Practicing becomes ART when you merge purpose with craft, mindful observation, intelligence, ease, and imagination.
Today, I was practicing the opening of a slow unaccompanied piece of Bach, and I noticed the subtle details of my imprecise string-crossings, which were not allowing two strings to speak at exactly the same time; instead, one note in a double-stop was sounding a split-second before the other.
To work on this became an engaging craft project…as if I were fitting two pieces of stained glass together so that they were perfectly aligned… and the result was one piece of stunning two-colored beauty.
This artistic craft-work captivated my imagination and my curiosity, and it motivated me to practice more. I wanted to find more spots to work on (easy to do!), where I could fit more colored pieces together, in such a way that they would complement one another and sit flush to each other on the surface. I found that when the pieces are placed together “just so”, there’s a light that shines through with a crystalline brilliance that makes my soul sing with happiness!
How did I accomplish this today?
#1: MORNING MINDSET
I spent a good amount of time taking care of my mindset this morning. This included giving myself ample, relaxed time for my routine meditations, reading, and other morning activities (including coffee, watering plants, and some laundry), done mindfully, without hurry.
#2: QUICK MINDSET REBOOT
Right before practicing, I practiced my Alexander Technique etudes and did a Quick Mindset Reboot (this is something I teach my students, and which I will be offering to the general public very soon…stay tuned for more details in a future blogpost!)
#3: ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IN ACTION
I applied my Alexander Technique “Constructive Thinking” as I mindfully approached, lifted, and tuned my instrument, and I continued to think this way throughout my practice session.
I allowed myself to start playing whatever I wanted to play, which quickly turned into some mindful scale practice, which quickly turned into a technical exercise for up-bow staccato – something I’m focusing on these weeks for playing Zieguenerweisen (Sarasate).
#5: SMART PRACTICE METHOD
After I’d practiced a bit of Sarasate, I soon moved on to Bach (remembering the interleaving principle of practice)
#6: INSPIRED PRACTICE
By the time I got to the Bach, I was paying very close attention to everything I was doing, so that I noticed the little glitch in my string-crossings right away – as if two pieces of stained glass were ever so slightly misaligned, disturbing the picture… and that’s when I started working on this artistic craft project…and colors and light started to inspire me with their arrival in my imagination.
THIS IS THE PRACTICE OF ARTISTIC MASTERY … THE ART OF PRACTICING.
I hope this was useful and inspiring to you…Happy Practicing, my friend!
p.s. I’d love to get your comments below! Are you in touch with your Muse these days? What’s it like when you are, and when you’re not?
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