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.