Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Opening to Inhibition


Does inhibiting, in an Alexander Technique sense, opening my guitar case, improve my playing?

Early this morning I was journaling about my AT session with David Jernigan last night.  Besides teaching AT, David is also a professional musician.  Last night was one of those sessions, which was part AT and part music lesson.  Many good questions were raised for myself to examine and take action on. 

I began my guitar practice session tonight with an AT lie-down.  Though I was not overly tired, this day has been very active, and I felt the need to tune my body first.  After rising from the floor, I approached my guitar case.  Noticing the freedom and length that was currently available to myself, I inhibited the action of opening the case.  Instead I began to play with the Critical Moment exercise, first shown to me by Frank Sheldon, and worked with and discussed again last night with David.  Keeping the AT directions going in my thinking, I instead choose to speak about opening my case, rather than actually opening the case.  I played with a few variations on this, including taking no action, all the while thinking through the directions.  When I did open the case, I removed the guitar, but before putting the guitar on my body, I simply returned it to the case.

Again practicing inhibition and giving myself the AT directions.  When I did put the guitar on and begin to play, there was a richness to my tone, that generally eludes me in my sessions with David.  But tonight I was there in an AT sense and also in a musical sense.  As I write this, I know this is what I strive for, what is needed to play music.  But this remains elusive for me.  Often in the AT sessions, I am perhaps lost in the thinking process of AT, and have yet to gain the requisite attention to keep both AT and music alive.   Tonight they came together.

Singing Gathered Hearts as I played it, I found an expressive quality that may alter my way of playing this piece.  Continuing to come back to the AT directions as I worked on two other pieces.  I then completed my session with a spirited improvisation.  Debating whether to blog or not, I reviewed the last pages of the chapter Evolution of A Technique, from F.M. Alexander's The Use of the Self.  Much more work lies ahead of me with the Alexander Technique, yet as I continue to reap the fortunes from the freedom I have achieved, I am happy to make the investment of time.  And going back to the question that is the title of this post, tonight my answer is Yes!  What is yours?

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