Archives par mot-clé : confidence

the convergence

The Musician Sound Results From His Convergence

Everything converges to it

Your personal sound eventually results from many convergences. Here are a few of them :
– your body and your instrument,
your body and the ground,
inhalation and exhalation,
your sound column and your diaphragm,
your inner ear and your vocal cords,
your neck and your waist back,
your embouchure and your sound source,
your sound source and your heels,
your sound and your musical ideas,
and more globally, the mental images of the musician and their subsequent physical support, like his trunk bottom and his verticality feeling, as Alfred Tomatis explains it in The Ear And The Voice.

« Be indivisible.
Pull your neck from your back waist.
Build up musical phrases and
not a number of notes.

your speech is free

Being aware of your attitude at the end of your natural inhaling, linked with your relaxation delving into the ground through your feet, lets your voice converge with your body by freeing your internal resonance.

« Every evening between 8:00PM and 11:00PM for twenty years, I held seminars which led singers to become conscious of their proprioceptive sensations. As soon as they did, I knew they no longer needed my help to access the mechanisms leading to the control of the voice, since they could trigger them at will.« 

« Singing is a natural act that is superimposed on all other bodily activities. To begin this process, we have to take organs whose basic purposes are other than those we intend in singing, and tame them for our purposes. The hallmark of a high degree of mastery is that the spectator will not distinguish between the technical and the musical elements of a performance.« 

« {the teacher points at what should be felt at any specific level}

(…) Then he shows how to achieve it through an imaged way, showing then that there are three dimensions, firstly, the one of the playing artist, on another hand, that of the instrument, and finally that of the sound that emerges when the body gets to resonate.« 

« The singer, now master of his breath, with his spinal column erect and comfortably seated over the sacrum, will have complete freedom of choice in his interpretation, as he breathes life into his vibrating, resonant body.« 

the piano brain

As described in “air and breathing“, you may visualize that global convergence in your lower back, making you forget about blowing that you better vibrate, while avoiding any disturbing stress : George Kochevitsky discusses about the mental power driving this process, in The Art Of Piano Playing.

The aware practicing of your central nervous system fosters proprioceptive images, which facilitate the flow of your inner vibrating sound towards your instrument. This vibration is directly fed by your natural breathing, and may be visualized as arising from your deep sound source.

At this point, your sensation of being seated on the sound actually links your brain to your musical speech, making you forget about your body (your expression tool) and your instrument (your vibration amplifier).

« Practicing at the piano is mainly practicing of the central nervous system, whether we are aware of it or not.« 

« {In 1881 the noted German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond delivered a famous speech on The Physiology of Exercise.}

Du Bois-Reymond said that motor activity of the human body depends upon the proper interaction of muscles more than upon the force of their contraction.« 

« {Steinhausen on the psychic origin of technique : in 1905, several months after the appearance of Rudolf Maria Breithaupt‘s Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik, Dr. Friedrich Adolph Steinhausen’s Die Physiologische Fehler und Umgestaltung der Klaviertechnik (“The Physiological Misconceptions and Reorganization of Piano Technique“) was published.}

Since every movement is initiated in the central nervous system, practicing is, first and foremost, a psychic process, the working over of accumulated bodily experiences and the adjustment to a definite purpose.

(…) Through practice we can learn to move our fingers at the right time and in exact succession in accordance with a given musical figure. We can also achieve the ability to make fine gradations of tonal volume. But this learning is mental and has nothing in common with the degree of muscle development.

“A quantitatively small alteration in the brain has much greater importance than the most significant muscle enlargement.“

(…) Technique is the interdependence of our playing apparatus with our will and our artistic intentions.« 

« Repeated application of the unconditional stimulus (movements of the playing apparatus) diminishes the extent of irradiation and helps to concentrate excitation. This will then affect only the concerned cells of the cortex’s motor region. For best results this application should be carefully controlled : movements must be watched and unnecessary muscle contractions must be avoided.« 

« Your body/mind fusion appears as THE device making EVERYTHING work together.« 

« The inner ear works in combination with the nervous system and brain in order to issue commands to the vocal cords.« 

don’t push, please !

By letting the tranverse abdominus muscle weigh on your “buoy“ surrounding your pelvis, you can then feel your internal sound flowing down to the ground (another proprioceptive image), and realize that you consume very little air. Such a richest vibration is produced from the optimal configuration of this transverse abdominus, seized at its lowest position thanks to letting it loose at the very end of your natural inhaling : the real sound is laid at this very moment with the « ah »vowel, flowing through your heels and spreading during this non-pushed exhaling.

Playing for yourself

The efficiency of those many convergences actually leads you to master your musical expression, together with achieving self-confidence and physical well-being, as Dominique Hoppenot ‘s Inner Violin / Le violon intérieur demonstrates it.

In that context, concentrating your relaxation on the sound source lets your inner vibration spread through your heels, which at the same time frees the upper part of your body.

« We must keep in mind (…) that all problems are related. Any cutting, even a consistent one, remains a cutting of a whole and unique reality : “concentration“, for example, cannot be driven without “feeling“ ; “sound“ or “breathing“ could be placed on top of the chapters, but can they be achieved without your “body balance“ ?« 

« The exciting side of this work is that all the information so deeply felt through your body cancel at once the agonizing distance between what you want to do and what you are supposedly unable to do. Willing and power finally coincide.« 

« One who was patient enough to learn to focus throughout his learning work becomes capable in two seconds, whatever the circumstances, to come together to be able to readily express the essence of music.

When such a feeling of inner freedom is lived through, playing and practice as well become, without effort, sources of enjoyment and constant creation. It is then possible to speak without deceipt about interpretation and musical expression.« 

« Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom.
If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.

the sensations

The Musician Sound Through Your Sensations

Mastering your expression leads you to enjoyment, all the more spontaneous as it results from a relaxation, rather than from a physical strike.

Have Fun !

Letting your internal opening spread downwards fosters your feelings, enhancing your self-confidence and ensuring your sound quality.

« Your thinking drives your will for sure, but since your will may cancel your desire, you cannot reach your balance without desire and you cannot succeed without enjoyment.

Yes, these are only sentences, but they depict the real life, it’s as simple as the art of being yourself, however you should not think in order to be yourself, this is the reason why we say that you should be self-confident.

You should feel as an artist, and develop an expressive relaxation, in other words, as Mrs Hoppenot states it in “Le violon intérieur“, tonicity in relaxation.« 

« You should feast yourself with music.
You should live your sound.
Life is in the guts.
You head should drop down in your shoulders, you should pack down, to make a HEAP of yourself !

« The less energy spent on technical production, the more available for creativity.

Being as relaxed as possible in playing allows the creative mind as well as the emotions to more easily come forth. »

« (…) the whole thing is about relaxation ; all of music for me is about relaxation : if you’re uptight when you’re playing, the music is uptight.

And if you’re totally in the zone where you’re just so cool, you’re having fun (…) »

trust yourself…

Speaking of which, George Kochevitsky analyzes in his Art Of Piano Playing the linking between the muscles synchronization and the quality of the musical output.

Stabilizing your mental images associated to your proprioceptions helps you to reproduce your body preparation at your will, hence reinforcing your self-confidence. Then, your body should remain ready to vibrate, from its prepared state, allowing you to picture your own image associated to the vibration laying and sounding : from that point on, your sensations develop, among them your being centered around your sound. That ensures the continuity of the tone, as if it were radiating from your heels.

Such an approach is indeed valid for any instrument, the piano among them, and has a direct impact on your live technique, coming out through your fingers (and combined with the tongue articulation of the wind player).

« { Ludwig Deppe (1828-1890) wrote that tone must be produced, not by finger stroke (…) but by coordinated action of all parts of the arm. }
Ludwig Deppe required her (Amy Fay, one of his pupils) to follow consciously the duration of each tone, to imagine the pitch and volume of the next one, and only then to transfer very carefully from that tone to the next.« 

« And until there is a connection between the inner musical imagination, the innervation of movement, muscular sensations, and careful and critical listening to the results, no form of movement is of practical value.« 

« So movements in piano practicing differ, sometimes considerably, from those in piano playing. In the first case we have to consider not only artistic purpose but physiological points as well.« 

« (…) the main materials for the building of piano technique are the proprioceptive sensations. Hence lack of clearness in these sensations from finger activity will inevitably result in indistinct finger technique.« 

« The player must receive a clear proprioceptive sensation from each movement, sensation which does not coalesce with the sensation from the next movement, and is not suppressed by it.« 

How You Feel Positioned

That being understood, you quietly settle your internal configuration, then you, as a wind player (you are still not supposed to blow !), drive your instrument to your mouth : at the same time, capturing your diaphragm positioning at the very end of your natural inhaling, you let that sensation flow backwards, starting or keeping your stable vibrating on your exhalingYou end up sitting on your voice sound propagating from the ground through your feet, then in the surrounding space – as Alfred Tomatis shows it in The Ear And The Voice.

your vibrating aura

The internal vibration of your body, springing out of the sound column, feeds your singing, then amplified by your instrument.

Being concentrated on the source of your internal song eliminates unnecessary tensions and fosters the link with your musical intent : you feel like filling up the space with your ​​voice.

« The body literally vibrates with song and harmony. (…) The act of singing permits us to open a dialog with space so that we become flooded by its vibrations and merge with it, acoustically speaking.« 

« The interactions between the singer’s physical body and the acoustic environment create a proprioceptive image of the body, and they structure a sensory-motor experience of the surrounding space in a perpetual dialog.« 

« A professional singer with a great technique causes us to breathe fully, our pharynx opens, our larynx moves without tightening. The articulation is supple, passing from one syllable to another without breaking the melodic line, without losing intensity, and we are transported.« 

« Teaching voice relies on subjective sensations that can only be described in words. (…) We have to make our sensations conscious so that they can be reproduced at will and associated to the corresponding muscular response.« 

« Singing requires mastery over yourself to attain maximum sound output with minimum muscular effort.« 

« Your sensations will be confined to the organs involved in singing. It sends acoustic stimulation to every part of the body, encouraging it to adopt certain postures. It helps to straighten the trunk, for instance, which helps it to resist the pull of gravity, thus increasing the charging effect on the brain.« 

« When singing is well executed, it triggers a wealth of internal sensations that make the body into a vibrating instrument.« 

Your absolute non-pushing (since you do not blow !), combined with the vertical sensation generated from your Hara, lets your vibration spread from your heels, in the same fashion as does the one from Dominique Hoppenot‘s Inner Violin.

playing your self means pleasure

Your aim is to re-produce at your will the rewarding feeling of inner vibration, by quickly retrieving the relevant attitude : your body configuration is then assessed by your  self-confidence coming with the stability of the sound source, which is just waiting to be revealed and instantly revived, to be next amplified by the instrument.

« The most constructive motivation in the conquest of the instrument is the enjoyment motivation (…)« 

« Our approach is actually to develop an intimate and acute awareness of what you feel from a gesture or several combined gestures, until you can retrieve them and perform them exactly without any doubt, from a mere instantaneous mental evocation of the revealed sensation.« 

« Sensations can only arise from shaping our desires, hence by creating associated mental images (…)« 

« The appropriate feeling corresponds to a well-being suited to everyone, adapted to the prior mental image (…).« 

« (…) the feeling of “your self“ (…) leads you to experience the vertical axis, the mobility in space, the balance of opposing forces, the centering in “Hara“ (…) The contact feelings are generated from a keen awareness of your rooting to the ground, from the quality of your fingers presence on the bow and on the violin (…) Other feelings develop later during the playing itself ; they result from an already very elaborate achievement : a precise gesture, the feeling of “playing on yourself“, of “letting go“ and “laissez faire“ linked to the extreme vigilance of perception and listening (…)« 

« (…) we are forced to consider that a performance is felt only through the pleasure of “vibration“.« 

« He who has found his voice, that is to say his sound, no longer has to search it nor to fear its failure because it actually is. He just needs to call it without ever forcing it, to let it come and “let it go“ according to music, its master !« 

do not blow

By Not Blowing, The Musician Frees His Sound

How your no-blowing makes the sound generated by your internal vibration deeper.

You Play Your Body

To ensure a clean and flawless emission, either fff or ppp – and without using the tongue edge for the first one ! -, you should precisely imagine the mouthpiece rim plugged to the sound source. Through your natural breathingyour exhaling extends your inhaling inwards and propagates your vibration down to the ground.

Thanks to his proprioceptive pictures, the music player drives his relaxation down to his feet, through his sound center (i.e. his natural breathing center point) to let the internal vibration of his singing « ah » vowel radiate around : then his transverse abdominus leads the vibrating exhalation backwards, ensuring thus the stability of the sound.
That was meant by Beniamino Gili when he used to drop his belly down to the ground in order to capture and maintain this feeling all along the emission of his sound, without disturbing the action of the diaphragm (see voice and breathing).
In other words, the voice of the musician must play his body’s resonance, without addressing it directly, so as to avoid parasite contractions.

« You should imagine your embouchure in your belly.
Feel like playing inside your body.
Your breath flows inwards, certainly not the other way around.
Your instrument will play you.
The singing breath is enough.
If you don’t vibrate, then your breath is not warm enough.
Your breath should flow out through your ears.
Your breath should flow out through your neck.
You should feel as if your breath flows out from your whole body, but not from front.« 

The Artist Overlooks His Body

George Kochevitsky shows in The Art Of Piano Playing how you should avoid any apparent physical motion, in order to enhance the quality of the result of your musical intent.

Forget about your body, and concentrate on your relaxed vibration flowing down to your heels (while you are standing up like the sax player, or being seated like the pianist) : the good singing sound then surges around. Localize your sound center point, and free your diaphragm so that you feel as sitting on it, then filling your sound with overtones.

« { Steinhausen on the psychic origin of technique : in 1905, several months after the appearance of Rudolf Maria Breithaupt‘s Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik, Dr. Friedrich Adolph Steinhausen’s Die Physiologische Fehler und Umgestaltung der Klaviertechnik (“The Physiological Misconceptions and Reorganization of Piano Technique“) was published. }

Following Steinhausen’s motto that we cannot teach our body how to move, the psycho-technical school suggests that the more our consciousness is diverted from the movement, and the stronger it is concentrated on the purpose of this movement, the more vividly do artistic idea and tonal conception persist in the mind. Consequently, the artistic conception creates a desire for its realization, the will impulse occasioned thereby becomes more energetic, the needed natural movement is found more easily, and the process of its automatization is accomplished sooner.« 

« The roots of technique are in our central nervous system. The problems connected with muscular conditions and outward appearance of our playing apparatus are important, but they are secondary. »

warm air is stable

You sure must not blow, since the air is not to be pushed out, but you rather do sing internally and downwards, as Alfred Tomatis demonstrates it in The Ear And The Voice : the vibrating air is warm, and that can be felt by feeling the sax neck, which can even be considered as an evidence for your fat and lived-on sound quality.

Thanks to your downward letting-go accompanying your exhalation, your flexible triggering of your inner vibration propels rich vocal harmonics : you are then consuming very little air, which you can imagine like it were recycling within the body, at the diaphragm center.

« The two lower vocal cords are drawn together and vibrate through emission. The vibration is caused by air passing across the cords. The volume of air is so small that it seems almost spontaneous and automatic as with speech. The brain essentially regulates the tension of the vocal cords to keep the flow of air at a minimum, so that the vibration corresponds to the desired pitch.« 

« Whenever the thorax contracts prematurely, it prevents the diaphragm from functioning to its full extent.« 

« (…) In order to avoid pushing when you sing, you need to notice certain proprioceptive sensations.« 

« IYou must learn to conserve stored air and to give out the least possible amount, as if you were distilling the sonic flow in some way. (…) The more slowly and regularly the flow emerges, the less underlying tension results, and the more easily the larynx works.« 

kind of let your singing go down

Upstream from his instrument, the musician should sing downwards, the same way the singer behaves.

For a wind player, concentrating on his inner vibration is antagonistic to the action of blowing, which would trigger an outwards deconstructing effort : hence it is absolutely recommended not to blow, not even to want to do it !

By and large, driving your internal vibration appears as paramount for any musician : you can achieve this control of your internal vibration and check it out by downwardly extending your attitude reached at the end of your natural inhaling, which enforces your anchoring in the ground.

« The great art consists of not pushing, of remaining in a state of supple tension, and of avoiding undue muscular effort.« 

From this point on, you feel the air column opening from the sound source down to your heels. The vibration radiates deep inside, like the recycled water jet gushing and feeding the basin center.

« The air column vibrates and recycles like the water jet at the center of the basin.« 

« This is essentially a way to self-awareness and self-knowledge, a search for the movement from the inside to the outside, from the center to the periphery (…)« 

Do Not Blow It !

You should certainly not blow at this point, because you are already sitting on the air, with full confidence, and you readily play without any blowing noise disturbing the emitted sound : actually, either your tongue is not active, lying still in the back of your mouth, or it moves backwards from the mouthpiece rim to let the reed vibrate. There, you actually sing, using as little air as possible, and making out that actual playing implies no blowing : blowing is not playing, since playing is breathing (think about the French expression, “Souffler n’est pas jouer“), as Joe Allard used to say (see breathing and air).

« In your true sound, which is not worked out yet, you can find all colors, vibrations and overtones : your sound must be lived through, it is not to be worked out. « 

« Finally, years later, I realized the importance of Joe’s exercises and explanations : the “fat“ bottom lip, the abdominal breath, the “e“ position for the back of the tongue, anchor tonguing for the tip and more.

These were guiding principles and once understood, it meant that you were playing the saxophone as intended, as an extension of your voice, not as some separate piece of brass that you fingered. »

And Charlie Parker used to mean that the saxophone should drive the horn player :