Thursday, July 7, 2011
How do I approach what I do?
Another evening where I am tired, the demands of my professional and family life, tugging at my time to play. Do I leap in and play a favorite piece with the hope that the energy from the music brings me into the present moment? Certainly there have been evenings when I have done this. Yet I aim for an efficient guitar practice, and an efficient use of myself. Tonight, I was sitting on my stool, breathing and calming down.
After a few minutes I was ready to get my guitar. Instead I decided to play with AT inhibition. My next decision was to raise my left hand as if I was to play. Directing myself to find my length and width, I inhibited this action, and instead spoke the phrase "I am free." Deciding again to bring my left hand to the guitar, I again used the AT directions, and this time I did allow this motion to proceed. My next decision was to get my guitar and after directing, I choose to fling my right hand about instead. Deciding to bring both hands to my imaginary guitar, I directed, and then did nothing. Next time after directing, I did bring up both hands. Taking in the room about me, the space above me, and my feet supported by the floor, I decided I was ready to play.
And I was ready. Having released much of the tension of my day; my mind and body were working together. Maintaining a sense of myself I rose, opened my case, and tuned. Forty-five minutes of spirited practice ensued. I played the beginning of Here We Are a few times, each time coming back to myself and directing. Those opening notes sounding so sweet and present. As I played through the piece, my mind was hearing the music as I played. Sensing the freedom of my use, I occasionally generated thought of freedom of use as I played. I continued in the manner the tremolo piece. Then while directing prior to playing Gathered Hearts I turned towards the mirror and began to play. So much easier to do this here tonight. Was it because I was home? Alone? Or was I just playing in the moment without concerns. During Gathered, I noticed my breath moving freely and deeply, supporting myself and the music. I could see in the mirror that I looked more relaxed than I had at the beginning of this session. I moved onto some single string work with my pic. Noticing my attention was waning I took a break to write this.
As I think of returning to the guitar, I read my initial question of How do I approach what I do? Laughing as my use of myself has been less than optimal as I type this. At least I noticed.
Excited, I returned to my practice space. Too excited perhaps. I found myself rushing to check out an idea using a wah-wah pedal. My old electroharmonix needed a battery, reaching for the screwdriver I realized I had no sense of myself. I could pause I thought, yet I plunged on. The pedal did not work so I abandoned this and moved onto transcription. Again I thought of pausing and directing, but I wanted to get on with listening. Something about headphones, a score, and the guitar leads me to end-gaining. Progress was made on the transcription, and towards the end I did pause, direct, and look for how I can approach this process with a better sense of myself. But tonight in this second half of my practice, habit drove me forward. As I completed my practice, I smiled. And so it goes.