It feels so good when it comes together

When I have a truly great practice day it feels so good! I am exhausted because I've been playing all day. But so many things kept coming together; I didn't want to stop.

I managed to get out for a walk about half way through the day, and it was freezing out. But I had dressed well and kept walking, and I eventually warmed up.

My iPod (my PalmPre) was on shuffle for all the classical music I have on it, including that fabulous Schoenberg album with Michel Arrignon playing. There's also another great clarinet player on a collection of Poulenc, his Les Animaux Modeles, Les Bisches, some piano piece. Lovely clarinet playing.

I had all these great tones in my ear, and as soon as I returned home I went to my practice room and started playing again.

I had in the past briefly connected a certain tone in my ear with how to achieve it on clarinet, the type of support involved, the voicing, the pitfalls. But the connection was always brief, or difficult to repeat.

Today it came together again, and I was just familiar enough with what had happened from previous attempts to analyse it, and to grasp it one step deeper.

I recorded a description of the physical nature of the experience, subjective as it may be, on my digital voice recorder for later review. I find that recording descriptions of how things feel helps trigger a body memory of it next time.

I could write about it now, but I won't. First, I'm starving. I'm getting some Chinese carry out to eat. Second, I don't want to blab about something so complex until I'm sure of how to describe it in a way that doesn't sound like I'm too nutty a professor, off in my own little paradise. I want the technique to be secure and reliably repeatable.

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5 comments for “It feels so good when it comes together

  1. March 29, 2010 at

    Great techniques, great ideas! I can feel that you are a very motivated and inspired music educator who is always appreciated and loved by the students. Thanks for posting this! . Keep up the good work and continue to share your bright thoughts and ideas, which I think are all useful to many music teachers, school administrators and even studio managers out there. Please also share more relevant studio management tips and resources – giving us more rooms for effectiveness and efficiency. Thanks again and see you around. Cheers!

  2. January 6, 2010 at

    Thanks Gretchen! Such feedback is always welcome.

  3. January 6, 2010 at

    Fantastic! It's a very positive experience just reading about your practice day!

  4. EdW
    January 3, 2010 at

    You mention "body memories". I recall my teacher in undergrad school would refer to that. He often told me that when things worked or clicked I should try to register those feelings so that I could later try to get back to that place in my consciousness.

    • January 5, 2010 at

      Hi Ed. Sorry for delayed response. Absolutely! Body memory is the secret. Some do it better and more naturally than others. I aim to bridge that gap.

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