When you practice, do you think of different ways of practicing as either “technical” or “musical” practice? That’s a common misunderstanding about how to work on a piece of music. I think it’s very problematic, and goes contrary to what we are really trying to achieve.
As I was recording today’s video for “Jennifer’s 30-Day Practice Challenge – Day 8”, I had an important insight towards the end on that topic, which I’d like to share with you. (I’ll be talking about it more in tomorrow’s video – Day 9.)
Just as it is unhelpful and unhealthy to think of the mind-body-soul-Spirit in separate parts, it is unhelpful to divide musical practice into technical-musical.
I realized today that the problem is that we are putting our emphasis to much on the end result than the process, and on our “doing” rather than our “Being”.
The unified Being of our mind-body-self must be our primary focus of attention as much as humanly possible. When we do this, we gain a better perspective on how everything else falls into place relative to our Being. Our Being becomes the point of reference – the coordinate point in the center of space.
The self includes emotion already. We don’t have to work to “put” emotion into our music if we are in right relationship with ourself and the music.
Our job is to become more and more aware of what already IS inside of us, and to choose to focus on the aspects that are useful to pay attention to because that has a positive effect on our “doing”.
What I mean is… when my self is well-coordinated, and I am aware of my role in the coordinating process (mainly to get out of the way and stop trying to control everything with my thinking mind), the technical aspects work themselves out, and the emotion that is already in me is able to flow out through my open (not overly contracted) arms, through the unrestricted instrument, and out into the music.
My job is to stay centered, open, and responsive, constantly taking in new information about the changes that I see on the page (new notes in a new moment) and in my environment(the conductor just sped up the pulse), so that I can respond with appropriate tension for technical accuracy along with a spontaneous emotional response to the meaning the music has for me.
By paying constant attention to the primacy of our centered Being-ness while including the awareness of the more “technical” aspect of mind-analysis and the more “musical/emotional” aspect of the heart-synthesis, we will be improving our music-making as a WHOLE instead of risking the creation of either an overly mechanical piece of music devoid of emotion, or an impassioned and undisciplined mess of notes.
- Make paying attention to your Being primary; the actions you carry out are secondary (The Art of Freedom / Alexander Technique helps tremendously with cultivating this ability – contact me to learn more)
- Become aware of the analytical mind AND the emotional heart
- Have the intention to let the mind and heart speak through everything you do, without trying to “do” the analysis or force the emotions.
- Allow the centered self and the music to develop a constantly flowing partnership which contains and unifies all aspects at once.
I’d love to hear your comments here! It was a simple experience I had this morning which has been very challenging to put into words, and I’m wondering what you think…
Join me for “Jennifer’s 30 Day Practice Challenge!”
WATCH & JOIN HERE:
Won’t you join me and improve your music-making? It will be sure to be LOTS OF FUN and EXCITEMENT, and we even have a Facebook Group where you can meet up with other musicians following along, too. I look forward to seeing you there!