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Become the powerful artist you are meant to be!

July 24, 2017

Alexander technique violinIn this post, I’d like to share a beautiful story that I’ve received from one of my online students, violinist Anne Brűggemann-Klein. Thank you, Anne! It’s letters such as this one that touch my heart and help spur me on to continue my work, reminding me yet again of the power of the Alexander Technique!

As a “returning” violinist, having taken up violin lessons again in 2004 after a hiatus of 30 years, I have always been on the lookout for communities of adult amateur musicians. I have been a passive member of Jennifer Roig-Francoli’s The Art of Freedom Village for Musicians Facebook group for a number of years, but the focus of Alexander Technique over violin playing did not draw me in.

That changed when Jennifer created the Musical Practice Community Facebook group and started it off with her original 30-Days Practice Challenge in preparation of her performance of Rossini’s “Un mot a Paganini” in the fall of 2016. The Musical Practice Community has challenges for everybody to participate in, guiding weekly questions and the option of giving and receiving feedback to and from peers. I was hooked. And I started to appreciate the power of the Alexander Technique and Jennifer’s Art of Freedom flavour to make everything we do better and easier.

I was originally motivated to seek out private AT lessons to help with pain and limited range of motion in my right shoulder. My teacher in Munich, Barbara Wiebe, did what halyoron injections, ibuprofen medication, 30 hours of physio treatment and much experimenting with online recommendations could not do: My pain is gone and my range of motion is nearly back to normal. Recently, two mentors and a number of friends, unprompted, commented on the improved freedom of my bow arm.

The scope of Alexander Technique is much broader than the physical. Its spiritual, mental and domain-specific implications are most amazing. I got an inkling of that through the online interactions in the Musical Practice Community. My biggest break-through in understanding, however, came from…

…Jennifer’s eight-week online course “Effortless Music Making!“, with weekly online classes, assignments, discussions in a private Facebook page and, in the “deluxe” version of the course, individual review of assignments and two private lessons. I also benefit from the occasional refresher opportunity, for example from the recent 90 minutes masterclass in her The Centered Violinist program, with opportunity to play a few lines of music and to receive direct feedback, or from an online clinic on violin setup.

Through my involvement into all this, I discovered my “why”, why am I making music and how do I deal with self-limiting beliefs, AKA “doubt monsters”. I learned more effective and satisfying ways to practice by putting my own well-being first, possibly just in time before burning out from lack of success with traditional methods of deliberate practice. I became more creative and more imaginative in my own music making. I had my first experience of giving myself and some kind listeners goosebumps through my music. And I connected more deeply with others inside and outside the community.

I love the impulses to explore and to experiment. I am fascinated by the idea that just to notice, to become aware, invites Ease, and that we can educate ourselves to become more sensitive, so we continuously notice more and notice more easily.

Over time, I have incorporated Jennifer’s three magic phrases into my everyday life. “I am free. I don’t have to do anything. I have time and space.” Among others, they are helping me not to follow any impulses that are detrimental to my well-being, such as procrastination through incessant browsing of the Internet or eating too much sugary stuff. They are also helping me to have compassion with myself, if something does not work (yet) as I had planned.

I am deeply grateful to Jennifer for her clear-sighted teaching and for her consistent generosity in sharing her insights.

About me: I am passionate about music and violin playing as a means to express myself and to connect to others. In social networks, I am known as aMaudPowellFan. My most recent project is a 50-weeks recording gong, where I practice a specific piece of music for a week on SoundCloud or on YouTube. Every Tuesday, I record a performance of the week’s piece and publish it on my YouTube channel. I am always open to comments and to constructive criticism. Thank you for reading and listening!

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Alexander Technique, learning, practice, violin, wellness

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