This week I had the distinct pleasure to interview not only a dear friend of mine but a world famous conductor and now composer, Richard Haglund.
In 2011, I was Richard's Concertmaster for Festival Negri Horti in Tuscany and I enjoyed very much playing Peter and the Wolf for Children's Concerts. It was a wonderful experience and my first time in Italy. Richard was also the Assistant conductor of the Illinois Symphony when I was a member and we also worked together on cd recordings. Richard has recently started to compose more and now I am very excited to have the opportunity to be part of the World Premiere of Richard's String Quartet "The States of Consciousness."
Quartet Fusion's concert March 6, 11:05 AM CST, featuring the "States of Consciousness" World Premier, will be live streamed from Bulgaria to the world.
Enjoy the interview :)
Forgive you, yourself, past experiences, institutions - How can you share freely your gifts when you have blocked energy about yourself or situations? Be in a constant state of forgiveness and move your energy forward.
2. Acceptance and Love
Know and accept who you are. Love you for you. Know that perfection is an impossibility and stop comparing yourself to others. You are on your journey no one else's journey. You are Unique.
3. Humility - Let go of ego
Don't put yourself on too high of pedestal. The higher the pedestal - the harder the fall
4. Have a Don't Care Attitude
Don't care what others think of you or your playing. Just do your best - it is all you can do.
5. Performing is Sharing
What exactly is performing? All performance is is sharing. It is a connection between you and your audience. You know you are special and that you have something special - a gift. You have been chosen as the instrument to the musical voice. When you are performing you are opening the doors of the divine to another soul.
6. Mistakes are a Myth
Mistakes are part of the learning process. If they help you grow are they truly mistakes?
7. Stop Believing in Right or Wrong
Crazy idea in music I know - We can recreate the music to the best of our ability. Think of right and not right - Clear the feeling of rejection (easier said than done after a grueling audition) and clear the feeling of being wrong.
8. Mantras are Miraculous
Say mantras to yourself
9. Create your own Music
Liberate yourself, create and perform. Who is going to tell you YOUR music is wrong - it is your music.
10. A Performance is a Picture
Have you ever had a bad picture taken of you? Of course you have, we all have. Your performance is only a picture of you on that given moment. It is not you as a musician or a person. Hey we all have good hair days and bad hair days - same with performances.
11. Set Your Intent Before the Performance.
Think only positive and your outcome will be positive. No matter what happens your performance will be positive.
Count backwards from 50 to 1 in order to access your subconscious and envision your positive performance.
13. Have Confidence
Work daily on feeling good about you. I always say you have to work the core 4 areas every day to build your confidence: Physical, Mental, Spiritual and Emotional.
14. Get Physical
Exercise is like prozac - seriously, no joke. Exercise balances the neurotransmitters of the brain. I can't take credit for coming up with something this brilliant :) Find this interesting? You would love to read the book "Spark - the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain," by John J. Ratey
Find a favorite physical activity and do it daily.
15. Have fun and Perform (Share) as much as possible.
Yep my friends - You already know you are chosen by the voice - that is why you are a performing artist. You have been bitten by the bug so to speak so get over yourself and be the gifted instrument that you are. Don't stand in your own way any longer :)
Register for Online Violin's Class Create Your Positive Performing Pathfinder Strategy", Wednesday March 19 12:15 PM CSTTweet
1. Get Your Juices Flowing
2. Journal the Juicies
In the video below, I discuss the importance of keeping a practice journal and how to use on your violin journey. Don't forget to write your triumphs - all of the amazing moments - the feelings you have when you master a shift, a bowing or that desired tempo marking. AND write down all the JUICIES!!! What music moves you, where, what specific measure number makes you lose your breath. Create your own inspirational youtube playlist of music with which you have a definite CONNECTION.
3. Plan the DATES
So ....Change Locations! My creative juices flow when I am outside in nature. I love creating outside near a river, or abandoned buildings. Go Get it On!!
4. Get Romantic
Ambience!! It is a little difficult to feel romantic with a messy house. I cannot concentrate in my practices when I know things are out of order. When the house is a mess my brain is a mess. Keep your practice room/studio clean and organized. A little too much work for you to do and no time? Hire someone to help you. I know my energies are much better channeled in other areas other than cleaning. How would you feel being invited to your boyfriend or your girlfriend's house and it was a sty - hello!...big red flag!! How do you feel in a clean, simple, no clutter room with a vase of beautiful flowers? Like, you can breathe right? Yep, CREATE that space:)
Ok .,, So you may be wondering hey what about that box of chocolates......Remember that juicy journal - set intentions and goals for yourself. When you reach that goal go get that box of Godiva Dark chocolates. Or better yet - buy the box, put it next to the flowers and after your amazing practice sessions by candlelight, enjoy your dark chocolate and a jammy glass of red wine. Treat yourself :)
7. Infuse your Violin Journey with Love
Read "Infuse Your Violin Journey with Love" here
8. Feel the Tantalizing Sensations
Be aware of how you feel when you play. In my Fall in love with Scales series in the Intermediate level of Violin Secrets Academy - I ask my students to ask themselves - what, where and how do I feel the pitches? Where do you feel your music?
9. Love YourselfIf you have been following my holistic approach to the violin at Online Violin - you already know my infamous line - "We are the Instrument to the Instrument." That means WE have to take care of ourselves. In order to take of ourselves, we have to love ourselves and, in essence, a progressive love affair with the violin can only be a happy and healthy one when we have truly learned to love ourselves first. We need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually with love to be the best violinist possible. Keep in mind - like all relationships, it is normal for the relationship to the instrument to change/evolve over the years. I have physically been in touch with an instrument now for 34 years. I know CRAZY!!!! It is the longest relationship I have had with anyone or anything. I used to say that the violin and my dog Zorro were the two longest relationships in my life and now Zorro has passed so now only the violin remains. Most relationships don't last that long except for my dear parents who have been married for 65 years this year - HOLY VIOLINADOODLES! What is important is the COMMITMENT!
10. Dress to Kill!
11. Create a Work of Art
12. Share the Love
13. Take your love to the Movies
OK maybe not literally like Steve in the Piano Guys video :) Movie Soundtracks are so inspirational. Recently I did a poll on my facebook page and these were most popular
14. Lose Yourself in the LOVE
Make your Violin your Valentine :)
Please share in the comments below which of the 14 Love Affair Tips are you going to implement in your violin journey?
Yours in Love and Light
Have you ever found yourself hitting your head against the wall trying to memorize? Is even the word "memorization" surrounded by negativity?
My journey with memorization had a difficult beginning. I was literally hitting my head against the piano when I was younger and when I watched this (video clip below ) on Sesame Street, I could totally relate.
I remember playing Beethoven's Pathetique in a piano recital at the age of 16, and I had a memory block . It was devastating! I seriously wanted to hit my head on the piano in front of everyone!
I dreaded memorizing. I hated memorizing. I wanted to put my head in the sand in shame. Funny thing is - I was just about to write that I had more memory slips than successful performances but I know this not true. This is a huge sign to me that the memories of the memory slips outweigh the memories of the good performances.So we actually have two topics to cover: How to memorize and how to clear the negative energy and fear that we are holding inside ourselves in regards to memorization.
This Post is dedicated to Part 1 - How to Memorize (Be sure to attend my class February 12 at 12:00 PM CST to learn part 2)
My biggest downfall in my memorization journey was that I was not taught how to memorize properly. My teacher just said, "Memorize." Uh............Ok............ So I did what I thought was memorizing. I was a good student and was determined not to fail.
How different would my journey have been if I was actually taught how to memorize correctly. My memorizing method consisted of playing and playing and playing until it was memorized. Most of the time from beginning to end. It was an absolute miracle I was able to play the Pathetique this way.) This is the biggest mistake - I didn't learn until I was at the University that my method of memorization was horrible. How did I realize this - the quality of my playing went down when I worked on memorization.. why would this happen?
The initial problem was my memorization method - I was so concerned about memorizing and focused on memorizing that I lost connection with the actual music and all my good hard work on technique went out the window. So what is the secret to the right way of memorizing? I actually learned this through trial and error, I was never taught and I learned a lot from teaching my students: The secret to memorizing is actually NOT to memorize! "What? you may ask? How is that possible? not to memorize to memorize...." No, I haven't gone completely crazy :) (OK maybe a leeeeetle) In all seriousness - It is true...The BEST way to memorize is NOT to memorize but to INTERNALIZE.
Once you let that sink into the cells of your brain - let's talk about the 3 possible ways we remember music.
Everyone has a gift of one of three listed above. Which one is your gift? For me I would say physical came first then visual and finally aural; however, this changed on my journey. It is best to implement all three of these to avoid any memorization catastrophes. So let's talk about them in detail.
Visual is when you can actually see the notes in your head.
Some people have a gift of a photographic memory. Before you chalk this one up as not for you and it will never be possible - try this simple exercise.... Take a small "bit" from your music. If it happens to be by a letter even better. So let's say you are working on the Bach double violin concerto. Go to letter D and work on that measure and that measure only. Look at the music while you practice. See the letter D and practice. Work out the difficult techniques in that measure...look at the music - work on the techniques - think of your left hand and then your right hand. I promise soon you will see the notes and the Letter D - Boom - you have a visual memory!
Can you see what the notes look like at the beginning of your piece - I am sure you can - why is that? when we come to the music our brains our turned on! That is why it is so important to start at different places in the music and not always at the beginning.
Can you see the top of the second page - bet you can!
See you have visual memory. Now use this to your advantage. As a beginner visual memory learner - you will not have a stream of notes playing through your brain while you play but you can use this technique to help you in the magnificent memory manipulation.
This is probably the most popular, over-used and used incorrectly way people memorize. I say this from experience. Like I talked about in the video for the memorization class - I was never taught how to memorize so this is what I did. This was my natural gift. I would feel it physically. I could turn my brain off and my muscle memory would take over. Not that the muscle memory is a bad thing- it is a very good thing - HOWEVER, when it is the only way you memorize and you are on autopilot you are setting yourself up with the perfect memory slip environment!!! Never allow yourself to go on autopilot - yes it may happen but WAKE UP as soon as possible. Be present - be aware!
The physical aspect of memory happens naturally with repetitions. Repetitions are great when done wisely. Repeat small bits in mastering techniques - Work on your left hand - work on your right hand, clean the shifts, clean the string crossings. With focused practice the physical memory happens naturally because of focused concentration on certain techniques and not because of repeating 100 times to memorize with your brain half in the bag.
I always tell my students - you should always listen to your piece while you are working on it - listen to it in the car, before you go to bed, while your sleeping, exercising, walking - all the time... I knew it was effective and I knew when my students were listening and I knew when they weren't. It wasn't until after teaching for years that I actually implemented my own advice to an extreme when I was memorizing - wow!!! It made memorizing -ahem- internalizing the piece so much easier.
Aural happens in two steps - you have to listen excessively to your piece to the point your brain plays it back for you while you are playing. In some cases you here what is to be played before you play it. So the best way to INTERNALIZE is to use all of the tools equally. With all three tools in your tool box - you will be more effective - when one fails you have two more to rely on:) When two fail - you still have one and when all three fail - time to work on that technique some more :)
There is another interestingly consistently noticeable fact about memory slips.....When it would happen to my students I would tell them - it is not the memory that has an issue it is the technique...They would look at me with confusion...Without fail, memory slips tend to occur where the technique is weak. Not feeling comfortable with a shift, not secure with the bowing, not confident in the intonation - anything technically weak also produces a perfect environment for memory slips.
This is why I say the best way to memorize is not to memorize. Simply work on your technique in small bits...yes it is that easy. And just like a beautiful piece of jewelry linked together - you have linked all the pieces of your musical masterpiece.
Enjoy your musical internalization.
Be sure to register for My How to Memorize by not Memorizing Class to learn how you too can Memorize Majestically and clear all negative memory performances from your life once and for all!
Forever yours in Light,
Previous entries: November 2013
Violinist.com Editor Laurie Niles went to Austin, Texas to cover the Menuhin Competition 2014, watching some of the world's top young violinists. Read her ongoing coverage.
Heather Broadbent is from Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Biography
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