Lise Enochsson: In my past three articles in this series on Instrumental Technique, we've covered breathing, posture, balance and symmetry. Starting with these three building blocks is essential before moving on to more instrument-specific exercises. And mind you, even if you choose to not do any other exercise (such as working on your back and shoulders - forthcoming), deepening your practise of free breathing and aligned posture together with being utterly familiar with your balance will benefit you greatly.
For some of us, the summer season means going on holidays. For many others, it's simply the occasion to clear our head and breathe some fresh air. In order to reinforce the body, we need to rest and perhaps use other muscles than usual. It's also only if we rest that the mind will be able to learn new things. If you have been on holidays or simply had a pause in your instrumental practice, this new school year can help your motivation in getting back in the saddle.
This article is based on a previous publication written for the New Zealand Harp Society Journal, 1st October 2010, in which I was raising the question of instrumental technique, what should be done and issues to be avoided. I highlight here the main lines of the article and develop them in a more general context.
Imagine that you are at a concert. A talented and broadly gifted musician is performing on the stage. With reason, listening to this stunning musicality and irreproachable technique make you question your own skills, how do you play yourself. More personal and less academic, his way of playing is nevertheless more precise. Why is your technique, the one you have learned during so many years, suddenly swept aside so easily? What extra technique did he learn, something you have missed? We all have experienced this situation sometimes and more or less in a good way. What makes him so different?