Zen and the Art of Returning to Practice

It is September! A new season beckons, full of plans as well as many unscheduled surprises! The feeling of "back-to-school" permeates the air, and in spite of the implied work, it is somehow invigorating!

A rather Zen-style tactic that I find helpful after some rest is to focus not on the audible results of my playing straight away, but rather to disconnect from the goal and focus on the elements that will help me to arrive at that goal: good posture and body use, relaxed breathing, generous blowing, making corrections to any errors encountered with a low-stress attitude, and connecting to the pleasure of music-making through improvisation or sight-reading. Even while gradually adding in the "menu" of required exercises, studies or pieces, this Zen attitude can be encouraged and you may be surprised by…the results!

Here's a photo to remind us of the joy and wonder of making music!

 "What is making that noise?"

"What is making that noise?"