Keep in mind that the point of this BEFORE recording is not to prove anything, or even to sound "good."
The purpose is to establish a baseline of what starting a challenging piece sounds, feels, and looks like, before you've had a chance to develop your pre-performance routine.
[mepr-s3-link src="bpm-ppe4l/PPE-Week-2-Getting-Centered.pdf" expires="+180 minutes" download="force"]CLICK HERE[/mepr-s3-link] to download the pre-performance routine worksheet, which will help you reflect on how things are progressing with your pre-performance routine. Each worksheet is designed for one set of 7 repetitions (to be done in one sitting). So if you plan on doing one set of 7 reps each day, print 3 copies, so you'll have one for each day.
If you're finding the full routine to be a bit overwhelming, try the layered approach, where you might start with breathing on Monday, add releasing tension to the breathing on Tuesday, and add "hear before you play" to the breathing/releasing on Wed. Or if it feels like this is still moving too fast, just stick with one or two elements, and focus on making those one or two things more comfortable.
And if you lose steam or feel like you don't have the time to do all seven repetitions - that's ok too. Just do a few, and call it a day. =)
If you don’t have time for this next practice challenge, that’s totally ok. You can try this next month, after we've finished the live sessions. But if you do get a chance, it might be fun to experiment a bit more with the activation exercise we did in class, seeing if you can experience that feeling of letting go and channeling energy into your playing in a useful way. Here’s how:
Your AFTER recording setup will be similar to your BEFORE recording.
Record the same 30 seconds of music that you recorded earlier in the week, making sure to include the part of you going through your routine, and ensuring these are the first notes of the day after your warmup, and the first and ONLY take.
When you're done, call the video something like Week 2 - AFTER.
Take a moment to review your BEFORE recording. And then take a look at your AFTER recording.
What do you notice? What changes do you see or hear?
Does it sound like you trust yourself more right at the start? Is there less hesitation, or a clearer beginning to the sound?
Did you feel more focused, and was the inner critic a little quieter? At least before the first note? If the critic popped in again after the first note, that's ok for now - we'll work on that next week.
I know you're still probably feeling a little hesitant to post your video of something that doesn't sound as perfect as you'd like it to, but remember that the goal of this is not to elicit a critique of your playing from other musicians, but to borrow their ears and perspective to reinforce the positive changes from before to after, that you may have difficulty noticing in your own recordings. And to practice getting comfortable being more uncomfortable. =)
Remember that in this exercise, your role is less about critiquing your fellow musicians' playing, and more about helping your colleagues see/hear what has changed most in their playing from BEFORE to AFTER, so they can better evaluate the usefulness of the pre-performance routine they used.
The changes this week might be a little more subtle, as much of the change might be internal, but do you notice a difference in what you see and hear? Like, is there less hesitation in the AFTER? Or a clearer attack or articulation to the sound? More energy?
Share the things that you feel have changed most noticeably from their BEFORE to AFTER recordings. And not just in what you hear, but also in what you see.
And make sure you are replying not to my original post, but to your colleagues' before/after video posts. Like so:
Ideally, comments will be distributed relatively evenly. And my hope is that everyone will get at least two comments. So when you scan through the thread, look for those who haven't yet received any comments, or those who've received one comment.
In my dream scenario, you'll be able to leave one comment for someone who plays the same instrument as you, and one comment for someone who plays a different instrument than you do. That way everyone will get feedback from musicians with different perspectives and listening tendencies, which can be incredibly valuable.
I'm not sure if this will be possible, but fingers crossed!
And yes, if you're so inclined, please do feel free to leave feedback for more than 2 people.
If you’d like to explore some of the most essential skills and techniques in the course live, with a cohort of curious, thoughtful, supportive, and like-minded educators (and a few mildly irreverent or benevolently sarcastic folks mixed in to make sure we don’t get too serious), that’s also an option!
Starting Thursday, February 3rd, we’ll meet via Zoom once a week, and go through selected strategies related to effective practice, managing nerves, and achieving flow states under pressure. We’ll do some in-class playing experiments (don’t worry – you’ll be muted!), short weekly homework assignments, and small-group breakout sessions to help you integrate these new skills into your teaching.
This 6-week live course is normally $199, but is available at 50% off the regular cost when bundled with Beyond Practicing. For more details about the live course (and dates) CLICK HERE.