Saturday, March 26, 2011
Photo by Jackie Dervichian
While practicing tonight, I was playing a slow piece, Kinnara, which I have not played in a while. I was also working with the Alexander Technique, allowing thoughts of freedom, to guide my movements. Kinnara is slow enough that I could more or less pay attention to the sense of energy in my arms. Then a mistake in the piece occurred and I noticed my right shoulder gently pulling my arm back and maybe even up a bit. Pausing, I gave the AT directions, and began playing again. Two more mistakes in the same part of the piece, each time I noticed a slight pulling back of my head.
Subtle reactions, certainly much less dramatic reactions, than those I had in my youth to mistakes. But these reactions, disrupt the flow of my use, and contribute to unnecessary tension as I continue to practice. And I'm certain they happen all the time, but tonight I noticed and was able to exercise a choice to begin again by directing my thinking. I worked with thinking of the directions while playing the piece. Making some 'intentional mistakes' did not cause a reaction. While playing through a section I had forgotten, I did not notice any pulling nor tensing of my neck nor shoulders. One key here is that I did not notice any, this work is subtle, some poor use may have been occurring beyond my perception.
I moved onto playing Gathered Hearts, keeping the directions alive while also hearing the piece in my mind. A good exercise that kept me focused and relatively free. Playing a couple harmonics, I was off chasing the muse. The tones were generally long and somewhat sparse and of course the hour was getting late. But I followed the idea and notated what I was finding.
After using myself poorly while notating and playing earlier this week, tonight I worked a bit differently. Using a clipboard and the music stand; even taking the guitar off several times, returning to the the AT directions. Slowly the piece unfolded and then appeared to be complete. Stretching I noticed a collection of poems, stories, & letters by Rumi on my shelf that is titled This Longing. Smiling as I knew I now had the title for this piece of music. I recorded what I had and then completed my practice. As we approach midnight, I'll wait until morning to edit this.