Saturday, February 26, 2011

Playing the Rest According to the Alexander Technique

Working with the new tremolo piece tonight, as this uses a pic and I trashed my right hand index finger nail yesterday.  The exercise of introducing a rest after the first beat of a measure has been bearing fruit the past three days.  Perhaps the most important outcome of this exercise is that I stay connected with my body. With this brief rest, I am able to quickly direct my thinking and also to release my breath when I find myself holding it.  My left hand is staying relatively relaxed for the stretches involved and also having my fourth finger anchored for most of the piece.  The rest coming after the transition, allows me to see when a particular transition is misunderstood, and when identified I work on this prior to moving forward.

Most of the bass line in this piece is in seven, except where I accidentally played it in six during my AT lesson.  As I have examined this piece after that, I like the impact the change to six has on the piece.  I have also separated the two hands when working on this tonight.  When I turned the metronome up two beats, I first played through just the right hand tremolo part, then played just the bass notes with the appropriate finger anchored on top, but not playing the tremolo notes.  Finally both hands were combined.

I've been working in short practice sessions, to keep my left hand from fatiguing, and to allow myself to reconnect.  After noticing that my left shoulder was feeling uncomfortable I took another break.  Part of me wanted to "muscle through," as I was making good progress, but I know from experience the long term danger this poor use leads to.  I even began attempting to pervert a concept from my recent AT class, when David talked about the core being strong and sending this energy through my hands.  This was when I knew I let go of practice and began writing.

As I have read over this, I see where this exercise of putting in a rest after the first beat of a measure, is an ongoing way of introducing the Alexander concept of inhibition into my playing.  Especially as I begin to think I "know" the piece, I find it harder to keep including the rest.  Yet  I am seeing the results of using the exercise, but my old friend "resistance" surfaces once again, attempting to sway me to let go of what is working.  Wondering if this will ever leave me, or remain in front of me to keep me practicing?  Grateful to Pedro de Alcantara's wonderful book on the Alexander Technique Indirect Procedures where I learned this particular exercise.

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