The LearningMethods Library
Back to the Music
Go for what you want instead of avoiding what you don't
By David Gorman
Copyright (c) 2008 David Gorman,
all rights reserved world-wide
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NOTE: This is a narration of a session
that took place during a 4-day LearningMethods workshop.
The names of the people as well as some of the details have
been changed in consideration of everyone's privacy.
I have slightly edited the flow of
the spoken words to improve readability. Here and there,
I have added some explanations of the LearningMethods work
and its tools which the participants had received at earlier
points in the workshop. Aside from these edits, this article
is almost verbatim from the actual session.
As such it is a long article, though,
if you stick with it you'll share both the process and the
profound discoveries this student made. As you read
through the whole piece you'll get a good idea of the actual
arc of a LearningMethods session — from the initial lack
of clarity during the beginning explorations, to finding
the clues that begin to pin it down, through to the investigation
zeroing in on the heart of the issue.
Remember too, as you read, that the
whole session only took just over an hour from start to
A professional trumpet player, band director,
and university music teacher wanted to work on an issue about
breathing. We started off by having her describe the situation.
Well, I am a trumpet player and I wanted to bring up something
about breathing. I tend to do chamber work a lot which is much
different from orchestral stuff, but recently I've been doing
some orchestral playing. My early training was with a point-and-shout
teacher: "You do this, and you do it my way".
Excuse me, what did you call that teacher?
A "point-and-shout teacher".
"Point-and-shout"! That's good! Hey, I know some of
[laughter... Me too...]
So, I actually had these two people who I respected, or thought
I respected, who were telling me different things about breathing
in seventh grade. I dealt with it by trying to make them both
happy. When I was in Mr. Hollerin's presence I would do his
breathing thing, and when I was in Mr. Insen's presence I would
do his breathing thing. And, I would just go, "Well, it
can't be that important. You know, these two people have two
different things, they gotta be wrong." [laughter...]
A seventh grade kind of thing…
So, what they were telling me had to do with
where I would breathe. I actually ran into Mr. Insen later and
we talked about it, and he said, "Well, I was afraid to touch
you". Because with breathing, you have to touch someone to find
out. Mr. Hollerin wasn't afraid of anything… so this was about
where I would breathe, and you know, this was about 30 years
ago and I'm still dealing with it. I've never been sure whether
I'm breathing right.
So, now as I am trying to play more orchestrally
I can see that my lack of understanding about how I breathe
on this instrument is coming back, because orchestral playing
needs a much stronger, much fuller type of breathing than generally
in my chamber work.
What I feel is that I don't have the control
over my breathing in orchestral playing in the same way that
I have control over it in a chamber situation. In a chamber
situation, if there's five other brass players, or if I'm playing
a solo with an accompaniment, then I feel I have control over
it. In an orchestral situation, I feel that someone else has
control over it and I have to fulfill that expectation, and
I don't feel that my breath control — that what is coming out
of the instrument — would meet the expectation. And this goes
back to how I am calling on the air and the breath work I spoke
There was a possible pathway of exploration here about the expectations
she feels from others and her sense that she has to fulfil those
expectations coupled with her suspicion that she would not be
able to meet them. However, since she stated she wished to work
on something to do with breathing, I chose not to go down that
road at this moment, though she does want to address it another
time. As we will see here, the path we did take also led to
some important insights regarding what was really going on with
her breathing and tension, as well as leading to huge changes
for her in the freedom of her playing.
So, just to clarify again, you said that there are different
demands on you in the orchestral work, and these different demands
have something to do with the number of people you are playing
Right… …and the type of musical literature, but definitely the
number of people…
Again, just a clarifying question here, what is the actual difference
in numbers of people between your chamber and orchestral work?
Well, in my quintet, which is my main form of musical playing,
there are five of us. But I'm also playing in two different
orchestras. One has a full wind section, that's about 20 people,
and the other orchestra has maybe 12 wind players. The larger
orchestra also has about 24 strings, so there's a lot more to
In the smaller orchestra they've asked me
to play first [trumpet]. In the larger orchestra I'm
just a substitute. I come in when they need another part or
I'm a substitute first [trumpet]. And, unfortunately,
the director of the smaller orchestra has a tendency to stop
listening to passages. He won't talk to the wind players about
what they're doing unless you go up and ask him. I've been pretty
proactive to go and ask him what he wants, and because of that
he's been willing to talk to me, but I have to go up and pull
it out of him, which I don't mind.
So, I will play and not really get a sense
of whether I am doing what I need to do. I'm not getting feedback
the way I would like to have, and the music is a lot of classical
period stuff so it's not really brass intensive. Sometimes I'm
doubling a timpani, that sort of thing, as opposed to being
a solo line in a chamber group or a supporting line.
So there is a different demand or need here in orchestral playing
and you feel there needs to be a different sort of breathing?
Well, I'm more aware of the breathing in the orchestral situation
because the sound is more sustained and so any type of poor
control is going to be obvious. If I'm playing a lot of fast
notes it might not be so obvious, because the technique is taking
over. I know that I'm probably not breathing as well in my quintet
as I should be — as I need to be and as I want to be — but I
notice it more in the orchestral playing.
So I'd like to get a handle on the breathing,
I think that will help me in my orchestral situation and help
me in my chamber and solo stuff as well.
Okay, that last statement seems to sum up what you are after
here. Let's see how it plays out as we begin to explore it.
We have some information already here which
shows you are noticing certain symptoms, or certain things,
about your breathing — and do tell me if I'm not hearing you
accurately — that your breathing is not working quite as well
as you would like and that this happens more in the orchestral
playing than in your chamber playing, plus, of course, that
you would like to change this for the better.
So here's another question to get out on
the table as much as possible. In those situations in the orchestra,
or for that matter in those situations in your quintet, are
you already doing anything with your breathing to change things
for the better? That is, is there some sort of breathing technique
that you are up to already?
Yes, just recently someone gave me some instruction from a book
by someone who has some breathing exercises. But when I do the
exercises, the doubt comes in. I read the book, I went up on
the Internet and googled him, but the doubt is, "Am I doing
this accurately? Am I doing what I physically need to do?"
Because I don't feel the results that I want. I don't feel that
I have the power that I need in an orchestral situation. And
I often feel that I don't have the control to sustain things
the way I want to.
These exercises, are they something that you are doing while
you're playing or before you play?
They're warm-up exercises.
And you have been doing these exercises recently?
It's good to have this out on the table, and it may turn out
to be relevant but we still haven't quite got the full answer
to a previous question, so let me rephrase it. When you are
actually playing, are you going about any kind of breathing
Here's a process comment… If you were doing this investigation
on your own, this is also something you'd want to be asking
yourself: when you notice that you are feeling something going
on with your breathing are you then, as a consequence, trying
to do something about your breathing while you are playing?
I would like to get to
the point where I'm
not focusing on the
breathing while I'm
playing, I want to be
focusing on the music
When I am sustaining something, if I have an eighth measure,
you know a whole note type measure then, yeah, I'm thinking
about the sound coming out, I am dissatisfied with the sound
that's coming out.
You know, I would like to get to the point
where I'm not focusing on the breathing while I'm playing, I
want to be focusing on the music. And maybe that is getting
in the way of it, but I don't want my musical experience to
be breathing, that I'm breathing this way or that way.
So then does this mean that you are focusing on your
breathing? This question is just to get things as accurate as
In the orchestral situation, yes, very much so.
And to be even more clear, is that focusing on your breathing
because you actually notice something about your breathing,
or is that focusing on your breathing because you're trying
to get it to do something that you want it to do?
Yes, the first one, because I notice it's not doing what I want
it to do. So I don't think I'm doing something to my breathing,
but I feel that I need to.
But you're not actually doing anything...?
I'm trying to, trying to listen to what's coming out of the
instrument. Maybe I'm not answering this well...
It's not that, we're taking the time here to be as clear as
possible, and if you were doing this on your own you'd want
to be making sure that you were being as accurate as possible.
That is, we're now seeing if we can accurately ascertain whether
you are just noticing something about your breathing — even
if you do feel that you need to do something about it — or whether
you are, in fact, actually doing something about it.
I am noticing it in my playing, I'm noticing that I don't have
the power and my perception is that it goes back to my breathing.
And I'm noticing this when I'm playing in the orchestral situation
because there's less to deal with technically, and I am trying
to get it to sound the way I want it to sound, and I guess I
would have to say that's going back to my breathing.
I'm trying to stay more relaxed and let the
air do what it should do.
Well, when you find yourself "trying to relax" in playing does
that mean you've been noticing that you're not relaxed?
I'm trying to relax my body so that the air can do what it needs
Here we have what
I've come to call
a "code phrase"...
Okay, we may need to explore that a bit more to get a clear
answer, but it does sound like you are saying that you are noticing
something in your playing, and you are interpreting that this
has something to do with your breathing and then you are trying
to stay more relaxed.
Here we have what I have come to call a
code phrase: "trying to stay more relaxed",
and "trying to relax my body". What exactly does that
"trying to stay more relaxed" mean?
But just before you answer that, let me explain
a little bit about what a code word or code phrase
is. When you're investigating an issue you have you will, of
course, be describing in your own terms what is happening. If
you pay close attention to what you hear yourself saying, hopefully
you'll notice yourself using some familiar-sounding words or
phrases that you use as a kind of short form to describe a collection
of actual details of your experience or some actual sequence
of activities you do — in this case the phrase is "trying
Years ago, when you first ran into this bad
sound experience you were probably in touch with the all details
of that experience and what you started to do to deal with it.
But after going through it a few times, it is natural for you
to think of it as one whole phenomenon and find yourself giving
it a name or a term that encapsulates it for you — "trying
to relax". That is, you have encoded all the details of
your feeling, thinking and actions in that short catch-all name.
Gradually, you end up using the name or code more and more as
a short form in your own thinking and so you can end up less
and less in touch with the actual details that are being referred
Normally, of course, using this kind of coding
is perfectly adequate in daily life since we know, more or less,
what we are referring to and there is no problem. That's why
we do it — it works in daily life.
But, when you are investigating an issue
and these code words or code phrases pop up, you'll want to
recognize that you've stumbled over one of them so that you
can look under it and see what it is actually referring to.
Only then will you know whether the details you find are relevant
to the issue you are exploring.
So, let's do that here as a bit of practice
and see what we find.
The question was about when you are playing
and you notice that you don't have enough power, what exactly
do you start doing when you are "trying to stay more relaxed"?
What exactly is going on under that phrase? Or to put it differently,
precisely how do you "try to stay relaxed"?
I feel a tension, particularly in my shoulders and I want to
make sure that they are not carrying tension so I drop the shoulders,
plus I want to make sure that the posture is alert, but not
rigid and not sluggish.
Does this mean then that as you get into the playing you start
to become aware of some tension?
And then you are trying to relax it?
Even while you are in the middle of playing.
This is what I meant by finding what is under a "code phrase".
Once we unpack it, we get a lot more detail than just "trying
Notice that already in the first few questions
we are uncovering lots of detail under the phrase about what
sort of relaxing you are trying to do. It isn't just a vague
and generic "trying to relax" as the code phrase suggests.
It's not, for instance, a "chant-a-mantra" kind of relaxing,
or "drink-a-double-whiskey" kind of relaxing. It is a "drop-my-shoulders"
kind of relaxing.
The code phrase includes that you first notice
that there's a tension. In fact, you even notice where the tension
is — in your shoulders.
It also includes that you have some criteria
— you want to make sure your shoulders are not carrying tension.
And it includes some actions you think are appropriate — to
drop your shoulders (this is presumably the "trying to relax"
In addition, it also seems to be connected
to some other criteria to make sure that your posture is alert,
not rigid, and so on.
Since you are "trying to stay more
relaxed", the code phrase also includes that you are probably
assessing as you are going along how well you are doing — not
relaxed yet, still trying, etc…
So there's a lot of specific detail in there
under that code phrase. Now you can look at all this information
out on the table and say: "Ah, so this is what I'm doing under
the name of 'trying to relax'. These are all the things
that I'm actually up to, which over time I have come to encapsulate
in that simple shorthand phrase."
Or to look at it the other way around, only
when you get all that detail out there can you look at it and
begin to call any of it into question: "Is it what I think it
is? Am I being accurate here? Do all these things happen in
the order I think they do? Is my "trying to relax" strategy
actually working — do I actually get relaxed?..."
So, now that we do have all this material
out on the table, let's begin to look at it closely and call
it into question. We can begin with that first part of the situation
which appears to start when you notice a tension.
Notice that it sounds like you're saying
— and to make sure we are being accurate here, I will ask this
as a question — that you notice the tension first, or something
in your playing first, and then you interpret this as having
something to do with your shoulders and breathing which is getting
in the way, and then you start your trying to relax it. Is this
Yes, I think that this is what is happening.
So, it seems that much of the issue you are raising here about
a need to control your breathing while playing only comes up
because of how the tension is interfering…
I think I'm misunderstanding your terms here, because breath
control is so important to my instrument…
Exactly. And does being tense help you…?
If you find that you're getting tense while you're playing,
is that interfering with your breathing and your playing?
We can use a tool
here which I call
Okay, we can use a tool here I call "contrast moments".
As human beings we are very good at noticing contrasts or differences
so one very easy and direct question is to ask yourself, "Are
there any times when I don't have the tension while I am playing?"
This is a real question, so there may or may not be.
Well, I think there are, but, of course, I tend to notice the
times when I do have the tension, so I would say there are times
when I'm not tense because there are times when I don't notice
it… so, yes, there are times.
Before we proceed, let's step into a process moment
about the tools of doing this for yourself. When you ask yourself
a question like this about your past experiences you may or
may not find that you have answers right now. But that doesn't
matter because even if you don't, you'll be able to get answers
in the future. Now that you know what you are looking for, the
next time you play your instrument and ask yourself, "was
I tense or not?", if you found that there were times when
you are not tense you could look at those moments and get whatever
information was there.
But, since you think you already have moments
when you're not tense we can go directly to see what information
you might already have. So, between those two types of moment
— when you do get tense and the moments when you're not tense
— is there a difference in what is going on that might give
you some clues as to why you're getting tense in some moments
and not in others?
Yeah. I notice the tension most when things are not going the
way I want them to. So, for instance, when I'm playing with
the orchestra and I don't like what's coming out of my instrument
because it feels tense, it feels tight, it feels weak…
Just be clear, what's the "it" that you're speaking of when
you say "it feels tight or weak"?
The sound; the sound that's coming out of my instrument, the
tone quality. So I notice the tension and I don't like what
I hear. So, I know the tension has been there beforehand… it
doesn't happen just like this [she snaps fingers]…
Well, it's probably a feeling loop in that I hear that…
Did you hear the red-flag word there?
Probably…? Okay, it is a feeling loop…
Well, it may or may not be, but you really would want to look
closely to see whether it really was or not. That's the point
of running up that little red-flag when you hear words like
that — to wake yourself up enough to register that you just
said "it's probably" something. If you hear this and register
that the "probably" in there signifies that you're not sure
if it is or if it isn't, then you can look at it more closely
to find out.
Well, when I do look at it now, I know it is a feeling
loop because it sounds bad and that causes tension that I then
have to deal with.
We can use another tool
here — "doing a sequence"
Now we are zeroing right in on the moment that the tension and
sound happen, so at this point it gets very important that we
are accurate. We can use another tool here which would help
us do that — a tool that I've come to call "doing a sequence".
By the way, it would also be appropriate
to do a sequence if the situation was slightly different than
it is, that is, if you'd caught the red-flag word — probably
(or possibly, maybe, could be, might be) — and realized that
you were not really sure if it was or wasn't. Then doing a sequence
to investigate more deeply would help you find out.
But in either case, how does one do a sequence?
Well, you need to track through what was going on strictly in
sequence, moment to moment to moment, to really see exactly
how things do happen. Let's do that now and you'll get a feeling
for how to go about it on your own.
So, there you are. You're playing your trumpet
and you begin to notice that the sound is not what you want
it — it sounds tight or weak. That's the first thing that happens
but in that very first moment it seems that the tension isn't
there yet. Is that accurate?
Umm… No. Hmmmmm… I have to think this through…
Good. Take your time and be careful so we get as accurate a
sequence is possible about what happens and in what order it
Okay, can you ask me that question again?
Yes. You begin the sequence with the very first thing you notice
that alerts you that it's one of those moments again. So what's
the very first thing you notice?
A tension in the sound.
So you're noticing something isn't quite what you would like
in your sound?
Well, it depends on where I am. If I'm at home just practicing
privately, I can stop and adjust… physically. This isn't sounding
how I wanted to sound, so I put my horn down and take a big
breath and consciously relax.
So you are already tense then?
Yeah. I think that for me the sound is a reflection of what's
inside of me. If my sound is tense or my sound is tight, I know
that I'm tense.
This is a really important moment because what you just said
sounds like an interpretation of what is happening and we want
to check out if that is really what's going on. This is one
of the reasons why we want to do a sequence and make sure it
is very systematically and rigorously carried out.
Let me paint several scenarios here, and
I could be getting ahead of myself relative to what has already
come out on the table, but for the purposes of making clearer
the use of the tool, I'll take a chance and go ahead.
Scenario one, is that as we explore this
it could turn out that you heard your sound and didn't like
it and then got upset about that, and the physical tension only
came after your reaction to not liking the sound. Of course,
that would only be true if our systematic exploration in the
sequence revealed that this is what actually happens.
Scenario two, which sounds a bit more like
what you're saying, is that you notice the tight or tense sound
and then you notice that you are physically tense, and the physical
tension is what makes the tight or tense sound and they go together,
but you don't notice the physical tension first just how it
shows up in your sound.
That's how I see it. And what you're saying in the first one,
that's where the feeling loop happens. If I'm in a rehearsal
or a performance and I hear that I don't like what's coming
out of my instrument, my reaction is, I know that the sound
is that way because of the tension in my body. But if I can't
stop and regroup then it causes more tension.
So, you have a bit of reaction in that moment and then get more
tension because of the reaction?
Because, if so, that would be important to know. Does it make
sense to all of you listening that things could happen that
way? That people could work like that, getting tense because
of their reaction to a sound they don't like…?
So there you are playing — let's assume that
you're in a performance situation here — and you hear the sound
is tense or tight. According to your interpretation this means
that you have probably already become tense which is why you
hear it in the sound, but then in reaction to the bad sound
you end up getting even more tense.
Let's carry on with our sequence and see
if this is actually what happens. You are in a performance situation
and you notice the tight or tense sound, and as you notice the
tight or tense sound are you just assuming that you are already
tense or are you actually feeling tense?
Am I tense right when I hear it? No, not always.
So the "tension" or tightness is still just in the sound so
far and not actually a physical feeling of tension. But then
as you react to the bad sound do you then feel the tension?
And then what happens next?
It depends on where I'm going. I do consciously try to relax
at that point.
So that's the point when you would do your "trying to relax"?
And does it work when you do the "trying to relax"?
Some of the time? All of the time? None of the time? That is,
how successful is your "trying to relax"?
Sometimes. Again it depends on the situation.
And in those "sometimes" does that fix everything up? You're
no longer tense, and the sound has changed?
Sometimes, if I can bring myself to relax, yes. If I can't,
So this is kind of an interesting sequence, at least as far
as we have come so far… It appears that in the very first moments
you don't notice any physical feelings of tension, you just
notice the "tension" in the sound. But is also seems that you
assume that you are physically tense and this is what
is causing the tight sound. And I say "assume" here since so
far we haven't yet found a moment in our sequence where you
are actually feeling physically tense.
It can happen that I'm physically tense, but that doesn't happen
often. Usually only if I walk into a situation where there's
a lot of tension and I'm getting tense, then I can go, "oh
yeah, there it is". But that doesn't happen very often,
not as much as what we've just been talking about.
But we do have out on the table this added wrinkle where you
react to the bad sound which causes even more tension and then
you definitely feel it, and you try to relax the tension. Is
As a strategy, you could keep on doing your "trying to relax"
and hope it works, though it sounds like it only works sometimes
or only works to some degree.
However, from what is out on the table it
sounds like we have two moments in here. One is the moment of
reacting after you hear the bad sound and that reacting appears
to make the tension and/or playing worse. We could ask if there
is something you could do in or around that moment in order
not to react so that the tension wouldn't get worse. That might
be worth looking at.
But, there's still this preceding moment
we are exploring in the sequence about whether you got tense
in the first place. According to your current interpretation,
this is the moment where you've already become tense though
you do not normally feel it in yourself but rather you hear
it in your sound. Remember, we still have this contrast moment
where there are some times you get tense and some times that
you don't. And the main contrast between the two moments that
popped out is when your sound isn't quite what you would like.
And your interpretation is that somehow you've already become
tense and that's why your sound is not going the way that you
like. So perhaps, to be as systematic as possible, we can look
at it from the other side for a moment — at those times when
your sound is going the way you do like. What's going on at
Just to keep everybody on the page here with
our process, we're keeping it focused around that moment of
the bad sound, the moment of getting tense.
I suspect at some point here we may need
to get a little more detailed in our sequence about the tension
and trying to relax moments, but for now we can jump for a moment
and use the sequence tool to explore that contrast moment we
started to open up earlier.
So the question is at those times when you
don't hear anything bad in your sound — when all is
going well and you have not become tense — what's going
on at those moments?
When I'm playing what
I want to play — there's
a wholeness of mind and
body that's happening.
What I think, and maybe I can't answer this from the right spot,
but I think that when I'm hearing what I want — when I'm playing
what I want to play — there's a wholeness to what's happening,
a wholeness of mind and body that's happening, because what
I want and what I'm getting are the same.
But I think that when what I want and what
I'm getting are different, that's when I think, okay, there's
And it could be... Hmmm... I noticed that
red-flag word there: "could be".
[Thinks for a moment...] Now looking
at it, the question for me is: "When is that break that the
tension causes, when does it happen? Does it happen because
of the tension? Does it happen because I noticed it and came
in? Does the tension happen because I'm not getting what I want
and I hear it? Or is the tension there to start the process?
Does that make sense?
Yes indeed, and it's a very important set of questions. This
is what I mean by calling into question the information and
experiences which you get out onto the table.
It would be very helpful if you could find
an answer, since each of those alternative possibilities you've
posed are actually different situations — if it's one of them
then it's not the others.
But notice that one thing at least that does
seem to be happening is that once the tension comes in, and/or
the sound isn't what you want, you tend to get more caught in
it all and start to do things — so-called good things like "relaxing
your body", "dropping your shoulders" — and therefore
are definitely not in that state of wholeness.
While on the other hand, interestingly enough,
when everything is going well you are in that
state of wholeness — mind and body, you and the music.
Then wherever it comes from, something breaks
that apart and you are not in that wholeness anymore. You are
instead definitely engaged in things that are not about wholeness
— you are relaxing parts and so on — all done in the hopes of
getting back to the wholeness and good sound.
And we have the interesting situation which is that when everything
is going well you say you are whole. That is, in the times with
no problem when everything is going well you don't have any
of those details. As you just said you're not so aware of the
times when you don't have the tension or the bad sound because
there's no bad sound or tension to wake you up. You are not
aware of any wonderful non-tense feeling in your shoulders,
mostly because you're so whole you don't even have separate
parts called shoulders.
There is something quite important here.
Your own system, your own perceptions, are telling you that
when things are working well you are whole. That is, wholeness
goes together with working well. On the other hand, parts seemed
to go with moments when things are not working well.
And if we take in the implications of this, notice an odd thing.
When things start not working well, you begin to notice parts
— things about the music, things about your body, or breathing,
or shoulders, but then it seems that what you do is to proceed
to get more into parts — with all the best intentions,
of course. You actually start to actively do things
with parts — relax your body, take a big breath, drop your shoulders,
and so on.
Notice that you begin to adopt a means of
working with or manipulating parts in order to gain the end
of becoming whole… Usually this only works sometimes, and often
doesn't work very well, but you keep on doing it.
Notice how easy it is when you operate that
way to not take in that your strategy isn't working tremendously
well, and rather than questioning why it isn't working you seem
to just keep on trying to get better at it.
At moments like this we are missing the fact
that the symptom, your tense shoulders for instance, are always
part of an entire whole-body pattern of functioning of which
the symptom is simply the part that you notice. However, because
you do notice something negative in one area of that entire
pattern, it seems to make sense to you (and most everyone else)
to try to make a change in just that part of the pattern.
In the meantime, you're missing the significance
of the fact that when things are working well you're in a state
of wholeness — there are no parts.
In other words, if you do take this in, it
opens up another possibility for meeting those moments. It allows
you to see a fork in the road and take a different pathway than
you usually would at those moments.
Now, which moments, we can ask here? And
the answer is that your own experience shows you that you are
already aware of the earliest possible moment when you could
make a different choice — that first moment when you notice
that the sound isn't what you want.
Normally it seems, unfortunately as far as
we been able to tell so far, that you often meet that first
moment with a bit of a reaction.
… which appears to actually make the tension and/or sound worse
… whereupon you do actually notice it more, and want to do something
to relax and get rid of it. There are some big implications
of there being no parts in wholeness which we'll return to in
a moment, but to give you a bit more experience at using these
tools, let's just store for future use everything we've gained
so far from exploring the contrast moment. Instead we can go
back to looking closely at a specific moment in the sequence
in the moment of the reaction to hearing the tight sound.
It may seem like we're popping around a little
bit in and out of various routines, that we are switching various
tools, and it's true, we are. But this is often what exploring
a piece of work is like, especially when you're doing it yourself
on your own and don't have any idea where it's leading. You
just need to follow the threads as they come up, hopefully as
systematically and thoroughly as you can. And systematically
and thoroughly means keeping track of what thread you're on
and where it's leading, as well as which other ones you were
on so that you can find your way back to them when you're finished
exploring your current pathway.
As I said yesterday, many people find that
it can be very helpful when they are exploring their own issues
on their own to write it all down so they don't forget things
and don't lose track of where they are. If you do write things
down it also means you can easily come back to it later if you
don't have time to fully explore the issue right now.
So at this moment here we are making a choice
to park for a moment the possibility of a new way of approaching
that moment of the bad sound, and instead we'll finish our sequence
and explore a little more fully what normally happens before
we start looking at what we could do differently.
You said that when you hear the bad sound
you have a reaction to it. "Reaction" is another codeword
here. What exactly is it that is going on there under the name
"reaction" when you hear a sound that you don't like.
Okay, well intellectually I hear it, I hear, "Unnnggh, tight".
I hear the sound and it's not open, it's not free. And then,
"Unnnggh", you know, I go, "okay, okay", and
I look, as it were into my body and I can feel the tension,
I can feel, "Unnnggh, the breathing feels constricted".
So the first thing I notice, for lack of a better word, is I
feel disappointed. "Oh, damn, I have to deal with
it." So I have to come in and deal with it.
And it's not a consistent reaction. I can
just... It can just change, depending on what's going on… musically.
I can just, by noticing it, my reaction will fix it. I noticed
the sound is not what I want, and it just goes where I want
it to go.
Which is where?
A big, free, open sound.
Okay. And where are you then when this big free open
sound goes where you want it to go? When "it" goes, where do
Back into the music. I'm happy, I hear it. It's not there anymore,
the sound is opened, the tension is gone, and I get back to
the music. My brain can go back to playing the music.
The problem comes when I hear it … you're smiling…
when I hear it and the reaction is to tense up, and I go with
the tension rather than going with the music, and the pitch
goes up and the tone constricts and my fingers slow down and
I can't wait for that rest to come up so I can breathe and get
rid of this feeling.
Why I'm smiling is because we now have all this information
out on the table and I think it shows a lot… so let's take a
moment to look it over carefully to appreciate the significance
of it all.
Notice the way that you have expressed things:
"The sound" is tight and constricted, and probably
that means I am also "a bit tense." And sometimes when
the sound gets tight you go one way toward reaction and more
tension which leads to you trying to relax and all the other
stuff. But sometimes it goes another way, seemingly "all by
itself" where the "it" — the sound — opens out and becomes free
and coincidentally then you find yourself back in the music
and in wholeness.
Just notice that the way you are phrasing
it, which presumably is also how you are thinking of it, is
that here is this thing called "the sound" which can become
tight and weak or open and free, and is somehow connected with
your state of being tense or being whole. Almost as if these
are two different things — the sound goes tight which you think
is because of your body tightness so you try to relax your body
to change the sound. Or the sound goes tight and then the sound
opens and somehow your tension is gone and you are back in the
Being in the music,
being free and open,
and having the sound
open and free, all go
Notice that in those times when you are in the music and have
this freedom in yourself and the sound, all these go together
— being in the music, being free and open and having the sound
open and free all go together.
Then, out of the blue, you notice something
bad about the sound, but suddenly "it" goes back out to being
open and free and you are back with the music and freedom and
wholeness. If I re-phrase this what it seems you are actually
saying is that in those times you have gone back out
to the music. You have opened. Well, opened to what?
Opened to the music. You are free. Well, free from
what? And free to do what? Free from reaction and details of
shoulders and relaxing and breathing… And free to just play
again in the music.
And, of course, you are whole since
you are just there, back with your whole self and back with
the music in the present moment rather than hooking onto parts
like shoulders and breathing assuming they are already tense
and trying to relax them to make them better later.
As you put it, your brain can go back to
playing the music… instead of being so busy with everything
else. But it isn't so much your brain that is going back to
playing music — you are going back to playing music,
back to focusing on the music which is what you said you want
to do instead of focusing on the breathing… And, of course,
the sound changes too when you are back in the music, open and
But then there are those other times when
the sound gets tight and you get a more caught in it. You have
a reaction and disappointment and anticipation of difficulty
— "Unnnggh, damn, now I have to deal with it" — which
takes you more away from the music and away from the moment.
Which makes you less whole and free and so you notice more about
the physical. Which sucks you into shoulders and body and breathing
and trying to relax. Instead of playing the music, you are now
playing your shoulders and your breathing.
Whether all this time spent trying to relax
actually changes anything in the moment seems to be rather hit
and miss, but one thing it does seem to do is to reinforce this
separation between the sound and your body and you. That is,
it reinforces your idea and your experience that something about
body has interfered with sound and thus you have to do something
about body to get sound working again. And since this doesn't
work all that well, it also reinforces that it is difficult
and you need to learn more breath-control or more about relaxing
Now also notice the significance of those other times when you
say "it" just opens and frees and becomes big and you find yourself
back in the music and wholeness. From the way you said it, it
appears that those are not things you've chosen to do. Instead,
they are things that have happened to you.
And, it appears that what happens is that right away you simply
end up right back out into the music and your sound comes back,
big and open and free. You haven't reacted to the sound, you
haven't become more tense, you haven't gone in to try to relax
it all… you just went directly to what you want.
Now that is kind of interesting when you
think about it.
Plus, we could ask another question about that contrast moment.
In those moments when you notice that the sound is not what
you want and you just go right back to the music, does the bad
sound seem as problematic as the bad sound at the moments when
you react and get caught in trying to relax?
No, not at all. I barely notice the sound has gone off when
it is returning back to what I want.
That too is kind of interesting when you think about it, eh?
Yes, it is…
You haven't so far, at least, been choosing a response of immediately
going back to the music when you notice your sound get tight,
you've just found that it happens… sometimes. However, when
it does happen notice that it appears to be both quicker and
better, that is, more successful. There is less stuff to do
and it gets you back to what you want more easily compared to
what we saw happens when you go into your other more habitual
way where you react to the moment, feel the tension of your
reaction and then get more caught up trying to do something
about the reaction to the reaction.
There is that old nursery song that you may
know, about the old lady who swallowed a fly. Then she swallowed
a spider to catch the fly and it wriggled and squiggled inside
her, so she swallowed a bird to catch the spider, and then swallowed
a cat to catch the bird, and so on and on…
Whoever wrote that knew what they were talking
about. When you operate that way you end up with layer upon
layer of things to do, everything gets more and complex and
difficult, and the problem gets bigger and bigger. The worst
part of it all is that it draws your attention away from the
music into all that fiddling with things. Things, notice, that
do not normally need any attention at all.
Whoever wrote that knew what they were talking
about. When you operate that way you end up with layer upon
layer of things to do, everything gets more and complex and
difficult, and it draws your attention away from the music into
all that fiddling with things. Things, notice, that do not normally
need any attention at all.
It is, literally, taking you directly in
the opposite direction from what you want.
So, up to now, you didn't choose to take
this other quicker and better pathway, but if you are quite
clear what does occur when it happens, what if you were able
to choose that path?
[To everyone…] Just to
go back to a process moment again with what we have been doing
in this piece of work. We have been using various of the LearningMethods
tools here to investigate what is happening in those moments
when Mila noticed the problem. These tools allow us to get a
lot of information out on the table that she was not so in touch
with before. Sometimes we had to be willing to take time to
investigate closely to pry out the details and really find out
what Mila noticed and what she didn't and in what order she
things happened. But it was time that was necessary in order
to be accurate about what is going on and to make sense out
of it all.
As a result our investigations focused a
light on specific moments and illuminated a previously unnoticed
fork in the road. Normally Mila sees things in a way that steers
her down one path, and though it doesn't work very well she
hasn't see any other way. And it appears neither have the people
she has gone to for help.
However, now with the clarity of information
we have uncovered she can see that there is another possible
way to go if she uses her new point of view to recognize that
she is at a fork in the road with new possibilities. And if
she can meet that moment in a different way than she normally
does, she can take that other pathway.
By the way, Mila, this is not a brand new
path we just made up as a solution for you. It is a path that
our investigation showed that you had already gone down often
enough before. It was just that you had not been seeing that
experience as a path you could actually choose. In a sense you
have been doing it already but just didn't know it was you doing
it. It isn't so much an "it" or the sound that opens out and
becomes free; it is "you" who doesn't react or try to change
anything in your system and who goes back to the music so you
become open and free.
Interestingly, your interpretation that when
something goes off in your sound it means that you've gone off
too is actually accurate. You have gone too, because you and
your sound are one functioning entity not two separate causally-related
different things. And if you don't get caught up in seeing them
as if they were separate you can just as quickly and directly
go back to the wholeness.
After all, why not? You didn't directly make
that bad sound. It appears to have just happened and then
you noticed it. You don't even know why it happened except for
your assumption that you somehow got tense. But you also didn't
directly get yourself into any state of tension so why should
you change it? In fact, when we look ever so closely it doesn't
even appear that there is any noticeable tension until after
you react to the bad sound. So the tension appears to have happened
later more as a result of your reaction than earlier
as a cause of the bad sound.
In other words, it appears from what we uncovered
that you have been mis-attributing when the tension
comes and where it comes from. It only appears after the bad
sound and only then if you get caught up in reaction. The tension
appears to be, in fact, your experience of the reaction.
And your reaction of disappointment appears to happen to the
degree that you are taking responsibility for that bad sound
having happened — "there's that bad sound, damn, it's because
I'm tense, now I have to deal with it…".
A feeling loop, as you called it, is right
— a way of thinking and a way of interpreting feeling that gets
you caught in a loop. Your assumption that your tension caused
the bad sound draws you into trying to change the tension. This
is hard to achieve because you have misinterpreted things and
are now just digging yourself in deeper. It takes time and interferes
more with your playing. So it makes the bad sound seem a bigger
and worse problem than it is those other times when you just
go back to the music. Since it now seems a worse problem you
are bound to react more and feel more disappointed when it happens
which creates the tension which gets you into trying to change
it by fiddling with parts, etc., etc., round and round…
However, our investigations show that when
things are working well you are whole. You have no parts and
you are not doing any breath control. You are in the music as
a whole being, an open and free player. At the same time, of
course, the sound of the open and free player is also open and
free. And, of course, you register this as good.
Now, if you recognize how this wonderful
thing works, do you think that you could actually make that
choice in those moments?
That would be interesting to find out. I think, as you talk
about it, yeah, it can be exactly the same spot in the same
piece of music in rehearsal. Two different takes and I can have
a different reaction each time. I can be going along and the
sound will come out and have the tension in it and I can go
either way. So it would be interesting to see.
Because, notice the way you normally have it framed is that
if the sound isn't what I want it is because I have become a
bit tense and I get disappointed and then I get even more tense
and then I have to do something about the tension. The whole
framework pulls you away from what you really want — the wholeness
and being right there in the music — and gets you involved in
trying to change yourself which doesn't even work all that reliably.
The way you see it, your normal frame, makes it seem to make
sense to react and try in the way you do.
Mmm Hmm… Wait a minute, say that again?
It makes sense to go about it that way if you assume that your
tension causes the bad sound, of course it makes sense to try
to relax the tension so you'll have good sound.
But by looking at it closely we have seen that what you really
want is to be wholly there in the music. And, interestingly,
we've also seen that you have an early warning signal there
to alert you that somehow you've gone off. That early warning
signal of the bad sound starting to happen can wake you up to
make a choice of which way to go from here… into reaction and
all the fixing-up stuff, or simply come directly back to the
music with the whole you as you are at that moment.
The operative bit there, when we look closely at those moments
when it just happens that you come back to the music, is that
you didn't try to change anything about your structure or your
state, you just found yourself coming back in the music right
as you were at the moment, and then you noticed that you were
open and free.
So, whether there was a bit of tension or not in those moments
when you just come back, you didn't do a single thing about
it, and even if there was some barely noticeable tension there
before it sure doesn't seem to be there after when you are back
in the music.
Instead, what you did, though you didn't
do this consciously or as a choice, was just come back to the
music and then found that you and the sound were open and free
and whole. That seems to be about as quick a change as can be…
… since nothing needs changing… Whereas in those others moments
not only do you get caught up as if something happened that
shouldn't have happened, but then you get further caught up
by having to deal with it.
So, would it be possible, just as an experiment,
to see if you can make that choice?
There's no guarantee that if we go at it
here and now that the situation will come up where you could
make that choice, but that doesn't matter since the main point
here is that you get clear about what the experiment is so that
you could carry it out on your own later too.
Well, I will have many opportunities to try it out this coming
Yes, and of course, the easiest opportunities are the ones that
happen at home in practice so you can get fluent with what it
means to make the experiment of choosing in practice before
you meet the challenge of doing it in performance.
So, how would one go about making such an
experiment? Well, the first thing is that you'd need to be aware
that it is one of those moments when there is an opportunity
to bring in the experiment. So, what is going on that would
show you that it is one of those moments?
The sound changes.
Right, that is your earliest wake-up call.
Next, you'd need to not go down
the old path, that is, you'd need to meet that moment of the
bad sound without any reaction or disappointment. And
that is easy because within the framework of an experiment you
actually want the bad sound to happen so you can see
if you can make that choice and so you can find out how it works
out. In other words, instead of going into it with damn and
disappointment, you'd be going into it with interest and curiosity.
Now, let's get very practical here. There
are two possible things you could do if you do catch the wake-up
call of hearing your bad sound start.
The first one you can only really do at home
when you are practicing, and that is to have the curiosity to
wonder, "Hmm, the sound has changed, is there something I have
gotten into here, or something that I was just doing, or some
way I was just distracted, that might have resulted in a change
in my sound?"
You could stop for a moment and look at that
to see if you can identify anything that may be causing the
sound to "go bad" in the first place. That would be worth exploring
and moments like these are your opportunities to explore. You
might find something and you might not, but if you did and if
you could change that, then your sound would not go bad so often
and you wouldn't have many chances to make the experiment of
what you do when it does go bad.
The other thing you could do is to actually
make the experiment as we are about to do now. Hopefully, you
are able to meet that moment of the sound getting tight and
recognize it without any reaction, and instead just go, "Oh,
here it is, what's the best thing to do about it?"
Then the next step in the experiment is to
remember what you do want to do instead of your old habit. In
this case, what you want to choose is to open right back to
the music regardless of the state you are in.
…and to do that as you are at this moment without trying
to change a single thing. In other words, the whole you as you
are, even if that whole you at the moment of choice is in a
different state than when the whole you is very free.
What is going on when things are working well? Well, it is just
the whole me, as I am, right there in the music. So, is it possible
to choose to live that whole me right then and there back into
the music, immediately and directly?
Do not pass GO. Do not stop to collect $200
after getting out of tension; just go directly…
The choice really comes down
If you get tense shoulders, do you
first want to have free shoulders?
Or do you want to get directly to
wholeness where you don't even
have a separate part called shoulders?
In other words, by making the experiment, you'll first of all
see whether you can make the choice. If you can, then
you'll not only see if it works to get you right back
into the music with a free and open sound, but you'll also find
out more about whether the tension is, in fact, caused by your
In a way, the choice really comes down to
this. If you get tense shoulders, do you first want to have
free shoulders? Or do you want to get directly to wholeness
where you don't even have a separate part called shoulders?
Because if that last one is the one you want, why not go for
it directly rather than spend time in your "body" trying to
correct shoulders which apparently does not even work all that
successfully? At very best, that just gets you back to where
you could have gone directly without having spent all that time
and without getting caught in all the details.
Absolutely… That will be interesting.
Yes, and this sort of habit goes on in a lot of different situations
that most everyone has experienced. I'm not just speaking now
of performance but also in daily life. In those moments when
everything is going along wonderfully, what's happening during
those moments? Well, we are whole. We are free. It is easy.
There's nothing to do. There are no parts, let alone parts to
fix up. We are in the flow of what we are doing. It is all just
If we really take that in, there is incredibly
important information there. When I am whole it's all working
well and I don't have any parts. How frequently do we try to
get that by getting better and better at doing the right thing
to parts hoping some day we are actually going to become whole?
Nice idea, but you just have to ask yourself, "How long
have I been doing this, and have I actually become whole yet?
Or am I just getting better and better at techniques for correcting
the parts and at exercises for improving things?"
How many spiders have we swallowed to catch
the flies? And how many teachers have taught us new birds to
swallow to catch the spiders? And how many doctors have prescribed
cats to catch the birds we invited in to catch the spiders we'd
hoped would get the flies?
On the other hand, what my own system shows
me is that when things are working wonderfully, there are no
parts and nothing to do. It's easy. It's easy to just be myself
in the moment, for the simple reason that I already am.
My experience also shows me that in these
moments there is a big openness and freedom. When I am just
my whole self in the moment I am open, that is, expanded (instead
of tight or constricted) as I open up to take in the moment
as it is, and I am free from all the stuff I thought I had to
do, and free to just go along with the music.
So if I take that in and recognize that this
is what I want, then why not practice that? And why not practice
it right now?
Does that make sense? How about it?
Yeah, I think it really does.
Oh, right now? You mean do it right now?
Okay… What do you want me to do?
We'll go into the experiment now and we'll see if the opportunity
comes up where the sound gets tight so you can choose to go
right back to the music. Of course, the worst that might happen
is that you play wonderfully and open and free so the opportunity
never even comes up.
But the advantage of trying out the experiment
here is that you'll get a little practice at what it means to
do the experiment when there is someone here to help you rather
than have to work it all out on your own.
Okay. I'll play a warm-up, because I haven't played for a while.
And even in the warm-up I guess the experiment would be that
if I notice the tension, I just go back to the music.
Exactly. And I presume here you mean that "if you feel the tension
in the sound", since it appears from our investigation
that you do not actually feel the tension in your body until
after you have reacted to the sound.
Then the experiment is this: you just start playing and if you
notice the sound start to go somewhere you don't want, right
at the moment of noticing it see if you can have the clarity
that what you want is to go right back to the music, as a whole,
that is, just as you are at the moment, as much as possible
without any reaction. You'll be recognizing that what happened
with the sound is just what it is and not a disappointment or
a bad thing that one should react to, since you don't even know
yet whether it is a bad thing or anything that one should react
In its simplest form, in other words, can
you meet that moment and immediately make the choice to simply
go straight back to the music as you are and carry on?
Okay. Here I go. I'm going to face out that way as I play...
[She plays for about two minutes…]
Play a small
audio file of her experiment — your browser should play this
(You may need to click "back" to return to the text):
Well, actually I did get tense on the scale right before the
end, but I think it works... although I ran out of air again.
Whenever you are making an experiment like this, the first step
is always to see whether you were actually able to carry out
the experiment before looking at any results. So, just to be
clear here, are you saying that you did notice that the sound
Yes. And I was able just to not react. Just to say…
I didn't say these words because it would take too long… but
just to say, "There's some tension, aaaaah, and just let
And the "it" you're letting go, is what?
The tension. Okay, I noticed the tension and I let go of getting
involved in it and I went back to what I was doing, back to
the warm-up. I recognized the tension was there in the sound
and I just went right back to the music.
So this time, subject to further proof of making the experiment
again in other times, it does appear that you can recognize
that moment and that you did make that choice, that you were
more or less able to make the experiment this time. You were
able to notice the tension in the sound and not react and not
change anything, but just come back to the music.
Now we can look at the results of that experiment.
What happened when you managed that?
It felt like a non-event.
This time I heard the
tension and I just kept
moving back into the
It felt like a non-event, I guess, if that makes sense. I would
define "event" as I hear the tension and I deal with the tension
which takes me out of that moment. But this time I heard the
tension and I just kept moving back into the moment… so it is
That's great. That's exactly what you wanted, isn't it?
Sometimes it can help to be aware that there
are often two aspects of experimental results.
One is how did it feel or how did it affect
you to be operating this new way? Were you still as tense or
as much in parts? Were you whole and open and free? Were your
shoulders tight, etc.?
And the other aspect is about the result
musically? What happened to your sound during and after the
It became what it was, the music again.
Well, that is kind of interesting. Before, those just happened
to you by chance, but it does seem like they are, in fact, choose-able.
At least this time anyway, subject to further proof other times.
But the idea that it is a choice, and obviously it is a choice
whether it is a conscious choice or not… I don't know. Sometimes
in a less controlled situation I can have a non-event, other
times I have to deal with it. Obviously, somehow I'm choosing,
some part of me…
Did you hear that red-flag word there?
No… I'm not sure…?
Yeah, I don't know how…
Yeah, so how can it be "obviously" there is a "somehow
I'm choosing" when you don't even know if a choice was made…
Well, to me there are two different ways of going, so somewhere
in me something is making the choice to go this way or that
way. I'm not consciously making the choice; my wholeness is
not making the choice.
Yes, you are right. You're not consciously making the choice.
And you're right too, presumably something in you is determining
which way you go. However, I don't think it makes sense to speak
of this other part of you, as you put it, making choices, since
only human beings make choices. But for our purposes here, the
main point is that you are registering clearly the distinction
as to whether you, the conscious person, are making a choice
Whether it would make sense to speak of any
moment as "making a choice" would only be clear by looking closely
at the moment to see if you were actually aware of any choice
facing you and if so, that you then chose to take one path instead
In that sense it doesn't appear from what
we uncovered that there were any choices made in any of the
For instance, in relation to those habitual
moments when you react and try to relax we did not find any
moments when you were aware of more than one possibility and
then chose to go ahead with one of them. It appears more that
you just reacted your way into it because that was the way you
were interpreting the moment at the time and had already pre-judged
it as "oh, damn, one of those, now I have to deal with it".
Similarly with the other moments when "it"
opened back out to the music, you didn't make any choices. It
all just happened to you and you found yourself there.
Of course, you can use the word choice in
any way you want, but here we are using it in this simple straightforward
sense of an actual conscious choice made by an actual person
between two or more actually perceived possible pathways. Not
because that is the way it "should" be defined, but because
that is the actual situation you are faced with in those moments
when the sound goes bad.
If, and only if, you wake up and become aware
that it is one of those moments, and if, and only if, you remember
what the possibilities are, only then do you have an actual
choice. And the actual choice is to either carry on in your
familiar habit of assuming you are tense and then trying to
relax the tension, or to simply come immediately back to the
music as you are without changing a thing. That takes a conscious
person making a conscious choice, especially in the beginning,
in the face of the habit. Like you just did in your experiment.
Only when you have gone down both pathways
a few times and have been able to take in the consistent experience
of what happens to you in both, do you have enough information
to make an informed choice about which you'd actually prefer,
about which works better for you.
But back to the matter at hand… So far, having
just made one experiment you found that you can make
that choice. It is dead easy to make. You were right back in
the flow of the music. The sound was again what you wanted without
any controlling, and you were open and free and didn't need
It sounds very easy…
It was easy because
there is absolutely
nothing to do and
nothing to change.
It all does itself...
It was easy, wasn't it? It is literally the definition of easy
because there is absolutely nothing to do and nothing to change.
It all does itself given that you are able to make the choice.
The next thing to do is to see why I go one way, why it happens,
Yes, as I mentioned earlier, that is the other option you have
available to you at those moments. You have the possibility,
if you can stop for a moment, to ask yourself what you may have
just been thinking, or what you were just up to that might give
you some clues as to why the sound is going tight in the first
But, even if you don't find anything — and
I'm not saying that you won't because you might — at least now
you do have an option open to you that was not there before.
Now you can consciously choose that simple and fast way right
back to things working, whereas before it seemed to be purely
up to chance whether "it" went that way or not.
As you make further experiments if it does
you are able to make that choice and each time get more or less
the same results — our "subject-to-further-proof" — then it
would appear to prove that there really isn't any separation
between you and the sound, and, even more interestingly, it
would be showing that it doesn't appear to have much at all
to do with your breathing.
Though, when you do get caught in what you get caught in, there
does certainly seem to be an interference and a negative effect
on your shoulders and breathing.
So, subject to further experimenting, you
have this to take away and play around with…
Feedback from Mila two months later:
It has made a huge
difference in performing,
practicing and rehearsing.
It is quite revolutionary,
"I have used the idea of 'coming
straight back to the playing (or better yet the music)'
a lot. It has made a huge difference in the enjoyment I get
out of performing, practicing and rehearsing.
I have used the ideas from that session
quite a bit in my teaching as well as my playing.
I hope to learn more about LearningMethods
as it has made my teaching so much more fun, fascinating and
enjoyable for both the students and me. It is quite revolutionary,
There is a small biography
of personal details about the author below.
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About the Author
David Gorman has been studying human
structure and function since 1970. He is the author of an illustrated 600-page
text on our human musculoskeletal system, called
The Body Moveable (now in
its 6th edition and in colour), and numerous articles and essays, including
the book, Looking at Ourselves (2nd
edition in colour).
David has been working with performers (singers,
musicians, actors, dancers and circus artists) for over forty years. He is a
trainer of teachers of LearningMethods and of the
Alexander Technique and has taught all
over the world in universities, conservatories, performance companies, and orchestras;
for doctors in hospitals and rehabilitation clinics; and in training courses
for Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage & yoga.
Over the years, his changing understanding about the
root causes of people's problems led him to gradually extend his Alexander Technique
teaching into the development of a new work, LearningMethods (and an
offshoot, Anatomy of Wholeness about our marvelous human design), which
is being integrated into the curricula of performance schools in Europe, Canada
and the United States by a growing number of LearningMethods
Teachers and Apprentice-teachers.
For the last 6 years, David has been running online
post-graduate groups for Alexander Technique teachers and groups for those who
want to learn to use LearningMethods in their own lives and work, as well as
a group for those who want to go on to train as LearningMethods teachers.
Telephone: +1 416-519-5470
78 Tilden Crescent, Etobicoke, Ontario M9P 1V7 Canada (map)