Cello – Not Cramming for a Performance (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on February 23, 2014

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Cello Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate cello technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

THERE IS A NEGATIVE SIDE TO GETTING READY FOR A PERFORMANCE – CRAMMING!

What do I mean by cramming? It means as the performance gets closer and closer the cellist practices with greater intensity and FURY.

Before I talk about the negative side, let me talk about the benefits of getting ready for a performance.

The odds are a cellist would not learn and refine the music of a two hour concert, if the concert didn’t exist. So, the cellist would not practice with the intention of raising the performance level of two hours’ worth of music to the highest level, if this music wasn’t to be performed.

Here’s the negative side of the cellist getting ready for the performance. It’s called END-GAINING in the Alexander Technique. This means as the cello player is getting a concert ready, the cellist is only focused on how well the music sounds and on memorizing the music, so there won’t be memory slips, and errors are minimized during the concert.

What tends to happen using this end-gaining process of getting ready for a concert, is the cellist does not take care of him or herself, as he or she puts in hour after hour striving for perfection.

Another way of saying this is the cellist goes unconscious as the cello player is furiously getting ready for the concert. Furiously is a very interesting word. Why? It is a word with both negative and positive connotations for the performing artist.

The positive connotation means that the cellist is working with incredible focus and putting in the hours, truly committed to playing well. The negative side is the cello player is doing whatever it takes to guarantee a fine performance, no matter how much discomfort and wear and tear the cellist is causing the body the mind.

It is clear when physical damage is being done when the cellist is preparing for a concert. IF THE CELLIST IS HURTING PHYSICALLY CONSTANTLY GETTING READY, THEN THE CELLO PLAYER IS SACRIFICING HIS OR HER BODY FOR THE AUDIENCE.

IF THE CELLO PLAYER IS SACRIFICING HIS OR HER BODY FOR THE PERFORMANCE, THEN THE CELLIST HAS MADE A MENTAL DECISION THAT IT IS WORTH IT FOR THE ART FORM. This is the wear and tear to the cello player’s mind itself.

Is this necessary?

To discover the answer to this question means the cellist has to decide if putting in the practice time before a performance demands focus and intensity done with fury!

When the cello player is getting ready for a concert, if the performer fuses focus and intensity with fury, he or she is hunkering down physically and mentally to get the music ready.

This is a fancy way of saying the cellist has decided to go unconscious, and do whatever it takes, pay any physical and emotional price to GET THROUGH THE CONCERT. This means a deal is struck with the cellist’s own self, that after the concert he or she will ease up and maybe get ready a different kinder way for the next time.

This deal with oneself is how the cello player can sustain the heavy price emotional and physical price being paid. The other usually unstated deal with the cellist’s self, is that the admiration of the audience is worth the pain to get ready.

What I’ve just described is CRAMMING FOR A CONCERT.

Obviously, from what I’ve just written, you can tell that I don’t think this is the best way to get ready for playing a concert, to bring two hours’ worth of music to the highest level you’re capable of. In fact cramming for a concert guarantees you won’t play at your highest level – technically, emotionally, and energetically.

I want to clarify what I mean by cramming to prepare a concert. Cramming for a performance USUALLY means you aren’t giving yourself enough time to get ready, so you practice with a fury and VENGEANCE to get the music ready.

But what if you give yourself enough time to get ready for the concert? Can you even with enough time, enough months before the concert, still cram for the performance? Absolutely! If you prepare with constant fear and pressuring yourself months in advance, then YOU’RE CRAMMING FOR MONTHS.

It’s time to ask the question after all I’ve just written, “What is cramming for a performance, does it work, and why is it done?”

Let me start with, “Why is it done?” There are two reasons. It is done because it what you’ve always done. (Almost all of the students in the music conservatories I went to crammed fearfully for their performances.)

Second, when you go unconscious with furious practice for hours each day, you stave off feelings of panic of messing up the concert for weeks or months.

Does this work? It usually does, if you put aside the physical and emotional price you pay. It’s like winning a race. Even if you hurt your knee and hobble across the finish line first, you’re still the winner, even though you’re shortening your running career.

What if you put in the hours getting ready for the concert, and did NOT cram? What if you placed all of your focus and intensity on interpretation and memorizing and taking care of your mind and body? What if you told yourself, having given yourself enough time to prepare, that you will play as many hours a day necessary to get the concert ready?

Then you get to practice at peace and place your cello technique and emotional wellbeing first. In other words, you do not tense up or hunker down, or use “fear of failure” to motivate yourself, or sacrifice your body and technique for the result.

IF YOU GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO GET READY FOR A CONCERT, THEN CRAMMING, WHICH IS GETTING READY WITH FURIOUS FEAR, IS NOT NECESSARY.

IF YOU MAKE “THE GETTING READY FOR THE CONCERT” THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE CONCERT, THEN YOU HAVE REALLY DONE SOMETHING EXTRAORDINARILY LOVING, AND THIS WILL BE EXPERIENCED BY THE AUDIENCE.

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