Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Efficient Practice

Wind turbines at Greenway parking lot, Chicago

Earlier this week, a friend Curt Golden commented about taking a walk while internalizing and audioizing the set for a gig he had coming up soon.  Quite an amazing feat, and am inspiration to me today.  The last two nights I have played through and recorded a set for the Sangha Performing Arts Evening next Saturday, and have decided I like the flow, the musicality, and the challenges of this set.

This afternoon, after a very mindful morning with my wife, I sat down to practice.  Thinking about Curt, I decided to work with a variation on internalizing the set.  With guitar in tune and the amplifier on, I set the guitar in the stand.  I auralized the first piece in my mind, Dancin' Free, and then I picked up the guitar and played through the piece.  Please with the results of this, I noticed a desire to end-gain, and just get on with the set.  Fortunately I inhibited this notion.  Putting the guitar back into the stand, I worked briefly with the Alexander Technique and then auralized the next piece, Gathered Hearts.  Again picking up the guitar I played through.  I continued in this fashion of auralizing and playing through six pieces, each time giving myself some AT work in between.  Not surprisingly after the third piece out of six was completed, I had difficulty with the auralisation of the fourth piece, Matka Boska.

Knowing the hazards of the middle of a process, I gently took a few breaths and returned to the internalizing of this piece.  There was one section that I just could not auralize.  So I moved to the next section and then picked up the guitar and played through the piece.  Paying particular attention to the section I had just had difficulty hearing.  The next piece Stepping Stoned may have been my best performance of this piece to date.  Continuing in this fashion through final piece, I found that my attention was still strong at the end of these six pieces, my playing very relaxed and accurate, and that overall my body was very relaxed.  There was a quality of my playing on each piece that was sustained throughout.  If I could sustain this quality for a set, I'd be most happy.  I suspect the answer lies with more practice.  Further investigations to follow.

                                 Photo by John Picken

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