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Up we go. Or perhaps not.....

December 11, 2006 at 1:33 AM

It’s a pity that one only sees occasional comments on this list about upward energy direction. A recent example was a very interesting discussion/ explanation of how Mr. Zuckerman manages to produce a sound on chords that dwarfs other players by integrating upward movement of the instrument/counter-pressure of the strings as a percentage of the overall action. Others sometimes talk of how the strings contact the bow hair upwards rather than pressing down with the stick. That makes a huge qualitative difference to the sound as well. One of the most disturbing sights I see in Japan, even with pretty good orchestras, is that while attempting to maximize sound production on chords and various loud crashes player swill typically drop the instrument. Logically this is completely useless and the sound is invariably crushed and ineffective. The problem is also exacerbated by an ingrained cultural tendency to bow. For those of you not familiar with some Japanese traditions, a child will from the moment it can take a shot at walk being to learn bowing by having the head repeatedly pressed down by the parents at regular intervals.  (Anybody who wants to claim that is another of my looney theories is quite welcome to contact the conductor Mr. Komatsu, of considerable more stature than myself, who mentions this problem quite frequently.)
I have come across a couple of very fine Alexander teachers who talk in terms of gravity and anti-gravity energy working in tandem. Marie Francois, who runs Teacher training seminars all over the world, once asked a group of trainees I was sitting in with which part of the body supports what when performing the apparently simple act of standing up. This teacher loves to throw curveballs and after getting mumbled responses along the lines of `well the primary control is working and then our upper body is supported by the legs ,` (not unreasonable since a lot of this kind of work consist of getting the skeleton to function as the engineering marvel it is from the bottom to top) . After things degenerate into an embarrassing silence she asked everyone to try standing up thinking in terms of the legs as the base for the whole body. After that we were required to stand thinking in terms of the upper body (with good primary control) supporting the legs. It isn’t that hard to do and the difference is astonishing. Another of my favorite teachers (Rose Marie thingummy- Switzerland) rams the point home by producing a model of a spiraling double helix.
How this relates to posture etc. is that as humans we are always conscious of the force of gravity pulling as down but have lost awareness of the counteracting upward energy that suspends us. Same thing as Chinese philosophy and exercise systems which include exercises which give equal weight to being pulled down to the earth and simultaneously up to the heavens. CF texts on Tai Chi Chuan among other things.
The more I teach the more I find that the actual mechanics of violin playing are not that hard to get across and the origin of the problem is in misuse of the neck. I have one student who I know is stuck in a terrible mess in her personal life and cannot move out of it. The physical manifestation is her having great difficulty in standing with her weight evenly distributes on the soles contact points. It is so far back into her rigid spine that she balances on her heels and her toes leave the ground. Interestingly, in terms of the Chinese medicine system of classifying people she is markedly `metal` in make up which is also characterized by great difficulty in moving on once one is `stuck in a rut.` (Once metallic people are galvanized into action they are unstoppable…) This particular student plays quite well given the taught ness down her body , intonation spot on, uses the whole bow in a straight line very freely, has awareness of sound points and instinctive phrasing- pretty good for someone who started six months ago. However, she needs to move on from where her life is and how she uses herself to progress to a significantly higher level. Usually I can use my hands to help a students neck become free and the body to shoot upwards, but this lady’s neck was like touching an iron bar and any verbal reference to it make sit even more rigid. As an experiment I suggested she forget about feeling ease in her neck, which obviously couldn’t be approached directly, and release the tension in her eyes. That was astonishing. Her neck let go, her body lengthened upwards and she played the violin like an angel for a few minutes.
Ever on and upwards,

From Gabriel Kastelle
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 3:16 AM
"Close your eyes. Soften the eyes. Soften the tongue. Soften the brain. Breathe." [All possible!] Yes, then effects elsewhere in the body can be dramatic. Just closing the eyes even for only a few seconds knocks out most beta waves for most people and quiets the brain down into alpha rhythms, besides a host of other calming and deepening effects. I've nipped some student panic attacks in the bud, besides steadying my own bow and breath and heart, with these brief simple things. I wish though you could find some other words instead of 'anti-gravity force'-- if THAT were what you'd found and work with, some physicists would be very interested....
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 3:59 AM
Going back thousands of years, found in the thinking of inummerable cultures the recognition of energy that works in opposition to gravity is well established. Scientists, physicists or whatever are frequently as limited, unaware and close minded as anyone else as to the existence of these kind of things, if not more so. Part of the means of denying the existence of what is common knwoledge to many but which is outside outside the purview of limited and flawed specializations is simply to make dogmatioc claims simply on the basis of `I am a pysicist so waht you say is wrong. ` Or faffing on about lables even if they make the point quite clearly. They are quite happy to tell us levitation is impossible for example, inspite of people who have seen it or experienced it.
Another case I suppose is Western science happily patting itself on the back for recently `discovering` that the body can be reduced to energy particles and is primarily compose do space. The kind of information that has been the basis of, for example ayurvedic medical practice since its inception.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 6:33 AM
Not all reports of levitation are good.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 11:16 AM
Absolutely. I"ve seen it. Other cases can be a real downer.
From bilbo Pratt
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 8:29 PM
Paulinefiddle captured the effects of antigravity force on deer a few months back.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on December 11, 2006 at 10:36 PM
Santa Clause will be relieved,

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