Attitude is everything

by Jan 4, 2018

“Attitude is everything”

It’s a common saying and personally I couldn’t agree more. When it comes to successfully and confidently expressing yourself and having a great time in the process, awareness of your attitude allows for a wealth of opportunities.

Do you adopt a confident, positive attitude when you play/create, or is your attitude doubting and/or negative? Perhaps you are somewhere in between, and of course, your attitude will probably change with each day, each piece of music, each performance…

However, you most probably have a ‘default’ attitude when you pick up your instrument or start to create. Do you know what that attitude is? Are you choosing it, or is it choosing you?

Try this:

Start by observing your attitude and keep exploring it in all its detail until you know it intimately. Keep watching it and attempting to describe it. Quite possibly in the process your attitude will change – and noticing this change is of great value.

Once you know your ‘default’ attitude well, try on some other attitudes for size. Do you observe attitudes in others that you would like to emulate? Are there attitudes you wish you had? Don’t think too hard about this…perhaps the first ideas that come to mind are the most meaningful?

Like it’s a game, adopt an attitude you want to explore, and start playing. Observe how that attitude affects your performance. Do you feel more confident, are you expressing yourself more easily? Do you feel better physically or emotionally? Or perhaps it is less successful and rewarding than what you are used to? Then try some more on for size…keep exploring and observing closely.

This process of exploration will educate you about the attitudes you have been working within, and it is highly likely that in the process you will discover some new liberating attitudes to incorporate into your performance process.

The first and most important step is to get clarity in regards to the attitudes you bring to your performance and creativity. That clarity will propel you forward towards developing new and improved attitudes, and in the process, as you get to know and fine-tune your attitudes, your self-expression will improve, as will your confidence and creativity.

Silver linings the second time around

Having performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s violin sonatas in February 2020 with American pianist Kate Boyd, we had originally planned to perform the cycle again later that year. But of course, COVID had other plans for us and the soonest that we could rearrange for our second cycle was for 10-17 January 2023 – almost 3 years later.

With the first of these concerts now just a day away, I’ve been reflecting on the new opportunities that presented themselves because of the enforced ‘change of plans’, and the silver linings have been numerous and rather wonderful.

Building Confidence

Radio New Zealang Concert asked me for advice around confidence, and in particular if it can be built.

I believe it can.

You can read what I had to say about it all on their website: Confidence Tricks – some tips for musical performance.

Effort, Age and Survival  

It is over a month since my last blog post and with the 6 weeks that have passed, we are well and truly in mid-summer here in Central Otago.

I have been systematically working through the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas, regularly inspired by the awesome landscapes outside my window, and accompanied by my trusty sidekick – Coco the cat.

It turns out one of the biggest current challenges is physical fatigue.

A reset from the inside out

Having previously performed 6 of the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas more than 20 years ago, it has been a lovely process coming back to the familiar, as well as discovering the new. Primarily due to the work I have been doing over the last 2 years getting to the nitty-gritty of my performance philosophies, these incredibly pristine works of Beethoven are proving to be an absolute gift for me.

Where to from here?

The next three months are super exciting for me, with 3 concerts confirmed in Mid-Feb 2020 for the performance of all 10 Beethoven sonatas within three days…and all in my new gorgeous neighbourhood of Central Otago.

It’s quite possible that I am naïve to the full enormity of this project – but one thing is for sure, sinking my teeth into these works again is a true treat, and the magnitude of the project is just what I am now needing at this point in my life.

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