"Send a Strong Musical Message" (Murray). "Stay in the Present" "Hear what you want to sound like; sound like what you hear"(Hudson). "If you pat yourself on the back, you'll kick yourself in the face" (Schuelter). All of these concepts from my teachers and valuable lessons are starting to connect in my mind. This is an active way to stay in the present and "reflect our best musical thoughts" (Cichowicz, I never studied with him).
There are a so many things that we can think about while we practice, but we must learn how to flip a switch and be in performance mode when needed. My good friend Pat Shaner was reminding me that no matter how much I have practiced, a lot or minimal, I have to learn to put that all aside and sing through the horn, IN THE MOMENT. This is easier said than done. Thoughts creep back in, and we must learn to acknowledge them and let them pass, returning to the idea of mental singing as we play. Meditation and sports psychology give us practical ways that we can develop these skills. I'm learning that it's not just about clearing your mind. That can lead to passive complacency which leads to being reactive or manipulative when something inevitably goes wrong. It's about clearing your mind, and replacing all of those thoughts with a clear, strong, musical signal from the brain, before we play and in the moment.
Time to keep it simple,
Adam C White
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