Lesson 5: The Power to Choose

In this lesson we take a look at what we musicians do to cope and thrive.

Explanation: Read the page called: What works for me.

Reading: Take a look at the examples on the page: Tendencies and Tactics.

Continue to select and use one or more of the class warm-ups daily (listed below) before your practice and in breaks. For a bit of variation, try this external film of Tai Chi for Beginners. Tai Chi is thousands of years old, and includes spiral movements of the spine, arm-back-leg suppleness, and coordination of mind and body on a high level. On any given day, you can be sure that about a billion people are doing Tai Chi, so its worth trying. This film is old, but I like it because it is practical, calm and short.

Class films: reminder
Semi-supine Lie down
Spinal Spiral (with finger pointing)
Unpacking the Musician (arms and Back)

Practice Tactic:
Try the practice tactic STOP-GO-IMAGINE.
In order to choose to go in a new direction you first have to stop. If you want to try and do something in a new way, you need to stop doing it in the old way first. Otherwise the old pattern takes over and you end up going where you did not want to go! In the practice “STOP-GO-IMAGINE” you build in very short breaks (15 seconds) and moments to imagine the music into your practice. It takes 2 minutes and 15 seconds to complete one session. The short stop gives you time to register where and how you are, which decreases tension and increases awareness. Imagining playing or singing a phrase is, for your brain and motor skills, almost the same as actually doing it, and gives a window to observe any reactions to the music in your body that you may not need. Then you release the phrase from its incubation into sound!

Instead of answering a lot of separate questions, this week you will write something yourself about your tendencies and tactics. This will later be worked in to a section of the final paper, so we are helping you write a bit of it now. Save this initial text to work in to your final paper.

In the explanation for this lesson What works for me, we showed a list of some things that students had mentioned that could confuse their coordination, perceptions and concentration: their proprioception. Take another look at this list. Do any of the things listed strike a chord with you? Have you had any times that you have also had your work disturbed by any of these stimuli?

In the reading Tendencies and Tactics, there are some real examples of students’ answer to the questions about habits, or tendencies, and the tactics that they used to come back to clear thought and action. These are only a few examples of the many scenarios that students told about in their papers. You can find your own examples from your own musical life. If you cannot think of a tactic that would “solve” a certain issue, remember that we have been studying some things already that may help in certain situations: warm-ups, practice tactics, things from the readings; maybe you might think up a plan to try in future?

Here is what a student said once about all this:

“The most important thing I found out was that I was not the problem.
I only needed a way to solve the problem.”

So, please write a page on:

What are your tendencies and what are your tactics?
Wat zijn je neigingen, en wat zijn je taktieken?

You can write it in Dutch or in English. Send it to the teacher through Project Campus as listed on the class homepage.