Tonight at the Alexander Technique class with David Jernigan we were looking at difficult musical passages. As always we were looking at the difficult passage of being free. David worked with R. first. Listening to the directions being given her I followed along, allowing my own body to lengthen and widen. Breathing gently, I found myself pulling for her to find the freedom in her body and mind to allow her playing.
For my turn I choose the passage from Stepping Stones that has been troubling me. I was standing and David used his hands to direct my body, bringing my back, back and up; and my heels back and down. Allowing my arms to lengthen I brought them to the guitar. I played through the section once. David again came and used his hands on me, encouraging me to continue thinking of the directions. I said I was thinking too much. He then encouraged me to think of the back, the heels, and to take in the room. Allow my fingers to bring my long left arm to the guitar and then the right. Then he told me to think about work, and the tree. (The latter being an emotional charged issue for me.)
Then with all these thoughts I played. The passage was energetic, alive, and musical. The harmonics singing. This was the best I have played this passage to date. As we then discussed while I thought I was thinking too much I was capable of even more thoughts. In doing this I was able to bypass my habitual way of playing this passage and allow the fruits of my practice to flower. Pausing now I am giving the directions.