Monday, June 27, 2011

Bars of Freedom


Tonight I returned to the guitar after two days of no playing.  Travel, tiredness, celebration, and tasks requiring my attention took precedence.  How to reconnect in a qualitative manner?  I played a few bars of a piece and was feeling relatively free.  I paused and wondered how I might maintain this freedom?  Applying the Alexander Technique quickly came to mind.  Before I began again, I connected with my body via the AT directions.  Playing the first arpeggio of the piece I then paused again before shifting to the second chord.  Finding length & width with the AT directions, I played the second arpeggio.  Pausing again in this manner before returning to the first chord, I found my attention riveted to my use.

I proceeded through the piece in this manner.  When approaching the end, I had an urge to play an entire section, which I did.  Then I finished playing the piece one bar at a time and pausing in the described manner.  Moving on to an exercise in fourths and sixths, I simply took pleasure in these relaxed and efficient moments of playing and pausing.  Noticing my body, how I was using myself and the occasional tendency to do more than was necessary.  In these moments when, I began to use myself poorly, I found an ease of letting go, with the continued pauses.

Deciding to continue in this manner with another piece, I decided I would play a piece I know well.  I choose Livin' the Dream.  Playing a bar and pausing, I was really allowing my left hand to release the previous chord shape.  My tone was pleasing to me, and at times I found I had to play through to the next chord and rely on the knowing in my hands to find this chord shape.  At the end of this piece, I paused to write.  A gentle but thorough reconnection with my guitar and myself.  As the venerable Thich Naht Hahn has said "... freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this! Both inspiring and practical, this is a lucid description of the process of practicing music with inclusive attention and expansive conscious thought. Thanks!