This is Vera's year of "Making Connections": How do we Connect to our audiences, Connect to the music we’re playing, Connect to our practice routine—and how we connect our minds to our bodies, in both practice and in performance?
How often do you think about the Mind-Body Connection? Most of us don't even think about what our bodies are doing, whether walking down the street or in the middle of a really difficult performance. We are really aware when we are either nervous or relaxed; happy, sad, or angry; but do we understand how our bodies are Bodies are reacting as we are feeling this emotions?
Our bodies are the trustworthy Friends we don’t think about until—oh, you trip and fall on the side walk and then OW MY ANKLE HURTS, and I CAN HARDLY WALK…
When we hurt--- it is the pain that signals us to take care of the injury, stop using the area, so it doesn’t get any worse.
But what about when we play our instruments—or, say, play a game of basketball or tennis? Most of the time we play without hurting—and if you do hurt while playing,that is a big HELLO from your body that you are doing something incorrectly!
But even when we play without pain—many—if not most of us do play with tension and tightness, especially when on the spot—like in a lesson or in front of an audience.
And the Anxiety--PANIC-- we feel (and even the best musicians do)--- this is called the “Fight or Flight” response that is programmed into our DNA for our own survival. Great for getting out of a burning building, but in our performances it can be our fatal undoing. Many of these “survival” responses, like the freezing up on stage— great for the squirrel who knows he has been spotted by the nearby cat and needs to become invisible. But as a musician—freezing is one of the responses that prevents musicians (and speakers and athletes!) from performing at their top notch peek.
And since I’ve mentioned Athletes--- Every Excellent Athlete is very much aware of his/her body at all times! Along with keen mental focus, an athlete must be One in the Moment with the body. That’s what makes that SWOOSH basket at the free throw line, in the last 3 seconds of the game.
And guess what, folks? Being a good musician means training like an athlete, focusing like an athlete, and being “At One” with your own body. This is when the music can really flow; this is when playing the music becomes Music at Play!