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How to Release your Most Musical Self - 25 Tips and more

Heather Broadbent

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Published: November 12, 2013 at 9:53 AM [UTC]

Okay okay – Let's get it out in the open. This is not discussing the orchestral violinist in the section that goes completely out of bounds with “musicality” and sticks out like a sore thumb and every other violinist is seething in the section. By all means I am not encouraging that behavior. Yes there are boundaries to follow in specific environments. Get to know those boundaries:)

Musicality is something that has always come naturally to me. I never felt stuck in the technique and unable to move forward into the world of musicality. Believe it or not my starting point was in the world of musicality and I had to immerse myself in technique. For example I had a great teacher for musicality at the university but he wasn't the technique specialist so I sought after a teacher specifically for technique because I knew it was something I desparately needed at the time.

Even though I would say musicality came easy for me it is not to say that I didn't develop and grow. One person said to me, after a two year reconnection – you were musical before and now you play with even more passion – I didn't think that could be possible. In that two year time my technique had developed and it was even easier to express myself on the instrument. So the two subjects technique and musicality work hand and hand.

I have had many colleagues, students and friends express to me, “I can't get out of the technique – I can't espress how I feel inside through the instrument.” I have also seen many violinists develop the technique but have a difficult time applying their new found skills with freedom.

So how does one break through this barrier?

I can relate this to my study of Rondo and Capriccioso and the specific passage of crossing four strings with separate bows and having that flow effortlessly. I was so STUCK in the difficulty of the passage and the small details that I decided to change my thinking. I decided to think bigger and within one second I played it effortlessly. Instead of thinking of every little bow change I thought of the bigger beat and moving across the instrument with little bow changes. Voila ! For me it was the aha moment keeping the little the little and not making them bigger focus. It is very difficult for me to explain the exact WOWNESS this was for me. In one second literally I had that passage because I changed my thinking. Had nothing to do with hours of practice, yes I practiced, I prepared but then got out of that little practice prison cell you can say and studied from the outside.

Many times it is just easy to get stuck in that practice mode because it is very familiar territory for some and getting outside the box and applying is difficult because it is scary new territory. Find the freedom and you will find that the technique will develop even more but one has to kick fear to the curb and accept imperfections and then work out the imperfections.

Side note – the BIGGEST issue I have seen with myself, students, friends and colleagues is when the BIG EGO enters the scene and overpowers truth and personal reality acceptance. This is the biggest progress blocker and it is practically impossible to move forward because one perceives or exudes the attitude that there is no neccessity to move forward – all has been attained.

The following tips are based on two completely different musical environments. The first being musical playing in the classical world and the second exploring musicality through your own creations.

Personal note – up until maybe 5 years ago, I did not create my own music. I take that back – I had a few compositions. I took first place in a world peace composition contest at the age of 5 for writing a piano composition with lyrics. Didn't compose again until I wrote compositions for university assignments. I have a cousin who composes music and everyone in my family asked if I did and I would reply “No, I am not a composer – it is impossible for me.” My brother could sit down at the piano and just play beautiful music. In high school I played piano in jazz band and when it was my turn for a solo I just sounded like a broken Beethoven sonata (actually I wished I sounded that good.) The other pianist in the band never had lessons in his life and sounded phenomenal and then there was me – could play anything with notes in front of me but take them away and you would think I didn't know how to play the instrument.

Fast forward to five years ago – I was asked to play violin in a rock band, funny thing is the lead singer of the band was in that same jazz band class with me. It was all original music and none of the musicians in the band could read music or even knew chords really. I was forced to completely play by ear and figure out the chord structures. Talk about immersing yourself in another language. I had to come up with original parts for violin and piano AND we would play at a local Irish bar every Thursday night. One of the concerts it was the first time I had heard or played the music – no notes, nothing. Performing completely blindfolded – talk about breaking barriers and overcoming fears – I had no choice. We recorded that concert and when I watched the video I swore another violinist had entered my body and I was possessed. I couldn't believe it was me. Even though my eyes were telling me it was me I couldn't believe it.

My rock band days eneded because of some jealous wives but what I learned and gained from that experience was priceless.

Present day – I have to think how it came about because now it is so much a part of me. That's right - It all started with copyrights. Because I needed freedom from copyright laws, I decided to create my own music. I put the video camera on and started to create. I wished I knew what composition was the first. I can't even put a beginning on this process. I found complete freedom. I can have the violin in my hand with no music and make music that I love and enjoy hearing. BREAKTHROUGH again!! My inner voice is rejoicing.

Enjoy the tips and I wish everyone successful breakthroughs whatever they may be on your personal violin journey.

1 playing other people's music
Know the material – have knowledge inside and out of style and history, know the musical boundaries of the time period music is wrtten
be prepared – master technical issues in the composition whether it be solo or orchestral

Once you have this foundation – you are ready for the next step

1.Think then know how you connect with the music personally – think of these connected moments
2.Know what you want to express musically
3.Feel emotions when playing
4.See images of what you want to express musically
5.Be present in the moment
6.Feel the music in your soul
7.Allow yourself to be Free and Lose yourself in the music
8.Know yourself - Be you
9.Be confident – no hesitation
10.Feel your personal connection with the music and your relationship with the violin

2 creating your own music

1.Create space in your schedule and your life
2.Love yourself
3.Let go of personal ego – no fear
4.Accept yourself for who you are
5.Eat well, sleep well – take care of yourself
6.Be forgiving of yourself and others
7.Release preconceived ideas
8.Be open to new ideas – yourself and others
9.Release limiting belief patterns
10.Find your flow
11.Allow yourself to be free
12.Don't criticize yourself – every mistake is part of the art
13.Record yourself = Record those moments of brilliance!!
14.Acknowledge the beauty you are creating
15.Trial and error – be forgiving of this process

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Yours in Light
Heather Broadbent

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