Friday, October 22, 2021

Outputs Versus Outcome

 


In a meeting with a group of alumni from a workshop I took, a statement was made concerning “output vs outcomes.” This phrase instantly encapsulated what I’ve been struggling with this week. I want to release Fences, Frames and Alleys. That is an output. But what is the outcome I want?

Music that touches peoples hearts. I can not rush this process. And this is not an act of hiding. I just have not yet mastered the material to the point where I am free while playing which allows something else to enter the music. I need to play with an audience for this music to truly come alive.

Photo by F

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Taking Flight

 


We had a wonderful walk along Sligo Creek and then a great meal with my sister-in-law and nephew today. Been too long since we have had so much time together. I thought I'd play the piece that arrived on the anniversary of my Father's passing in February. As the conversation steered and remained on him for some time I knew I had too.

I simply stood up and got my guitar to play Taking Flight. Emotion swelled as I checked my tuning. After two false starts, I calmed, had a solid beginning and played the piece on the edge. Passion was present but not overwhelming. They were deeply touched as was I. This is why I practice - to touch peoples hearts and to open my own. I'll never understand where these pieces come from, but I'll keep working to master them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Change One Thing




A vital part of guitar technique for the left hand is to release the fingers when the note is complete. The tendency is to pull them off. Subtle different approach that becomes more challenging when one is releasing 3 or 4 note chords and have the same or similar configuration a couple frets away.  Easier to slide the fingers, but then string noise is introduced. When playing acoustic guitars this is very noticeable.

As I was working with releasing chords in a particular passage, I found myself just thinking release, release.  Suddenly my right shoulder dropped. Unnecessary unnoticed tension was released. Once again verifying the Guitar Craft Aphorism - Change one small part and the whole is changed. Grateful that my thinking about my left hand had a systemic affect on my body. What else might have been released that I did not notice? What else needs to be released?

Photo by Graeme Drawes


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Releasing

 



What do I need to let go of to get to the next level?

What do you need to let go of?

How might we assist one another?


Photo by Dheepek Ra




Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Expanding


As I was completing my meditation practice this morning a "performance cue" arrived - *Play With Silence*.  Since working with the book Performance Success by Don Greene again this year I've been experimenting with various "performance cues" and "emergency cues" as prompts to nurture the mental space I will thrive within. Using Play With Silence was intriguing as I practiced over the course of a couple hours. This may be a keeper.


Solid practice today. Nourised by my new performance cue I made progress on technique issues with 4 pieces. Made good progress with refreshing my familiarity with Anchor Fence Is Gone and even got in about 10 minutes of mental practice. The latter practice is difficult but so very useful. Had an appointment in the afternoon which took a couple hours and then needed to prepare our space for our first session of MoonLight Qi Gong via Zoom. As always happens I felt great after teaching and took a walk on this cool fall night. 


Practice was also energized by participating in the Cycle Study Group with Peter Legowski, Kim Cary and two other Alexander Technique teachers this morning.


Interbeing so informed my day. One practice affecting all the others while all the practices informed the one I was currently working with.  I am truly a fortunate person.



       Image by NASA.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Can I? Will I?


 

I’ve been holding off working with Anchor Fence Is Gone. If I could answer why, an old pattern within might unravel. Yesterday I listened to a rough recording I’d made when the piece was conceived and studied the score that Brad Hogg has transcribed for me a few years ago. In my heart this piece seems vital to Fences, Frames and Alleys yet the resistance has kept me from bringing it alive again. Today I visited again. As I was playing with the opening section I wondered - Can I make this easier? Laughing out loud I said of course I can. The real question is will I make this easier? So it goes.

Photo by PinkFloydFanSince1986

The Creative Life IS Messy


 In a meeting with today the notion that the creative life is messy surfaced a few times. After this very fruitful time with this amazing group I took a walk outside to digest the experience. Returning to my practice space I looked at the following captures of ideas related to the same piece Jumping Over Fences.

The initial idea arrived on May 4 of 2020. Added to in June of that year and now again yesterday and today. Still very messy but a form is emerging. There have also been rmp3 recordings and at some video recordings to capture the feel of the piece. Fine to dwell in the mess. But I must take care to not allow the mess to trigger negative thoughts about my ideas or ability to play them as they emerge. Paying attention to where I am in this moment keeps the process productive. Unfortunately I fail to pay attention more than I care to admit. So it goes.