Do you know that space, that endless space which sometimes opens at concerts? It is like thick air is filling the hall and you can kind of touch the silence.
What happens in these moments of bliss?
How do they arise?
These questions created the urge in me to understand more and to investigate; they moved me to research. I started to look deeper into the aspects of performing and performances. When and where do we connect or disconnect? To what do we connect? How is it with feelings and thoughts while practising or performing? What about the physical act and the mastering of an instrument, the mental strength and the nervousness? How is it possible that so many professionals in orchestras seem disconnected and bored? While observing and experiencing different aspects of classical music performance I started to understand how inseparable our being, and the awareness of it, are from our music making.
Be The Music is an attempt to make us more connected with ourselves, the music and the audience. Maybe we can even consciously create that moment of bliss?
I would like to share some of the most important discoveries I made during this process. I am no longer sure in which order they all appeared, but it seems to take form as a puzzle of inspiration which was given to me through the years.
In his psychological concept of flow Csikszentmihalyi explains a very important aspect of the concert magic: he calls it the state of flow. In his concept of flow he shows how this special moment, where time disappears and it all seems so effortless, can be created by the right balance of challenge and skill. Studying Csikszentmihalyi's texts in depth gave me a sensation of being able to touch and grasp a big part of the magic from concerts, but I asked myself: do the facts regarding challenge and skill really explain it all? Isn’t there something more in the air when, for example, the genius of a Beethoven string quartet fills a hall and all within it?
Seeing M.Emoto’s photographs of water molecules I had a sort of flashback, an understanding, and a deep insight of truth at the same time. His pictures show the geometrical forms of the water and how the vibration of the water is influenced by its surroundings. The water molecule has different forms in different geographical places, it changes when it is exposed to different pieces of music and it varies according to the intentions and words that surround it. Knowing that we are made up of approximately 70% water, Emoto's pictures appeared to me as a clear visual proof of something I felt I had always known: the immense power of vibration and our receptiveness to it.
K.Stockhausen’s pieces “From the Seven Days” became my first conscious exercises in training my receptiveness to vibrations. In the pieces he asks us musicians to receive all kind of different vibrations and play them. This was my first experience with intuitive music, and it was a truly great discovery.
My second conscious exercise in training my receptiveness of vibrations was to study energetic healing. I learned to receive the vibrations of others through my own body, which gave me a sensation of mirroring, and I immediately started to let the vibration I had mirrored resound through my viola. As I, in the same period, found myself in front of the fascinating world of Susanne Oertel’s artworks, it was so natural for me, to mirror and to read the vibration of her paintings and give it sound.
Remembering Csikszentmihalyi challenge and skill, I did find a deep challenge in the work on vibrations, the challenge of being able to connect deeply. I gave myself the task to “be” the vibration I choose to play, before starting to play. But how could I consciously “become” a certain vibration? In that moment the real work on transparency started. And many new questions arose:
What is my vibration?
How can I create a transparent state in myself, which allows me to feel a sort of “zero” before mirroring a different vibration?
Carrying this search with me for many years, I was finally lucky to discover the teachings of the spiritual teacher Mooji ( he follows the old Hindu philosophy of non-dualism, advaita vedanta). Through his indications I was able to understand and clarify my inner human nature, and more than anything I discovered the place of silence. This silence has become my base - it is the transparent state I was looking for - the core of it all, and my home.
Be The Music is a challenge to stay connected - a challenge to stay faithful to the music - and this challenge with its skill definitely takes us closer to the mystical and sacred moments of concerts. Through connection and concentration, through deep listening and knowledge we can open the space to the intangible magic of listening to music together. Be The Music has become a holistic performance practice, a practice wherein we become an instrument to support the essence and expression of the music, wherein the first priority is to be in service to the music. This is a real challenge - so, as we learn the skills, flow will come along.