Jason (jcreed) wrote,
Jason
jcreed

Learning to play musical instruments I have noticed interesting, gradual changes in my mental understanding of my body. I think a lot of these changes happened so long ago (when I was first learning piano, when I was like six) that I have forgotten them, but trying to pick up guitar in the last year and a half or so, I have had the benefit of seeing how such changes work again.

My left hand, and on both hands my fourth and fifth fingers, started out far more proprioceptionally hazy than, say, the index finger and thumb on my right hand. I don't know where they are as precisely, and I don't know what buttons to push in my brain to get them to go to a certain place — and this is because, I think, I don't have a clear concept of what it feels like for them to be in that place.

Through practice, I first slowly figure out that yes, this is what it feels like for my pinky to be squarely on the first string in a G chord, and here is what it feels like for it to be fretting the second in a variant of G. Having got that, another round of practice makes me faster and more reliable at achieving those positions.

The conclusion I'm coming to is I need to figure out how to do this with my emotional state, too — that is, first get a better sense of clarity of when I am calm vs. panicking, angry, upset, worried, preoccupied, distracted, etc. — so that I have a clear idea of which "position" I am trying to get to or get out of, before I set about learning better how to get there. I'm not quite sure how to analagously "practice", but I'm starting to really notice how muddled my own understanding still is after nearly twenty-frickin'-six years of playing the instrument that is my own stupid brain. It always seems obvious to me later based on how I acted, but not so much while it happens.
Tags: life, music
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