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December 25, 2017

If you’re human and a musician, I bet you’re guilty of rushing – at least once in awhile!

The question: WHY do you rush? What is the CAUSE?

My answer to you: your music rushes because YOU rush. YOU – your whole mind-body-Self – are the cause. Why? Because you’re good at rushing through LIFE, even when you’re not making music. Your brain is a virtual rushing expert because you practice this often, throughout the day, every day.

We modern humans rush to get up in the morning. Rush to eat. Rush to work. Rush to communicate. Rush to finish projects. Rush to shop. Rush to get home. Rush to make time to do other things. Rush to get places…. You get the idea!

Want to cure your habit of rushing the music?
Cure your habit of rushing through life!

Alexander discovered that his #1 problem that caused all of his performance difficulties was something he called “end-gaining”.
End-gaining is when you pay more attention to the RESULT than the PROCESS (what he called the “means-whereby”) for achieving your goal (“end”).

When you’re end-gaining and rushing, you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. You’re likely projecting into the future, either too eager to get somewhere or afraid of something coming up. Or maybe you’re just plain over-excited and caught up in what you’re doing instead of how you’re BEING. Your internal sense of timing gets thrown OFF because you’re over-focusing on what’s outside of you and not really paying attention to what’s going on INSIDE of you RIGHT NOW.

When you’re in the middle of a musical phrase, worrying about the next note, or afraid of that difficult shift coming up later, or focusing on nailing that hard fast passage coming up, then you aren’t giving the current note it’s due, and you’re more likely to fall into the rushing trap.

So what’s the cure?

  1. Start observing yourself rushing during the day, away from your instrument.
  2. Notice how your body tenses up when you’re rushing.
  3. Learn how to discern between relative tension and relative ease in your body.
  4. Practice the Cycle 2x/day. The Cycle is an Alexander Technique etude by Mio Morales that takes 2 minutes. You can learn it here: THE CYCLE VIDEO
  5. Include the Metronome-Cycle as part of your practice routine, separately from your instrument.
  6. LATER, once you’ve already been practicing the Cycle for awhile, add practicing with the metronome to your music. This will be SO MUCH more effective once you’re including the concept of Ease into your use of the metronome.

Here’s a simple version of the Metronome-Cycle:

Set your metronome to a slow speed. Try it in a triple meter.

  1. Count out loud on the first beat. (“1″… “2”…  up to “25”…)
  2. Notice and name a place of relative ease in your body on the second beat
  3. Take a moment to rest on the third beatCount this way up to 25, more or less, as desired

I challenge you to do the Cycle 2x/day, and the Metronome-Cycle 1x/day EVERY DAY for 30 DAYS, and I can pretty much guarantee that your rushing habit will be very significantly improved or even gone by the end of the month!  (Feel free to experiment and create your own version – but make it EASY!)

If you take me up on the challenge, let me know how it goes!!


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cycle, etude, metronome, practice, rushing, timing

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