Thursday, 1 May 2008

Music Therapy

My piano teacher today told me that I am too tense. In my shoulders, my back, my arms; my whole body has tensed up and it is affecting my playing. She asked if I am stressed about anything and I explained that I feel pressure when preparing pieces for a performance, but this is not really entirely true - I just didn't have a solid reason to give her ...

So what am I tense about? The fact that I am on edge everytime I hear that my irresposible, irrational, highly volatile little sister has gone out driving in a temper now that she's passed her test? That each time my parents draw one fight closer to finally separating they call me up to martial me into taking one of their sides, when they know I refuse to get involved? The unfortunate fact that my recent move to live closer to my family for the first time in my life is actually more difficult than never seeing them at all?!

No, I think in truth, the reason for my tension is that I feel, since moving to the UK, that my life has become empty. Lacking in activity and excitement and, to some extent, emotion. I was always the one who was out every night at a different ballet, art exhibition, gallery evening, theatre performance, bellydancing class, burlesque show, piano concert, friends' gatherings, dinners, restless walks around the lamplit city parks at 1 in the morning musing idly on our lives or just noting unusual artistry on the side of moonlit buildings. I have become too busy with work and concert preparation, errands and family commitments, to busy just skating through everyday life to make time for the joys I used to make time for. My vision shifted imperceptably at some point from "indulge in the joy life brings and live life like there is now tomorrow, work and chores will fit themselves in somehow", to "put in the effort and persevere to achieve your goals and pleasure will come to you soon". I don't remember where this happened and I am not at all happy that it is how I am living at the moment - For want of a better image, I seem to be waiting to eat the cake once I have baked it perfectly and left it to cool, whereas before I would have eaten most of the mixture before the cake got into the tin, which meant I had to make a few little fairy cakes instead and decorate them divinely to divert attention from the fact that they are not exactly what they were supposed to be. (This is actually truly how I bake, except when it's someone's birthday, in which case I can whip up a delightfully creamy triple chocolate gateau without getting my mouth too sticky!) But my original method is an infinitely more delicious way to go about things.

I know there is surely a balance, a middle road that allows me to bake a complete cake and eat some of the mixture along the way, I just need to will myself the discipline, because usually, once I've stuck my finger in once, and savoured that saccarine liquid on my tongue, there's no restraining me.

But I definitely need to regain my sense of self and my lust for life that seems to be escaping me at the moment. Perhaps I should take a day out from the mundane and do something exciting like zorbing, or even skydiving. That would wake me out of my rut and I've always wanted to do it.

My piano teacher's somewhat tamer prescription is that I need a serious massage and to start doing yoga.

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