In class on Friday, the comment that I received more than once from my instructors was that I needed to be sure to look up instead of down. I was likely looking down as a result of my desire to have a more neutral relationship between the head and spine. I was certain 😉 that I was kinesthetically perceiving my body accurately; “So why do I need to look up?” part of me thought. When I saw myself on video, it because utterly apparent why I needed to look up: Because where the eyes look, the body follows (to quote my yoga instructor). To complete the trick, my body needed to continue traveling forward and up in space (to meet my catcher), not strait down to the net.
This made me think back to an Alexander Technique running lesson I had years ago with one of my coaches and colleagues, David Nesmith. The further we got into the run, the heavier my whole body felt. When David verbally directed me to raise the level of my eye sight, running instantly became easier as my body came back to balance.
If I’m not continually refining the way I use my vision at the flute, there are also ramifications: my body begins to feel heavier, my arms and hands feel restricted during technical passages, my sound doesn’t project as far, and I may even begin to feel bored. In preparing for my upcoming workshop, I came across a passage that helped to remind me why this happens: “The control of balance normally involves the integration of visual, kinesthetic, vestibular, and cutaneous information.” Allowing myself the joy of visual curiosity instantly improves my sound and my technique. If it can do all that for a musician, just imagine what it could do for a musician’s audience!