Twenty-five minutes of playing suddenly seems like an eternity. How did I arrive at this? In a good way actually, through the Alexander Technique. In several posts and many evenings of silent writing, I have been practicing/playing for small increments of time. Between 10-15 minutes of playing with an AT lie down interspersed. Yesterday I created a potential 25 minute set for an upcoming gig, and did a lie down between each piece. Mind you this was not a strict AT lie down, as I was auralizing the next piece in my mind while I allowed the mechanics of the lie down process to release my body.
While this has been a very effective practice to further my freedom in playing, I felt the need today to address the set as a whole. I also needed to determine the effect, if any, of these practices on my stamina. While I suppose that it makes sense that increased freedom and effortless playing would impact my stamina positively, I found myself challenged with the prospect of playing for 25 minutes. Watching this mental activity veer towards the negative, I marveled at how easily my mind can go off track. Good solid work, now giving rise to negative thinking. I told myself that playing for 25 minutes is easy to do a few times and headed to the floor for a lie down.
Part of what I am enjoying about my new guitar is the lightness of the instrument. As the strap comes across my left shoulder, there is virtually nothing there. After tuning I paused to direct my thinking and decided that I could give the AT directions between each piece. I played through the set with no to minimal reaction to a few mistakes that manifested. At the end, I was ready and able to play longer, but I hit the floor for a lie down instead. And then more playing. Stay tuned.