Most of the musicians I work with tend to be “Type-A” personalities. They’re successful high-achievers, and they enjoy being in control of themselves and their environments.
It’s that last bit – the need to be in control – that is both a blessing and a curse. It’s also a major contributor to physical and emotional pain down the road. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the strong link between these things.
Let me share a personal story to illustrate…
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be the best at everything – in my violin groups, at competitions, and at school. I did the work and got better and better. I received plenty of praise, which fed my desire to achieve more and more.
I won almost every competition I entered, skipped the 1st and 12th grades, and by the time I finished college, I’d already played as a soloist at Carnegie Hall and was featured in TIME Magazine as a “Rising Star”.
But my hand was starting to hurt. And when I entered the Stulberg International String Competition for the second time, after having won 2nd prize the year before, and Yehudi Menuhin (the judge) praised my inner fire but didn’t select me as a winner… well, that was hard to take.
It seemed unrelated at the time, but within a year of that “failure” I decided to get married (at age 20), and I dropped my solo career ambitions entirely. I was on Cloud 9 to be in love and leaving behind all the hard work and struggle to get ahead in music (even though I loved it!)… and I poured my heart and soul into relationships, meditation and spiritual explorations, making those the main focus of my life.
Without realizing there was anything wrong with it, I simply transferred my passionate, ambitious “Type-A” personality onto other areas of my life, and over the next decade I worked really hard. Now, I was in competition with myself – to become a great wife and a great mom and a really good spiritual person. I didn’t think I was a perfectionist, but I wanted to do everything right! ?
I was intense, my life was intense, and I loved it passionately… until things got too difficult and everything started to hurt. I certainly didn’t love THAT.
I became progressively less happy, my chronic back pain and posture got worse, my chronic allergies got worse, and my neck started to hurt. After another few years, I found myself profoundly miserable, and I couldn’t turn my neck in one direction AT ALL.
That’s when – thank God – I found the Alexander Technique and all that pain began to dissolve.
Suddenly, I was introduced to a completely different world-view, where it was OK – and even desirable! – to let go, do less, give up the illusion that I needed to (or could!) be in control of everything all the time, release the constant pressure to do everything right, and stop worrying so much about what other people might think.
I learned to give myself the freedom to be and express my true self, while choosing EASE in mind, body, and actions. What a revelation to realize my innate freedom to be fully human and perfectly imperfect! 🙂
Another 5 years passed, and I found myself teaching the Technique. To my utter amazement, my violin playing began to improve BY ITSELF – even without touching the instrument for weeks or months at a time. It was really quite unbelievable, but that’s what happened – and it’s what continues to happen for me to this day.
I was learning to think and move with so much less tension, and so much more freedom. I had less and less physical pain, and paradoxically, I was more in control of myself than EVER before – because I was able to consciously CHOOSE which thoughts would take me in a positive, healthy direction; and I learned to STOP thinking the ones that increased tension, anxiety, worry, and pain.
Now, I can honestly say that I’m in love with Life – every last bit of it. I know how to be present, aware, and conscious to my experience, so that I can respond to life’s progressive moments with more and more ease, bringing more and more joy to myself and others.
? It is now my heart’s passion to share what I’ve learned along the way with other musicians who might be stuck in the same kind of pain and struggle I was. Musicians who believe in the goal-oriented, practice-hard, learn-fast, concentrate and get-ahead paradigm; who don’t realize how their Type-A personalities may actually be holding them hostage and contributing to their physical and emotional pain, making it HARDER to achieve their goals in life and music.
This is why I created The Art of Freedom® Method, which teaches you a powerfully simple step-by-step process to overcome pain and realize your freedom as a musician, by integrating 5 aspects of your life: Purpose, Mind, Body, Spirit, and Artistry. These are the 5 Pillars of The Art of Freedom® Method for conscious living and masterful artistry.
If you recognize yourself in any part of my story and are curious to learn more, I hope you’ll reach out so I can help you see another way to be a musician, which is SO MUCH easier and more joyous! Your can heal sooner and your skills can improve faster when you know how to think in a way that puts you TRULY back in charge of your musical life.
I have a new program for 10 musicians in pain beginning in July, and early registration is now open. Just send me a message here or send an email to Jennifer@ArtofFreedom.me if you’re curious about this program: “Tame that Pain Now! Play Smarter and Feel Better in 30 Days”. I’ll ask you a few questions to make sure it’s a good fit for you, and we’ll get you started right away on the early-bird bonuses, so you can learn my simple, proven process to overcome your pain and enjoy your music again soon. Just contact me for more information. I’m excited to help you!
p.s. Early-bird registration is now open! Just contact me if you’re in pain and want a proven to overcome it and make great music with ease!