Blog of the Week: Two Things You Should Be Clear About Each Moment You Begin To Play

Originally published October 11, 2015 by Bill Plake

One of the things I emphasize when I’m coaching a musician is the importance of regularly redirecting  thought whenever practicing or performing. It is this “redirecting” process that is an essential element of constructive change.

It is quite easy to fall into an autopilot frame of mind when spending any length of time with your instrument, letting yourself run on unconscious habit. Yet whenever this happens, you’re missing out on opportunities for improvement.

Each time you start a phrase, or even just begin to play a single note, you will have the greatest chance for success if you affirm and clarify two things in your consciousness:

  1. Intention
  2. Direction

Both of these are things that you wish for,  things that you would like to have as you play.

Let’s start with intention. The way I define it, your intention is simply what you’d like to have happen musically.

Now, to be clear, intention has nothing to do with the mechanical aspects of executing the music, and has everything to do with how you imagine the music.

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