Friday, February 18, 2011
Some nights, like tonight, the motivation to practice is hard to summon. Understandable, it is Friday night, and yet many Friday nights I am eager to court music. Invoking the muse of practice, Melete, on this evening, I search to find the energy and focus to play. How to begin - with an AT lie down perhaps? This will at the very least rest my body, and more than likely energize me in the process.
First I listen to a piece Call from Alexander Zhikharev's Ascension. A collection of compositions for the bilah - hammered flat bronze bells that he casts himself. I love this recording and found my mood shifting instantly. I then listened to an idea that arose from an improvisation on long tones, I did a while back. After listening to this two more times, I found myself being drawn to the practice room.
First I inhibited going to the room, in the state that I was in. To the floor for an Alexander Technique lie down, immediately I found the middle portion of my back was tense and began to let go. As I stayed with the lie down, the unneeded strain of my day released, and my energy began to lift. Refreshed, I knew that I would begin the guitar portion of my practice with an improvisation on long tones. Smiling as I thought of my body lengthening with the long tones. Again I smiled after a few minutes of improvising, as I played the same four notes that were in the idea I had listened to earlier.
Moving onto work with my right hand, where I am looking at my use on the fingers known in the classical notation as i, m, a. I have been working to even out my tone, regardless of the finger plucking the string. And also looking to develop my tremolo technique. Varying the tempo of the metronome and various combination's of i, m, a on a single string. Then onto arpeggios in fourths & sixths. During this time of practice, I paused frequently to reconnect with myself and to give the AT directions.
And then I played with what I had been working with. Using a tremolo on the second string, I found a bass pattern in seven that was fun. Perhaps, Aoide was also listening. Now back to the guitar to explore this further.
I nearly ran across the room, but then I paused. Where am I? Am I in the space or merely up in my head? Finding my connection with myself, the space around me, and being aware as I picked up my guitar. As I played with this new idea, I was able to develop this. Time to notate what I have as I rest my hands. Mnēmē has always blessed me, but I need to get it on paper. Really feeling energized about practicing right now. All it takes is for me to get to the guitar; but some days getting there requires creativity.
What do you do, when your motivation is lacking?