Sunday, May 16, 2010


Found myself sharing this Guitar Craft aphorism early this morning - " With commitment all the rules change." Sage words, and when I have honored various commitments over the years despite any momentary exhaustion, emotional upheaval, or even laziness, the outcomes have been sustaining and informative.

While practicing this afternoon, I found myself ready to drop a new piece, Stepping Stones, from the set list for the House Concert next weekend. One very tricky passage has improved markedly, yet confidence in my ability to play this passage is lacking. Over lunch I decided to drop it and add an older piece that I would need to relearn. I located the score and began working on Girl on a Pink Blanket. I love this piece but have not played it since we recorded it because of a couple nasty stretches for my left hand. The lingering fragility from tendinitis kept me from this piece.

But now that my shoulder and wrist are healthy due to sustained Alexander Technique practice, I thought I would give it a shot. I began working on the piece, enjoying what I was hearing & playing. Finding imperfections in the score made me listen to the recording to figure out what to play. I found my efforts lacking heart though. Was I relearning this piece for the wrong reasons? Would music better be served by continuing to work on mastering Stepping Stones? I took a break, reflected on this and decided that the difficult section was part of the reason. Another reason is there are several tuning and capo changes and I was looking to minimize hazard from having yet another one in a short set.

Yet the set needs Stepping Stones, and this piece needs live performance to truly come into being. Did not take me long to write down my commitment to perform Stepping Stones next week.  I worked with the difficult section a bit and then decided to play the piece. On with the tape machine, and I played it three times. Between the first and second times I did an AT lie down to lengthen my spine and relax. I focused on connecting with the instrument, my arms, my feet on the ground and my breath. Again for the third attempt I focused on connection, broadening it to the universe. Leading up to the tricky section 'trust music' entered my mind. I smiled and let go. The section flowed.

After dinner I practiced some more and turned my attention to this piece. Again this section flowed. Looks as if I will be trusting the power of commitment and of course music.


  1. I don't do AT, but I do yoga. I will try your technique with yoga when I feel the need. I like reading about your practicing.

  2. Wonderful to read this, Patrick, and so nicely connected to my own experience. I am not all that familiar with AT, but am tempted to investigate, especially since I have been recouping from the effects of a car accident last year.