“We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains.” ~F.M. Alexander

“We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains.” ~F.M. Alexander


After about 45 minutes of AT work, standing and sitting at chair, I felt ready to go to the instrument with intention and direction, and a lack of judgement.

2-mallet exercises – scales with hands one- and two-octaves apart, playing in unison and in alternation; worked GH Greene exercises one hand at a time. Today, the spine feels long and the focus is good, tension at a minimum doing these exercises, though I am aware more of tension in my right shoulder than in my left.

Rip Tide

Worked section-by-section mm. 1-93 (between fermata measures, so anywhere from 4 to 12 measures in length) finding the max tempos without tension or restriction in arms and inaccurate notes. The highest max tempo is page one at 130bpm. All max tempos are indicated in the score… with the understanding that these are the max TODAY. Tomorrow they may be lower, depending on tension. Many of the tempos are up to 10-15bpm faster than before, and some are exactly the same.

At a moment when I was feeling tension growing in my shoulders, I broke into a long free improvisation with the metronome on. I really do not feel the same kind of tension anywhere in my body when I am improvising like this – my arms just seem to flow like they are moving through water, even though the motions are dynamic, sporadic, sometimes fast, etc. THIS IS HOW I THINK I SHOULD FEEL ALL THE TIME. However, my mind seems to make a distinction between playing written notes, and improvising. I don’t think this is uncommon, but I think this is exactly what F.M. Alexander was talking about with the quote I referenced above (about using the brain to change habits), and what I mentioned a few posts ago (about the power of the imagination to change things).

Tomorrow – Work section-by-section mm. 94-end finding the max tempos

Surface Drifts

Warmup – DV block chords and DV alternating exercises; SI/SA exercises

Mm. 60-end – worked through several variations, including completely DV block chords, completely DV alternating rolls, and combinations of both in various places… now that the composer has indicated his preference for the DV chords over the SA rolls, I am playing with how to execute variations with that musically, so he can hear more nuanced possibilities.

M. 53, mm. 56-60, m. 72 – 5s, worked hands separately (no metronome)

Tomorrow – Work mm. 1-53 in Surface Drifts (re-establish memory)

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