The Importance of an Outside Perspective

As an artist, it's easy to become myopic and get lost in your own perspective of what you do. This is especially true, if like me, you play mostly solo. While solo is great, the one big downfall is the lack of ideas and guidance from other musicians. In a duo/trio/group situation, there is a lot of communication about what is going on in the music and how to shape it. Playing solo, it's just you. This doesn't mean that one is better than the other, but that in continued solo playing, you often lack input from others who can see what you do from outside.

I record every performance (audio and/or video), but even in listening back to it, I don't always catch things. Glaring mistakes or big things do stand out, but often the more subtle things can even escape me on reviewing my work. It's like writing a term paper, and when you edit it, you keep missing the same mistakes, yet when someone else reads it, they can spot things immediately.

An Outside Perspective

My wife, who is also a professional musician, has been coming to a lot of my recent performances. Naturally, afterwards she has a lot of things to say! And they are all great observations that I just can't see on my own, because I'm way too close and too immersed in the music. One important thing she said is, “You play too fast and it's not relaxing to listen to.” I looked at the parts she was talking about and she was right. It's easy to let the adrenaline kick in, and to also have an altered time perspective while you are actively playing. Things that don't seem fast to me, can easily be too fast for others listening. A result of all of this is my being more aware of how I'm feeling while playing. 

Am I excited? 
Is my adrenaline up? 
How are my tempos?

An Inside Perspective

This has also caused me to be more aware of my breathing. I've been working more with Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga to be more aware of both my breathing and movement. I've found that my breath is really the key to keeping things under control. When I feel things getting away from me, I bring it all back to the breath. 

I recenter.
I focus.
I relax.

This also helps if there is some sort of outside distraction, like sirens going by. I've found my pacing to be much better, and the flow of things more relaxed.

~ MB

Over the past 8 years and 3 different blogs, I've written almost 500 blog posts. That's a lot of my time and energy devoted to putting my thoughts and ideas out there on the internet for you to read. As we approach the end of 2018, and the 9th year of these blogs, if you've enjoyed reading them, and have gotten value out of them, please consider a donation. You'll be helping me keep writing for hopefully another 8 years. 

Thank You ~ MB.

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™


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