Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Questioning My Approach


 As I strive to introduce ease and joy into the six new pieces I am learning I arrived at a couple of useful questions today. What if this learning and practice could be easy? How am I making this harder than it needs to be?

I am grateful and fortunate to have some great music to develop and release. Plus I have the time, skills and discipline to focus on what needs doing. Expanded some mental practice with When I Am? today. Need more of this. While the mental practice is not an easy process, it does not stress my body.

My continued exploration of TheCycle practice with a team of four different Alexander Technique Teachers is also bearing much fruit in the ease of my guitar practice and life. Truly I am a fortunate man.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

And Then Some


Learning. Progress. Mistakes. Setbacks. Learning. Hope. Mistakes. Joy.

Ease. Then not; and so on. The process continues. 


Listening to Bartok String Quartet #5. - Arrived. For now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Time to Work


 Reality is setting in. Much work needs to occur by May 24 to successful record 7 new pieces. Then to have a few more ready by the end of June. Most of which I have not been playing very long. This is a new challenge for me. Historically I have played pieces for years before recording them. This was my idea to have a release ready before the Intro course in July.

What do I need to let go of to achieve this? Part of this also has to do with age. I do not know when my ability to play may be compromised. While this is always true, turning 65 adds a certain clarity to reality. Coupled with the wealth of new material generated during this time of retreat due to Covid I feel like the time is ripe. Fortunately I have the right person in Tony Geballe to work with. Stay tuned.

Time to listen to Bartok’s Sixth String Quartet one of the most beautiful & powerful pieces of music I know.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bartok Revisited

 


Very productive day. Sat with Stillwater for an hour than practiced guitar for 90 minutes. I joined a Write Now session for an hour. A muddled attempt at writing about rhythm. Afterward I listened to Bartok’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. Part of my work this week is to visit with my influences and see how they might nudge me.

 Bartok was difficult for me to listen to when I first encountered his work 30 years ago. My intent had been to listen to some of the Mikrocosmos as these solo piano pieces better fit my work. But one never knows how the brain will respond.

After lunch I took at look at The Hidden, a score in progress. After an hour I was uncertain where to go next so I let it go. Happy to have moved it forward and will listen again tomorrow. Picked my guitar up after this and a new idea emerged that I know was inspired by the opening of the Bartok Sonata. After an hour.  Picked my guitar up after this and a new idea emerged that I know was inspired by the opening of the Bartok Sonata. Had to let go before I wanted to for dinner prep and teaching Qi Gong tonight.

Photo by Zantium Books

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Begin With the Impossible.




Listening to Fantasias for Theremin and String Quartet by Caroline Eyck and American Contemporary Music Ensemble. I’ve loved string quartets for a long time, particularly the 5th and 6th of Bela Bartok. Tonight I needed something fresh to open my ears and I’m happy to have found this. The addition of the theremin is adding that other-worldly sensibility that is where I seem to be. Two long days with practice, doing work for the recording workshop I’m taking, walks and life. Wondering at times if I’ve taken on the impossible with this wish to release Fences Frames and Alleys in July. Smiling as I remember my friend Tom’s new aphorism - Begin with the Impossible. So there I am.





Wednesday, April 21, 2021

How Far Within My Limits?


 The human individual lives usually far within his limits; he possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use. - William James.


How far within my limits have I lived this life? What will I use today that will increase my capability to enhance our world? What might I bring to one note, then another?


Today I began learning a piece that arose recently - When I Am. If I wish to play with ease and joy - how might I apply these factors to my learning this piece? Before I began my practice today I went through the TheCycle by Mio Morales. An exercise of constructive thinking based on his work with the Alexander Technique. I have been practicing this with a group of AT teachers that I was introduced to by Peter  Legowski. 


As I worked with the first four bars of music, I would pause and invite in ease and joy using the TheCycle. When I noticed I wanted to rush to the next section, I would again pause introducing ease. What better  way to have this sense of ease and joy then to introduce them into the act of learning. If you would like to spend a few minutes in active relaxation join these AT teachers at 10 am Eastern M-F. More info is here: https://www.wholenessworkshop.com/post/it-s-hard-to-make-a-change


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Fences Frames and Alleys












Must doubt creep into the alley attempting to reframe a dream?

 My life?


How many times have I, will I need to jump over this fence? 


Doubt is not an anchor. More a current.

Perhaps a signal I’m on to something.


Who do I need to walk the dark alleys with me? 

Which alley shall I avoid? 

Every fence has a gate.

Don’t shoot out the last street light.

Brake the old frames.


Choose.

Begin again.

Release.


Unending work, uncertain work

Necessary work.

On myself and for others.


                                                                                                   Excelsior 

                                                                Photo by NatureLifePhoto