The Fear of the Wrong Note

Cello_kleinI didn´t write for a while. Not about running and not about playing the cello. If I had you would have read something like: “I just don´t make it. I don´t improve. It is even getting worse. I don´t have the time. It is pathetic how slow I am. How could I think I could learn something like this aged 36? Be reasonable, Stefanie – there are so many more important things to do: work, cooking, cleaning…” Does this sound familiar?

Beginners Cello-play can be an agonizing thing to do – especially acoustically. The complaints of the neighbours have decreased (possibly because my means “yoga mat underneath chair and cello” and “meditation cushions to weigh down the radiator” bring some result) – but still the feeling of restrain increases as soon as I know that the neighbour in the flat below me is at home. I cannot learn to play the Cello inaudibly. And: What becomes audible is my failing, my incapability, my “being out of tune”…

For weeks now I am dealing with my upbow. My downbow is quite o.k., the upbow sounds like asthma. Like this: hummm – squeak – hummm – squeak .. My teacher says: “Let your elbow drop” – But I do this! All my Alexander mantras had no effect. The frustration grew. Not just because of the horrible squeaking after four month of practise, but because as an AT teacher I should have learnd the means whereby I could detect such habits.

Today I quit searching. As there is no hope for improvement I will practise “Hummm – squeak” again until I am sick of it I thought. After the fifth “Humm – squeak” I noticed that I pull my head down a little bit before the upbow. A classical startle reflex – or more precisely: a startle PRE-flex – as the reaction appears before I even played the note.

***pause for reflection***

“What if I had no fear of the next note being wrong? OR – relating to this article“How would I be – without the fear of the wrong note?”

Do I have to proceed? That immediately there was room for the sound? That there was nothing to worry about my ellbow? That even the left hand suddenly found the right notes? (still on beginners level…) Hummm – Buzzz – Hummm – Buzzz … blissful…

What would my life be like without the fear of the wrong note?

P.S. Thanks to Robyn Avalon, the mistress of  “What if…? – questions.





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