After refining my Fundamentals Workout Plan over the past week, I found myself pulling out all the old exercises I could find. I opened a folder and pulled out a treasure.
It was sheet of scale exercises I received from Vanessa Breault Mulvey during my summer studying Body Mapping with her. She had written two magic words at the top:
Body Mapping introduced me to Inclusive Awareness, or the idea of introducing a wider scope of awareness that includes the body as a whole, all the senses, and the space surrounding you in all directions.
While practicing orchestral excerpts this week, I did not realize how small my scope of awareness had become until I invited peripheral vision back into my playing. My desire to perfectly play the first few notes of the excerpt led me to focus intensely on the page, and ultimately, I was inconsistent in executing exactly as I wanted to. Frustrating.
Releasing my vision to include the whole page, the whole stand, and the whole room immediately filled me with the comfort of clarity, and the freedom to play as a whole.
Letting go and allowing my eyes to be soft, seeing the ceiling, the floor, and my fingers moving, I was able to trust and produce the desired sound with ease. I was overwhelmed with a sense of confidence during the silence before beginning each excerpt because I was taking in the whole picture, rather than trying to make each part fall into place.
The benefits of peripheral awareness don't end in the practice room. On stage, opening your visual awareness to include the entire space allows you to fully connect with the audience and project with ease.
Are you aware of your scope of vision as you play?
Can you see your fingers moving while you play?
Are your eyes soft or working hard to focus?
Experiment with peripheral vision and tell me about it in the comments below!
As always, I love seeing your own Practice Room Revelations and what's inspiring you throughout the month! Use #practiceroomrevelations and tag me @joleneflute to share!