Banjo – Playing When You’re Truly Ready – The Ultimate Act of Love (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on May 12, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Banjo 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 an extraordinarily accurate and kind banjo performance.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

I have rarely had banjo players come to me for an Alexander Technique session who performed for me, who waited until they were truly ready. They began to play instantly, or they took a moment to brace themselves and went for it. It is fascinating how unconsciously so many banjo players jump into performing.

This comes from years and years and hours and hours of practicing. So, when an injured banjo player comes to me they do what they’ve always done. As an Alexander Technique teacher it is my job to show the banjo player how to do what they may have never done, which is to only play when they’re ready with a loving technique.

What does being ready mean? It means that the banjo player only plays after they have waited long enough to let go of everything they don’t want to do, so that they are able to do what they want to do. Physically, it means they do a whole body inventory of releasing the postural and technical habits they don’t want to bring to the performance.

Simply you don’t play the banjo until you are ready, even if it takes five minutes of waiting before the first note is played. Psychologically, it means that you play when you’re not afraid. This can be a very very subtle thing, because so many banjo players perform without being aware of their state of mind.

When you have the loving luxury of not playing the banjo until you are truly ready, then you are truly open to making the changes to your posture, technique, and mind that force you to sacrifice or frighten yourself when you play.

At this point you may say, “I’ll never be ready, if I wait until I’m ready”. How do you know, if no one has ever waited on you to be ready to play the banjo? The training so many musicians go through is about deferring to the teacher – playing right away for many teachers, rather than when you’re ready.

This gets passed on from banjo teacher to student to teacher to student etc. What I mean, is that since the teacher was once the student, and if he or she was pressurized as they learned the banjo, then the teacher may also be impatient with him or herself, as well as the student.

I believe the basis for so many banjo players playing when they’re not ready is the counting of the music – when the notes live in time at tempo. This is just a fancy way of saying that the banjo player feels the pressure to play at tempo, as strongly as he or she feels she has to play the right notes at all costs.

So, the moment the banjo player has committed to playing, it is as if a clock has started ticking, and the performer better get to it.

I want to say something at this point. I’m talking about changing the relationship of the banjo player to the instrument, and I’m talking about doing it in a loving practice situation. I’m not talking about being on the stage after working out all of the bugs in the music.

So, as you learn a piece of music, whether only for yourself and/or performance, give yourself the extraordinarily loving gift of learning where and when every note lives on the banjo, without compromising your technique or your heart.

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