I made it to about 3 hours today before being too distracted (and it being too late) to do any more. This morning I had some work done on my car out of town and that wiped out half of the day, after Alexander Technique class, immediately followed by studio which wrapped up at 5pm. Both classes were an inspiration.
The AT class reminded me of a lot of good stuff, like Less is More and just generally raised my awareness of what’s going on in my body when I’m playing an instrument. Studio class was eerily consistent with some thoughts I had earlier in the day: mental preparation. Before any music or dance or drama is created, the idea must be complete in the performer’s mind. Before an instrument is lifted, you must have a strong sense of what you want to convey. A colleague, Alice Gallagher, put it well when she said to think about what you would want a reviewer to say about your playing. Famous soprano Maria Callas (one of my idols) described in the video documentary “The Life and Art of Maria Callas” that the character must be set in the mind before the action takes place. If the action occurs before the character, it’s much too late. An analogy that comes to mind is the art of conducting. The conductor must express slightly ahead of the actual music so as to inspire the musicians to react in a consistent way. So must the instrumentalist be inspired before creating. Anything else is going through the motions.