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The Sensible Flutist

The Sensible Flutist: November 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can't Fight this Feeling

Just like the REO Speedwagon song, there's a lot of feeling that you just can't fight in the middle of a performance and you shouldn't.

I was thrilled and honored when my brother-in-law asked me to play for his wedding. His fiance's mother, a music teacher and violinist, would be playing with me.

In my own family, I've always been asked to play for happy and sad occasions. I sang for my brother's wedding and I played my flute at both my grandfathers' funerals. Honoring and connecting to someone I love in this way has become a way of expressing happiness or dealing with grief.

My husband and I have been married for almost 9 and a half years, so I'm close to his family. I knew that I wouldn't be emotionally removed from the happiness of the occasion especially since I had grown close to the bride over the course of the past year.

These kinds of performances are the best way to witness and examine what happens when you're caught up in the moment as you're playing. If you feel a strong rush of emotion, how can you stick with it without overpowering your ability to perform? How can you use it to communicate more effectively with the people you're trying to touch and move with the music?

In the Alexander Technique and other somatic disciplines like Feldenkrais, there is no judgment but only simple acknowledgement of your movement. You can inhibit the movement and change your habit with direction, but the reminder to be present is a valuable lesson that carries into any facet of life.

So, as I played with the bride's mother during the ceremony, I let myself feel and as I felt myself beginning to fight the emotion so that I could continue playing, I acknowledged my feelings and let myself stay present. It was wonderful and I'm happy I could give my music to my brother-in-law and his new wife.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Less thinking, more doing

I've been quiet lately after having my most prolific year on The Sensible Flutist. One of my goals had been to have two new posts up a week but after a while, these began to feel contrived and forced. One of my favorite aspects of this blog is how I can write based on inspiration. If I don't want to write, I don't have to. Readers keep coming and I appreciate them greatly.

When I was in the throes of moving in the summertime, I was writing a lot on various life and musical lessons I was discovering in the process. I learned a lot about myself in those tumultuous months when my husband needed a job and we suddenly needed to find a new place to live. I felt I had something to share as I had to scramble to meet basic needs. Life wasn't comfortable.

Now that life is somewhat comfortable again, I'm trying to do a little more. I'm trying to better utilize the time I have available to make some other projects come to fruition. My output may be small, but I'm proud of it.

I have a project list tacked onto my corkboard that I look at daily. I purposely kept it simple. Life is a moving target and I know that I have to keep my number of projects small. This is easier said than done.

For the time being, I'm spending less time thinking about issues and more time putting my ideas into motion. Writing is an incredibly important tool for me, but I feel an innate need for concrete action.

Let's all do more, shall we?

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