Tuesday 21 August 2012
Turning a Soprano on Her Head by Valarie Budayr
As I listen to my student play the same Chopin piano passage over and over again. Each time missing her intended inflection, correct note, or any other goal she was aiming for. Each time the passage is played it reflects a bit more frustration. As she puts it, “It’s getting worse not better.”
“Well it just may be time to turn the soprano on her head.” I said.
Taking her music, I turned it upside down and placed it back on the music stand.
“ Play it . “
“ I couldn’t possibly play this. It doesn’t make any sense. I don’t even think it’s music. This is just crazy. “
“ Go ahead play it. “ I said. “Just let go and don’t make any rules where there aren’t any.”
Hesitantly she started making sense of it when she could. Pretty soon, it began to sound like music, good music really. Beautiful inflections and melody made it’s way out of the upside down manuscript on the music stand with delicate fingers on the piano.
“Wow, that sounds much better than I thought it would. It doesn’t even sound upside down.” She said smiling.
I found it interesting as she continued to play her upside down piece that lost were the frustrations of not living up to her own expectations or the ones she perceived that I had. Gone was the need to be perfect or brilliant. This was just an upside down piece and she would just make the best of it.
After she had finished I turned the music back around the usual way.
“Now try it again.” I said.
There is was, the same delicate fingers playing the most beautiful melody with hues of haunted harmonies. Gone were her expectations, her over thinking, her judgements.
When she finished she felt very satisfied and a reconnection to a composer she greatly loved.
“Is it really that easy? As easy as turning a soprano on her head ?” She asked.
“Yep, it is.”
Whenever I get stuck I just change the perspective to a soprano on her head and the boundaries I’ve built fall down so a re-connection to what I was doing can be made again.
Here’s wishing you many happy and creative moments with a soprano or two on her head.
Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden and The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.