I worked on the cadenza of the Tschaikovsky concerto today.
The hardest thing about practicing for me these days is the idea that I only have a short amount of time to prepare for an audition at the end of January. That’s less than two months from now.
And there is SO much music to prepare….
Here’s a list of unhelpful thoughts I’m dealing with as they come up in reaction to the idea of doing this audition:
1. I don’t have enough time
2. There’s too much music for me to prepare
3. I don’t have enough time to learn new excerpts I’ve never played before
4. I’m out of shape, and out of practice
5. I don’t have the endurance that I should have to prepare for this audition
6. I don’t want to embarrass myself
7. I want to play everything well
When I work with my students, I often suggest that they make a list of reactive thoughts such as this one, and really FEEL what each thought is doing to the body as it’s being thought, so that it becomes really clear whether they are helping or not.
I’m going to experiment with each of those thoughts for myself right now. How do I feel when I think them?
1. Instant pushing myself forward, feeling hurried, cringing, compressing, tight arms, turtle-neck-pulling in and down, more fearful thoughts arise instantly and take me into a negative downwards spiral.
2. Collapse. My whole body starts to feel heavy. Emotionally, I begin to feel hopeless and overwhelmed. More negative thoughts follow: “Oh, my God…. I can’t do this……..”…. fear.
3. Combination of 1+2
4. Confusion, stress, startle response leads to: “I don’t know what to do,” and feelings of helplessness…
5. “I’m weak.” Sadness. Sense of failure. Heavy, collapsed chest. My back starts to ache.
6. I want to hide. My body pulls inwards and compresses. Tight legs, slumping shoulders…
7. I feel myself going into “fighting” mode, and my inner competitor thinks, “I can do this! I’ll show them! I’m going to work really really hard and do my best, and everybody will be impressed at how well I play and how I was able to overcome all odds to be successful and play well at this audition!!” … and everything in my body gets tight as I push myself forwards and gear up my muscles to barge full steam ahead into WORK!!! (Ouch….. there’s NO WAY I could keep this up for even one day!)
I stop for a moment, realizing that I don’t like the results of thinking those unhelpful thoughts, so I choose to STOP. RIGHT NOW.
No more thinking like that!!!
It’s a recipe for pain, exhaustion, and overall malaise.
That’s not for me.
What can I do instead???
How can I work towards the goal of taking this audition while still taking care of myself and remaining true to what is even more important to me – my Peace and well-being on all planes?
First…. Just….. STOP.
Ahhh, everything softens. I find Ease….
How easy is my neck?
I smile, ready to continue with my practicing, away from the violin, and away from this laptop.
In the next moment, I continue to stop, remembering:
I am free
I have time and space
I don’t have to do anything…….
And I wonder about Ease as I find it.
This is the only way to prepare for an audition that will fully express Who I Am. And I don’t want to show them anything other than That. Win or lose… this is the way I win myself. What better outcome could I enjoy than to enjoy being Who I Am, through music? To emerge happy and whole, content with whatever transpires, knowing I am living the way I want to live… THAT is my goal, and that is my NOW.
The Art of Freedom and the Alexander Technique. NOW.
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