March 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

I’m a pianist and teacher of The Alexander Technique.  During a class that I teach at The Boston Conservatory, I recently made the comment that titles this blog: Inhibition is your gateway to creativity! Hmmm.  It just came out — and it is so true.

I cannot count how many times I have discovered myself about to play a passage or even a single note at the piano in a way that reinforced the way I played that bit every other time I played it.  We all do this.  In fact, we classical musicians often practice our music over and over in order to establish and refine our interpretation.  Several years ago I took on the challenging study of jazz.  You see, I’m a classical pianist, having received a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance in the classical tradition.  So after playing the instrument for about 45 years, I decided it was finally time to take improvisation on.  My interest?  I wanted to free myself up at the keyboard in a new way – find a way to let improvisation truly be a part of my playing. I began studying the Alexander Technique about 30 years ago, so freeing up at the piano has been a part of my interest for some time.

Inhibition is that lovely little window between stimulus and response that allows us to redefine the moment right then and there– not in a way that is based on past history and expectation.  Yes, it can be unsettling.  But more often it is incredibly freeing.  And the new musical possibilities are endless!  I have worked with jazz artists in the midst of improvisation where it seemed that the musical choices they were making were dictated by their physical and attitudinal “set.”  Inhibition allowed a new choice to be made by offering the student an opportunity to let go of the commitment to what they were doing.  Applying this moment of choice to a classical piece is at least as exciting – maybe more so!

So give it a try.  Just as you are about to play something – especially a part you have thought about and decided upon – give yourself a tiny pause to let go of the direction in which you are headed and allow in the possibility of something new.  I hope you enjoy your new experience!

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HOW MANY LESSONS DOES IT TAKE? Is direction necessary?

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