 50 times, before I tested whether I had memorized the music or not.
It worked quite well. I wasn’t stressing about getting the piece memorized, and I found after 50 repetitions I was beginning to get the piece memorized. So I played it 50 more times without testing my memory, and I had memorized even more of the piece.
This essay isn’t about this particular process I used, but about what was going on in my mind as I did the repetitions.
I decided that it didn’t matter where my mind was as I played, as long as I did the playing. I allowed my mind to wander, and figured I’d get the piece memorized anyone.
Changing direction here:
I have a client who memorizes easily, but always has problems when he plays for me. He forgets where he is in the piece. I asked him what’s going on, and he said his mind was thinking about things he needs to do, has done, should have done, etc.
This got me to thinking.
We have minds that are wandering all over the place, and WE’RE STILL ABLE TO PLAY A PIECE OF MUSIC WELL, OR RUN WELL, OR GOLF WELL.
This seems problematic to me, and maybe it’s not a problem, if we’re not making ourselves guilty or afraid of what we’ve done or should be doing. This means negative emotions, fear and/or guilt, are not interfering with the activity.
Except, somehow I think this is a problem, if we’re not fully present in an activity that requires great technique and/or memorizing.
It’s like reading a page of a book, and you’re so far away, you don’t even know what you’ve read.
IF YOU DO SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARILY WELL AND RELY ONLY ON MEMORY TO GET IT DONE, AND YOU’RE NOT PRESENT, THEN YOU’VE MISSED THE JOY OF THE MOMENT.
YOU CAN ONLY REWARD YOURSELF WITH HOW MASTERFULLY YOU’VE DONE WHAT YOU’RE DOING OR WON, GIVEN YOU MISSED THE JOY OF THE PERFORMANCE, WHETHER IN MUSIC OR A SPORT.
Being totally present and focused on what you’re doing changes what?
At the very least, it shows you you can be totally aware in the moment, and your mind jumping around isn’t always calling the shots.
I believe there is something life alteringly profound when you realize you can be present for long periods of time, and not have to be pulled all over the place by a mind never quite able to focus.
IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PRESENT WITH A QUIET MIND AND IN JOY FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.
TRY IT, YOU’LL LIKE IT.