THE BOOK: Let Your Music Soar
This page is for those who have a copy of Let Your Music Soar and are following the link listed in the book for more information. But either way, you can all take a look and maybe be inspired to get a copy of the book.
This writing begins on April 8, 2019 at 8 AM and will continue with additions as I gather my thoughts.
I have added more exercises and concepts around the “One Minute Exercise” that are not already in the book. The One Minute Exercise sets up an extreme dynamic range as a support to expression. By playing a piece of music forcefully for a few seconds and then playing the same section of that piece extremely delicately for the rest of the minute, allows the mind, the body and the muscle memory to “feel” a wide dynamic range. Once it is felt the player will naturally use it and that’s all there is to it. However in some cases some more guidance and explanations is necessary. And that’s the reason for the book. In my workshops I can guide the participant until they reach the place they need to be to understand and experience full tilt expression. So I will begin to write about some need techniques and ideas.
Pre-Exercise experience of the dynamic range.
The first thing I do now in my workshops is ask everyone to touch the back of their right hand with a finger from their left hand and do it in a way where they can almost feel the touch without actually making contact. What’s happening is that the finger might be just touching a hair on the left hand or there is some other sensation before the actual contact. I explain that this is what I mean my extremely delicate. And this is what it takes to play a true pp.
Then I ask the participant to jump for door key placed over the door frame. This is higher than they have ever jumped. They only have once chance to get the key. Show me how you are going to do this jump. That’s what I mean when I say forceful. It’s a true fortissimo.
Since playing music is a physical activity, establishing the dynamic range in physical terms is extremely helpful. So I go from doing this touch and jump physical experience to then applying it to the instrument or voice, explaining that I’m not looking at the sonic experience but the purely physical experience, because it is the physical action, the physical dance of touch, motion, placement, pressure that is the controlling factor in performing music.
An unrelated but important story
A friend communicates with me regularly about his performance experience because he’s somewhat new at this. I asked him; “What do you experience when you are playing music to an audience?” He said that he likes watching people’s reactions - he likes connecting with people in the audience - and he likes seeing when people smile back and him. He notices when people in the club are getting up or talking, or going to get a drink. I asked him; “What do you want from an audience?” He told me all he wants is for them to pay attention to what he’s doing. I asked him; “How can you expect the audience to pay attention to what you are doing whey you yourself are not paying attention to what you are doing?”
The importance of this story is that as performers music wants our attention. We will receive all the rewards if we give it our attention. The focus on keeping the dynamic range wide by touching upon the extremes and also keeping the dynamic moving so no two notes have the same dynamics is the best way of offering that attention. The reasons for this are profound. Many of these reasons are offered in the book.