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January 2021

Happy New Musical, Fiddleful, Joyful Year to Our Friends and Fiddlers!🐦

As I always affirm, we are incredibly blessed, and especially at "such a time as this" (from Esther of the Bible) to be knowing, playing, feeling, learning, fellowshipping with — music and our musical friends, in physical or virtual space. Regardless of the world around us, our "bubbles" of music bring us so much healing, a  heart and mind sanctuary, gratefulness. And joy. And sometimes, also for these times, perhaps our music can help us with the expression of deep sadness. Loss. Worry. Confusion, or Overwhelm.

We musicians tend to feel the energetic weight of the world very deeply, and I am no exception to that empathic experience. As I began to create our Full Circle greeting, my memory raced to other painful and truly relentlessly sad seasons of my life, and to the music which was a soothing balm. I'd like to share with you how music has been a medicine to me — and my soul...

  • Listen freely and openly to music which allows you to feel whatever arises in your emotions or senses. Be alone, without bright lights or distractions. Have water on hand to drink. There is lots to choose from on YouTube: "Sad Violin Music", music for meditation, traditional hymns and spiritual songs, music for awakening. The Mozart Requiem or Brahms Requiem or any other requiems. Allow tears, words, body expression – and simply just be there as long as you like.
  • Another musical medicine is playing your instrument, maybe with a recording, and choosing what you know and love, or feel relaxed by. And  again, allowing all feelings to come up. Amazing Grace and other songs, traditional music laments or aires, and any music that you can flow with are all musical spaces where you can let go of thinking, and feel your heart — with its sadness, or joy, or wherever that may go as you play.

My heart goes out to each one of you, and our beautiful earth, and all of life,
Keep Fiddling💜
With warm blessings,

The Dog Ate My Rosin
Did you ever tell your teacher that your dog ate your homework?

In a twist on that time-honored excuse, Robin Hebert had the perfect reason why she couldn't practice one day.....

Her dog ate her rosin! Hope the pup was okay.....
Let Go of Mistake Obsession!

“Avoiding Mistakes.”

This is almost an oxymoron. If you are focused on avoiding something, all else recedes to the periphery of your mind & senses, and as a result of ​that​, mistakes are exponentially more likely. Yep. Not useful.

Think about the following....

Do you set out to avoid mistakes as a core goal, or do you set out to play with heart, and just ​enjoy​ what you have practiced so sincerely for? Do you believe that mistakes are a​ legitimate foundational part of learning (anything)? They are. They teach all of us, and continually, from student to professional.

What does “mistake” mean to you: by definition in your musical experience? (​In both learning mode and performing mode.)
Is it a negative judgement? Or, do you come from a place of wisdom​ which allows you to let it go, instantly?

Is it even humanly possible to make it through a tune, or piece of music with zero mistakes?
What is your reaction to a mistake, during and after it occurs? Why???

And here is the big one: ​Who cares ​about your mistake, and if so, what are the consequences?
These questions need to be put on your Deep Dive list, as an adult student musician of any music style, genre, instrument.

We bring so much conditioning, perfectionism, expectations, mind-driven logic, into the adult learning experience. And we are used to doing and learning “our way.” Most​ of this is counter-productive​ in the music realm. ‘Nuf said.

​Embrace Beginner’s Mind​. Google this if you don’t know about it :)

Like all musicians, I have been in a relationship with mistakes from day one, in my third-grade beginner class. Mistakes stunned and disoriented me.​ My teachers did not address the relentless nature of mistakes... and so for years even as I successfully avoided them, I did not accept them gratefully as an organic part of learning.

I have evolved as a player and person since then and have the skill to ​mitigate​ almost any “mistake,” before or during the active part of it. I also know in every cell of my body that:

There is no such thing as 100% mistake-free playing, on the average. Recordings are highly edited, BTW.

Unless we are in a competition or performing professionally, our​ mistakes mean nothing​ to anyone 99% of the time. And, it’s most likely no one can hear you, especially in a group! or know your music.

Music is not about you.​ Music is about​ the music.​ Do your best to be prepared, and then just play for and as yourself, with soul, gratefulness, and in self-transparency. Then, ​you are about the music,​ ​the correct orientation.

How to Have a Good Relationship with Mistakes

First and forever, drop the notion that you can banish mistakes across the board. Get real, and lose any negative attitude about mistakes or yourself.

The way to “avoid” mistakes is to​ prepare and practice​ with focus, being sure to work out rough spots ​immediately​ in the learning phase. And with ​hundreds of correct repetitions o​ver the course of learning.

Mistakes can frequently be merged into the music, in all but a few situations. This skill can be learned & mastered. That’s one of the reasons professionals ​appear t​o make no mistakes – especially in the genres where improvising and individual expression are the main focus.

Mistakes when you are playing with others, performing, or practicing Play-Throughs:

Use self-discipline to​ refuse​ to react when mistakes happen. You must develop this skill over time :)

Laughing, stopping, talking, etc. all completely break the flow of your musical experience. Just stay connected physically, with the bow on string, fingers on instrument, while you re-enter the music. BLAST RIGHT THROUGH any mistakes. Think of it as a bit of off-roading, then jump back onto the pavement. LOL Most people would never know what just happened.

Are there musicians and teachers who have a different view, paradigm, attitude, belief about mistakes (like mistakes are not acceptable under any circumstances)? Of course. My guess is that their joy:anxiety ratio is seriously messed up.

From reading interviews and books about/written by the greatest players and teachers, and also being in great teacher masterclasses, I can tell you that these highest accomplished musicians are all about working ​with mistakes and not against them! I wish you the best as you continue on your own wonderful musical path!

French Connection Makeover!
Our French Connection divider has gotten a makeover for the New Year! 
• Top: Cynthia & Lew Harriman, creating the new curtain.
• Middle: Peg – first lesson with the new divider.
• Bottom: Cayt celebrates, while Pico enjoys the doggy door at the bottom.
This Months' Cartoon
Music for Health Care Workers
The New England Conservatory is boosting the morale of stretched-thin health care workers at Massachusetts General Hospital by offering them music lessons. While you might imagine that learning an instrument might be the last thing a nurse or doctor working extra shifts would want, the lessons have proved extremely popular as a refuge from the medical crisis. Dr. Lisa Wong, a pediatrician who heads up the Boston Hope Music program, as it's called, says the idea is "to learn to heal through it, and to express themselves." You can read about the program here.  

A big thanks to Susan for bringing this to our attention!
Inspiring Quote
Do not fear mistakes; there are none... When you hit a wrong note, it's the next note that makes it good or bad. -- Miles Davis
If she can keep playing, so can  you!
What a great example of not getting rattled when the unexpected happens!
Keep this violinist in mind, as you let go of mistake obsession!
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You're a student or a friend of Full Circle.

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Rollinsford Lower Mill, suite 401, 402, 406
3 Front Street
Rollinsford, NH 03869

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