If the word for yesterday was inspired, today’s words are ah-ha!

Before I get to that, I have to say, dorm life isn’t all bad. This is a part of college that I never experienced, living at home during undergrad and then upgrading to an apartment and then a house during grad school with a handful of rotating roommates.  After an ant invasion on Day One here at Friley Hall, we were relocated to a bigger, better, ant free bungalow on the 2nd floor. Yes, it is an improvement, however, this room’s AC is pretty intense. I liken it to living somewhere in the Arctic Circle. Last night, I piled two blankets on, and still froze. I’m armed and ready tonight after scoring yet another blanket from a fellow colleague across the hall (Thanks, Susan!) and going down to the ladies room and warming up under the automatic hand dryer. Pretty handy, those things! Pun intended.

Top of the list of great things today was my amazing, eye opening and educational Alexander Technique lesson with the great Jim Brody. Wow. I entered my lesson feeling a little defeated from the constant, day to day dance that I do, working at healing my injuries. Some days it can be a little exhausting but today I felt an overwhelming feeling of hope that not only have I gotten better, I continue to get better, and I am certain I will get on the other side this thing. Soon! Jim gave me a handful of terrific exercises to do daily, to help correct things that have been the way they are for many, many years. I may have entered the lesson feeling a little deflated but I left feeling like I had a spring my step, and like I had a whole new collection of tools with which I can work to refine myself. One of these days I would love to attend his Alexander Technique Summer Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Whatever he’s sellin’, I’m buyin’. Thanks, Jim.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the day. After a lovely walk in the misty rain to Lorry’s, a sweet, little local coffee/tea joint, I parked it in a practice room and got some quality time in. Most university practice rooms are pretty, well, blah. I mean, if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. Not here. This is the view from my room this morning – and actually, this is the view from most of the rooms. Not too shabby, ISU. And p.s., this shot was taken with my iPhone, through a dirty window. Image

Earlier in the day, I had an opportunity to play in a Supervised Teaching session where I played for a room full of my peers, and was given a lesson by a fellow AE colleague, Susan Riggs. We then both received feedback not only from Stephan Caplan, the sponsoring teacher, but also from anyone in the class who wished to give us feedback. I played the 2nd movement of Gaubert’s A Major Sonata, and felt decent about it. After I played, Susan and I spoke about the A-symmetry of the flute, and went right to the heart of the matter; my right arm, specifically the rotation at the gleno-humeral joint and also the rotation at the sterno-clavicular joint. After a minute or so of some micro-movement exercises, I had my “ah-ha moment.” Perhaps in an effort to protect my injured wing, so to speak, I have been doing some protective holding here and as a result, things have gotten a little locked-up. With a renewed awareness of this necessary rotation at the first two arm joints, I played a bit again and noticed a marked difference. Man, do I love body mapping. This stuff really works, my friends! I look forward to addressing these points in practice room #17 tomorrow, along with Jim’s suggestions.

Another highlight of the day was the instrument petting zoo. I decided to attend the cello class because deep down, we all wish we were cellists. It’s true. Ask a dozen musicians who don’t play cello, what instrument they’d choose if they had to do it all over again. Most will say cello. This was a really informative hour of all things cello. Not sure which instrument I will choose tomorrow, although I feel compelled to revisit the violin and take a little trip down memory lane, it may be more useful to try something completely different, something I have zero knowledge of. We shall see …

And finally, Dr. Noa Kageyama, a.k.a., The Bulletproof Musician, gave an AWESOME lecture/workshop this evening. What a great way to end the day. This guy is the real deal. I subscribe to his blog and have to tell you, if you’re a performing artist, and don’t already subscribe, you must. My first introduction with this material was about 14 years ago when Steve and I bought Don Greene’s book “Audition Success” and then subsequently took his Performance Skills Inventory Survey. It was an amazing and very telling survey, and it truly revamped everything we did in preparation for orchestral auditions and major performances. For those of you who don’t know of Don, he is an Olympic Sports Psychologist who also works with students at The Juilliard School. This man is amazing. And, so is Noa. Can’t wait for my lesson with him tomorrow. Thank you, Andover Educators, for inviting Noa Kageyama to join us!

Tomorrow begins with a TaKeTiNa class bright and early. After that, we have the choice of three really terrific workshops; Muscle Tension Dysphonia, The Self Map of a Musician, and The Eight Intentions of Constructive Rest. Our three afternoon choices include a session on Rib Movement in Breathing, Lessons from the Podium: Transitioning from 1 on 1 to Group Instruction, and Communication, Music and Spatial Awareness. Honestly, I wish I had that little time-turner device that Hermione Granger used in “Harry Potter” so that she could attend classes that happened at the same time!

Don’t touch that dial … I’ll be back with more good stuff in 24 hours!