Enjoy a healthy, balanced life and abundant musical success.

Become the powerful artist you are meant to be!

June 20, 2024
Every Saturday, I teach an online ‘Strategy & Support' class for my students. These are all adult musicians from different musical backgrounds, playing different instruments at various skill levels, who want to learn how to make great music with ease.

At the end of every class, I work with 2-3 musicians who have signed up for the Masterclass portion of class. Sometimes they bring a question and we have a discussion; at other times, they bring their instruments and play a bit to get my feedback.

In our last Masterclass, I worked with a beginner cellist and a professional violinist, and they both chose to play a line or two of music.

In both Masterclass sessions, the first thing I noticed was that they weren't using the time BEFORE starting to play (the time I call the ‘Golden Period‘) to their maximum advantage.

In fact, it's rare to see a musician really giving themselves time and space to just BE before diving into the ‘doing' of the music, let alone to continue doing that as they begin playing.

In The Art of Freedom® Method, we want to bring our whole selves to the music by prioritizing our whole selves and our well-BEING over anything we DO.


The time BEFORE an activity like playing our instruments is no less important than the time when we're actually playing.

Let that sink in a moment!

Because if you're like most musicians, you probably rush into playing, too, because you have an underlying belief that the music is somehow more important than YOU are – and the silence – or the tuning, or the rosing the bow, or arranging the sheet music, etc. – that comes before the music.

It's not.

NOTHING is more important than your BEING.

In reality, what we do isn't really that important; it's WHO we are and HOW we express ourselves that really matters.

In my classes, we typically have a topic of the month.

This month's topic is Relationships, and how the quality of our relationships can affect the quality of our music-making.

Today was the first class on this topic, so we focused on the Primary Relationship, which is the relationship you have with yourself.

When you're in a positive, well-coordinated, and loving relationship with yourself, it's EASY to be yourself and express yourself with the world – through your being, your words, your actions, your music.

In fact, this is the ultimate and lasting key to overcoming performance anxiety.

Being freely and authentically yourself in this way takes conscious awareness, which is something natural, but which is also a skill that goes against a lifetime of habitual mindlessness.

So it takes practice.

This is why The Art of Freedom® Method includes the practical work of Primal Alexander™ Awareness Etudes, which allow us to consciously work on improving our relationships – first with ourselves, then with the world (instrument, colleagues, teachers, students, audiences, etc.).

Musicians in my programs learn basic Awareness Etudes that are simple and easy to do in just a few minutes a day.

It's AMAZING how quickly you can improve the quality of your music-making by paying attention to your Primary Instrument (by doing your Primary Practice, including Awareness Etudes) instead of trying so hard to make your music sound good!

As soon as the violinist in our Masterclass prioritized being curious about what was happening to her whole self while playing over the results of her actions (in the specific way she is learning to do in my Level 1 course) her sound instantly became more open, resonant, free and gorgeous because it was reflecting her own state of Being.

The improvement was quite noticeable to her and everyone listening. The music flowed and the phrasing was expressive. And she wasn't even trying.

Professionals often have a hard time just TRUSTING that it's all there – that they have the technique already, and mainly it's just a matter of getting out of their own way to LET the music speak through them.

You might think this is easier said than done, but with the process I teach it's actually pretty simple and they learn how to do this quickly.

The violinist who played in the Masterclass has only been in my program for two weeks so she's just at the very beginning stages of learning this process, but it's clearly already working.

And the cellist had a similar experience.

When I asked her about whether she wanted to enjoy herself while playing, she clarified that she wanted to connect to the sacredness of the piece – a Meditation – she was playing on her cello.

I helped her to do that by connecting her intellectual concept of that sacredness to what she was experiencing in her body. By embodying that sacredness, her music flowed in a way that it couldn't before.

The change was swift and remarkable.

This beginner cellist in her 70's was now making what I call “great music”… with ease.

One of her peers in the class said it was so moving that it almost brought tears to her eyes because she could literally FEEL that Spirit in herself when she heard the music.

Some of the notes weren't quite in tune (and there's always more we can work on – like how she reacts to the out-of-tune notes), but nobody cared!

Perfect intonation is not the goal. Paradoxically, though, even though she wasn't working on the intonation AT ALL in this lesson, it improved automatically the second time through, when she played “with Spirit” in a more embodied, connected way.

As a coach, there's nothing more gratifying than to guide my students to think a little differently and pay attention with a little more holistic awareness, so they can enjoy themselves a whole lot more and make great music with ease!

Message me or email me if you want to know more about joining a Level 1 program so you can experience these things for yourself. I look forward to connecting with you!

With Love,

Jennifer ❤

*Picture used with permission from Mary Himmer, our Masterclass cellist. Thanks, Mary!



Tags

Alexander Technique, coaching, practice, The Musician's Advantage


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