Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Science of Parts

Science is: the conscientious attempt to set in order the facts of Experience. - Arther Eddington

Before beginning my practice today I went to Robert's Diary to see what aphorism would arrive to support and guide my practice.  Each part does the work of that part and no other was the gem that arrived.  A part of me wanted to reload the page and see what else might appear.  Which part is that I heard myself thinking?  I jotted the aphorism down and moved into my practice space.

Taking a few breaths the thought arose that the heart provides the energy that allows one to honor commitments to practice.  Despite what state the body or mind is in, the heart provides the spark when needed.  When misdirected the heart's desire can lead us into trying to hard or to put it in Alexander Technique terms: end-gaining.  From this entanglement the body can be used poorly, resulting in poor playing technique and unneeded strain on the body.

Our mind or thinking discerns what to practice and even why to practice a given exercise or phrase.  The mind directs the hands during the execution of a piece.  When constructive thinking along the lines of the Alexander Technique is employed the mind directs us in using our body according to principles.  These directions invite freedom in our spines,  torso and limbs.  When the mind is unfocused, mental chatter erupts thwarting the body and the heart.  If the heart becomes stirred about this, emotional tension further disrupts the body, the mind and the practice.  Time to return to the breath and harmonize these parts.

As I was working on a phrase, I paused to find myself seated on a stool, by a window, on a beautiful day on Earth.  Just doing what I love.  As I moved along to another phrase, I played it poorly and began again.  Still playing it poorly I paused, inhibiting the desire to rush this part of the music.  Could I visualize in my mind what I wanted my fingers to do?  Yes, the execution improved a bit, then faltered on the next attempt.  Another pause, inhibition and visualization; and then I noticed my feet?

What is the role of the feet?  One of support, grounding and connection.  Yet mine were attempting to clench the Earth, to hold on to some notion of how I do things I suppose.  I begin again, pausing, inviting in harmony of the parts and hopefully noticing when this harmony has moved towards dissonance. 

Photo by NASA

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your consistency in blogging. Your experience and the way you express it is so very inspirational.