The interface between the practice of forms and combat in tai chi is known as pushing hands – a repetitive two-person exercise. The idea is to build up sensitivity to the shifting weight of the opponent and to use this against them – pretty much as in judo and aikido.
In real life, when the push/strike comes, you parry this to one side and then smite the opponent with
Continue reading Connect 5
…sorry, couldn’t resist that title.
The Periodic Table
For right handed guitarists, that hand is relatively straightforward. The left hand is the complex one due to the multiplicity of techniques required. Within the first few lessons, pupils will have come across the following techniques:
- Press (the string – to make a note)
- Release (the string – to access the open note)
- Relax (the pressure, staying on that string while playing another)
- Re-press (the original finger on its string)
- Plant – (a finger on a note before playing)
- Transfer (pressure to the planted note)
- Lean (on one note, so that another note can stop without all notes coming to an abrupt end)
There are many more to follow * and Continue reading Connect 4
There is a very strong link between the pressure of left hand* notes on the guitar and gravity. The earth’s gravity is a natural phenomenon and gravity on the guitar a fabricated one – but necessary. If we mismanage natural gravity we stumble. If we mismanage gravity on the guitar, Continue reading Connect 3
Axis of Accuracy
A left hand position change on the guitar involves a horizontal shift – hopefully moving along the string*. Crossing strings involves a vertical move of one left hand finger. Often the two coincide – sometimes over quite a large distance.
To avoid dizzying uncertainty Continue reading Connect 2
The Field of Play
Thinking about the element of connectedness at the heart of extreme learning has encouraged me to reflect upon the multidisciplinary approach which can be helpful in instrumental teaching. Essential might be a better word as, when dealing with an abstract language such as music, connections to more Continue reading Connect 1
I have always thought it essential to keep in tune with the beginner’s mind experienced by our pupils. This is not straightforward. Although I can claim to know what they are going through, I can’t truly feel it. I need another field in which to experience not being in control of the speed of things or being unable to see the underlying structure of the subject. A reminder of the unrest that such feelings can cause is not readily available to me on an instrument I have played for 35 years.
So, I have decided to try to learn to speak Polish. I know nothing of Slavic languages and so the beginner’s mind element should be present. It may also prove helpful one day as well as being an enjoyable challenge.
In this season of reporting, the word technique features extensively and there are two points worth considering:
- what do we mean by technique?
- technique is the servant of expression
At some point in everyone’s life it is pointed out to them that educere has more to do with bringing things out in people than putting them in. The same is true of technique. This does not mean that I think everyone is a born guitarist but rather that the movements required are very natural. I would contend that Continue reading Only An Expression
Mentioning the music/maths connection yesterday, put me in mind of the claims that tuition in music has knock-on effects across the curriculum. Many studies have been carried out on the effect of music on
cognitive development ;
Certainly, its no surprise to see pupils carving a path through the orchestra seats and up to the stage to receive a mini-library at prizegivings.
I’d like to flag up an interesting listening event this Thursday (25th May) on Radio 4. Melvyn Bragg and his guests on Radio 4s In Our Time will be discussing the science of mathematics as applied to music. Continue reading Sum Enchanted Evening