December 12, 2006 at 2:47 AMGreetings,
These directions must be followed din sequence or they will not work. The other vital points are 1) that they are not a physical movement. Any attempt to physically move the neck or more typically the head is useless. It correlates more to a wish. 2) The wish for forward and up movement must be located in the correct place at the top of the spine which is located by imagining a rod passing through the brain from the soft points below and behind the ears. This is the center of the body. In general , people think this spot is at the back of the neck which is why they are er, wrecked.
Of course Alexander discovered this by trial and error over many years but most of us don’t have this time or skill so there is little choice other than go to an Alexander Teacher if we really want to work on this. But I also think that considering the secondary directions can be of a certain amount of benefit even though they cannot really operate well without primary control.
The secondary directions are to do with letting go or letting stretch two areas of the body. They may well not be adjacent. Some people might find it useful to experiment with this by playing the violin as one would normally for a while without changing anything, Then put everything down and work through the following directions. Tell your body to do this.
1)I allow my shoulders to release away from one another.
2) I allow my left shoulder to release away from my right hip, and my right shoulder to release away from my left hip.
3) I am allowing my hands to lengthen away from my shoulders.
4) I am allowing my hands to widen as my fingers lengthen.
5) I’m letting my pelvis move freely, tilting back more.
6) I am allowing my knees to soften and bend slightly.
7) I am allowing my feet to spread on the ground as my toes lengthen.
8) I am allowing my lower jaw to release from my ears.
Now try playing again and see if you find anything different.
Finally, if you like freebies you check out the Strad Magazine Site. You can down load the Ehnes cadenzas to the Mozart violin concertos and an interesting solo violin piece by Mostras which I think I am going to learn.
Do we have an equivalant of that in our society? Hmmm.
>suppose that if any of those directives are inhibited by the position of the violin (viola), then there is some fundamental problem with set up and body posture? Not specifically while playing, but just holding the instrument?
Not exactly. The directives are mental. Any attempt to actually -physically - do the directive you are giving will lead to more tension. As you give the directives the viola or violin may move naturally into a more ergonmic position.
>Can the shoulders be lengthened while holding the instrument hands-free (in order to unfold the finger joints)?
For me, the most useful directive during playing is the primary control, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you from telling yourself to do certain things while you are playing. It might surprise you that it doesn`t detract from your playing any more than suddenly thinking about last nights dinner may spontaneously occur during a perfromance.
The only differnece is the former is beneficial while the latte rmay prodice flatulence,
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