Friday, June 3, 2011

Releasing the Hold on My Holding Hand

Prince in wax 8

Yesterday and again today at various times I paused and checked in and directed my body with the AT directions.  I continue to notice the left hand assuming some type of position relative to the right.  The left elbow appears to be "held" to a degree resulting in tension, whereas in the right elbow this is not noticed.  Working with my guitar tonight I was reviewing how I bring my left hand to the guitar.

Using inhibition of the act, I did notice a slight tensing in my left shoulder as I thought of moving the hand to the guitar.  This is in the area beneath my strap, an area I had issues with years ago resulting from lifting the shoulder to meet the weight of the guitar.  My dear friend and dance legend Robert Ellis Dunn, noticed me doing this and helped me to correct this situation.  So I removed the guitar and began bringing my left hand to the guitar, looking to see if I can maintain my length and freedom while not having the weight of the guitar on my body.

Still I noticed a certain holding in the hand, but then again how long have I been doing this?  How long has this been "working" for me?  Then I began performing the same motion with my right hand and arm, as if I was going to fret the notes with my right hand.  As this arm does not usually move in this way, the habit of how my right hand would arrive at the fretboard is not ingrained in me.  After a few times with this motion on the right, I began to alternate between the right and left arms.  Slowly the movement on the left seemed to let go a bit, as if bilateral transfer was taking place.  Slight degrees of freedom being attained.

When I returned to the guitar, I mimicked bringing my right hand up to the neck.  Mind you, my right arm is not encumbered by the weight of the guitar, but I just wanted to play with the concept of bilateral transfer some more.  After a few times of alternating the right and the left I played a few notes.  The quality of these notes were noticeably better than my earlier playing.  Resisting my desire to end gain and keep playing, I continued to experiment with bringing my arms to the guitar neck, real and imagined.  Then I allowed my left arm to extend out away from my body along the line of the shoulder and then drawing my arm back to the body while releasing the elbow and turning the arm to bring the hand to the neck.  I'm certain I have never used my left arm in this manner before.

After doing this a few times, I began to play, the notes were beautiful, but then something happened, where I flinched my neck and/or left shoulder.  This was not a conscious choice, nor a habit, but did introduce tension.  Beginning again, I extended the arm and brought my hand to the guitar in this unorthodox manner.  I began to improvise and enjoyed a freedom of use which fed the improvisation.  From here I played portions of pieces and enjoyed the joy of music making.

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