Joe's Blog

A sense of lack of support

March 17, 2018

At Carl’s* lesson today, he described how he feels as if he runs out of energy by the middle of a piece, sometimes sooner. “I can’t seem to stay with the tempo.” Later in the lesson he said, “I prepare carefully to start the piece but then I feel ‘unsupported’ after I’ve begun.”

I decided to first address his feeling of ‘lack of support.’  I sang expressively along with his playing.  The forward directed movement and energy that I purposefully put into my voice seemed to automatically transfer over to him (he was ‘supported’).  The same result happened when I played along with him, doing the main melody an octave higher.

I said sympathetically that I knew that in his professional life he was constantly helping others, and it seemed unjust that he was unable to transfer that support over to himself.  He said that when he has to actively sustain support of someone on a one-to-one basis, after a while he felt in “danger of loosing himself.”

I suggested that in upcoming lessons we work on ways for him to generate his own support for himself.  Perhaps create his own “Greek chorus” to speak for him and with him in his music.**

**This reminded me of a Double Bassist who played beautifully but with a very introspective sound, as if she did not want anyone else to hear her playing.  I put on a record of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony and gave her the double bass part and asked her to play along with the record.  Suddenly her sound blossomed and reached outwards to the listener.  The 8 or 10 bassists in the Chicago Symphony acted as her Greek Chorus, so that whenever she played she was surrounded by the sound of many others.

*name has been changed to protect privacy

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