Saturday, February 28, 2015

Playing With Nothing

Arriving in the practice room this afternoon I was stumped.  Where to begin my guitar practice?  Often I have a plan where to pick up the next session, but today none.  What would I blog about today?  Again nothing.  Just blank, the proverbial empty page, blank canvas looking at me; questioning me.  So I did nothing.  Just sat.  Occasionally sipping coffee, sometimes following my breath or sensing my body.  I wanted to just do something, but I knew that  inhibiting this urge would allow the right purpose to arise.

Then I heard the melody from Forgive Me arise in my mind.  I listened and let it wind through my thinking.  At the very least this type of mental practice would aide my recall of the piece over time.  Then I heard a possible variation within the piece.  Time to begin.  Smiling as I opened my case, centered from doing nothing, and just that little spark from the beyond triggering my curiosity.  I played with the variation but it did not add to the piece so I let it go.  What to do next?

I paused and decided to hold onto nothing via the Alexander Technique.  A few moments of directing my thinking, to inhibit my habits and come into a fresh relationship with my body and mind.  My body a bit freer, I decided to stand and play Forgive Me through.  As I played I saw the photo of my parents and sister.  I played for them, touching their spirits and them touching my heart.  Playing as a form of prayer, remembrance and yearning.  I also noticed a book on the shelf that I've not opened in some time. Inspired now, I worked on sections within the piece, while paying attention to how I was using myself as I played.  I worked at keeping the AT directions alive, via inhibition and directing. 

When break time arrived I took the aforementioned book from my shelf -Surprise Me with Beauty: The Music of Human Systems by Joseph Zitt, a composer and musician.  Flipping through the book I was motivated to write five mesostics on the subject of structure.  More smiles as the juices continued to flow through me, all from the simple act of doing nothing.  An act many times which is not simple at all, but so very nourishing and sustaining.

Photo by Tj Matthews

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