Practice is partly physical training: teaching the body to feel comfortable with the artifice and its intricacy. Ultimately, the playing must seem effortless; all the tension, the strain, the struggle must be dramatized in the music, not in the body. And when I have practiced enough, I no longer have to be aware of every minute finger motion or position of my elbow. Movements mold themselves into phrases, becoming supple and poised. My body’s once uncoordinated parts cohere; the body can be forgotten.
So this is what I must do. I find a teacher, Earl Walton, and learn that in swimming, the head isn’t really lifting up to breathe; actually the body is constantly rotating, swinging around an axis, bringing the mouth above the water to breathe at the same time as the opposing arm drops and thrusts. The body rocks through the water. Breathing becomes effortless because it is an incidental part of the stroke.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I've been having a nice time in New York, but exercise has eluded me for one reason or another - really I will just wait till I am back in Cayman (I fly back early tomorrow morning; that is good!). In the meantime, a very good piece by Edward Rothstein about training for his first triathlon and learning that swimming is like trying to play Chopin (thanks to my mother for the link!):