Playing the violin requires an awkward set of physical motions, and sometimes that can get in the way of "feeling the music" and of creating a sense of "flow" for your listeners.
Nicola Benedetti, in an interview this week about her new Benedetti Foundation, said that one of her goals in devising curriculum for students is to help cultivate their sense of physical freedom. "If you don't experience an enjoyment through the physicality of playing, sense of freedom and a sense of trust in your hands to go in the right directions, then the question is, why are we playing?" she said. "This is missing the point of playing."
How does one do this? Really, it's the whole point of practice: to arrive at a point where the physical concerns are conquered and the music can flow through the musician, into the instrument and out into the world. If only it were so easy!
For the violinist and violist, some of the problems that can block that flow are: holding the instrument, holding the bow, placing the fingers, shifting, moving the blow. etc. Since we have to actually create our sound, the potential for blips in the process is great. That's why our practice includes so much technique work; so that when we put it together, our interaction with the instrument is a well-oiled machine.
But when it works, it really is quite a beautiful synthesis, and that part about creating the sound can make the musician feel even more "at one" with the music.
How does the physicality of playing work for you? Do you have those moments of "flow," where you feel at one with the instrument and the music goes through you both? Do you find that the physical demands of the instrument get in the way of that flow? Do you sometimes feel that your technique is completely separated from what you would like to do musically? Did you have that feeling of limitation and then find a way to get beyond it? What did you do?
Please participate in the vote and then share in the comments how you have worked with the physical demands of the instrument, and how (and if) you are able to get close to the music you would like to create.
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